Click here to return to previous page.

Life Energy and Healing

"The Nerve, Meridian and Chakra Systems and the CSF Connection"

by Dr. Don Glassey
(11 January, 2010 )

     Life energy, in the form of cerebrospinal fluid, flows within, through and around the body over three inter-related and interconnected energy systems that interface with each other.  The three energy systems are, from a gross to a more subtle and more refined level, the nervous, the meridian, and the chakra systems.

     In the nervous system, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows within and around the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) within a three layered "saran wrap" like covering called the meninges.  It has also been suggested that CSF also flows in the peripheral nervous system, from the subarachroid space within the meninges, to a space beneath the lining (epineurium) of peripheral nerves.  Therefore, rather than ending at a cavity-like cul de sac at the place where the peripheral nerves exit the spinal cord (intervertebral foramen), the  CSF would then circulate throughout the entire nervous system.
     In the meridian system, acupuncturists  physically trace the life energy (chi/ki) by palpation as it flows within the connective tissue of the body. (Radioisotope studies in Russia and China have confirmed the pathways in which (chi/ki) circulates. The framework of the connective tissue is composed of microscopic tubules called collagen fibrils.  It has been suggested that CSF may flow through this microcirculatory system in the connective tissue via the tubular passages (lumina) of collagen fibrils.  
     Although current scientific research has not determined that the chakras energy centers are physical phenomenon, their "material space" is anatomically in close physical proximity to the spinal nerve ganglia (mass of nerve cells) and plexuses (network of spinal nerves).      It is theorized that the spinal nerve ganglia and plexuses are the physical or "material" representation of the seven major chakras at the following spinal anatomical locations:  coccyx, sacrum, lumbar, upper thoracic, cervical, mid and upper brain.  

    The aforementioned reference of CSF flowing around the peripheral spinal nerves would suggest an increased volume at the sites of the nerve ganglia and plexus due to the profusion of nerves at these locations.  Therefore, it is hypothesized that CSF is the physical manifestation of the chakra energy called "prana".  

    The "prana" (life force) is also distributed in the cerebrospinal pathway at the chakra centers in much the same way as the CSF flowing around the peripheral spinal nerves, which comprise the major nerve plexuses and ganglia.  Our hypothesis then concludes that CSF is the physical manifestation of "prana", as both forms of life energy are found in the same anatomical locations and flow in a similar fashion.      

    The following analogy depicts the relationship among the three intertwined and interconnected energy systems. The distinct pathways of the nervous system are like the rivers and streams on the surface of the earth. The acupuncture points of the meridians fall along generalized paths and are like "springs" beneath the earth's surface.  The chakra energy centers and connecting nadis are on a "deeper" level and can be likened to the earth's aquifer.  Similar to the interchange of rivers and streams, underground springs and aquifer, we theorize that the energy systems of the body interrelate and interface with each other through the connection of the liquid medium of cerebrospinal fluid.   

    The nervous system, is on a gross, physical level of the body, and is comprised of thousands of miles of distinct nerve pathways.  It is composed of the brain, spinal cord (central nervous system), and spinal nerves (peripheral nervous system) which emanate from the spinal cord like branches from the trunk of a tree.  The brain, the master control center, creates mental (nerve) impulses which proceed down the spinal cord and out the spinal nerves.  It is the function of the nervous system to control and coordinate every other system in the human body, and all the billions of body cells which are akin to the leaves at the end of the tree branches in the aforementioned example. These billions of cells are like little batteries which are inter-dependent upon energy from the principle battery, the brain.  

    The various organs and glands which comprise all the body systems (respiratory, digestive, etc.), are composed of cells which, on the microscopic level, consist of molecules.  (A molecule is the smallest entity that retains the characteristics of the substance.)   Molecules are always in motion (unless at -273  C or -452  F).  This movement of molecules creates an electromagnetic energy field of various frequencies emanating from within the body.  This electromagnetic field of energy can be seen through Kirlian photography, a cameraless electrical technique which captures on film a colorful aura or corona surrounding the body, which changes with a person's emotional, mental and/or physical state.  Life energy, on a gross physical level, can be likened to the flow of electricity conducted to and from the cells of the body over the nervous system.  In order for the body to physically heal and regenerate itself, the cells must be "charged" with life energy.  

