Understanding our organism not just as a physical but also as an energetic and resonant body may help us to find different alternatives to connect with it, prevent illnesses and heal it in a conscious way, taking health issues as lessons to know ourselves better. One of these alternatives we may find is music therapy. For that, the paradigm of the Chakras or energetic centers is very useful because with it we can easily find an association of the main glands of the body to our basic emotions and also the existent relationship between each one of those centers with the different sounds and types of music.
Seven Chakras and their Meaning
The knowledge of the Chakras is a very valuable heritance from the Indian culture. The main translation of that word is ‘vortex’, due to the dynamic of those subtle centers, which spin clockwise or counter-clockwise. There are 7 main Chakras, which are associated with particular colors (the seven colors of the rainbow), sounds and parts of the body that we are are going to explain hereafter:
First Chakra ‘Muladhara’: The Roots of the Self
The first one is related to our safety, our relationship with the material world and satisfaction of our physiological needs. Located at the perineum, facing down to the floor and visualized with a red color. The related organs are the bones, and the suprarenals are its representative glands, due of their role in the stress and ‘fight or flight’ responses. This Chakra is visualized with the red color and has a strong connection with the olfactory sense, for which aromatherapy is also a great resource to relief stress, anxiety and panic attacks.
The main resource to ease the connection with this Chakra and heal it is with percussive music and grave/bass sounds. A lot of relaxing music types also help healing the first Chakra as well as they help to reduce stress, just like the results of the investigation of Dr. Okira show. In this study developed in 2003, he constated that both high-uplifting and low-uplifting music tracks had a positive influence on reducing the stress levels -specifically regulating the activity of the immune system and the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) endocrine axis- in Japanese university students. With high-uplifting music he meant tracks with predominant major tonalities, percussion and faster tempi, as well as the low-uplifting ones had minor tonalities and smooth melody lines.
Second Chakra ‘Swadishthana: The pleasure of being yourself
This is the energetic center associated with creativity and sexual energy. As well as the first Chakra is related with the roots and the earth element, Swadisthana in our health allows us to connect with our passions, let our emotions flow like water and enjoy the present. Its color is orange and its physical representation is found in the sexual/reproductive organs and glands: prostate, uterus, bladder, testicles and ovaries.
As this is the center of water, their expression and healing process is better not just by listening to the music but also dancing it, commonly using percussive instrumentation as well but with the main intention of letting the body flow with the music, initially dancing alone and thereafter with someone else. It doesn’t mean that there has to be some sexual intention on the dance, but just the opportunity to connect with another person and merge their energies in the movement. It’s also common to include recordings of sea waves, dolphins, cascades and water-related instruments like water drums and rainsticks. This Chakra is also affected by the self-concept of women as sexual beings and not only like mothers. Some guided visualizations with music related to this aspects of life and songs dedicated to children can be really therapeutic (Dr. Palmer, 2017).
Third Chakra ‘Manipura’ The shine of your true identity
The element fire is related to this Chakra, as its main system associated is the digestive tract which transforms food into energy, having the pancreas and the liver as its master gland and organ, respectively. As fire, its color is yellow and the main emotion of a healthy third Chakra is courage and the bravery of being yourself purifying the ego, and its blocked or corrupted by shame and shyness. Excessive ego and unlimited desire of power are also an expression of unbalance in this vortex.
There’s a very important resource to heal this Chakra by yourself: just by the singing of vocals, specially the ‘O’, which easily resonates in the stomach area and can bring a good relief in it. The I Ching or Chinese philosophy also associates the health of the liver to the power of screaming, as this organ is related to ‘cou-rage’, and that’s why is common to scream with the punches and strong movements in the oriental martial arts.
A meta-analysis investigation of PhD. Hyung Lee (2016) confirmed that music can effectively reduce pain in different medical procedures and the anxiety felt by the patients before them, including colonoscopies, as it reduces the stress and hypersensitivity in the colon and digestive organs.
Fourth Chakra ‘Anahata’: Compassion and Love
The Chakra related with air and green color, as both the heart and the lungs are in charge of the distribution of the oxygen to the entire body. As we open our heart and feel confident with our own soul, we can breathe deeply and connect with the present from compassion and peace. The main gland of this Chakra is the thymus, and therefore the activity and health of your immune system is related to the love you really feel for yourself. When this chakra is out balance, the breath becomes weak and its easier to develop illness, because our immune system also lose strength. The experiments of Dr. Okira prove the effectiveness of music about control the activity of this system and its power improve it.
Music tracks that use wind instruments and recordings of natural wind sounds are common in therapeutic applications focused on this Chakra, as well as guided meditations that work on the conscious and deep breathing, thinking like the air you are breathing travels through every cell, and that with the exhalation all the impurities and resentments in the heart are softly expulsed.
Its also very important to focus on the mother role of women with breast cancer, as its associated with the excess of giving attention to others without giving love to their selves, or respecting the right of having a space of self-care and quietness. Resentment and hidden hatred to the mother is also another aspect to work in guided visualizations with music in cases of breast cancer.
Fifth Chakra ‘Vissudha’: Honesty and Honor
This is the Throat Chakra, the one with the closes relationship with the sound itself, and the simple fact of singing is therapeutic for this part of the body, as the resonance reduce the tensions that may be accumulated around the neck and the chin, and it also stimulates the thyroid gland to regulate its activity. People get tension in the neck when their pride and ideals (in the head) are too alienated of their physical and emotional reality (core body).
The singing of the ‘E’ vocal resonates with ease in this zone, and can be a really therapeutic option for neck tensions with a long deep breathing. The canting of mantras is also the main therapeutic option in yoga and other similar practices to heal this Chakra. You can try chanting the seed mantra of this Chakra to find the healing you need.
Sixth Chakra ‘Ajna’: Command and Intuition
This center, commonly called ‘The Third Eye’ and visualized with the Indigo color, is related to your ability to be intuitive but also of being capable to get focused on your dreams and objectives once you wake up. Determine the details and steps to achieve your goals is a powerful resource to improve its wellness, and the simple fact of focusing your eyesight in your eyebrows so that you feel the pressure over your eyeballs (what in yoga is called Dhristi) helps to regulate the activity of its master gland, the pituitary or hypophysis.
About healing music for this Chakra, Mantras like ‘AUM’ and ‘OM’ are frequently used to heal it, and also binaural sounds that allow your brain to synchronize and work at specific (lower) frequencies, to connect better with your body. This is because the frequencies are not just about visions but also involves the natural ability of your organism to prevent illnesses and self –regulate your emotions. In Kundalini Yoga, the dynamic chanting of the mantra ‘HAR’ -pressing the navel point with each repetition- is frequently used, as it regulates the vagus nerve, which is crucial for this body-mind relationship.
Seventh Chakra ‘Sahasrara’: The 1000 Petals Lotus
The last gland, the pineal, is associated with the pure spirituality and connection with the whole Universe. Its influence is crucial on the quality of our sleep and the the repair functions during the night. Mantras like OM and the chanting of the ‘I’ and ‘M’ letters are a therapeutic resource to heal this gland and the function of the brain, and can even help to relief some headaches and migraines.
In case of insomnia and sleep problems, listening to gongs and Tibetan Bowls softly played can be really therapeutic and eases your connection with your spirituality and the reality of that you are one with the Universe, and you can relax and trust on it to carry you to dream and achieve the dreams of your soul.