Deutsch: Respiratorisch / Español: Respiratorio / Português: Respiratório / Français: Respiratoire / Italiano: Respiratorio

The respiratory is the system of muscles that regulates the flow of air from the lungs to the vocal tract.

In psychology, the term respiratory generally relates to breathing processes and their impact on psychological states and functions. Although primarily physiological, respiratory processes are integral to several psychological theories and therapeutic practices, particularly those concerning stress, emotion regulation, and relaxation techniques.


Respiratory processes in psychology are often discussed in relation to how breathing affects mental and emotional well-being. Controlled breathing techniques are frequently used to manage anxiety, stress, and panic disorders. For example, deep breathing exercises are known to activate the body's natural relaxation response, leading to reduced stress levels, decreased heart rate, and lower blood pressure.

In cognitive-behavioral therapy and other forms of psychotherapy, respiratory strategies may be incorporated to help clients regulate their emotions and achieve a calmer state of mind. Additionally, the study of psychophysiology, which explores the relationship between mental processes and bodily functions, often focuses on how breathing patterns influence psychological states.

Application Areas

Respiratory techniques are utilized in various psychological applications, including:

  • Clinical psychology: To treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and stress-related conditions.
  • Health psychology: To enhance overall well-being and manage physiological symptoms of stress.
  • Sport psychology: To improve athletic performance through better physiological and psychological regulation.

Well-Known Examples

Psychological studies and practices that involve respiratory processes include:

  • Biofeedback: A technique where individuals learn to control physiological processes (including breathing) to improve physical and mental health.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): This program often incorporates breathing exercises to help participants focus on the present moment and reduce stress.

Treatment and Risks

Incorporating respiratory techniques in psychological treatment helps in the management of stress, anxiety, and mood disorders. Effective control of breathing can lead to significant improvements in mental health outcomes. However, it is crucial that these techniques are taught by trained professionals to avoid potential issues, such as hyperventilation, which can occur if breathing exercises are done incorrectly.

Similar Terms

Related terms in the context of psychology include:

  • Relaxation techniques: Methods used to reduce stress and anxiety, including various forms of controlled breathing.
  • Somatic psychology: A field of psychology that emphasizes the connections between the mind and body, often focusing on how breathing impacts mental health.


Articles with 'Respiratory' in the title

  • Respiratory therapy: Respiratory therapy refers to the diagnostic evaluation, management, and treatment of the care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities in the cardiopulmonary (heart-lung) system


In psychology, respiratory aspects are mainly concerned with how breathing influences and regulates emotional and psychological states. Through controlled respiratory techniques, individuals can effectively manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional states, thereby improving their overall psychological and physical health.