Our Energy Anatomy
According to various Eastern cultures, there are seven specific energy centers in our body known as chakras. Chakra is a Sanskrit word for wheel. Yoga tradition translates this as vortex. These energy centers affect our psychological and emotional patterns which in turn affect the physical body. Although this is not something that is commonly recognized in Western medicine, there has been extensive medical research done by Western doctors that support the beliefs of chakras and our energy anatomy and its connection to our health. Some people prefer to think of the chakras in a metaphorical sense rather than something that literally exists. I personally don’t consider it important whether we view chakras as something literal or not. I do however, see the mind/body connection and have found the study of chakras extremely helpful as a guidance to understanding my physical health as well as my psychological and emotional needs and areas I need to work on. I don’t view it as something anyone needs to be ashamed of but simply important to be aware of in order to begin the process of healing.
When it comes to health, there are two polar extremes of emotional expression in each chakra. What is needed is to have a healthy balance between these two extremes. Let’s look at each of the chakras individually.
1. Root Chakra
The first chakra or root chakra is located at the base of the spine or coccyx. The parts of the body affected by this are the physical body support, hip joints, spine, blood and immune system. The emotional and mental issues which are affected are your survival issues such as when to feel or not to feel afraid and when to trust and not to trust. It is our balance between dependence and independence and our sense of security. It is related to our childhood and how we were raised; our cultural inheritance and therefore our perception of what reality is in terms of family and social relationships. Physical disorders which are often associated with this chakra are chronic spinal problems, back pain, sciatica, scoliosis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease, rectal tumours, skin problems and arthritis.
2. Sacral Chakra
The second chakra or sacral chakra is symbolic of our creative space. It is located in the lower abdomen about two inches below the navel. It affects our reproductive organs, large intestine, lower vertebrae, pelvis, appendix and bladder. The emotional issues that are affected here are our relationships with sex, money possessions; the quality of our relationships and our capacity to co-create with others. Physical dysfunctions that can happen in relationship to this chakra are sexual potency, OB/GYN problems, appendicitis, urinary problems, pelvic and lower back pain, and creativity
3. Solar Plexus Chakra
The third chakra is located in the stomach area. The organs affected are our abdomen, upper intestine, liver, gall bladder, lower esophagus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, adrenal gland, spleen and middle spine. The emotional issues affected all have to do with our self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. It relates to competence and skills in the outer world; whether we feel adequate or inferior; are we responsible or irresponsible, do we feel overly responsible or are we afraid of assuming responsibility or making decisions for ourselves; are we aggressive or defensive; whether there is a substance abuse issue; competitiveness vs. non-competitiveness; territorial or too many boundaries. Physical dysfunctions which can occur are adrenal dysfunctions, gastric ulcers, colon/intestinal problems, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, gastritis, pancreatitis, diabetes, constipation and diarrhoea, indigestion, eating disorders, liver dysfunction, and hepatitis.
4. Heart Chakra
Located in the heart area, the fourth chakra relates to our capacity to express our emotions and to have true, loving and equal partnerships. In a loving relationship there has to be a balance of giving and receiving love, time for intimacy and time to be alone. Fourth chakra issues happen when we don’t have a balance in our emotions such as allowing ourselves to vent as well as being at peace in a situation. It is also important to nurture and be nurtured in return, to forgive and resolve anger. The organs affected in our fourth chakra are the heart, lungs, blood vessels, shoulders, ribs, breasts, diaphram, and upper esophagus. Physical functions are coronary and artery disease, heart attack, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, chest pain, mitral valve prolapse, cardiomegaly, congestive heart failure, asthma/allergy, lung cancer; pneumonia, upper back/ shoulder problems, breast problems including cancer.
5. Throat Chakra
The fifth chakra is located in the throat and deals with our ability to communicate in both expressing ourselves and comprehension; knowing when to move forward or to wait; balance between wilfulness or being compliant. The organs affected are thyroid, trachea, neck vertebrae, throat, mouth, teeth and gums. Physical dysfunctions are bronchitis/hoarseness, chronic sore throat, mouth ulcers, gum difficulties, temporomandibular joint problems, cervical disc disease, chronic neck pain, laryngitis, swollen glands in neck and thyroid problems.
6. Brow Chakra
The sixth chakra is located between the eyes and affects our brain, eyes, ears, nose and pineal gland. The emotional issues this area deals with are perception, thought-left brain vs. right brain, linear vs. holographic, rigid vs. flexible; morality: conservative vs. liberal, following the rules vs. understanding that rules have excptions, repressions vs. lack of inhibition. Physical dysfunctions which can occur are brain tumors, stroke, neurological disorders, blindness/deafness, Meniere’s disease, dizziness, ringing in the ears, parkinson’s disease, learning difficulties and seizures.
7. Crown Chakra
The seventh chakra is located at the very top of the head and deals with our connection to spirituality, beauty and bliss and our attitudes about faith, conscience, ethics and benevolence towards others. The emotional issue involved are the clear perception of life’s purpose vs. trusting that life has a purpose that may not be clear; understanding that we can influence our life’s events but that also some things are out of our control. The physical dysfunctions for this chakra are developmental and genetic disorders, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple system abnormalities and any life threatening illness or accident that serves as a wake-up call.
I hope that you will use this guide as a starting point to understanding your physical and emotional well-being and health issues. There is a danger however to get too hung up about this and to feel a sense of guilt or shame (which are first three chakra issues). There is never a need to feel this. We all have different issues we deal with from time to time. Most are temporary and though some may be prolonged and severe, we can still in a sense, call our own spirit back to us through recognition of what the underlying problems are, being at peace about it as well as being proactive in dealing with the issue in the way that works best for us. It doesn’t mean that we do not need medical intervention. In fact, in severe cases it may be best that we seek medical help of some kind while also working on our chakra issues.
Important note: The source of my information mainly comes from Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. There is a wealth of information available in her book which I highly recommend as well as other books and the internet. There are variations of chakra beliefs but I believe Dr. Northrup’s is one based on medical research and first hand experience in helping her patients in her OB/GYN practice.