Chakra Flow (チャクラ流し, Chakura Nagashi) refers to both the flowing of chakra through an object as well as any technique that increases the potency of a weapon by flowing chakra through it. Ordinarily, elemental chakra is used to flow through bladed weapons in order to either, dramatically increase their various pre-existing properties, or to gain additional advantageous effects. Usually, the user must be touching the tool to initiate chakra flow but not always as with the Fire Release: Phoenix Sage Flower Nail Crimson technique, and direct contact with the weapon is not necessary to maintain chakra flow. Similarly, techniques such as Kakuzu's Earth Release: Earth Spear, Rōshi's Lava Release Chakra Mode and the Fourth Raikage's Lightning Release Chakra Mode are used to increase close-quarter combat offence and defence by flowing chakra directly through the user's body. However, whether through an individual's body or weapon, the exact effects observed are entirely dependent upon the respective nature and amount of the chakra used.
The known variations of chakra utilised include:
- Wind chakra, as explained by Asuma Sarutobi, is used in order to increase the sharpness of bladed weapons, so much so that in the hands of an experienced user even small blades are capable of piercing substantial rocks easily, leading to his assertion that this chakra is unparalleled offensively in close and mid-ranged fights. This effect is achieved by utilising two opposing chakra currents, which are ground against each other in such a manner that they sharpen one another into fine pieces.
- Lightning chakra, as applied to weapons, provides an increased cutting power similar to that of wind, with the addition of inducing numbness. However, this is instead achieved by inducing high-frequency vibrations within the object. Also, when the Fourth Raikage flowed his lightning chakra directly into his own body, it was capable of electrically stimulating his nervous system. This resulted in an increase in his reaction time, raw speed, and defensive power to their utmost limits.
- Earth chakra seemingly increases the defensive power of an object to its utmost limits, by further reinforcing the inherent properties of the material involved. However, the application of this variation has only been observed through Kakuzu flowing it directly into his own body, where it resulted both in his skin becoming as hard as diamond and an increase in the overall destructive power of his physical attacks.
- Fire chakra engulfs the desired weapon in intense localised flames, which follow the subsequent path of the object in question, incinerating anything which comes into direct contact.
- Water chakra can be applied to a person's body to act as a sturdy shield of armour and can withstand many physical attacks. It can even be passed onto other people and weapons.
- Yin–Yang chakra does not conform to a single defined list of beneficial effects unlike other chakra natures, instead imitating the properties of the techniques used by the individual in question.
- Shadow Imitation Technique through chakra flow is able to endow weapons with the ability to pierce the enemies' shadows, paralysing them in place.
- Combined nature's chakra can seemingly be used in the same manner as the basic natures, although almost not seen or explored in the series. In the manga, the only example is Rōshi's Lava Release Chakra Mode, and in anime, another example is Guren's Crystal Armour, both chakra flow techniques used through the body.
- Lava Release chakra seemingly engulfs desired target within a layer of lava, giving it the side effect of burning whatever it comes into contact with.
- Crystal Release chakra shields a desired target within a layer of transparent crystal, protecting it from physical attacks and aiding in performing stronger physical attacks.
- Magnet Release chakra magnetises an object and allows the user to manipulate the magnetised object. The magnetic effect can also be passed on through direct contact with another object or person.
Asuma Sarutobi carried special Chakra Blades that were fabricated from a material that absorbed chakra easier, in order to more effectively create these unique effects, which later fell into the possession of his student, Shikamaru. Asuma's daughter Mirai eventually uses the same weapon. Asuma also taught Naruto Uzumaki the basics of this technique.
- Although the use of chakra flow techniques have been seen throughout the series, the actual term, 'Chakra Flow', was first used by Karin in the Pain's Assault arc, when she observed the use of chakra flow by Killer B.
- During his final battle against Itachi Uchiha, Sasuke infused a Fūma Shuriken with lightning chakra to increase its sharpness.
- Although Darui and Omoi have yet to show any named techniques that involves chakra flow, Darui has infused his Cleaver Sword with lightning chakra to immobilise Suigetsu Hōzuki, as well as thrown a lightning-infused shuriken to break a sword that Kisame Hoshigaki was holding. Omoi has channelled lightning chakra through his sword to diffuse Deidara's explosive clay.
- In his battle against Sasuke, Danzō exhales wind-nature chakra onto a kunai which expands into a sharp blade shaped like a scimitar. In the anime, he does the same to shuriken, increasing their range and cutting power.
- The dual swords Kiba, wielded by Ameyuri Ringo and Raiga Kurosuki, are imbued with lightning to make them the sharpest swords ever forged; Curiously, they are capable of channeling natural lightning as well as lightning chakra.
- In the anime, a ninja cat was able to use chakra flow through his claws to deflect weapons.
- In the light novel adaptation of Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!, Kakashi had used two kunai knives with lightning-infused chakra that had X-shaped tip-like markings at the ends to counterattack against Kirisame's Water Release: Water Whip.
- In the light novel adaptation of Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!, Suien had used water release chakra to cover his body in water as a sturdy suit of armour. This makes his body impervious to many physical attacks.
- List of Chakra-Flow based techniques
- Sage Mode
- Six Paths Sage Mode
- Jinchūriki Forms
- Nine-Tails Chakra Mode
- Naruto chapter 317, pages 14-17
- Naruto chapter 462, page 3
- Naruto chapter 332, pages 11-12
- Naruto chapter 527, page 3
- Naruto: Mission: Protect The Waterfall Village! (novel)
- Naruto: Shippūden episode 189