Beliefs, the Brain, and Your Body

Written by: Nick Ortner

I’ve been reading up on a lot of recent mind-body research lately, and it’s exciting to see the number of studies showing that we can heal our bodies using just our minds. Beliefs, and the emotions they generate, are being linked to chronic pain, allergies, heart disease, and more recently, asthma.

The statistics around asthma are pretty shocking. According to the CDC, around 25 million Americans suffer from the disease, and that number gets bigger each year. It’s also the most common chronic disorder in childhood, impacting more than 7 million children under the age of 18.

Asthma triggers have always been thought to be things like smells – ranging from cigarette smoke to perfume – pollen, and pollution. While all of these things, and more, do contribute to asthma, an interesting new study suggests that beliefs about asthma triggers also impact the way the body responds to potential triggers.

The Power in our Minds…

In the study, published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, a group of participants who classified their asthma as “moderate-persistent” were divided into two groups. All were exposed to the same harmless scent. One group was told the scent would help to relieve asthma, while the other group was told the scent could make their asthma worse.

The group that expected the scent to aggravate their asthma experienced significantly more inflammation in their airways. What’s more, that inflammation was still evident 24 hours later. The group that was told the odor may help to alleviate their asthma did not experience any irritation or inflammation from the scent.

Just by believing their asthma would get triggered, the first group not only helped the body to create inflammation, but they also made themselves more vulnerable to future asthma attacks, and even more inflammation. The other group’s belief that the scent was therapeutic protected them from experiencing inflammation. Amazing!

Studies like these don’t mean that asthma is “all in your head.” It’s just the opposite.

Research like this means that our beliefs, as well as the emotions they generate, contribute to very real processes in the body. In other words, your body interacts with your beliefs the way it would with a set of instructions, so if you believe a certain scent aggravates your asthma, your body will obey by creating inflammation.

Stop and really think about that for a minute…

It’s pretty incredible when you consider how a single belief can kick off an entire process in the body. That process can be potentially harmful, like inflammation, or it can be protective, like boosting immunity or preventing inflammation. All of that, from a single belief!

Beliefs Create Reality…

That’s a lot of power we’re holding in our minds. When we talk about how our beliefs create reality, though, it can be tempting to start harping on what we’re doing “wrong.” We notice that we have a lot of limiting beliefs, and wonder things like, “Does my asthma mean I haven’t done enough work on myself? Why can’t I let go of my limiting beliefs so I can be healthier and more positive?”

The reality is, we all have limiting beliefs, and we all experience negative emotions. We’re human, and that’s a good thing!

Instead of criticizing ourselves (which just adds stress and continues the negative cycle) we want to pause, and start noticing our limiting beliefs. So do that, think about your own limiting beliefs, then write them down in a journal, and tap through them. Beliefs run deep, so they can take a long time to transform, but you’ll be amazed by the positive changes that happen when you do.

As a reminder of how powerful the mind is, let’s do a littleTtapping exercise around opening up your breath. Even if you don’t have asthma, I urge you to try it.

Start by taking a few deep breaths. Notice how your breath feels, how deeply you’re breathing, and how open or closed your chest and throat feel as you breathe. Now, let’s start tapping:

KC: Even though my breathing is tight and shallow, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

KC: Even though my breath feels tight and shallow, like there’s only so deep I can go, I love and accept myself fully.

KC: Even though there’s all this constriction in my chest and throat when I breathe, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Eyebrow: All this tightness in my breath
Side of Eye: All this tightness in my chest and throat when I breathe
Under Eye: My breathing feels so shallow
Under Nose: My breathing feels so tight
Under Mouth: All this tightness in my chest when I breathe
Collarbone: All this tightness in my throat when I breathe
Under Arm: All this stress constricting my breath
Top of Head: All this stress making my breathing shallow

Eyebrow: So much tightness in my chest and throat when I breathe
Side of Eye: So much shallowness in my breathing
Under Eye: All this stress keeping me from taking big, deep breaths
Under Nose: It’s safe to release this stress from my breathing now
Under Mouth: It’s safe to relax into deeper, bigger breaths now
Collarbone: I don’t need to constrict my breath
Under Arm: I can just let it flow
Top of Head: Letting go of all this tightness and shallowness in my breathing now

Eyebrow: I can breathe more deeply now
Side of Eye: I can take fuller, bigger, more relaxing breaths now
Under Eye: It’s safe to let my body get all the air it needs
Under Nose: It’s safe to relax my breathing now
Under Mouth: It’s safe to open up my breathing now
Collarbone: Letting my breaths flow more naturally and openly
Under Arm: Relaxing and opening up my breathing now
Top of Head: Letting my body get the big, full, deep breaths it needs

You can do a few more rounds, or if you’re ready, go ahead and take a big, deep breath. Notice any changes in your breathing. Is it deeper and fuller? Does it feel more rejuvenating and/or relaxing than usual?

