According to eastern philosophy, the physical body contains several energy centers through which the life force (prana, chi or qi) travels. These energy centers, called chakras, are an integral part of energy healing, yoga, and many meditative practices. Some practitioners of Reiki or other energy modalities work specifically with the chakras to heal and rebalance the flow of life force. This is similar to the work done in acupuncture, as an acupuncturist balances qi using the meridians, or the natural paths of qi throughout the body.
There are generally accepted to be seven major chakras in the body, however some sources differ on the exact number. Understanding what these seven chakras govern can help us explore and question why we may be experiencing physical pain in a certain area. The root chakra at the base of the spine governs our grounding, our connection to our physical world, and our sense of security. The sacral chakra, just below our belly button, governs creativity and passion. The solar plexus chakra, just above our naval, governs personal will, drive, and self-esteem. The heart chakra, located at the chest, governs compassion, emotion, and love.
The throat chakra governs communication, while the third-eye chakra, located just above our brows, governs our awareness, intuition, and discernment. The final chakra, the crown, lies at the top of the head, and governs our connection to a greater sense of self. According to eastern medicine and healing, imbalances in the chakras can lead to physical pain or other physical symptoms. Imbalanced chakras can be caused by stress, trauma, anxiety/depression, and/or other emotional or physical imbalances.
Working with the body as a massage therapist, I often see and think about the ways that the mind, body, and subtle energies interweave. I consider why a client may be experiencing chronic or unexplained pain in a certain area, especially if that pain cannot be explained by a doctor. Understanding the locations of the chakras and how they function, why might someone be experiencing unexplained foot pain? Using a holistic approach, one must consider mind, body, and energy. Since the feet are governed by the root chakra, is that person experiencing difficulty grounding emotionally? Might they feel unstable or unable to “stand on their own two feet”? Similarly, unexplained chest pain could be associated with repressed emotion that is “blocked” within the heart chakra. I ask myself these same questions when I experience pain. Is there anything I’m holding onto or not addressing?
Massage can help provide relief of the physical symptoms, and in some cases, even allow the person to release the underlying imbalance or block. However, I also recommend meditation, acupuncture, yoga or energy work in such cases to directly address the underlying energetic or emotional causes. A mix of massage and Reiki can work effectively together for both pain relief and energetic healing.
Understanding the mind, body, and energetic connections allows me to offer a holistic understanding to clients. While energy work may not be for everyone, I am thankful for the opportunity to provide the resources so that clients may make their own personal and educated decisions on their path to health.
I wish you well on your journey to wellness.