What are chakras anyway?

  • Thread starter PJ2001
  • Start date
  • #1
12
0
What are "chakras" anyway?

Hello,

Hinduism talks of 7 (or sometimes many more) chakras, or energy centers. They seem to correspond to the nerve plexus' in the body as well as some glands.

I don't what scientific basis there is for such, but perhaps I'm being too narrow minded?

Thanks
PJ
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,819
13


They are special points on the body through which money can be extracted from Californians.
 
  • #3
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,707
546


Just to keep this on the right track, the questions should be more along these lines: What are the claims made with respect to the existence and function of chakras? Is there any scientific evidence to support these claims?

Keep in mind that we explore claims of and evidence for unexplained phenomena. We don't want a review of religious beliefs.
 
Last edited:
  • #4
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,819
13


The difficulty with all these topics is that it is hard to find/quote the original source.
So somebody (often with an interest) will try and link the belief with science by saying that this ancient_mystical_point is over some organ/structure that is now known to be important so the ancients had some secret knowledge that we only just discovered.

But did the point originally have a fixed position, did it line up with whatever the promoter is now claiming, and does the organ have anything to do with whatever this point was meant to cure?
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,707
546


Yes, there are many examples of revisionist history. However, simply locating a organ proves nothing.
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,707
546


btw, good one mgb!

I've lived in Oregon long enough to laugh at Californian jokes. :biggrin:
 
  • #7
142
1


don't know for sure, but i suspect they correspond to areas of focus during meditation. whether there would be a physical correlation or it's simply a mnemonic device is anyone's guess.
 
  • #8
19
0


In my opinion its all just a bunch of hogwash.. And I've taken Yoga,etc.

It's sad though, the mental and physical rewards of Yoga exercises were very great, even without having to mix in mysticism and mythology. I am just miffed that Yoga and meditations is packaged in such a sensationalist way that discredits it and makes people skeptical of its benifits.
 
  • #9
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,819
13


I am just miffed that Yoga and meditations is packaged in such a sensationalist way that discredits it and makes people skeptical of its benifits.
It's the same with Karate, Saying 'ke-ai' as you punch empties your lungs of air and tightens your stomach muscles - it doesn't concentrate your mystical life force.
And the plank gets broken because of the speed of the punch and momentum - except in my case where I just get sore knuckles cos I'm weedy.
 
  • #10
134
0


I have heard of healing done through "chakra alignment" or something of the sorts... But is there even any way at all to see if it truly works? Or if it is the placebo affect only? I have a friend that works with this stuff, and she truly believes in what she does.... I am a skeptic personally, but when science has taken prayer and ruled out the placebo affect, I won't bet that chakras are nothing at all... But how do you rule out the placebo effect?
 
  • #11
210
53


yeah, the chakra alignment worked for my car.

("chakra" in sanscrit means wheel.)
 
  • #12
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,819
13


yeah, the chakra alignment worked for my car.
I think I see a business opportunity there. Between therapists for your dog and feng shui for your office - why not a chakra realignment for your car ?
It must build up a lot of negative vibes in all those traffic jams - so you can have it's aura cleansed along with the oil change.
 
  • #13
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,707
546


Alright, let's keep this serious. :smile:
 
  • #14
CEL
740
0


I have heard of healing done through "chakra alignment" or something of the sorts... But is there even any way at all to see if it truly works? Or if it is the placebo affect only? I have a friend that works with this stuff, and she truly believes in what she does.... I am a skeptic personally, but when science has taken prayer and ruled out the placebo affect, I won't bet that chakras are nothing at all... But how do you rule out the placebo effect?
When did science take prayer and rule out placebo effect?
 
  • #15
284
25


:rolleyes: Its human nature to reject what cannot be understood by the realms of the human mind. We only experience the environment thru our sense organs.......and the organs do have limitations! But wat the heck,the debate will go on.....and on.... and on......:wink:
 
  • #16
134
0


When did science take prayer and rule out placebo effect?

Sorry CEL, I am swamped today and having a hard time finding the exact study with so little time (needless to say, googling "prayer" brings up so much garbage). The one I remember reading about, the people didn't even know that people were praying for them to rule out placebo. This study appears that the patients knew someone was praying for them, which doesn't rule out placebo. But it could be the phase II study that they mention at the end of the article where they didn't let some people know they were being prayed for.

Again, sorry I couldn't find the right one, but I have no more time to search. This is the best I could find from a reputable source.

http://www.dukehealth.org/HealthLibrary/News/5056"

Will post again later if i can find the right study.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #17
DaveC426913
Gold Member
19,755
2,997


mgb, you are on fire today! :rofl:
 
  • #18
CEL
740
0


Sorry CEL, I am swamped today and having a hard time finding the exact study with so little time (needless to say, googling "prayer" brings up so much garbage). The one I remember reading about, the people didn't even know that people were praying for them to rule out placebo. This study appears that the patients knew someone was praying for them, which doesn't rule out placebo. But it could be the phase II study that they mention at the end of the article where they didn't let some people know they were being prayed for.

Again, sorry I couldn't find the right one, but I have no more time to search. This is the best I could find from a reputable source.

http://www.dukehealth.org/HealthLibrary/News/5056"

Will post again later if i can find the right study.

The article does not mention if the group that received the intercessory prayer was aware of the treatment, but the other noetic treatments are made with the knowledge of the patient, so the study is not blind and cannot rule out placebo effect.
"These noetic interventions help a patient achieve a state of calm equilibrium, or homeostasis, which puts them in a better state to help in their own recovery process,"
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #19
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,955
617


Alright, let's keep this serious. :smile:

Good luck with that, Ivan...like herding cats :wink:!
 