I’m a huge believer in the mind-body connection, but I’m still always shocked by how much deeper and fuller my breathing feels after I tap on opening it up. 🙂

Your mind is an amazing thing. Be sure to use it for what you do want, and use Tapping to clear out the rest.

Until next time,

Keep tapping!

Nick Ortner

Did you notice any changes in your breathing? Is it deeper and fuller? Does it feel more rejuvenating and/or relaxing than usual? Comment below!

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21 Comments on this post

  1. Lynda says:

    Giving short segments like these are very helpful. Thank you so much.

  2. Bridget says:

    I’m not sure about the robot voice, I heard both names in the different frequencies. Nick I loved the tapping for Asthma, I woke this morning with a bit of a cold, stuffy and blocked. I can’t believe the tapping has differently made me feel much better, I did quite a few rounds until I heard the raspy sound leave. Thank you XXB

  3. Cathy DeWitt says:

    I got less hoarse, which is good because I have band rehearsal tonight!

  4. harry oliver says:

    As ever, Nick, you have such a way of making living in the “real” world easier.Being reminded that I have thoughts, and I am not my thoughts is in need of constant jogging. At one point years ago a doctor told me that I had two choices. Take the drug he prescribed or get a new mother. I did neither. And tapping does work to alleviate my occasional bouts of asthma.
    Thank you Sir.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I clicked on a link in my email that took me to this article and I was surprised by the tapping script for an unusual reason. I do not suffer from asthma or any breathing difficulties, but last night I received shocking news of a death of someone in my life and for the rest of the night I struggled with chest constriction and a sense like I could not breath or my chest was caving in. I tapped a lot and prayed a lot for solace and peace and strength and calm, and managed to find a few hours’ sleep. Then I checked my email this morning and though the script is for those who have asthma triggers and symptoms, I found the exercise enormously helpful for me right now, where I am, with the physical manifestations of shock and grief and fear. I feel very grateful for that, and for the strange ways that the right things have a way of finding us when we just open ourselves up to receive.

    • Nick Ortner says:

      My condolences for your loss, Elizabeth. But I’m glad this tapping script helped to bring some breathing relief. Big hugs to you! xo

  6. Barb says:

    Yes. This tapping exercise helped. Thank you.

  7. Adrianne Flahr says:

    I noticed that I could breathe more deeply and fuller. I dont have aszma but I have congestion in my lungs and I am going to use this procedure. I purchased the 2015 World Summit and been listening to all the conversations on my mp3 players. We had a huge trauma in our lives 4 years ago when my daughter went thru a bad breakup and ended up in the hospital from an emotional breakdown. She is still on medication for anitidepressant/anxiety. It has caused her weight gain and lack of energy. I have been so worried about her because I dont believe in all those drugs their giving her. I showed her about tapping and it did help her but my goal is to get her off all the drugs. I am so greatfull for all the tapping meditations from you and Jessica. It helped me tremendously getting thru the emotional stress of seeing her in the hospital and looking after the kids when they werent with their messed up father. Thank-you so much. I am going to keep studying this.

  8. Lisa says:

    I was just having a reaction when this post came up. Suprisingly it worked. The tightness in my throat released, the sneezing stopped, and I didn’t have a cough attack. Oops did I speak too soon, I did one more cycle making it a 4th time and it stopped the symptoms fully. Whew.

  9. Anastasia says:

    Great article, Nick. It was Cheryl Richardson really talking a lot about tapping lately that got me turned on to your work, as well as that of your sister, Jessica. I was really interested in this blog post because I’m a firm believer that 17 years ago, I manifested blindness in my life. And then began to manifest/meditate/co-create my way back to better eyesight. I was even able to get my driver’s license back, despite doctors insisting I would be completely blind within four months. So I’m a big believer in the mind-body connection.

    So here’s my question:

    About two years ago, my vision once again began to go downhill. This has had a huge, negative impact on my life and I am meditating on better vision every day.

    After losing it 17 years ago (and eventually getting back to things I loved, like riding my horse), I ended up doing a fair bit of public speaking about facing challenges. I am an author and also a Pilates instructor, and my students are always amazed that I can teach great classes without clear vision. I’m known for being that blind woman with the amazing, positive spirit.

