Do you ever find it really hard to breathe? 

In recent years there has been a lot of interest in different breathing techniques to help us relax, release anxiety and improve our general well-being.  Yogic breathing techniques have become very popular and there has been a huge increase in ‘Breath coaches’ teaching people to breathe well for health and well-being improvement.

Breath work techniques definitely help people improve their overall well-being especially relating to grounding a person and helping them relieve anxiety.  They can also help people in the process of releasing an unpleasant emotion.  

The trouble with breathing comes in when we have too much trauma, or too many deeply buried emotions.  If all these trapped emotions are left unattended, they can make breathing properly really hard to do.  Breath work can help alleviate some of these trapped emotions, but it takes really deep healing work to properly release these emotions in order for the body to be able to breathe properly and deeply. 

Why does this happen?

In SHEN ® Therapy, we recognise that our torso’s are the area where our emotions emanate from. This is also the place, where they get stored or trapped, if we don’t release them.

We refer to specific areas located down the torso as ‘Emotional centres’. These could be likened to the Indian philosophy of the ‘Chakras’, which refer to 7 energy centres down the torso, each with their own Sanskrit name and a description of what they do. In SHEN, because we are mainly concerned with releasing trapped emotions, we refer to these centres as the ‘Emotional centres’.

How emotions become trapped in the torso?

Painful emotions, such as fear, grief and shame, cause the body to involuntarily contract around the area in the torso where the emotion is being experienced. In SHEN ® Therapy we call this the ‘ACPR – Auto-Contractual Pain Response’. This is the body’s normal response to physical pain, however it can’t distinguish between physical or emotional pain.

This ACPR is an instinctive reflex that works against itself. The contraction prevents the pain that caused it from leaving and so, perpetuates the process of creating an emotional episode effectively trapping the emotional pain.

While this contraction is in place, it adversely affects all organs, glands and body tissue that is caught within the circle of the contraction. This disrupts the body’s normal processes. It remains disrupted until the emotions are released. Once the emotion is released, it stops affecting the body and clouding the mind. Once a person has released quite a few of these trapped emotions, particularly around the Heart and Solar plexus area, it becomes much easier for them to breath and breathe properly.

Which emotions are experienced where in the torso?

In SHEN ® therapy, we recognise that specific emotions are experienced and stored at specific locations down the torso.

The Throat is not considered an emotional Center but rather that it acts as a gate keeper.  It contracts when we don’t want to feel a painful emotion, or express ourselves or the emotion we are feeling. Those contractions can stay in place in all the centres affected, until they are released.

The Heart stores sadness, hatred, grief, reverence, and remorse.  Of course, this is also the centre where we feel love and joy.  

The Solar plexus stores emotions of fear, anger, anxiety.  It is also the centre where we feel excitement.  

The Kath/Sacral area is where emotions such as shame, embarrassment, powerlessness are stored.  This area is also where we experience the feelings of confidence and empowerment.  Our natural disposition is to feel empowered and confident, however life experiences can cause these feelings to be blocked leading to lack of confidence, low self-esteem and low self worth.  Once the emotions causing these blocks are released, our natural state of feeling centred, confident an empowered is restored.

The root is where emotions of mortal terror, horror and massive grief are stored.  These emotions can shut down bodily functions and cause an overwhelm in mental activity.  Once these emotions are released, mental overwhelm calms down and normal bodily functions resume. 

How can SHEN ® help to release these trapped emotions?

The SHEN ® therapist uses the flow of energy (bio-field) between their hands to release these contractions around the painful emotion. There are very specific hand placements around the body to help the therapist to do this. Once the contractions are released, the emotions are lifted to the surface of the body to be felt and dissipated.

During the first few SHEN ® sessions, clients will likely experience deep relaxation and sleep that will bring surface emotions into stronger awareness. Later SHEN sessions will evoke deeper emotional states from earlier in life to be released.

Once you’ve worked through many of the trapped emotions buried in your torso, breathing becomes easier and far less painful, as do many other areas of your life.

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