Many Aveda fans will know that Aveda is based on the concept of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian art of healing and this is reflected in all our natural hair and skincare products. But we also like to draw upon the Ayuvedic methods with our hair and spa services too.
In particular, we like to use the marma points whilst massaging the head in scalp treatments, as well as during our Aveda customised facials and unique massages, like the stress fix, or chakra massages.
So What Are Marma Points Exactly?
During the Vedic era, marma points were called bindu, which described a kind of mystical point which when pressed, could activate a ‘door’ to the inner body. The belief is that healing comes from the body itself and marmas could be used as an antedote to pain, which meant that they became a transformative technique for self care.
Marma or Marmani translates as ‘a killing point’ – indeed in some strains of martial arts, some marma points on the body have been identified as specific points that can inflict harm. However for Ayurvedic purposes, marmas are are only used for healing.
Physically, the Marma points are the sites where muscles, vein, ligaments bones and joints meet. With 107 Marma points on the body, there are plenty to work with! Medicinally, they are recognised as neurolymphatic points, which are known to stimulate the lymphs and increase immunity, whilst relieving muscle stiffness and boosting circulation.
Each Marma point has it’s own name, associated health benefit and technique to stimulate it. Associated oils are used for the massages too, depending on a persons Dosha type. Marmas differ in size and are traditionally measured in Anguli or ‘finger units’.
So How Do Aveda Therapists and Hairdressers Use the Marma Points On Our Guests?
Working with the energetic body is often as powerful as working with the physical body and Marmas use a similar age old knowledge from mapping out the body as they do in acupuncture and acupressure. In Chinese medicine, the pathways of energy that transmit ‘chi’ around the body are known as meridians, which forms the basis for acupuncture therapy. Indian Ayurveda also recognises there are connections between certain body parts and organs. By manipulating these connections we can not only improve health and reduce stress, but also remove stagnant energy (prana) and release pent up emotions.
Marma therapy can be used in a number of different ways, which is why here at Mary Ann Weeks Aveda Guildford and Walton-on-Thames, our therapists and hairdressers are taught how to use them in the art of healing practices. This is one of the reasons why a massage, facial or head massage at Mary Ann Weeks feels particularly amazing!
Benefits of facial massage have shown to be effective in enhancing beauty and giving a sense of freshness in restoring youthfulness skin. It’s also incredibly relaxing and good for stress relief! Skin is soft and supple and via increased blood flow, the skin is tightened and wrinkles are improved. The lymphs are also stimulated, helping to carry away toxins, keeping skin fresh and clear. Finally, massaging the skin can increase penetration of skincare products, so you’ll get the best from your Aveda cleansers moisturisers and oils!
Learning where at least some of the marma points are located means you’re able to use them for your own self-care ritual, so here’s a helpful guide to key marma points both in the face and other areas for you to get to know and try gently pressing and holding on these areas for yourself.
The Phana are found either side of the base of the nostrils, where they open out and measure just 1/2 an anguli. Using the index fingers, massage using strong small circular motions simultaneously for 1-3 minutes. When working with this marma, symptoms of headaches and sinus congestion is relieved, particularly when using essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus with carrier oils.
The Apanga marma, is found on outer corners of both eyes and are 1/2 an anguli. These marmas are said to bring clarity and improve perception. They also control the senses, in particular the eyes and vision.
There are two locations for the Vidhur marma, both behind and below both ears. Measuring 1/2 anguli, these presure points are said to control the senses, in particular the ears and hearing, whilst relieving stress and tension in the head.
The Shankha Marma is found either side of the head on the temples. approximately 1/2 an angula, this Marma is about the sense of touch and is said to influence the large intestine.
Slightly higher up than the Shankha, the Utkshepa Marma is located where where the hair meets the scalp, in the temple area, on either side of the head. Said to control the sense of smell, it is 1/2 angula in size.
Right at the midpoint just above each eyebrow is where you’ll find the Avarta marma, which are mostly bony to touch. 1/2 and angula and said to influence the posture of the whole body and the sense of sight.
The Sthapani marma is located between the eyes and controls the 6th chakra – the Ajna, predominately a centre for wisdom and insight. Approximately half an angula in size, when stimulated accesses the pituitary gland and all the senses.
Chibuk is right in the centre of the chin, said to govern the health and condition of the skin
Other Powerful Marma Points
Why not try activating these two Marmas yourself to see how you feel? Settle into a seat and spend a couple of moments taking deep slow breaths to relax before you begin…
Hridaya (The Heart Marma)
The heart Marma is found at the centre of the chest bone (the sternum) and measures 4 anguli. Connect to the powerful centre of your heart by simply placing your palm on this area. For deeper therapy work, use the palm of your hand to massage gently with sesame oil, which is said to calm the hearts energy. Alternatively mustard oil can be used for improving circulation.
Talahridaya (The Hand Marma)
The Talahridaya is found in the very centre of the palm and measures 1/2 an anguli in size. Known as the ‘heart of the hand’s it’s said to be closely linked to the Anahata (the heart chakra), which stimulates circulation through the entire body (much like the heart does). Massaging this point opens the communication channels and enhances flow of prana (energy) to the palms. Using essential oils like eucalpytus will open up blocked sinuses, or energise the point further by rubbing the palms together to build heat.
So why not book your massage or facial today with one of our talented Spa Therapists or gift to a loved one? Right now, Mary Ann Weeks are offering additional gifts with every gift voucher purchased over the value of £40. This offer expires on 24th December 2019. To find out more visit our gift voucher page