Life energy, in the form of cerebrospinal fluid, flows within, through and around the body over three inter-related and interconnected energy systems that interface with each other. The three energy systems are, from a gross to a subtler and more refined level, the nervous, the meridian, and the chakra systems.
In the nervous system, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows within and around the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) within a three layered "saran wrap" like covering called the meninges. It has been suggested that CSF also flows in the periphery of the body within the neuroglial connective tissue transportation system and communication network. Therefore, rather than ending at a cavity-like cul-de-sac at the place where the peripheral nerves exit the spinal cord (intervertebral foramen), the CSF would then circulate throughout the entire body.
In the meridian system, acupuncturists physically trace the life energy (chi/ki) by palpation as it flows within the connective tissue of the body. Radioisotope studies in Russia and China have confirmed the pathways in which (chi/ki) circulates. The framework of the connective tissue is composed of microscopic tubules called collagen fibrils. It has also been suggested that CSF may flow through this microcirculatory system in the connective tissue via the tubular passages (lumina) of collagen fibrils, and that theoretically "chi" and CSF are one and the same.
Although current scientific research has not determined that the chakras energy centers are physical phenomenon, their "material space" is anatomically related to the spinal nerve ganglia (mass of nerve cells) and plexuses (network of spinal nerves).
It is theorized that the spinal nerve ganglia and plexuses are the physical or "material" representation of the seven major chakras at the following spinal anatomical locations: coccyx, sacrum, lumbar, upper thoracic, cervical, mid and upper brain. The aforementioned reference of CSF flowing within neuroglial cells, which are contiguous with and parallel to the spinal nerves, would suggest an increased volume at the sites of the nerve ganglia and plexus due to the profusion of nerves at these locations.
As one of the vital fluids of the body called ojas in Sanskrit, CSF is energized by "prana" or life force, which enters the body through food, sunlight and breath. "Prana" is distributed via the chakra energy centers and nadi channels in much the same way as CSF circulating around the brain and spinal cord and out into the periphery with the neuroglial cells. Therefore, it is theorized that there is a relationship between CSF circulating in the nervous system and "prana" flowing over the chakra/nadi energy system.
The following analogy depicts the relationship among the three intertwined and interconnected energy systems. The distinct pathways of the nervous system are like the rivers and streams on the surface of the earth. The acupuncture points of the meridians fall along generalized paths and are like "springs" beneath the earth's surface. The chakra energy centers and connecting nadis are on a "deeper" level and can be likened to the earth's aquifer. Similar to the interchange of rivers and streams, underground springs and aquifer, we theorize that the energy systems of the body interrelate and interface with each other through the connection of the liquid medium of cerebrospinal fluid.
The nervous system, is on a gross, physical level of the body, and is comprised of thousands of miles of distinct nerve pathways. It is composed of the brain, spinal cord (central nervous system), and spinal nerves (peripheral nervous system), which emanate from the spinal cord like branches from the trunk of a tree. The brain, the master control center, creates mental (nerve) impulses, which proceed down the spinal cord and out the spinal nerves. It is the function of the nervous system to control and coordinate every other system in the human body, and all the billions of body cells, which are akin to the leaves at the end of the tree branches in the aforementioned example. These billions of cells are like little batteries, which are inter-dependent upon energy from the principle battery, the brain.
The various organs and glands, which comprise all the body systems (respiratory, digestive, etc.), are composed of cells, which on the microscopic level, consist of molecules. (A molecule is the smallest entity that retains the characteristics of the substance.) Molecules are always in motion (unless at -273 C or -452 F). This movement of molecules creates an electromagnetic energy field of various frequencies emanating from within the body. This electromagnetic field of energy can be seen through Kirlian photography, a cameraless electrical technique which captures on film a colorful aura or corona surrounding the body, which changes with a person's emotional, mental and/or physical state. Life energy, on a gross physical level, can be likened to the flow of electricity conducted to and from the cells of the body over the nervous system. In order for the body to physically heal and regenerate itself, the cells must be "charged" with life energy.
The flow of life energy within the nervous system can be forestalled by any external force, which overcomes the body's internal ability to adapt to it. The body's inherent capacity to adapt to physical, mental/emotional, and chemical external forces is determined by the individual's ability to accurately perceive, adapt to and renew from day-to-day and cumulative life experiences. All this, in turn, relies upon the free flow of mental impulses (life energy) over the nervous system. And since the flow of the CSF controls the electrolyte balance in the nervous system, it is intimately related to the mental impulse flow. (Electrolytes determine the conduction of electricity over the nerves, and the nervous system works by the principle of electricity.)
The most serious encumbrance to the movement of life energy over the nervous system is what science calls a "vertebral subluxation". A vertebral subluxation occurs when one of the spinal bones, which surrounds, houses and protects the spinal cord is in need of realignment. Vertebral subluxations are caused when the body's ability to renew itself in every capacity is greatly challenged from physical, mental/emotional and chemical external forces or stress. Vertebral subluxations can impede the vital flow of life energy in the form of CSF or nerve impulses within the body. In order for the body to heal itself and/or adapt to external environmental forces the free flow of life energy is imperative.
