The first known writings about the chakras come from the ancient Vedas texts which are a compilation of Hindu writings from the Indus River Valley Civilization dating back to 1,500 BC.
When I first heard about chakra’s, I was pretty sure they were some ‘pseudo-science’ trend like “crystal healing“. But I later discovered that modern scientists have made new connections between the ancient chakra system and our internal bodily systems.
With modern technology we can understand a lot more about the hard science behind chakras.
For example, experts now know that the 7 chakras represent and directly correspond to major glands in the endocrine system and major nerve clusters in the central nervous system.
In the article we’ll dive in to the history, origin, and expert analysis of the chakra system.
Let’s Dive In.
What Is A Chakra?
“Chakra” is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “wheel” or “disc”.
When chakras were interpreted from the Vedas they were described as a string of ‘vortexes’ or central points of energy flow that aligned up the spinal column and into the brain.
According to the ancient chakra system, when kept in balance, the natural energy flow through the human body will keep you in good health. When a chakra is overactive, or ‘out of balance’, it means that there’s either a physical or emotional ‘blockage’ stopping the flow of positive energy.
According to George Washington University Medical Center, “the chakras, as described in Eastern religious and medical systems, may well be energy sensors for subtle energy”
Chakras are not a physical bodily organ. And you can’t physically hold a chakra, or do surgery to remove a chakra.
But you can’t physically hold “love” or hold “stress” either, and both are very much real. In a similar since, the energy that the chakras represent is just as real.
What we know through today’s modern science, is that there’s a direct connection between the body’s endocrine glands, nervous system, and the location of the 7 main chakras.
If that is true it would explain why, for thousands of years, different ailments, behaviors, and sicknesses have been linked to specific chakras.
Chakras and the Endocrine System
In a direct quote from Johns Hopkins Medical, “The endocrine system is a complex network of glands and organs.” It uses hormones to control and coordinate a wide variety of your body’s sub-conscious behaviors, including…, your body’s metabolism, energy level, reproduction, growth, development, response to injury, stress level, and overall mood.
The endocrine system consists of glands located starting at the base of your spinal column all the way up inside the brain. Through hormone secretion, each gland can control different mechanisms of specific organs.
According to Healthline, “hormones tell the organs and tissues what to do and how to function.”
In order for your body to function properly, your glands need to excrete a balanced amount of natural chemicals. If your hormones are either over or under producing a certain chemical then there’s an imbalance.
In harmony with the ancient chakra systems, the endocrine glands locations on the body and chemical function, aligns with modern chakra models and traditional beliefs.
|Root chakra||Reproductive glands (testes in men; ovaries in women||controls sexual development and secretes sex hormones.|
|Sacral chakra||Adrenal glands||controls the immune system and metabolism.|
|Solar Plexus chakra||Pancreas||controls metabolism.|
|Heart chakra||Thymus gland||controls the immune system|
|Throat chakra||Thyroid gland||controls body temperature and metabolism|
|Third Eye chakra||Pituitary gland||generates hormones and regulates the function of the previous five glands; sometimes, the pineal gland is linked to the third eye chakra as well as to the crown chakra|
|Crown chakra||Pineal gland||controls biological cycles, including sleep|
Chakras and the Nervous System
Completely separate from the endocrine system, the nervous system consists of two parts. The “central nervous system” consisting of the brain and spinal cord. And the “peripheral nervous system” which expands to nerves throughout the entire body.
As the peripheral nervous system stems from the central nervous system, it does so at several main connection points, known as nerve plexuses.
Much like the endocrine system, nerve plexuses also run from the base of the spine and into the brain. Each nerve plexus also aligns directly with the layout of the ancient chakras.
Origin Of The Chakra System?
The first known writings about the chakras come from the ancient Vedas texts. The Vedas are a compilation of Hindu writings from the Indus River Valley Civilization dating back to 1,500 BC and are thought of today as the founding texts of the Hindu religion (and later Buddhist too).
The exact origin of the Vedas is unknown, and said to originate from “Apaurusheya”, which is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “not of a man, superhuman”.
The specific Veda text that discusses the chakra system is known as the Rig Veda. And the specific chapter is known as the “Yoga Upanishad” The chakras were originally called and translated as “breath channels”, “energy centers”, “psychospiritual vortices”, and nadi or “energy carrying arteries”.
Origin Of The 114 Chakra System
In 2018, Dr. Amit Ray who has a PHd in both ‘artificial-intelligence’ and ‘computational-neuroscience’ published a book identifying a network of 114 chakras.
Dr. Ray breaks the 114 chakras down into 7 major chakras, 21 minor chakras, and 86 micro chakras.
From a scientific perspective, Dr. N.J. Cooper reviewed Dr. Amit Ray’s work in a paper published in the Journal for Psychology Review. Both Dr. Cooper and Dr. Ray linked the 114 chakras with the glands, hormones, brain areas and neurons, and neurotransmitters inside the human body.
Dr. Cooper concludes his review paper saying that the chakra system will remain, a dominant force worldwide in positive psychology. He also says that scientific studies for both the seven-chakra system and the Amit Ray’s 114-chakra system are crucial for modern positive psychology, neuro-psychology and healing.