    The flow of life energy within the nervous system can be forestalled by any external force which overcomes the body's internal ability to adapt to it. The body's inherent capacity to adapt to physical, mental/emotional, and chemical external forces is determined by the individual's ability to accurately perceive, adapt to and renew from day-to-day, and cumulative life experiences.  All this, in turn, relies upon the free flow of mental impulses (life energy) over the nervous system.  And since the flow of the CSF controls the electrolyte balance in the nervous system, it is intimately related to the mental impulse flow.  (Electrolytes determine the conduction of electricity over the nerves, and the nervous system works by the principle of electricity.)   

   The most serious encumbrance to the movement of life energy over the nervous system is what science call a "vertebral subluxation".  A vertebral subluxation occurs when one of the spinal bones which surrounds, houses and protects the spinal cord is in need of realignment.  Vertebral subluxations are caused when the body's ability to renew itself in every capacity is greatly challenged from physical, mental/emotional and chemical external forces.  Vertebral subluxations can impede the vital flow of life energy in the form of CSF or mental impulses within the body.  In order for the body to heal itself and/or adapt to external environmental forces the free flow of life energy is imperative.  

    Chiropractic is the specialized healing art whose sole objective is to locate, analyze and correct vertebral subluxations.  The chiropractic adjustment clears the encumbrance to the flow of vital energy from the major pathway of the nervous system, allowing the self-healing abilities of the body to be at a maximum through the harmonious flow of life energy.       On a more subtle level, the meridian system is comprised of generalized pathways of energy which flow within the body called meridians.  The life energy which flows over the meridians is called "Chi" in China and "Ki" in Japan.  There is both an anatomical and physiological relationship between the meridian and nervous systems.

     In the meridian system, the acupuncture/acupressure points on the surface of the body correspond in structure and function to the autonomic (automatic/involuntary) part of the nervous system's sympathetic (speeds up body functions) and parasympathetic (slows down body functions) nerve plexuses.  As was stated earlier,  this can be likened to the movement of water on and within the earth where the nervous system would be the rivers and streams, and the meridian system acupuncture points would comprise the springs underneath. 

     Thus, as was mentioned previously, there is an inter-relationship and interconnectedness of these two energy systems, as well as the chakra system, which will be discussed in greater detail later on in this article.  This is consistent with what the Quantum Physicists, who define scientific reality, call the "Implicate Order" of matter and energy where everything is connected.  

    The acupuncture/acupressure points are the surface points of energy channels that act like transformers that receive the impulse and sends it on. The "Chi" or "Ki" energy flows throughout the body, and is transported by the meridian system where there is more total energy available at certain places at certain times.  These changes in proportion of energy is in the form of "Chi", and healing arts which address the meridian system effect the balance of "Chi" energy.  This balance is referred to as the "Yin-Yang" principle of expansion (Yin) and contraction (Yang) of body parts, glands and organs.  As was stated earlier, the pathways of  "Chi" energy between the surface points of the body and the organs, muscles and all other parts of the body have been charted and verified by radio-isotope studies in Russia and China.  Every body part is also represented by points in the ears, eyes, and on the hands and soles of the feet.  Although on a more subtle level than the nervous system, the total meridian system is very similar in structure, with its major and minor meridians and circuits, points, extended meridians to internal organs, divergent and connecting meridians. 

     Again consistent with Quantum Physics, the "Chi" is matter on the verge of becoming energy or energy at the point of materializing, as there is only connectedness between matter and energy.  "Chi" energy is in constant motion and has four primary directions; ascending, descending, entering and leaving, which is similar to the efferent (going towards the brain) and afferent (going away from the brain) branches of the central nervous system.  The normal physiological activity is "Chi" moving harmoniously in these various directions, and can be likened to the free flow of nerve impulses over the nervous system.