    Last night, I was listening to you narrating your terrific book, THE TAPPING SOLUTION, and it really caught my attention when you started talking about the stories we tell ourselves that keep up holding onto things we’d like to change.
    For me, losing my eyesight and living life anyway is part of my story.

    I am very clear that, at the time I first lost my eyesight, I desperately wanted someone else to take over my entire life. I wanted no responsibility. I wanted to be sick. Wow, did I ever bring that into my life! Losing my vision was also the best thing that ever happened to me. It changed my entire way of looking at the world (no pun intended) and got me back on a strong spiritual path. So vision loss was a gift, and that’s also part of my story, something I hold onto.

    Now, I’m losing vision again. I do not want to lose any more of my sight. I want my independence back. I’d like my new story to be that I can drive again.

    I’m very confused these days as to what I want to put my focus on. Is it time for me to accept this vision loss that I just don’t want in my life? Can I possibly heal my body like the woman in your book with the roads in her back? Or is it time to tap on acceptance?

    I don’t know if I’m making any sense at all, but I’d really value your advice.

    Like one of the people in your book, I’ve used your tapping script on sciatica and it has made it disappear to the point where I’m no longer taking medication. So thank you so much for your work.

    If you can help me on this other issue, I’ll put you in my will! : )

  10. DJ says:

    This was excellent. I am going to try a similar dialogue for other health issues. It is powerful.
    thank you

  11. Sally says:

    I had 2 bigger stressors this afternoon and did the tapping on the breathing technique. Both times brought me back into balance after one round of tapping. It is sooooo simple to do following Nick’s write up. I will also be using this at the end of my day for a more relaxing night sleep.

  12. Felicia says:

    I’ve been noticing for the last few years, due to some extreme family stress, that I had started holding my breath or simply not breathing when stress would come up. A few times I have almost passed out because of lack of breathing! I’ve also had issues with asthma when I’ve had colds, which almost always turn into bronchitis and then really nasty asthma attacks that have put me on the floor gasping for breath. (A combination of tapping, diet adjustment- I eat mostly “paleo” now- and doses of buffered Vitamin C every hour when I’m sick have cut my colds and bronchitis down to almost nothing- and have turned my formerly devastating asthma attacks into a distant memory.) I’ve been tapping since about 2005 and have worked on this and many other things with many major successes on a very wide array of subjects but haven’t worked on my breathing. Just doing this tapping once really loosened up my chest, throat and mouth for which I am very grateful! I’m a musician and singer so breathing is part of my daily work and it’s important for it to be free, easy and stressless for the best results in singing and in playing my instruments. Thank you so much, Nick! It was very helpful! I’ll be passing this on to my friends.

  13. Carol says:

    This works! Before a diagnosis of asthma, I had no idea of what was wrong. When the asthma came I had to give up a very favorite part of my professional career (LMFT): hypnosis. I would start coughing uncontrollably in a session or my throat would hurt, or both. Thanks to tapping and your work, I am there again.
    Dr. Carol Suter
    PS I use tapping a lot, and have achieved expert status in it.

  14. Lingeswary says:

    Dearest Nick,

    I never loose the opportunity to read and benefit from your e-mails. Today, I opened my inbox with a serious thought to my deteriorating health and especially with a breathing problem and tightness in my throat and chest. When I read your message I got this strange feeling that its not a coincidence but Law of Attraction. When I did the tapping the immediate relief was amazing.

    God bless your good work.

    I cannot thank you enough

    Lots of love,


  15. Maryann Guinta says:

    Thank you for all your letters. They offer ideas on ways to apply Tapping and are always encouraging and positive! Thank you for the love you share in your work.

  16. Sherri says:

    I don’t have asthma, but up until last year suffered from food and significant seasonal and environmental allergies. I truly believe that beginning to tap about 18 months ago has been the reason my allergies no longer debilitate me. Now, any seasonal allergies that come are barely noticeable. While I still have a few serious food allergies/intolerances, I can now eat about four of the foods I couldn’t handle before with NO difficulties. This has been huge for me and I never realized what a strain it was trying to avoid all of the foods I was allergic to. My husband has the same issues, but doesn’t tap. I’m slowly trying to model what a huge place tapping has played in my physical health.

    Great Article-Thank you Nick!

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Get Instant Access to our "Releasing Anxiety" and "Sleep Support: Quiet The Racing Mind" Tapping meditations.
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