What Are Chakras & Where Did They Come From?
Chakras, from the Sanskrit meaning, “wheel of light,” are energy centers in the body that align along the spine/main branchings of the nervous system. “These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centers in the body. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being.” 
Western Society “modern day thinking,” particularly in the scientific community and allopathic branch of medicine, tend to discount the importance or significance of the chakras, as they lack a physical form within the body. However, just as brain waves and the electromagnetic field of the heart are now being extensively studied, modern-day science has developed many methods for finding evidence of the existence, and study of the chakras.
Many of the most ancient models of the chakra system describe 7 main chakras along the spine. However, the more research you do, you will find that there are many more chakras outlined beyond these. In addition to the most commonly accepted, 7 Chakra model of the chakra system—which derives from the Hindu in ancient India, over 4000 years ago—there are also several other ancient cultures which also intertwined a chakra system. These include the Dravidians, who originated from Ethiopia; the early Essenes from Palestine in the second century BC through the second century AD; the Sufis, (Islamic mystics); the Inca Indians of Peru; the Cherokee Indians of North America; and the Maya Indians of Mexico—who, interestingly enough, believed that they actually taught the Hindu about the chakras. The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy; pgs 235-240
Where’s The Evidence?
Yes, Science has caught on to the study of chakras, and here are some of the greatest pioneers into the field of Bioenergetics research:
Dr. Valerie Hunt
“Dr. Valerie Hunt, a Professor of Kinesiology, best known for her pioneering research in the field of Bioenergy, measured human electromagnetic output under different conditions. Using an electromyograth, which records the electrical activity of the muscles, Hunt recorded radiations emanating from the body at the sites traditionally associated with the chakras. Through her research she made the startling discovery that certain types of consciousness were related to certain frequencies”   “Due to a deficiency of standard medical devices to report on the human bioenergy field, Dr. Hunt was led to seek help from the scientists who developed telemetry devices for NASA. Through this avenue, a brand new research device was created for her laboratory, one which would measure frequencies from zero up to 250,000 Hz — a thousand times greater than anything ever used in medical science before that time. She called this device the AuraMeter™.” 
Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama
“Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama bridged the world of the scientific and the spiritual with dual authority. He was especially interested in verifying scientifically, the claims put forward by proponents of spiritual practices, and completed several significant experiments to do so. Dr. Motoyama specifically developed a Chakra Instrument, designed to detect minute electrical, magnetic and optical changes which occur in the immediate environment of the experimental subject. In a typical experimental situation, the subject sat in an electrostatically secure room which was internally lined with aluminium sheeting and shielded by lead sheeting embedded in the walls. A round copper electrode and photo-electric cell were placed in front of the body, level with the location of a supposed chakra. Separate readings were then taken one minute before a state of concentration, during concentration, and one minute after concentration,” to gather tangible evidence of each chakra center. 
Dr. Konstantin Korotkov
“In the mid-nineties, Konstantin Korotkov, Professor of Computer Science and Biophysics at Saint-Petersburg Federal University of Informational Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, developed a scientific device based on the ancient Chinese system of energy meridians. It’s for measuring the bio-energy of living organisms, as well as the environment. The device provides a painless evaluation that can highlight potential health (physiological and psycho-emotional) abnormalities, is called the GDV.”  “His scientific line, known as the Electrophotonics (Electro Photon Imaging), based on Gas Discharge Visualization technique (GDV), is a breakthrough beyond Kirlian photography for direct, real-time viewing of the human energy fields, and translate this into a computerized model…The EPI/GDV technique (Bio-Well) is accepted by Russian Ministry of Health as a Medical technology and certified in Europe. More than 1000 doctors, practitioners and researchers benefit from using this technology worldwide. More than 150 papers are published on GDV in different countries.” 
What Are the Chakras Good For?
As a guide for ensuring that you have balance in all areas of your life, the chakras are an excellent way to check in with your energy centers. As you read about what each chakra energetically embodies, do a quick check-in with yourself to see if you are incorporating enough of those energies in your own daily life. There is vastly more extensive information regarding imbalances within each chakra, including identification of excesses and insufficiencies, which I will be outlining in the weeks ahead. For the sake of introductory purposes, here is a Beginner’s Guide, with a brief rundown (in layman’s terms,) of each chakra in the most commonly-accepted model:
1st Chakra, AKA Root Chakra: Located at the base of the spine, the Root Chakra embodies your relationship to the physical. This includes your body, your sense of security and safety, and your connection to the environment or planet. To ensure that you have a healthy balance of energy in your root chakra, make sure that you are taking care of your body; providing yourself with your basic survival needs, and spending time outside IN NATURE. If you live in the middle of a busy city, make it a priority to get away from the noise, traffic, and concrete, and visit a state park or nature preserve as often as possible.