     The meridians, then, are generalized channels or pathways through which "Chi", flows among the organs and various body parts adjusting and harmonizing their activity.  In addition to "Chi", blood also is carried by the meridians through the body, therefore, the meridians are a subtle energy network that links together all the fundamental body substances and organs.  Again, similar to the nervous system which controls and coordinates all body parts, the meridians unify all the parts of the body to maintain a harmonious balance.   

    The main functions of the meridian energy system are to move "Chi" and blood, regulate "Yin and Yang", moisten tendons and bones and benefit joints. It connects the interior of the body with the exterior, more in terms of significance rather than with place, for the internal is as equally important as the external.   

    The goal of healing arts which directly address the meridian system is to keep in balance those aspects of the body's  "Yin and Yang" whose harmonious proportion and movement of "Chi" energy is essential. This enables the movement of life force (Chi) so that the body can heal itself.  The healing arts which direct themselves specifically to the meridian system are Shiatsu Massages, Acupuncture, and Acupressure and Reflexology.  These methods of healing are beneficial insofar as they facilitate the free flow of life force or "Chi".  Therefore, like chiropractic, these methods of healing are also ways of awakening the life energy. 

    Life energy, in it's many forms, is the power by which any and all methods of healing are accomplished.  Therefore, life energy is the force which is the true and direct healer of the body.  Thus, a healing art is superior or inferior to the degree that it can "awaken" the flow of life energy in the body.       

    In the chakra energy system, swirling intersections of vital life forces gather on a much more refined level than in the nervous and meridian systems. The word "chakra" is a Sanskrit word from ancient India meaning wheel or disk. At the inner core of each one of us spin seven wheel-like energy centers or chakras which together form a system.  Similar to the relationship between the nervous and meridian systems, there is an anatomical and physiological relationship among all three energy systems of the body.  As was stated previously, on a physical level, the chakras correspond with the spinal nerve ganglia and plexuses which are centers of  nerve activity, and to glands in the endocrine system.  Traveling beside, around and through the chakras are the meridians which are like a network passing through a central vortex of energy.  While the chakras are interdependent with the nervous and meridian systems, they are more superimposed onto these other energy systems, rather than occupying the same physical space.  

    Chakras are energy centers which current scientific technology has not "physically" detected, as they operate on a very refined level.  Although they are metaphysical or non-physical, the chakras emit an electromagnetic force field found within and around the body which can be viewed in Kirlian photography.  Thus, chakras, are sites within the body which project as patterns of electromagnetic activity focused around the major spinal nerve ganglia and plexuses. This electromagnetic field could be generated by the movement of CSF molecules flowing around the spinal nerve plexuses and ganglia which correspond with the sites of the major chakras.  

   The chakras are centers of activity which receive, assimilate and transmit life energies.  As such, they are a kind of vortex or gathering point of organized life energy.  And just as the physical body is a vehicle for our consciousness, each chakra reflects an aspect of consciousness essential to our lives.  Thus, the chakras are the "wheels  of life" that act as gateways between various dimensions of our consciousness.  Each chakra represents a dimension of our consciousness on seven basic levels corresponding to the major chakras.  Together, they form a meta-physical vertical column called the "sushumna", which is the central integrating channel for connecting the chakras, and their various dimensions of consciousness.   

    The movement of "prana" or vital life energy over the chakra energy system is very similar to the flow of CSF within the central nervous system. "Prana" moves up the cerebrospinal pathway within two channels called "Ida" and "Pingala" which criss-cross in a double helix pattern intersecting at the major chakras.  This is akin to the circular vortex flow of CSF up around the spinal cord into the brain.  "Prana" goes down the same pathway within the sushumna column in a manner very similar to the movement of CSF down the central canal of the spinal cord.  

