Stress and Trauma: how breathing helps change memories

Dec 21, 2023

In the realms of psychology, medicine, and global health care and development, understanding the intricacies of memory consolidation and reconsolidation is crucial for delivering effective interventions, especially in cases involving stress and trauma. Recent research led by Dr. Thomas Schreiner at LMU, published in Nature Communications, offers groundbreaking insights into the role of breathing in memory consolidation during sleep, which has profound implications for addressing stress and trauma-related disorders.

Memory consolidation is a critical process where short-term memories are transformed into long-term ones, predominantly during sleep. This complex neurobiological process involves various brain regions, particularly the hippocampus and the neocortex. The LMU study brings to light a fascinating aspect of this process: the synchronization between breathing patterns and specific brain rhythms during sleep, such as slow oscillations and sleep spindles. These rhythms play a vital role in transferring information from the hippocampus to the neocortex, where long-term memories are formed.


What makes these integrative studies revolutionary is their focus on how our respiration impacts these crucial brain rhythms.

Many organs interact with brain rhythms. For example, the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems are known to exhibit ultradian rhythmicity, which in turn interacts with brain rhythms. These bodily oscillators may constrain endogenous neuronal dynamics and act as common clocks, organising neuronal activity across brain regions. Among these body rhythms, breathing has recently emerged as a potential global pacemaker for neural oscillations and cognition during wakefulness, linking distinct neural network dynamics and facilitating information processing and transfer across distributed circuits.

It's now understood that our breathing pattern can influence the effectiveness of memory consolidation during sleep. This insight is particularly relevant for professionals working with patients experiencing age-related memory issues, sleep disorders, or cognitive decline. Reconsolidation of memories should also be a therapeutic goal for individuals suffering from stress or trauma. When a traumatic memory is recalled, it becomes labile and susceptible to modification before it is reconsolidated. This window offers a therapeutic opportunity. By understanding and manipulating the factors that influence memory reconsolidation, such as breathing patterns and brain rhythms, professionals can effectively target traumatic memories, as well as any new functional learning.

Given these developments, two specialized courses have been curated to integrate these groundbreaking findings into your therapeutic repertoire:

  1. RePro App and Tools Course: visit RePro page to explore a course designed to leverage subconscious processes and implicit memories. This course is a treasure trove of knowledge for those dealing with traumatic memories and stress-induced psychophysical issues. It offers practical tools and techniques based on the latest research in memory reconsolidation, enabling you to facilitate profound changes in your patients. A free trial is available to experience its immediate benefits.


  1. Crossed Cycles Breathing Technique Course: the CC Breathing Technique course introduces a scientifically-backed breathing method that acts on multiple levels to regulate stress responses and foster well-being. Particularly beneficial for professionals addressing stress and trauma, this technique aids in managing emotional responses and enhancing memory reconsolidation processes. Over 13,500 professionals have already enriched their practices with this tool.


Leveraging New Insights for Enhanced Patient Care

These courses not only complement the latest scientific insights but also offer you practical tools to more effectively address issues related to stress and trauma. By integrating these techniques into your practice, you can facilitate better memory reconsolidation, leading to improved outcomes for those grappling with traumatic memories.

Elevate your professional skills and make a significant impact on the lives of those you care for.





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