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Exp Physiol. 2008 Sep;93(9):1011-21. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2008.042424. Epub 2008 May 16.

Breathing rhythms and emotions.

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Department of Physiology, Showa University School of Medicine, Hatanodai 1-5-8, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8555, Japan.


Respiration is primarily regulated for metabolic and homeostatic purposes in the brainstem. However, breathing can also change in response to changes in emotions, such as sadness, happiness, anxiety or fear. Final respiratory output is influenced by a complex interaction between the brainstem and higher centres, including the limbic system and cortical structures. Respiration is important in maintaining physiological homeostasis and co-exists with emotions. In this review, we focus on the relationship between respiration and emotions by discussing previous animal and human studies, including studies of olfactory function in relation to respiration and the piriform-amygdala in relation to respiration. In particular, we discuss oscillations of piriform-amygdala complex activity and respiratory rhythm.

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