by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac

Basic anatomy explains that our central nervous system (CNS) is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) consists of cranial nerves, which branch out of the brain, and
spinal nerves, which branch out of the spinal cord. The region where the nerve branches out from the spinal cord is known as the Nerve Root. Each nerve travels from the spinal cord and then divides into a
posterior division (dorsal rami) and an anterior division (ventral rami). The dorsal rami innervate the posterior muscles and skin of the trunk; the ventral rami, from, T1 to T12, innervate the anterior
and lateral muscles and skin of the trunk.

Motor fibers and sensory fibers emerge from the spinal nerves. The motor fibers innervate particular muscles, while sensory fibers innervate particular areas of the skin. A skin area innervated by the sensory fibers of a single nerve root is known as a Dermatome.

A group of muscles primarily innervated by the motor fibers of a single nerve root is known as a Myotome (muscle). There is a total of 31 sets of nerves branching out of the spinal cord.

A Plexus is formed by the remaining anterior nerve divisions, which then distribute to the rest of the body. The nerves from each plexus innervate specific muscles and areas of skin in the body and are
numbered according to the location in the spine from where they exit.

The following are the four main plexuses:

The Cervical and Brachial plexuses innervate the upper limbs. The Lumbar and Sacral plexuses innervate the lower limbs.

Cervical plexus, C1 – C4, innervates the diaphragm, shoulder and neck
Brachial plexus, C5 – T1, innervates the upper limbs
Lumbar plexus, T12/L1 – L4, innervates the thigh
Sacral plexus, L4 – S4, innervates the leg and foot.

Having knowledge of dermatomes and myotomes can help us to differentiate different dysfunctions. Certainly if there is no dysfunction, massage techniques that focus on massage in the direction of the dermatomes and myotomes make for a soothing, intuitive experience in touch therapy.

The sensory perception is what our body acknowledges. this is another reason why the “flow” of the massage is so very important.

A dermatome is the area of skin supplied by nerves orginating from a single spinal nerve root. The spinal roots innervating the wrist and hand are C5, C6, C7, C8, T1, T2.

If vibration, position sense, and subjective light touch are normal in the fingers and toes you may assume the rest of this exam will be normal.

Use a suitable sharp object to test “sharp” or “dull” sensation.

Test the following areas:
Shoulders (C4)
Inner and outer aspects of the forearms (C6 and T1)
Thumbs and little fingers (C6 and C8)
Front of both thighs (L2)
Medial and lateral aspect of both calves (L4 and L5)
Little toes (S1)

Often omitted if pain sensation is normal.
Use a tuning fork heated or cooled by water and ask the patient to
identify “hot” or “cold.”

Test the following areas:
Shoulders (C4)
Inner and outer aspects of the forearms (C6 and T1)
Thumbs and little fingers (C6 and C8)
Front of both thighs (L2)
Medial and lateral aspect of both calves (L4 and L5)
Little toes (S1)

Light Touch
Use a fine whisp of cotton or your fingers to touch the skin lightly.
Ask the patient to respond whenever a touch is felt.

Test the following areas:
Shoulders (C4)
Inner and outer aspects of the forearms (C6 and T1)
Thumbs and little fingers (C6 and C8)
Front of both thighs (L2)
Medial and lateral aspect of both calves (L4 and L5)
Little toes (S1)

Application of crystals in dermatomal regions often have a direct effect on the Chakra centers. It is always good to refer back to your chakra information and treat according to the pain as well as the
energy center and crystals/colors it is associated with.

Chakra/Dermatome/Crystal Correlations

The Root/Base Chakra
Location: Base of the spine
Color: Red/Black
Associated Gland: Adrenal
*Controls body solids, such as the spinal column, bones, teeth, and
nails. Also the blood, building process of cells, the colon, and
rectal area
Gemstones: Agate, Bloodstone, Hematite, Red Coral, Red Garnet, Ruby,
Black Obsidian, Black Tourmaline and Black Tourmaline in Clear Quartz
Related Dermatomes: L1 – S4

The Sacral/Spleen Chakra:
Location: Below the navel
Color: Orange
Associated Organs/Systems: Reproductive organs, kidneys, bladder
Gemstones: Carnelian, Coral, Gold Calcite, Moonstone, Blood Citrine
and Orange Jasper
Related Dermatomes: S4 -T10

The Solar Plexus Chakra:
Location: Above the navel, but below the chest
Color: Yellow
Associated Organs/Systems: Pancreas, liver, stomach, spleen, gall
bladder, autonomic nervous system, lower back, muscles
Gemstones: Amber, Citrine, Tiger’s Eye, Topaz, Yellow Sapphire,
Sulphur, Yellow Jasper
Related Dermatomes: T10 – T4, C1 – C4 also innervated the diaphragm

The Heart Chakra:
Location: The center of the chest
Color: Green/Pink
Associated Gland: Thymus
*Controls the heart, blood circulation, immune system, lower lungs,
rib cage, skin, upper back
Gemstones: Emerald, Green Jade, Rhodonite, Rhodochrosite, Rose
Quartz, Ruby, Kunzite, and Watermelon Tourmaline.
Related Dermatomes: T4 – T1

The Throat Chakra:
Location: the throat area
Color: blue
Associated Glands: Thyroid
*Controls the jaw, neck, throat, voice, airways, upper lungs, arms
Gemstones: Aquamarine, Blue Sapphire, Chalcedony, Turquoise, Blue
Quartz, Blue Kyanite, Angelite, Blue Obsidian, Apatite, Blue
Tourmaline, Azurite, Calcite, Lapis Lazuli, Sodalite
Related Dermatomes: T1 – C3

The Third Eye Chakra
Location: Middle of the forehead
Color: Indigo
Associated Glands: Pituitary
*Controls the endocrine system, the left brain hemisphere, the left
eye, nose, ears, sinuses, and parts of the nervous system
Gemstones: Lepidolite, Iolite, Strawberry Quartz, Lapis, Azurite,
Related Dermatomes: C3 – C2

The Crown Chakra:
Location: the top of the head
Color: Violet or white
Associated Glands: Pineal
*Controls cerebrum, right brain hemisphere, right eye, central
nervous system
Gemstones: Alexandrite, Amethyst, Clear Quartz, Diamond, Selenite,
Herkimer Diamond, Kundalini Quartz, Tiger’s Eye, Amethyst, Citrine,
and Smokey Quartz, Tourmalinated Quartz.
Related Dermatomes: C1