The seven major chakras, although undetectable anatomically, are metaphysically linked with a number of different systems within the physical body. We will explore how the chakras bridge the visible, physical, self - in the form of the spinal cord, the autonomic nervous system, and the endocrine system with our ”subtle” body, that envelope o vibrational energy called the “aura”.
While orthodox medicine describes our physical system in terms of chemistry, what is now understood in that for any chemical action to take place a change in the electromagnetic energy of the body must occur. This energy emanates from the “mind” and explains the importance of the mind-body link to our physical, emotional, and mental health. The old scientific paradigm of relating to health purely in terms of the visible is now being superseded by an appreciation of “truths” once embraced only by mystics: that thoughts and the mind precede and affect physical matter. After all, what is thought but a form of energy?
The endocrine system is one of the body’s main physical control mechanishms. It comprises a number of ductless glands that are responsible for the production of many different natural chemicals called hormones. These chemical messengers, which include adrenalin insulin, oestrogen, and progesterone, are secreted into the bloodstream from specific organs in the body to stimulate or inhibit certain physical processes. The endocrine system, along with the autonomic nervous system, helps maintain the parameters needed for optimum health by adjusting levels of hormone secretion to suit special demands. In the same way that an imbalance in one chakra affects the others the nervous and endocrine systems are functionally interconnected and any disturbance in one part can lead to a malfunction elsewhere. In order to gain a better understanding of how the endocrine system links wit the chakras, let us look at each pair in turn:
Adrenals – Root (1st) Chakra
The adrenals are triangular=shaped glands that cap each of the kidneys. They secrete a variety of hormones including those that regulate the body’s metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and ones that control the balance of salt in our bodily fluids. These glands also reduce adrenalin, the hormone essential for our primitive “fight or flight” response, from which we can determine the link between this gland and the Root Chakra’s association with the issues of physical survival.
Ovaries/testes – Sacral (2nd) Chakra
The male and female reproductive organs, or gonads, produce hormones that are responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as the depth of voice and amount of body hair. The testes and ovaries control an individual’s sexual development and maturity as well as the production of sperm in males and eggs in females. Our relationship with our own sexuality, and issues of emotional balance concerning that, is a key association of this chakra.
Pancreas – Solar Plexus (3rd) Chakra
The pancreas lies behind the stomach and secretes a variety of substances essential for the effective digestion of food It also produces insulin, which helps control the blood’s sugar level. One of the physical dysfunctions of this chakra is diabetes, a disease caused by excess sugar in the bloodstream. There is a further link with the Solar Plexus and adrenalin, which is why we experience “butterflies in the stomach” during frightening experiences. The associated body parts of the Solar Plexus include the digestive system and a further dysfunction of this chakra is stomach ulcers.
Thymus – Heart (4th) Chakra
Located just above the heart, the thymus produces hormones that stimulate general growth particularly early in lif. It also has a purifying role in the body by stimulating the production of lymphocytes, which form part of the blood’s white cells’ defense system, attacking invading organisms and providing immunity. Scientists now recognize that auto-immune diseases, where the immune system attacks its own proteins, mistaking them for a foreign substance, have an emotional link and are not simply due to physical or environmental causes.
Thyroid/Parathyroid – Throat (5th) Chakra
The thyroid gland, situated on either side of the larynx and trachea in the neck, manufactures thyroxine, which controls the body’s metabolic rate – that is, how effectively it converts food into energy. Behind this lies the parathyroid gland which controls the level of calcium in the bloodstream. In addition to physical growth, these glands are also believed to affect one’s mental development. The Throat Chakra, linked with all forms of communication, corresponds to the need to balance between the rational, cerebral, approach and the emotional expression of the heart.
Pituitary – Third Eye (6th) Chakra
The pituitary glands located within a structure at the base of the skull, close ot the eyebrows. Once called the “master gland” of the endocrine system, it has since been found to be controlled by hormonal substances released by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain This vital gland influences growth, metabolism, and general body chemistry. This includes the hormone which produces contractions during labor and releases milk from the breasts during lactation. It is interesting to note this Third Eye= pituitary gland connection with birth and motherhood, a time when namely women feel that their intuition, particularly with regard to their child, is at its peak.
Pineal – Crown (7th) Chakra
The glandular connection of the Crown chakra is the pineal gland, a pea-sized body that lies deep within the brain and was once thought to serve no useful purpose. Considered in the seventeenth century to be the seat of the soul by French philosopher, Rene Descartes, recent scientific research has linked this gland with the production of melatonin and regulates our internal “body clock”. Melatonin is also the subject of intense scientific interest for its possible anti-ageing properties and is believed to affect the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, and gonads – although no one yet understands how or why. Like the Crown’s function within the chakra system as a whole, the pineal gland is the control center for the effective functioning of our physical, emotional, and mental selves.
In the same way that our physical body’s central nervous system consists of the spinal cord leading to the brain the energetic equivalent is the sushumna, vertical column within which the seven chakras are located. The parallels between these physical and metaphysical structures are striking. Whereas the function of the spinal cord is to relay impulses to and from the brain and other parts of the body, the sushumna channels energy from the Universal Life Force to and from the Crown and Root Chakras. Each chakra is rooted into the sushumna by both a front and a rear aspect. In their traditional depictions as lotus flowers, the petals of each chakra emerge from the sushumna at the front of the body, while the stems open out from the back. The stems normally remain closed and have a negative polarity, whereas the petals consecutively vibrate, rotate in a clockwise or anti clockwise direction, as well as open and close. They have a positive polarity.
The journey upward through the chakras is spoken of in terms of “Kundalini rising”. Kundalini is the serpent goddess often depicted as coiled three and a half times around the Root Chakra. According to Hindu tradition, when awakened Kundalini pierces each chakra in turn as she travels toward the crown. Once she has arrived at her destination the subject is said to have achieved enlightenment. There are many links between Kundalini and religious and cultural archetypes. In Genesis it is a serpent that leads Adam and Eve to taste from the Tree of Knowledge, hereby instigating the inner conflict between material needs and the spiritual desire to achieve higher states of consciousness.. And in Egypt, the pharaohs wore serpent symbols over the Third Eye Chakra to represent godlike stature. It is the appreciation of our Higher Self = finding the God within = that is the ultimate goal of this journey through the chakras.
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