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How ayurvedic acupressure (Marma Chikitsa) can help you get a healthy skin?

Updated: Feb 27


Figure 1: Marma points [1]

WHAT IS AYURVEDA?


Ayurveda was developed in the Indian subcontinent thousands of years before modern medicine gave scientific proof of a mind-body connection, and it is now regarded as one of the most advanced and potent forms of healthcare in the world [2].


The three Doshas, or elements, are Vata (Air), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Water), and each person is a blend of them according to the fundamental principles of Ayurveda.


These components support the body when they are in proper balance, but any imbalance can seriously impair a person's health. Even though these forces are present throughout the entire body, Vata and Pitta are primarily found below the umbilical region, whereas Kapha is primarily found above the cardiac zone [2].


MARMA


Marma are anatomical sites on your body via which the energy of the aforementioned elements flows through your body. Marma are also known as acu-points in modern medicine. Marma-Chikitsa, which is similar to modern acu-pressure, involves gently massaging these points to stimulate them. Another type of Ayurvedic massage is called mardana. It is especially appropriate for acupoints or marmas that are smaller than one finger unit in size. When combined with a full-body massage, Ayurvedic acupressure techniques Mardana and Marma-Chikitsa both produce notable benefits. It is advisable to apply aromatic oils to the area after this therapy to help replenish the blood circulation [2].


BIOCHEMICAL MECHANISM OF ACU-PRESSURE


Both acu-pressure and acu-puncture have their roots in ancient China and are based on the same basic idea as that of Marma-Chikitsa: activating acupoints (local and distal) along the meridians. Acu-pressure involves applying physical pressure to trigger points, also known as "acu-points," located along meridians. Meridians are pathways that connect the body's numerous organs and tissues [3].


Figure 2: Bio-Chemical Mechanism of Acupressure [3]


The biochemical mechanism of acu-pressure (as represented in Figure 2) involves the stimulation of acupoints that leads to complex neuro-hormonal responses. It involves the counteraction along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis that leads to the overproduction of cortisol and induces relaxation. Also, it modulates the physiological response by increasing endorphin and serotonin transmittance to the brain and other specific organs through nerves and meridians [3].


THE THREE DOSHAS AND THEIR INDIVIDUAL CONSTITUTIONAL TYPES


VATA types- have slender bodies, low body weights, little illness resistance, and little tissue growth, making them appear airy. They are prone to overextending themselves and becoming weak or exhausted. They respond better to situations of warmth, wetness, rest, and caring support since they are sensitive to wind, cold, and dryness as environmental influences.


Skin problems- Cold and dry feelings, sensitivity to the air or sunlight, skin that is rough or cracking, and excruciating or cutting pain [2].


PITTA types- possess a moderate frame, a moderate body weight, a strong appetite, a reddish complexion, robust circulation, and heated extremities. These physical traits describe someone who is fiery. They are prone to overheating and quickly get a number of infectious ailments. They respond more favorably to cold, tranquil environments and are sensitive to heat and light as environmental influences.


Skin problems- Burning or heated pain, oily skin, bleeding, redness, and wet, hot feelings in the region [2].


KAPHA types- are watery in appearance, with a stocky frame, a strong structure, and well-developed tissue. They detest movement and are prone to putting on weight, water, or mucous. They are more comfortable in warm, dry environments with higher activity levels. They are sensitive to cold, wetness, and stagnant air as environmental influences.


Skin problems- A dull discomfort, paleness or whiteness of the skin, swelling, fatty deposits, congestion, edema, and cold and wet feelings in the region [2].


MARMA THERAPY


Marmas are delicate places, thus massaging them should be done with caution, primarily with the thumb. However, in some circumstances, especially when covering bigger areas, the knuckle, wrist, and palm might be employed. At least three to five minutes should be spent massaging the marma points twice a day. Two key guidelines for massage should be recalled [2].


This type of therapy is especially beneficial prior to showering or bathing, which can also wash off any extra oil on the skin [2]. Perform the massage motion in a clockwise manner when tonification or strengthening the internal organs and tissues is the aim.


OILS FOR MARMA MASSAGE

  • Sesame or almond oil and/or a combination of aromatic oils such as spicy and sweet oils like ginger, cinnamon, sandalwood, and rose for VATA types [2].

  • Coconut or sunflower oil and/or a combination of aromatic oils like cooling sweet oils like sandalwood, rose, or lotus for PITTA types [2].

  • Mustard or sesame oil (in smaller amounts) and/or aromatic oils like spicy penetrating oils like eucalyptus, camphor, or mint for KAPHA types [2].


CONCLUSION

Marma-Chikitsa is a crucial auxiliary that should be used in conjunction with other Ayurvedic treatments, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes. Marmas can also be used for self-care, though. Many marma points are accessible for self-treatment using massage, acupressure, massage oils, or aromatic oils, especially those on the body's extremities. You may do this on a daily or monthly basis to promote the flow of energy or treat chronic conditions [2].


REFERENCES

[1] Auténtica, A. (2020, July 22). Marma Chikitsa. Ayurveda Auténtica. Last accessed on 15 January 2022. https://www.ayurvedaautentica.mx/marma-chikitsa/

[2] Frawley, D., Ranade, S., & Lele, A. (2003). Ayurveda and Marma Therapy: Energy Points in Yogic Healing. Amsterdam University Press.

[3] Mehta, P., Dhapte, V., Kadam, S., & Dhapte, V. (2017). Contemporary acupressure therapy: Adroit cure for painless recovery of therapeutic ailments. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 7(2), 251–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.06.004 * Thumbnail source: https://www.burlingtonyoga.com/marma-chikitsa-therapy.html

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