Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 107–115 | Cite as

Self-Regulation of Breathing as a Primary Treatment for Anxiety

  • Ravinder JerathEmail author
  • Molly W. Crawford
  • Vernon A. Barnes
  • Kyler Harden


Understanding the autonomic nervous system and homeostatic changes associated with emotions remains a major challenge for neuroscientists and a fundamental prerequisite to treat anxiety, stress, and emotional disorders. Based on recent publications, the inter-relationship between respiration and emotions and the influence of respiration on autonomic changes, and subsequent widespread membrane potential changes resulting from changes in homeostasis are discussed. We hypothesize that reversing homeostatic alterations with meditation and breathing techniques rather than targeting neurotransmitters with medication may be a superior method to address the whole body changes that occur in stress, anxiety, and depression. Detrimental effects of stress, negative emotions, and sympathetic dominance of the autonomic nervous system have been shown to be counteracted by different forms of meditation, relaxation, and breathing techniques. We propose that these breathing techniques could be used as first-line and supplemental treatments for stress, anxiety, depression, and some emotional disorders.


Autonomic nervous system Stress Anxiety Slow deep breathing Membrane potential 


Conflict of interest

No funding was received for this article. There is no conflict of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Augusta Women’s CenterAugustaUSA
  2. 2.Georgia Prevention InstituteGeorgia Regents UniversityAugustaUSA

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