History & Origin Of The 7 Chakra System
Breaking Down The 7 Main Chakras
Although chakras were first mentioned in the Vedas texts, the seven chakra system as commonly known today has not been around for 3,000 years. Originally in ancient texts, there was thought to be as many as 114 chakras, but commonly between 4 to 8 chakras was what was most commonly referenced.
Somewhere around the year 1,100 AD the Kaula belief system (which was a subset of Hinduism) started publishing texts showing today’s ‘modern’ seven chakra system.
The Buddhist religion also split from the Hindu religion around 400 BC and took with it the teachings of the chakra system. The Buddhists commonly referred to chakras using a model with 4 to 8 chakras, so it is possible the seven chakra system sprang up in the Buddhist religion around the same time period.
Today we know through modern science that there are indeed 114 energy points on the body and seven main nerve clusters that correspond to the most well known seven chakra system.
1. Root Chakra
Location: The root chakra’s located at the bottom of the spine and considered the 1st chakra.
Ancient Wisdom: The root chakra provides a basis for life and a sense of foundation and resilience. The root chakra is responsible for your feeling of being secure, and being present in the moment (not all up in your head).
Associated Endocrine Gland: The root chakra is associated with your adrenal glands.
Associated Nerve Cluster: The root chakras location is located to align with the Coccygeal spinal nerve plexus.
Associated Body Part: Spinal cord, legs, kidneys
Associated Medical Problems: Arthritis flair ups, constipation, and bladder or colon problems.
Associated Emotional Problems: Feeling insecure about oneself or basic needs and well-being.
2. Sacral Chakra
Location: Your 2nd chakra is know as the ‘sacral chakra’ and is positioned below your belly button.
Ancient Wisdom: The sacral chakra is accountable for sexual and creative energy. It also relates with your feelings and the feelings of others.The Sacral Chakra is not active when you have a tough and emotional or poker-faced face that is not so open to people.
Associated Endocrine Gland: The sacral chakra is associated with the male and female sexual organs (testes for dudes, ovaries for ladies)
Associated Nerve Cluster: The sacral chakra is associated with the sacral nerve plexus.
Associated Body Part: The sacral chakra is associated with the male and female sexual organs (testes for dudes, ovaries for ladies), kidneys, bladder, and large intestine.
Associated Medical Problems: Problems with the bladder, Gall and Kidney Stones, Reproductive Organs, vaginal cancer, prostate cancer, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Associated Emotional Problems: unstable emotional balance, easily attached and open or overly detached and secluded.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: The solar plexus chakra is located in the abdomen.
Ancient Wisdom: Accountable for self-confidence, admiration and helps to control life.
Associated Endocrine Gland: The solar plexus cycle is related to the pancreas gland.
Associated Nerve Cluster: The solar plexus chakra is associated with the lumbar nerve plexus.
Associated Body Part: The solar plexus chakra governs the stomach, upper intestines, upper back, and upper spine.
Associated Medical Problems: Diabetes, Digestive or Adrenal organ illness, Hypoglycemia.
Associated Emotional Problems: When it is under-active you feel passive and uncertain. You are probably hesitant and do not get what you want.
You feel violent and domineering If this Chakra is hyperactive.
4. Heart Chakra
Location: The heart chakra is located in the middle of the chest, close to the heart.
Ancient Wisdom: The heart chakra is responsible for compassion, love, team spirit, and spirituality.
Associated Endocrine Gland: The heart chakra represents the thymus gland.
Associated Nerve Cluster:
Associated Body Part: The heart chakra is associated with the heart, lungs, and blood circulation.
Associated Medical Problems: Associated medical problems with the heart chakra are cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, thymus, blood, circulatory system, and involuntary muscle issues.
Associated Emotional Problems: If this is too active, you will suffocate people with your love and there may be selfish reasons for your love.
When your heart chakra is not active, you are cold and distant.
5. Throat Chakra
Location: The throat chakra is in… the throat and is related to verbal communication.
Ancient Wisdom: The throat chakra regulates communication, speech, writing, and thought expression.
Associated Endocrine Gland: The throat chakra corresponds to the thyroid gland.
Associated Nerve Cluster: The throat chakra corresponds to the superior cervical ganglia nerve plexus
Associated Body Part: The Throat Chakra is associated with the throat, thyroid, mouth, teeth, tongue, and jaw.
Associated Medical Problems: Asthma, Neck Problems, Lungs, Hypoactive Thyroid, Throat, Jaw, Alimentary Canal, Vocal Cords problems.
Associated Emotional Problems: When this Chakra is not active, you tend not to talk as much and you often be quiet and shy.
If this too active, you tend to talk too much, usually to dominate and keep people away. If this is the case, then you are a bad listener.
6. Third Eye Chakra
Location: The third eye chakra is located between and behind your eyes.
Ancient Wisdom: The third eye chakra is associated with imagination, insight, and visualization. It is the point of supernatural power, strength, higher instinct (intuition), and light.
Associated Endocrine Gland: The third eye chakra is commonly associated with both the pituitary and pineal gland.