2nd Chakra, AKA Sacral Chakra: Located between the Root Chakra and the naval/belly button, the Sacral Chakra embodies your emotions, and your connection to significant others (including romantic partners and close friends.) This chakra also relates to our sense of creativity, how we express ourselves as male or female, sexuality, our sense of leisure/fun, and the expansion of our individuality.
3rd Chakra, AKA Solar Plexus Chakra: Located between the naval and the base of the sternum/near the area of the stomach organ, the solar plexus chakra embodies the energy of our personal power, ambition, and the ability to achieve. Here, we also find a need for control, and how we present ourselves to the world—such as in our career roles and how we designate ourselves in relation to others. This also includes our sense of self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem, as well as our sense of physical safety/intuition. (Ever get that “knotted feeling” of anxiety in your stomach, when you know you shouldn’t trust someone or a sketchy situation?)
4th Chakra, AKA Heart Chakra: Located in the center of the chest, the heart chakra embodies the emotion of love, inner peace, and our ability to connect deeply with others. Generally considered to be the most important chakra for creating balance and harmony throughout, the heart chakra also embodies emotions that connect to empathy, compassion (both for others, as well as for the self,) appreciation, and gratitude. Many ancient cultures believed that focusing on and strengthening the heart chakra would assist in aligning all the others, and that it would be impossible to fully balance the other chakras, if the heart chakra was bypassed.
5th Chakra, AKA Throat Chakra: Located beneath the chin in the throat area, the throat chakra embodies the energy of communication. This includes speaking your truth honestly and lovingly as well as actively and fully listening to others. Other ways to tap into the throat energy are through spoken word, singing, laughter, and vocal self-expression.
6th Chakra, AKA Third Eye Chakra: Located just above and in between the eyebrows, the third eye chakra embodies the energy of Consciousness, imagination, perception, wisdom, and self-realization. With the energy of the third eye chakra, we hone our skills of inner-sight, our ability to see through the concrete reality around us into the world of the Unseen, and intuition from the spirit (as opposed to that of the physical intuitive energy from the solar plexus.)
7th Chakra, AKA Crown Chakra: Located at the top or just above the top of the head, the crown chakra represents assimilation of information, understanding, and our connection to the Divine. Depending on your own personal beliefs, this may be described as your connection to God, to the Spiritual World, or to the Universe. You do not have to be devoutly religious in any manner, to balance the energies of the crown chakra.
I will be delving more deeply into each chakra center over the upcoming weeks, to provide more in-depth, trouble-shooting support, insights into the chakra energy centers as related the varying cultures aforementioned, as well as how to apply different balancing interactions with each. After reading through this list of generalized chakra characteristics, did you find yourself contemplating perhaps having insufficient energy-flow or focus in one chakra area or another? If so, try to incorporate more of that chakra energy in your life. Similarly, if you feel that you have an overabundance in one particular chakra center, you might want to distribute some of that excess energy into other chakras that have less vitality. By doing so, you will provide an overall sense of balance and harmony within your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual (or energetic) bodies. Consider yourself to be a scientist and experiment! Observe any changes, good or bad, as you attempt to redistribute your own energetic focus within the 7 chakras. Be open-minded, objective, and observant, and see if you can bring about more balance and harmony into your own life!
As a Certified Behavioral Health Educator & Holistic Health Coach, I emphasize both Eastern & Western approaches to help my clients reach personal mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual life goals. In my holistic health practice, I use the Eastern Chakra system as a model, along with the latest approaches in Western Psychology, Neuroscience, and Nutrition. My intention is to help you access inner resources of strength, insight, growth, and healing, and I view myself as a partner to assist in your life journey. If you would like more information about how the Eastern Chakra model and holistic health/lifestyle support options can help you, please feel free to connect with me! I would love to hear more about your needs and how I may be able to help you!