Chakra is the word used to describe energy centers in the human body. This term is traditionally associated with philosophies, religions and systems of medicine in the Orient, but is increasingly a term used in conjunction with the scientific study of the aura and of the other human energy functions. Often, the concept of the chakra is as a manifestation of the aura. Many times in such research, the eastern terms for energy functions are used without association with a particular belief system, since Western science does not have usable terms. This can make such energy systems seem quite mystical. the energy system known as Reiki does not refer to chakras in its teachings directly, however, I use the term as a "landmark" on the body.

The energy centers, usually seen as 7 in number, have been traditionally associated with certain human qualities or functions. Briefly, the chakras are:

Chakra Location Color Body Function Assoc. Gland Subtle Energy Effect
Crown Top of Head White Brain Pineal Universal Influences
Third Eye Center of Forehead Violet Eyes, Ears, Nose Pituitary Extended Perception
Throat Throat Blue Lungs, Voice, Throat Thyroid Verbal/Creative Expression
Heart Mid-Sternum Green Heart, blood, circulation Thymus Love of all types
Solar Plexus Solar Plexus - below Xyphoid Yellow Stomach, Liver, nerves Pancreas Energy and Thought
Sacral Just above Pubic bone Orange Reproductive System Gonads Sex, societal expression
Base, or Root Base of Spine - perineum Red Spinal Column, kidneys Adrenals Physical energy, will to live

They are generally seen as whirling vortices of energy, in various colors. Dysfunction is perceived as a changed rotation or limitation of rotation, along with changes in color.

Various religious traditions have used the understanding of chakras or their equivalent as a way of expanding consciousness or healing. Some traditions have used other names for centers of energy, especially in China:

Energy Center Location Function Energy Type Chakra
Upper Tan T'ien between the eyebrows inspiration shen Third Eye
Middle Tan T'ien center of chest intuition ch'i Heart
Lower Tan T'ien 2-3" below navel instinct jing Sacral
Upper Chou neck to diaphragm - - Throat/Heart
Middle Chou diaphragm to navel - - Solar Plexus
Lower Chou navel to perineum - - sacral - base/root