Associated Nerve Cluster: The third eye chakra is associated with the hypothalamus, which is the link between your endocrine system and your nervous system.
Associated Body Part: Commonly associated with the brain, hypothalamus. pituitary gland, pineal gland.
Associated Medical Problems: Glaucoma, Headaches, Neurological problems, Cerebellum, Nose, Pituitary, Central Nervous System problems are associated with the third eye chakra.
Associated Emotional Problems: When this chakra (glands and hormones) are in balance, you have good intellect and be likely to be self-aware.
If it is not active, expect poor thinking of ones-self and trust in the people in authority. Easily confused.
If these chakras are overly active, you may be living in an overly fancy world.
7. Crown Chakra
Location: The crown chakra is found on the top of the head.
Ancient Wisdom: The crown chakra symbolizes your connection with yourself, others, and the universe. It also plays a role in your feeling of purpose in your life. The crown chakra is the foundation of enlightenment, dynamic thought, and truth.
Associated Endocrine Gland: The crown chakra is strongly associated with the pineal gland and entire brain network.
Associated Nerve Cluster: Full brain
Associated Body Part: The crown chakra controls the brain, spine, brainstem, pain center, and nerves.
Associated Medical Problems: Being psychologically unaware of yourself and your surroundings.
Associated Emotional Problems: If it is not active, you may not be psychologically aware.
If this cycle is too active, many will become overly intellectual and addicted to knowledge and ignore their physical needs.
How Do Chakra’s Work ?
In order to understand how chakras work, you need to understand what chakras are.
As we’ve covered in this article, chakras are not physical organs. Chakras are energy centers and representations of nerve clusters and hormones.
By altering hormone levels, the endocrine system works to keep the body in optimal health and in a balanced mood.
The ideal place for chakras is when our emotions are in equilibrium and when our glands and hormones are balanced and functioning normally.
If there is an imbalance and a break in the equilibrium, its being caused by some sort of trauma, either emotional or physical. For example, stress, anxiety, fear, lack of love, infection.
By focusing on techniques to “balance” chakras you can directly impact the health of that region.
For example, yoga stretches our physical bodies in ways which stimulate our internal state, including our endocrine and nervous systems.
How The Chakra Rainbow Colors Came To Be
By the 1970’s chakras had been written about for nearly 3,000 years. But up to that point there had been no real record of color associated with the chakras. That is until Christopher Hill published a book called “Nuclear Evolution”.
In 1968 Christopher Hills book, “Nuclear Evolution”, was the first known written publication to associate the colors of the rainbow with the seven major chakras. Chris wrote that book after a decade of full-time studying yoga, meditation, spirituality, and consciousness at his compound in London with some of the most esteemed doctors, scientists, guru’s, and meditation experts in the world at the time.
Chris’s book did not appear to contradict ancient knowledge, more expanding upon it. He had quite the deep pool of resources, experiences, and perspectives around him to tap into for insight while writing the book.
‘Nuclear Evolution’ exploded in the western world, and as of today you’ll be hard pressed to find a chakra that’s not represented with the colors Chris Hills associated to each chakra corresponding with the visible light spectrum.
For example, the color spectrum of Red, vibrates at a frequency of 4.29 hertz, while the color spectrum of Violet, resonates at a frequency of 7.5 hertz.
At it most basic level, color is light energy vibrating at a certain frequency which we physically see.
So when Christopher Hill connected, and associated, chakra energy centers in the body, with the physical energy of colors from the sun, it made a visible connection that resonated with millions of people.
Chakras In The 21st Century
Today, chakras still maintain a bit of a pseudo-science stigma. They often get lumped in with other pseudo-science and the non-physical aspect of a chakra makes them prime for stigmatization. Even though there’s a lot more to chakras than that.
Chakras have become more mainstream with yoga studios and yoga popularity exploding in the US over that last 10 years. According to ‘google search trends’ the term “yoga studios near me” has increased over 800%.
Yoga is big business.
With the commercialization of yoga, comes a ‘watered down’ version that highlights merchandise with the rainbow colored chakras on t-shirts, yoga mats, hats, and sweatpants, with promises of health benefits, “positive energy”, “good vibes”, and spiritual healing.
It can take years of yoga and meditation practice to fully comprehend the true power and benefits of the energy system in the body known as the chakras.
Buying a pumpkin spice Starbucks coffee, driving to yoga class in your BMW, and posting a selfie of yourself in your chakra yoga pants on Instagram is not part of the science of understanding chakras. But it is part of the chakras in the 21st century.
Final Thoughts: The Chakra System
Chakras are real just like love is real.
They may not be physical objects, but chakras are the real energy centers in our body, for nerve plexuses in our nervous systems, our endocrine systems, and how our emotions are processed.
We do not know if the ancient civilizations ever connected chakras with our physical glands, nerves, and hormones, but fortunately today’s technology allows us to look deeper than ever before to and make new connections.
When it comes to the link between our emotional state, our physical state, and our brains chemical composition look no further than the ancient chakra system.
Our ancient ancestors had the human body figured out and mapped out through the chakra system way before modern medicine, anti-depressants, or pharmaceutical companies.
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