Chiropractic is the specialized healing art whose sole objective is to locate, analyze and correct vertebral subluxations. The chiropractic adjustment clears the encumbrance to the flow of vital energy from the major pathway of the nervous system, allowing the self-healing abilities of the body to be at a maximum through the harmonious flow of life energy.
On a more subtle level, the meridian energy system is comprised of generalized pathways of energy, which flow within the body and are called meridians. The life energy, which flows over the meridians, is called "Chi" in China and "Ki" in Japan. There is both an anatomical and physiological relationship between the meridian and nervous systems.
In the meridian system, the acupuncture/acupressure points on the surface of the body correspond in structure and function to the autonomic (automatic/involuntary) part of the nervous system's sympathetic (speeds up body functions) and parasympathetic (slows down body functions) nerve plexuses. As was stated earlier, this can be likened to the movement of water on and within the earth where the nervous system would be the rivers and streams, and the meridian system acupuncture points would comprise the springs underneath.
Richard Gerber, M.D., author of the groundbreaking book Vibrational Medicine, relates research that the neuroglial cell network may function as an interface between the meridian and the nervous system. There is also scientific evidence that neuroglial cells, the supporting structure (connective tissue) of the nervous system form a communication network work of their own. This lends further credibility to our theory that all the energy systems interact with each other via the medium of cerebrospinal fluid.
Thus, as was mentioned previously, there is an inter-relationship and interconnectedness of these two energy systems, as well as the chakra system, which will be discussed in greater detail later on in this article. This is consistent with what the Quantum Physicists, who define scientific reality, call the "Implicate Order" of matter and energy where everything is connected.
The acupuncture/acupressure points are the surface points of meridian energy channels that act like transformers that receive the impulse and sends it on. The "Chi" or "Ki" energy flows throughout the body, and is transported by the meridian system where there is more total energy available at certain places at certain times. These changes in proportion of energy is in the form of "Chi", and healing arts which address the meridian system effect the balance of "Chi" energy. This balance is referred to as the "Yin-Yang" principle of expansion (Yin) and contraction (Yang) of body parts, glands and organs. As was stated earlier, the pathways of "Chi" energy between the surface points of the body and the organs, muscles and all other parts of the body have been charted and verified by radioisotope studies in Russia and China. Every body part is also represented by points in the ears, eyes, and on the hands and soles of the feet. Although on a more subtle level than the nervous system, the total meridian system is very similar in structure, with its major and minor meridians and circuits, points, extended meridians to internal organs, divergent and connecting meridians.
Again consistent with Quantum Physics, the "Chi" is matter on the verge of becoming energy or energy at the point of materializing, as there is only connectedness between matter and energy. "Chi" energy is in constant motion and has four primary directions; ascending, descending, entering and leaving, which is similar to the afferent (going towards the brain) and efferent (going away from the brain) branches of the central nervous system. The normal physiological activity is "Chi" moving harmoniously in these various directions, and can be likened to the free flow of nerve impulses over the nervous system.
The meridians, then, are generalized channels or pathways through which "Chi", flows among the organs and various body parts adjusting and harmonizing their activity. In addition to "Chi", blood also is carried by the meridians through the body, therefore, the meridians are a subtle energy network that links together the entire fundamental body substances and organs. Again, similar to the nervous system, which controls and coordinates all body parts, the meridians unify all the parts of the body to maintain a harmonious balance.
The main functions of the meridian energy system are to move "Chi" and blood, regulate "Yin and Yang", moisten tendons and bones and benefit joints. It connects the interior of the body with the exterior, more in terms of significance rather than with place, for the internal is as equally important as the external.
The goal of healing arts, which directly address the meridian system, is to keep in balance the Yin and Yang aspects of the body whose harmonious relationship for the movement of "Chi" energy. This facilitates the movement of life force (Chi) and enables the body to heal itself. The healing arts, which direct themselves specifically to the meridian system, are Shiatsu Massage, Acupuncture, Acupressure and Reflexology. These methods of healing are beneficial insofar as they facilitate the free flow of life force or "Chi". Therefore, like chiropractic, these methods of healing are also ways of awakening the life energy.
Life energy, in it's many forms, is the power by which any and all methods of healing are accomplished. Therefore, life energy is the force, which is the true and direct healer of the body. Thus, a healing art is superior or inferior to the degree that it can "awaken" the flow of life energy in the body.
Hiroshi Motoyama, Ph.D., author of Theories of the Chakras: Bridge to Higher Consciousness, proposes that the chakra centers are physically represented in the central nervous system by the brain and nerve plexuses, and the meridian acupuncture points. Although the chakras are interdependent with the nervous and meridian systems, they are more superimposed on these other energy systems, rather than occupying the same physical space.
The chakras are centers of activity, which receive, assimilate and transmit life energies. As such, they are a kind of vortex or gathering point of organized life energy. And just as the physical body is a vehicle for our consciousness, each chakra reflects an aspect of consciousness essential to our lives. Thus, the chakras are the "wheels of life" that act as gateways between various dimensions of our consciousness. Each chakra represents a dimension of our consciousness on seven basic levels corresponding to the major chakras.
