According to Eastern religious traditions, such as Hinduism and Tantric and Shaktic yoga, chakras are centers or spinning wheels (chakra means “wheel” in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit) of life energy located at various points in the human body that function as portals between the mind and the body. Each chakra is typically associated with specific behavioural traits, instincts, emotions, and other physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of human existence as well as with a specific colour and element (earth, water, fire, air, ether, time, or space).
Chakras are believed to play a role in human health. Specifically, each of the seven major chakras, which are located along the spinal column, is associated with a different area of the body and its well-being. For example, the chakra in the throat is associated with the health of the throat, with speech, with self-expression, with the element of ether, and with the color blue. Believers in chakras might use massage, acupressure, acupuncture, crystals, or other tools or techniques to influence the energy levels of the chakras under the theory that the chakras must be in balance in order for a person to have optimum mental and physical health.
Many Western believers also think that the health of a chakra can be determined by the color of an aura, or band of radiant light, that emanates from it. Belief in, and the attempt to influence, chakras has become commonplace among adherents of the New Age movement, who generally shun modern medicine for being too impersonal and technological, embracing instead a variety of natural approaches to curing illnesses.
- New Age
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning