My daughter has started using the word “chakra” a lot since she stepped up her yoga game. And I finally admitted to myself that I might be chakra-curious, so I went to a yoga studio for a chakra alignment.

Before you can say “I’m not reading this New Age drivel,” know that the practice of chakra alignment has been on this planet for 3000-plus years. This is not a snowflake invention to “find yourself.” It could be a pathway to finding some calm in your life. And couldn’t we all use some calm?

Chakra is a Sanskrit term that means wheel, specifically a spinning wheel of energy. There are seven chakras in every living being, ranging from the top of your head to the base of your spine. (Yes, your pets have chakras, too.) When one or more of these energy centers is weak, it can affect your physical and mental health. “All living beings are energy fields manifesting through their physical form.” (Psychology Today, 2016.)

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Buddhist philosopher, Michio Kushi, offers this explanation of the chakras: “Heaven’s [energy] Force tends to charge the right side of the brain, whilst the Earth’s [energy] Force charges the left side. The parts of the body where these forces collide and form a union are called the chakras. These places are each generating an electro-magnetic flow towards the outside and at the same time are receiving invisible force from the surrounding atmosphere to charge the internal function.”

If you’re still reading, but you are thinking this is crazy talk, I want you to know that when I texted a few friends to tell them about my chakra alignment, they replied with “OMG” and “Wait…YOU?” I am, admittedly, one of the most cynical people you will ever meet, but I am also a curious person and something about the promise of increased levels of calmness intrigued me. Blame it on coronavirus panic, but I’m feeling the need for calm right now.

Healing mind and body through awareness of our energy fields is a topic that many ancient cultures—India, Asia, Native American, Incan, Olmec, Celtic, Greek, Egyptian—embraced, studied and practiced. When the United States began importing spices and fabrics from India in the mid-1700s, we were also importing knowledge. According to Philip Goldberg, author of “American Veda,” the first translations of Hindu texts made their way to the libraries of Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Adams, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman “and succeeding generations of receptive Americans.” We saw a resurgence of curiosity for the ancient knowledge of energy fields when the Beatles visited India in 1968 for an extended yoga retreat. 

What was once considered counterculture is now being studied in laboratories to better understand how energy fields, chakras, can restore balance to our lives and to our health. A quick look at the National Institutes of Health website (nih.gov) shows hundreds of randomized studies involving meditation and chakras and their relationship to particular disorders and diseases. In fact, the NIH has stated that for Western medicine to have a cohesive physiological system, it must account for the existence of energy fields within as well as outside the human body. 

There is no scientific proof that crystal chakra therapy cures illness. In “The Complete Guide to Crystal Chakra Healing,” author Philip Permutt describes chakras as “doorways to the healing energy of crystals.” Our minds and bodies are intertwined with constantly changing energy and this interaction of energy is the bedrock of Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. 

The addition of crystals placed on chakra points while you meditate can boost, if you will, the level of healing or inner peace you achieve. Ideally, one should meditate daily since energy fields are ever-changing. Many people I’ve talked to insist they do not have time for daily meditation, but many of those same people do admit to regular prayer. Prayer and meditation are not the same, but one can lead to the other. After “talking” to God and unloading their concerns in prayer, many people describe a silent peaceful feeling. That stillness is meditation. 

Though our understanding of the healing power of chakra alignment is limited, crystal healing therapy is considered an alternative medicine, a practice that is not part of conventional medicine but can support individuals coping with health concerns. If you’re still straddling the line as to whether to believe in the power of chakras or not, you can think of it as a “got nothing to lose” option. 

I went to my chakra alignment appointment with a “nothing to lose” attitude. The only thing I lost was a bit of anxiety.