Research reported on by Georgetown University Professor Candace Pert suggests that deep breathing is an entry point to access an information network responsible for coordinating and governing the nervous, endocrine and immune systems, as well as the psychology of the human body.
Dr. Pert discovered the role certain neuropeptides play in carrying emotional chemicals to receptor sites found in cells throughout the body. Old traumatic emotions can literally block these receptors, altering the flow of the information network.
While these emotional peptide receptors are found all over the body, they are concentrated in certain areas. In the respiratory tract, for example, there are receptors for every type of peptide found in the body.
According to Dr. Pert, a wealth of data supports that the changes in the rate or depth of breathing can trigger the release of emotion-carrying peptides from the brain stem. Through the process of deep breathing techniques, this peptide-respiratory link can release peptides quickly throughout the cerebral spinal fluid, to release old emotions and restore balance.
Since many of these peptides are natural endorphins or opiates, they are capable not only of freeing up old emotional pain, they can relieve physical pain as well. For example, Lamaze Breathing Techniques are taught to mothers-to-be to help them control pain during childbirth. Yogis have used breathing techniques to control and manipulate bodily functions like pain, blood pressure, heart rate, and more.
Science has now mapped out a mechanism for how breathing techniques can give us access to this information network where hormonal, immune, psychological and nervous system control is possible.
Breathing is a key tool in the balancing of body, mind, emotions and spirit. My favorite transformational breathing technique is used in my One Minute Meditation. It is incredibly simple: 30 seconds of deep nasal bellows breathing followed by 30 seconds of sitting still with the eyes closed.
- Pert, Candace. Molecules of Emotion. 1999. Touchstone Books.