Sunday, September 18, 2011

Guest Blog Entry: Chakras 101

Today is the first of many new guest blog entries on MedFriendly. The purposes of guest blog entries are to introduce the reader to something I would not normally write about, branch out into new areas, and feature people with expertise on certain healthcare topics. The guest blog entry below was written by Ana Finnegan, a Registered Nurse, in Florida. She is very knowledgeable on alternative medicine and the art of Eastern healing.

The Skinny on Chakras 

If you have ever taken a yoga class, learned to meditate or simply wondered the meaning behind the band Third Eye Blind's name, chances are you have heard of chakras. Knowledge of the Chakra system comes from the ancient Indian practice of Tantra Yoga. The word Chakra comes from the Sanskrit word “Cakra” which means “a wheel or a disk of energy”. This energy or Prana is the vital life force essential to the function of the physical body. Balance of this pranic energy through each of the chakras is associated with optimum state of health both physically and emotionally. Just as a closed or misaligned chakra can deprive its corresponding organs of vital energy, a wide and misaligned chakra can overload its corresponding organs with too much energy. There are seven main chakras: The lower: root, sacral, solar plexus and heart. The upper: throat, third eye and crown.

The Lower Chakras

The first chakra is the root chakra. It is located at the base of the spine and the pubic bone. This chakra encompasses the genitals, reproductive organs, the adrenal glands, the kidneys and the spinal column. The color associated with this chakra is red. The second chakra is the sacral chakra. It is located in the sacrum, just behind the navel. Organs associated with this chakra are: the spleen, bladder and the kidneys. The color of this chakra is orange. The third chakra is the solar plexus chakra. It is located in the solar plexus area of the abdomen cradled by the ribs. Organs associated with this chakra are: the pancreas, the stomach, the liver, the adrenal glands and the kidneys. The color of this chakra is yellow. The fourth chakra is the heart chakra. It is situated midway between the shoulder blades over the sternum. Organs fed by this chakra are the heart, the thymus glad, the blood and circulatory system, and the immune and endocrine systems. The color of the heart chakra is green.  

The Upper Chakras 

The fifth Chakra is the throat chakra. Located in the throat, it feeds the thyroid and parathyroid gland, the lungs, the vocal cords, and bronchial apparatus. The color of this chakra is blue. The sixth chakra or the third eye, is located in the center of the head behind the forehead. This chakra feeds the pineal and the pituitary or master gland. The color of this chakra is indigo. The seventh chakra is the crown chakra and it is situated on the top of the head. This chakra also feeds the pineal and pituitary glands. The color of this chakra is white.

Chakra Tune-up and Balancing 

So now that we have discussed what the main chakras are and the organs they feed it is important to understand that chakras need to be balanced in order to for the physical body to perform optimally. It is considered preventative medicine in the world of alternative therapy and holistic medicine. There are many ways to balance one's chakras such as with the use of aromatherapy, crystals, music, chanting and meditating. The use of a pendulum is preferred by the author along with her own home made organic incense herbal blend. 

Mediation vs. Medication

If you thought meditating is for monks... better think again! Here are a few benefits of meditation:

Meditation has been shown to decrease blood pressure.
Meditation has a positive chronotropic effect much like Digoxin (it increases cardiac output and slows the heart rate).
Meditation has been shown to lower oxygen consumption and respiratory rate, leading to increased exercise tolerance especially in heart patients.
Meditation has been shown to enhance the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells and by reducing the activity of viruses.
Meditation has been shown to enhance post operative healing by reducing inflammation.
Meditation has been shown to reduce allergies, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory conditions.
Meditation has been shown to decrease muscle tension and tension headaches.
Meditation has been shown to improve the quality of sleep as well as increase the amount of REM cycles by inducing deeper levels of relaxation.
Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety by lowering lactate levels in the blood.
Meditation has been shown to increase Serotonin production thus improving depression and other mood disorders, as well as by reducing obesity.
Meditation has been shown to reduce PMS.

Meditating for Dummies

1.      Create a sacred space: Find a quiet spot, lite a white candle. Play soft instrumental music or mediating CD’s. Initially set a timer for 10 minutes.
2.      Quiet the committee: Concentrate on breathing, If you find your mind wandering, bring it back to the breath. You can even recite a mantra or short phrase such as SO/HUM. This is done when you breathe in you visualize the word. So in your mind and when you exhale you visualize the word HUM.
3.      Be Persistent: Meditate for 10 minutes everyday. It will become easier and you will learn to look forward to it.

I don't know about you, but I rather stock my medicine cabinet with scented candles, incense, Indian chants and lavender oils rather than the alternative!

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