Are Chakras Real or Conceptual?

Is there any scientific proof for the Chakras?  Are Chakras real of conceptual?  Chakras are not recognized by science.  However, the idea of the chakras serves as a framework from which we can describe the mind/body connection.  Chakras literally means spinning wheels.  Which serves as a description of the different energy centers in our body. Language is imperfect, and to top it off sometimes we speak imperfectly, which leaves room for confusion.  While the mind can be deceptive, the body usually doesn't lie.  We may learn over time to mask, or mute our physical sensations, however part of "awakening" is learning to feel our physical sensations again, and process what they are telling us. 

The Concept of the Chakras 

The idea of the chakras comes from the East, and the idea is many thousands of years old. Sometimes, in Western culture today, we have different sayings for the “energy” we feel in our bodies.  These might be things like: “I have butterflies in my stomach”, or ‘my heart is heavy”.  Of course, if in a thousand years from now, someone read this, they might say that sounds ignorant and superstitious and “they thought that they literally had butterflies in their stomach” when they were nervous, or that “their heart literally got heavier” when they felt sadness.  Of course, these are just descriptions of feelings that we all have, but find hard to put into language.  So, in a way we might consider looking at the language of the Chakras in the same way.  

The chakras represent gradations of energy from more dense to more subtle.  This is represented by colors (of the rainbow) which go from denser (red) to more subtle (violet).  These are literally lower to higher frequencies.  The same pattern holds in the musical scale which goes from a "root" note, through a scale and finally to its octave before the pattern of frequencies repeats.  These are also a series of lower to higher frequencies.  These are also in series of seven.  Seven colors in the rainbow.  Seven notes in a musical scale.  Seven major Chakras.  The idea of matching colors of musical notes to the chakras is a way of representing the gradations of energy, both physically and psychologically. We can see throughout nature that energy expresses itself in these same gradations from dense to subtle.  There are also mantras said to relate / resonate to the chakras called the Bija mantras, as well as nature sounds that relate to the chakras.  

Psychologically, the lower frequencies (in the framework of the chakras) relate to the having our material needs met, creation,  exercise of will.  The higher frequencies relate to Love, power to manifest, clarity and connection to the Divine (the Ultimate Truth).  So, this covers pretty much all of the areas of our human lives from material concerns to (spiritual) connection.  

Part of the goal of meditation, and many mind body practices is to begin the process of tuning our awareness into these finer levels of perception and perhaps also re-defining what we think we already know.  

Chakras and the Endocrine System 

The closest medical or scientific correspondence to the idea of the chakras that we have is the endocrine and digestive systems, and so for most of the “chakras” there is corresponding physical component.   

They are: 

  • Root - Adrenal glands   
  • Sacral - Sexual glands  
  • Solar Plexus - Gut  
  • Heart - (Thymus) and heart 
  • Throat - Thyroid 
  • Third Eye - Pineal, Pituitary 

There are also common Emotions and feelings (physical sensations) associated with these: 

  • Root:  Common emotion / feeling = fear and unease, tingling at base of spine OR "groundedness" and feeling of safety, belonging 
  • Sacral: Common emotion / feeling = sexual arousal, acceptance, creation OR no arousal, repulsion, rejection 
  • Solar Plexus:  Common emotion / feeling =  solid center, clarity of purpose and will OR butterflies, tingling in gut, apprehension 
  • Heart:  Common emotion / feeling = Love, feeling heart/chest expanding OR grief, guilt, pressure, sinking feeling in chest 
  • Throat:  Common emotion / feeling = ease in communication OR hard to formulate ideas, words, communicate. tightness in throat 
  • Third Eye: Common emotion / feeling = Clarity, ability to understand. gentle tingling, or pressure between brow OR paranoia, delusion 

The ideas of the chakras can be a very useful framework for bringing awareness to this mind body system and beginning to illuminate the sometimes unconscious cause and effect relationship that we have within our own bodies.  Once we begin to understand this cause and effect relationship between the thoughts we have, and the feeling within the body, it can begin to serve as a roadmap to a greater understanding of self.  

Sound Frequency and Chakras

Scientifically speaking, we do know that sound can be felt in the body.  We do know that different frequencies may have different effects on the body. We know that sound can affect brainwaves, and heart beat and may affect neurotransmitters and perhaps other chemicals in the body.  We do know that sounds can be a valuable tool for relaxation, and that sounds and targeted frequencies are also even beginning to be used as a medical tool.  

On a purely anecdotal note. One of the things I began to notice after a time of awakening, was that I had greater access to the physical sensations in my body. I noticed that I was more able feel subtle sounds in my body, and that I also could feel emotions/thoughts in different areas of my body. I do also experience physical responses in certain “chakras” (areas of the body) to certain sounds.  It is this personal experience that led me to choose many of the tones (and instruments) that I use in what I create.  

Sounds (frequency) are also energy, and is a valuable tool for physical and mental relaxation.  The external vibrations can sooth, and how our mind is affected can sooth from within. Sound as therapy has helped me, in times of stress, to “get out of my head”, and back into my body where I can reconnect to the feelings that were once “shut down”.  As I learn to relax, I can begin to see things more closely “as they are” and not only how they relate to the mind created “identity”.  Sounds can work physically and mentally.  

We are the producer and experiencer of our own stress, and how we react to our thoughts can create stress or relaxation.  Understanding this dynamic is key to understanding the mind body connection.  Understanding the concept and framework of the energetic system of the chakras can be useful and helpful for understanding where that energy is likely to manifest in the body.  Read more from these previous blogs. 

In my opinion the main idea is to look at this existing framework of the chakras as a way of beginning to understand our mind/ body connection and begin to understand the the origins of our stress and where it might manifest in the body.  By understanding the relationship of the body and mind, and through practice, I feel it’s possible for anyone and everyone to find freedom from this unconscious and repetitive stress. That has been my personal experience and is what inspires me to share and create.  

Finding Balance 

Ultimately, “balancing our chakras” is an inside job, and each person has to do the work of refining perceptions and subconscious reactions. The first step is to just begin to tune back in to our feelings.  

Sound and frequency as a relaxing therapy can be a valuable tool in this work of finding balance, relaxing the mind and body, and getting out of the "thinking mind" and returning to "feeling" within the body. 

There is more information on chakras and sound in the course "Healing through Sound and Frequency".  

Also, click HERE to find Chakra Based Tibetan recordings.