A Marma point is defined in Ayurvedic medicine as a site on the body where flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, joints and bones meet. There are 107 of these ‘vital points’ throughout the body, and it is believed that an injury to any one of them – such as a puncture wound, burn or impact injury – will lead to permanent damage or even death. Marma therapy is an ancient form of massage which uses the fingers to stimulate the Marma points, thereby promoting physical and mental healing and well-being.

The Ayurvedic system emphasizes the preventive aspects of healthcare, and part of this is Marma massage, which increases blood flow to the neuromuscular junction of each point and tones the surrounding muscles. Results of a Marma massage include increased levels of energy, reduced stress and freedom from tension and anxiety.

There are also many medical applications for Marma massage. It has been shown to be of particular benefit to stroke victims, because it can clear away obstructions which delay information being communicated between muscles, nerves and brain, and thus help the brain relearn the use of the parts of the body paralysed or debilitated by the stroke. Other symptoms that are alleviated through Marma massage include muscular aches and pains, light-headedness, numbness and tingling in the extremities, and a metallic taste in the mouth, as well as stress-related conditions.

The Marma therapist also checks the acidic levels of the tongue with a litmus paper as well as the muscle and nerve reflexes. A course of between two and six weekly sessions is usually recommended in order to restore full physical and mental health. Stroke victims usually need more treatments, often to be carried out over several months.