    On a physical energetic level, according to yoga theory, "prana" is absorbed into the body through respiration or directly through the function of the chakras.  The chakras are the energy centers along the sushumna which control the flow of "prana", and a system of energy channels called nadis.   In the physical body these channels are represented by the meridian system, the centers of the brain and nerve plexuses, and the acupuncture points.  

    "Prana" is distributed to the peripheral areas of the body through an elaborate matrix of channels or nadis.  The nadis are then analogous to the spinal nerves which comprise the peripheral nervous system, and serve a similar function.  Just as the spinal nerves conduct the life energy of the nervous system to glands and organs, the nadis distribute "prana" to all parts of the body, converting into different forms of vital energy appropriate for various organs and tissues.  Thus, the chakras are and intermediary for energy transfer, and act as centers for facilitating the energy conversion between the body and mind. 

    The states of consciousness, physiological systems and elements associated with each of the seven chakra levels are as follows:  Chakra One, (earth element), physically located at the base of the spine or coccygeal plexus, is associated with survival and the genito-urinary system.  Chakra Two, (water element), situated in the lower abdomen or sacral plexus, is related with sexuality and emotions, and also the genito-urinary system and adrenal glands.  Chakra Three, (fire element), centered in the solar plexus, concerns personal power, metabolic energy and the pancreas.  Chakra Four, (air element), located over the sternum or cardiac plexus, is associated with love and the thymus gland.  Chakra Five, (sound element), in the throat area or pharyngeal plexus, affects creativity, communication, and controls the thyroid gland.  Chakra Six, (light element), situated in the center of the forehead, bears upon intuition, imagination and clairvoyance, and regulates the secretory functions of the pituitary gland.  Chakra Seven, (thought element), at the crown of the head or carotid  plexus, concerns enlightenment, knowledge,  understanding, and overall controls every aspect of body and mind.  

    Each chakra also has a characteristic color and sound associated with that chakra.  Chakra One is perceived as a disc of yellow light and a buzzing sound like bees.  Chakra Two is seen as a disc of white light and has sound of a flute. Chakra Three is perceived as red disc and sounds like a harp.  Chakra Four appears as a blue disc and sounds like the peal of a gong.  Chakra Five is perceived as a violet disc and sounds like thunder or the ocean's roar. Chakra Six can be seen as silver-white disc of light, surrounded by a dark blue orb with a golden halo, and the sound of  "Om".  Chakra Seven is seen as a red-gold disc, like the sun, and has the "sound" of silence or stillness.  

   These seven chakras form the major component of our consciousness and effect all major body systems.  They are the core centers which form the coordinating network  of our complex body-mind energy system.  The chakras also govern the quality and quantity of energy related to the dimensions of our consciousness and body functions, as to how open they are respectively, or how they are able to control this opening at appropriate times.  This regulates both the amount and complexity of mind-body activity one can effectively integrate at any given chakra level.  Since the body and mind are so intimately interrelated, the  chakras play an essential part in this relationship.  As the body and mind effect and regulate each other, the chakras are the vortex of integration where the body and mind meet.  Thus, the chakras define our consciousness and behavior , as well as direct and change it through mind-body integration.  

    There are a number of healing arts and techniques which can be utilized to effect the functioning of the chakras, as well as ways to access and facilitate the flow of vital "pranic" energy within.  The functioning of the chakras can also be enhanced by working with it's element, or associated colors and sounds.  Also physical exercises can be performed that pertain to relaxing, opening or stimulating that chakra area of the body.  The following healing arts, techniques and procedures can have a beneficial effect on the chakras; Reiki, meditation, crystals and other gems, spiritual healing, polarity therapy, therapeutic touch, tai chi, tai kwon do, yoga postures, sunlight, color therapy, aroma therapy, flower essences and herbs.


Bensky, Daniel and O'Conner, John, Acupuncture:   A Comprehensive Text, Eastland Press, Seattle, WA 98111, 1981 Judith, Anodea, Wheels of Life, Llewllyn Publications, P.O. Box 64383, St. Paul, MN 55164, 1987

[Back] [Vitalistic Healing] [The CSF Connection] [Yoga Journal Article]