How Breathwork Calms the Nervous System and Releases Stored Emotions

How Breathwork Calms the Nervous System and Releases Stored Emotions

“As our feelings change, this mixture of peptides travels throughout your body and your brain. And they’re literally changing the chemistry of every cell in your body – and sending out vibrations to other people.” - Candace Pert

In most Eastern and contemplative philosophies, it’s understood that emotions that may be too heavy to process at the moment that they are created are stored in the physical and energetic bodies. Research done by pioneers like Candace Pert describes how emotions begin as electrochemical signals that carry messages throughout the body, primarily through the nervous system and spinal column, but through every single cell through a neuropeptide interaction. [1]

These emotions, which are very physiological in their signature, can cause either a negative or positive effect on the mind and body. The more intense the emotions are, the more likely they are to become “trapped” inside your body. Breathwork is one way to excavate these stored emotions and to help release the negative feelings that we may not even be conscious of storing in our cells. [2]

How Does Breathwork Release Negative Emotional Energy from the Body?

The breath is one of the biggest regulators of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems in the entire body. When we are stressed out, we tend to hold our breath or breathe very shallowly. This triggers a cascade of neurochemical reactions in the body. Studies reveal that areas in the brain connected to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we slow our breathing. [3] For many years researchers assumed that the brain stem was responsible for our breathing process, but it turns out that breathing is a whole-body physiology, affecting many parts of the brain and nervous system.

Not only does measured, slow breathing sends out an emotional “signature” into your body, it also sends that vibration into the world. It calms the fight-or-flight-response, lowers cortisol production, and boosts serotonin, GABA, and other “happy” hormones that help us feel stable, free, and uplifted. [4]

Why Should I Do Breathwork to Release Stored Emotions?

As Pert explains in her research, each individual cell has an electrical charge, imbued by emotion, and your body as a whole has an electrical charge as well, which is the sum total of emotions most often felt. This emotional “signature” is broadcast out to the world and draws to you people and situations that resonate with whatever dominant emotions you carry. 

Johanna Bassols has shared in her book trilogy, The Power of the Elevation of Consciousness, various breathing techniques as part of her work on emotional healing, to help you to process stored emotional weight so that you can become lighter, brighter, and more full of joy, and thus emanate this frequency into the world. As you do so, you’ll draw miraculous situations and people to yourself that resonate with the emotions of joy, peace, freedom, happiness, calm, and high self-worth. 


[1] Physics of emotion: Candace pert on feeling good. (2021, February 3). Six Seconds.

[2] Ishler, J. (n.d.). Are you carrying ‘Emotional baggage’ here’s how to break free. Healthline.

[3] Journal of neurophysiology. (n.d.). American Physiological Society Journal.

[4] Zaccaro, A., Piarulli, A., Laurino, M., Garbella, E., Menicucci, D., Neri, B., & Gemignani, A. (2018). How breath-control can change your life: A systematic review on psycho-physiological correlates of slow breathing. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12.

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