Marma Therapy for Bunions
When it comes to the problem of bunions two power points in the body play a pivotal role.
By Doug Keller
Ayurveda is yoga’s sister science. The branch of Ayurveda that includes massage and tissue work recognizes power points in the body called marmas. We might think of them as power switches that control the flow of energy through the body: just as an appliance needs a fully functioning power switch in order to run properly, our muscles and organs work best when pathways of energy are both cleared of obstructions and fully activated. These pathways are quite physical and at the same time have more subtle energetic manifestations.
The most concrete aspect of marma in the feet has to do with circulation. An important artery runs through the sole of the foot, connecting three marma points. Tension in the muscles and the collapse of the bones can obstruct circulation and cause fatigue—not just in the feet, but throughout the body. Thus it’s healthy to massage and exercise the areas of the feet associated with these points.
Kurchashira marma governs posture and establishes harmony in the muscular system of the foot and in the body overall. The muscle that most provides the lift of the arch, protecting and energizing this point, is tibialis posterior.
When it comes to the problem of bunions, two points play a pivotal role: Kurcha and Talahridaya. Kurcha is just inside of the mound of the big toe and governs the prana vayu—the life energy associated with the breath—as well as the acuity of the senses and the power of the eyes to see. When it is injured, the shape of the foot gets distorted or deformed—which is certainly the case with bunions.
Talahridaya literally means the bottom or base of the heart; it is energetically related to the diaphragm, upon which the physical heart rests. It governs the feet as organs of movement, as well as the respiratory system. Thus it is a good massage point for improving both walking and breathing.
The foot muscle most associated with protecting these points from injury and collapse is tibialis anterior, a close relative of tibialis posterior. It runs from the base of the big toe through the forward part of the arch of the foot.
Doug Keller’s yoga journey includes 14 years of practicing in Siddha Yoga ashrams, intensive training in the Iyengar and Anusara methods, and a decade of teaching in the U.S. and abroad.