Chakras are energy centers, which current scientific technology has not detected as they operate on a meta-physical or beyond the physical level. The chakra energy centers control the flow of "prana" and distribute the "prana" over energy channels called nadis. The three major nadi channels are called the Sushumna, the Ida, and the Pingala. The Sushumna is a metaphysical vertical column, which is the central integrating channel for connecting the chakras and their various dimensions of consciousness. The Ida and Pingala are two channels, which criss-cross in a double helix pattern intersecting at the major chakras. It is theorized that the Sushumna corresponds to the central canal of the spinal cord, and the Ida and Pingala to the sympathetic nerve trunks located on either side of the spinal cord.
"Prana" is distributed to the peripheral areas of the body through an elaborate matrix of tens of thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of minor nadis channels. Thus, this system of nadis channels is analogous to the spinal nerves, which comprise the peripheral nervous system and serve a similar function. Just as the peripheral spinal nerves conduct the life energy of the nervous system to glands, organs and tissues, the nadis distribute "prana" to all of the body, converting into different forms of vital energy appropriate for various organs, glands and tissues.
Dr. Motoyama theorizes a close relationship between the acupuncture meridian system and the energy channels of the nadis system. He suggests that the governor vessel meridian corresponds to the Sushumna, as they are anatomically in close relationship and serve similar functions. Likewise, he speculates a similar correlation between the urinary bladder meridian and the Ida and Pingala. Thus, we theorize that the life energy of the body flows over three interconnected energy systems, which act as a go between for energy transfer.
On the subtlest level, the chakras act as centers for facilitating the energy conversion between the body and mind.
The states of consciousness, physiological systems and elements associated with each of the seven chakra levels are as follows: Chakra One, (earth element), physically located at the base of the spine or coccygeal plexus, is associated with survival and the genito-urinary system. Chakra Two, (water element), situated in the lower abdomen or sacral plexus, is related with sexuality and emotions, and also the genito-urinary system and adrenal glands. Chakra Three, (fire element), centered in the solar plexus, concerns personal power, metabolic energy and the pancreas. Chakra Four, (air element), located over the sternum or cardiac plexus, is associated with love and the thymus gland. Chakra Five, (sound element), in the throat area or pharyngeal plexus, affects creativity, communication, and controls the thyroid gland. Chakra Six, (light element), situated in the center of the forehead, bears upon intuition, imagination and clairvoyance, and regulates the secretory functions of the pituitary gland. Chakra Seven, (thought element), at the crown of the head or carotid plexus, concerns enlightenment, knowledge, understanding, and overall controls every aspect of body and mind.
Each chakra also has a characteristic color and sound associated with that chakra. Chakra One is perceived as a disc of yellow light and a buzzing sound like bees. Chakra Two is seen as a disc of white light and has sound of a flute. Chakra Three is perceived as red disc and sounds like a harp. Chakra Four appears as a blue disc and sounds like the peal of a gong. Chakra Five is perceived as a violet disc and sounds like thunder or the ocean's roar. Chakra Six can be seen as silver-white disc of light, surrounded by a dark blue orb with a golden halo, and the sound of "Om". Chakra Seven is seen as a red-gold disc, like the sun, and has the "sound" of silence or stillness.
These seven chakras form the major component of our consciousness and effect all major body systems. They are the core centers, which form the coordinating network of our complex body-mind energy system. The chakras also govern the quality and quantity of energy related to the dimensions of our consciousness and body functions, as to how open they are respectively, or how they are able to control this opening at appropriate times. This regulates both the amount and complexity of mind-body activity one can effectively integrate at any given chakra level. Since the body and mind are so intimately interrelated, the chakras play an essential part in this relationship. As the body and mind effect and regulate each other, the chakras are the vortex of integration where the body and mind meet. Thus, the chakras define our consciousness and behavior, as well as direct and change it through mind-body integration.
There are a number of healing arts and techniques, which said to effect the functioning of the chakras, as well as ways to access and facilitate the free flow of vital "pranic" energy within. The functioning of the chakras can also be enhanced by working with it's element, or associated colors and sounds. Also physical exercises can be performed that pertain to relaxing, opening or stimulating that chakra area of the body. The following healing arts, techniques and procedures can have a beneficial effect on the chakras; Reiki, meditation, crystals and other gems, spiritual healing, polarity therapy, therapeutic touch, tai chi, tai kwon do, yoga postures, sunlight, color therapy, aromatherapy, flower essences and herbs.
- Bensky, Daniel and O'Conner, John, Acupuncture: A Comprehensive Text, Eastland Press, Seattle, WA 98111, 1981
- Judith, Anodea, Wheels of Life, Llewllyn Publications, P.O. Box 64383, St. Paul, MN 55164, 1987
- Motoyama, Hiroshi, Theories of the Chakras: Bridge to Higher Consciousness, The Theosophical Publishing House, Modras, India/London, England, 1981
- Gerber, Richard, M.D., Vibrational Medicine, Bear & Co., Sante Fe, NM, 1988