The Diaphragm and Stress

By Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund Frandsen, Touchpoint, Denmark

In stressed individuals, body awareness is often reduced, because so much activity is going on in their minds.

One effective way of applying reflexology with stressed clients, is to use it to re-establish good body awareness. An effective way is to work with the respiratory diaphragm.

Stressed persons tend to breathe quickly and shallow, with constant high tension in the diaphragm muscle. Normally, the diaphragm provides waves of mechanical forces, which massage the inner organs and contribute to their normal function. Each time we take a breath, all organs are moved, the kidneys for instance travel up and down about 3-400 meters every day!

During periods of stress the diaphragm is tense, the organs will move less, there may be a feeling of congestion, thoracic tension or pain and sense of detachment between the upper and lower part of the body.


The Phrenic Nerve

The nervous innervation of the diaphragm is supplied by the phrenic nerve (C3-C5) via the phrenic plexus, which is found as a foot reflex exactly where Eunice Ingham placed the Solar plexus.

The phrenic nerve also transmits sensory information back to the CNS from organs in the upper abdomen. If these organs are irritated, the phrenic nerve will be influenced, which could in turn affect the diaphragm, and a vicious circle is going.

This could explain the excellent results we have seen from working with reflexes for the diaphragm, phrenic nerve and phrenic plexus.

Another important area is the attachment of the diaphragm to the lumbar spine (L1-L3) which overlaps the upper part of the psoas muscle.


Nerve Reflex Point for the Phrenic nerve


Presentation in Canada

More about these and many more techniques in our presentation at the upcoming RAC 40th Anniversary Conference in Canmore and on the post conference workshop “Round about: Stress”.

We will apply methods from Danish reflexology, nerve reflexology, tune-in and centering techniques on the feet, chakra reflexes, etc. See for more information.

Round about Stress