  • #20
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,707
546


Good luck with that, Ivan...like herding cats :wink:!

:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: You got that right! However, as you can imagine, if we allow the silliness to take over, the forum is a lost cause.

... like herding cats LOL; perfect.

I should say that our membership has improved dramatically since I took over S&D in 2003. Back then there were times that I could barely stand to look.
 
Last edited:
  • #21


The difficulty with all these topics is that it is hard to find/quote the original source.
So somebody (often with an interest) will try and link the belief with science by saying that this ancient_mystical_point is over some organ/structure that is now known to be important so the ancients had some secret knowledge that we only just discovered.

But did the point originally have a fixed position, did it line up with whatever the promoter is now claiming, and does the organ have anything to do with whatever this point was meant to cure?

Wiki, defines empirical research as research that bases its findings on direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. Such research may also be conducted according to hypothetico-deductive procedures.

Ancient mystics, often considered kooks by materialists even in ancient times, relied on empirical research to develop their techniques. If we go back in history it was very hard to access these techniques. They were only available to a monk or priest class and it was not quite the social scam it is today.

To alter the consciousness was a serious persuit of these individuals. To do this required many hours of observation of human consciousness. The results were shared and eventually codified and handed down. I consider this scientific empirical research.

More difficult than finding primary sources is the fact that we have to observe the results of their ancient research through the lens of our own modern culture. As an aside, the California culture we have joked about in this thread can be seen (imho) as the result of a serious breakdown in the effectiveness of the western religious models of the past few centuries. Individuals are looking for a deeper connection to the abstract modes of consciousness that religious mystery has always provided human beings since the begining of civilization.

If we contrast this difficulty with the simplicity of the empirical method of observation we come closer to understanding the language that is used by modern kooks and mystics.

Let us take a very obvious example. There is a chakra associated to the genitals. Most of us can admit that without mythology or placebo effect that some sort of "energy" builds up in the groin. Without knowing about gonads or hormones we sense the tension build up over time and we seek release naturally. This would be the first observation to base the research on.

Can we all agree that there is a point on the body, namely the genitals, that seems to accumulate energy that is different from other points on the body?

This would be the foundation for speculating that a energy center exists in this part of the body with a particular function.

The next observation I would offer is that in the process of releasing this tension we often seek a partner. When his energy is released with another person another sort of energy arises that seems to emanate from the heart. This energy is similar but not the same as the energy that build up in the genitals. We would call it love and it has formed the basis for human relationships forever. In the 21st century we understand a little about electro-chemical reactions of nervous tissue (George W. Crile, a kook, did much of this research in the '30's using animal experiments and modern scientific method in the lab) but in ancient times they were limited to empirical research.

The stumbling block is language...metaphorical language that is interpreted as being the objective truth. What is described as a colored wheel of spritual energy is a metaphorical way of describing the hormonal electro-chemical reactions of nervous tissue.

I would suggest that taken simply there is sufficient empirical research to suggest that there is an energy associated with various organs/structures of the body.

I would hold the serious breakdown in the effectiveness of the western religious models of the past few centuries to be the cause of the silliness, wishful thinking, and outright fraud that occurs in much of the commercial discussion of "chakras" and quick self-help yoga practices. People act like they are starving or drowning and are ready to eat or cling to any idea that gives them the certainty they seem to need so bad. It is this mental pathology in our culture that prevents good empirical research into the borderlands of perception.

Pardon my word horde,
 
  • #22
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,707
546


Are you saying that modern medicine already has modern names for the "energies" claimed to be associated with chakras, or are you saying there is more?
 
  • #23
DaveC426913
Gold Member
19,755
2,997


Are you saying that modern medicine already has modern names for the "energies" claimed to be associated with chakras, or are you saying there is more?
I think he's saying that the chakras are metaphors for biological systems we are already aware of, but that we reduce to their most simple components (hormones, blood flow, skin conductivity, etc.) and thus miss the bigger picture.
 
  • #24
DaveC426913
Gold Member
19,755
2,997


Wiki, defines empirical research as research that bases its findings on direct or indirect observation as its test of reality.

...

If we contrast this difficulty with the simplicity of the empirical method of observation we come closer to understanding the language that is used by modern kooks and mystics.
The problem with empirical research is that it can go horribly astray.

Historically, several otherwise great scientists have been lured off the path of truth by observing the motions of the planets and proceeding to invent explanations linked to the regular polygons.

Likewise, Farmer's Almanacs often predict upcoming weather patterns based, not on an understanding of weather, but merely on past observations.

In both cases (and my point here being: in all three cases), through empirical observation but without deeper understanding, the practioners think they've got a handle on cause and effect when, in fact, they are being led down dead-end paths, risking mis-diagnosis.
 
  • #25


I think chakras have something to do with the way electricity flows through the human body, but I’m not sure. I'm surprised that this thread is full of people who are insensitive to historical viewpoints of science and medicine. I think this is an area of biology and anatomy that merges with other disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, quantum physics, and religion.
 

Related Threads on What are chakras anyway?

  • Last Post
3
Replies
58
Views
6K
P
Replies
40
Views
6K
Replies
20
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
25
Views
5K
Replies
4
Views
4K
Replies
81
Views
7K
Replies
17
Views
21K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
4K
Top