How the Kalari marma massage can help to reduce pain ?

To understand how a kalari marma massage can be so effective at not only treating pain, but preventing injury, knowing the roots of this form of massage will help tremendously.

Origins of the kalari marma massage

Kalari is one of the oldest forms of a martial art in India and kalari warriors were some of the most feared. In Sanskrit, ‘marma’ means ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’, and the definition of a marma point is that place in the body where two different tissue types connect. Examples of marma points are where veins and muscles meet, or ligaments and bones. Originating in northern Kerala, the kalari massage was developed to strengthen warriors, both mentally and physically, in order to reduce the likelihood of sustaining an injury in battle. Curiously, these warriors were also trained to target the most vulnerable marma points on the enemy’s body, with 12 marma points identified that if struck sufficiently hard, will result in instant death.

There are 107 or 365 marma points in the body, depending on where you are from

Not dissimilar to meridians associated with acupuncture and acupressure, marma points are the focus of the kalari marma massage as it has long been known that applying pressure to marma points is good for reducing hypertension, as well as treating neurological problems and stomach ailments. In Tamil there are 107 marma points (the mind is seen as the 108th marma), while there are 365 marma in traditional Kerala karali. These marma all correspond to the body’s seven chakra, or energy centres of the body.

Reducing pain with a kalari marma massage

Marma pressure points in the body are key to reducing pain through massage, which helps to improve blood circulation. Additionally, part of the ‘secret ingredient’ of the kalari marma massage is the use of herb-infused oils. By searching the India National Health Portal, the use of these herbal infused oils can extend to bolus (kizhi). It includes delicately fried herbs, wrapped in muslin which is then soaked in warm medicinal oils, and applied to problem areas. In addition to reducing pain by targeting neuro-muscular junctions in the body, the kalari marma massage also improves the tone of the muscle and tissue surrounding the target marma, so helping to reduce the likely reoccurrence of the problem which has resulted in pain and discomfort.

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