Manual Therapy for the Body and the Mind

Chakras And The Physiological Body

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I should have been born in Missouri, the “Show Me” state. Never one to go on blind faith or someone else’s word, I try to seek out logical explanations for life experiences in terms that are comprehensible to me. And so it was with the super-physical connection I experience frequently with my clients. Interestingly, I see a strong similarity to the sensation that occurs when doing my yoga practice.

A description of energetic connection that meets that criteria of logical explanation is noticeably missing in most, if not all massage literature. However, in Ayurvedic Medicine, of which yoga is a component, a clear map describes pathways, known as “nadis”, through which “prana” (energy) flows, gathering in centers known as “chakras”.

The Ayurvedic view of energy aligns well with the Western understanding of physiology. Nadis travel throughout the body along lines similar to nerves. Prana, whose literal translation is “constantly moving”, circulates similar to electrical impulses, blood and gases through those pathways. Chakras, literally translated as “wheel” because of the spiraling pattern of energy at these charged locations, are found at observable nerve centers, and near components of the endocrine system where there is significant, measurable electrical energy.

There are 7 main chakras, in addition to hundreds of smaller ones throughout the body. References and diagrams depicting chakras refer primarily to these 7 main chakras, stacked one on top of the other along the central line of the body (the spinal cord). Practices like yoga and meditation focus on clearing the pathways between the chakras, allowing an unobstructed flow of energy through the central channel, integrating the elements of each into a state of enlightenment. Massage, with its application of hands on the body, gliding in the direction of the tissue, could be said to be moving energy in a similar way.

Follow the links below for a discussion of the Ayurvedic properties and physiological parallels of each chakra.

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