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The Solar Plexus: The true center of our emotions – and relief?

The Solar Plexus

Ever experience a “knot” in your gut? How ’bout an unusual feeling in the “pit of your stomach?” Ever have the “wind knocked-out of you?” Well, the scene of all the action is the solar plexus – aka the celiac plexus.

Simply put, the solar plexus is a thick cluster of nerves and supporting tissue behind the stomach, just below the diaphragm. Being the largest autonomic nerve center in the abdominal cavity, it manages numerous vital functions – adrenal secretion and intestinal contraction being two.

I became interested in the goings-on of the solar plexus after experiencing the sensation of a chronic knot in between the bottom of my sternum and naval, as well as some poor breathing habits.

Well, let’s have a look at the solar plexus from a very creative and interesting perspective…

In a newsletter several weeks ago, I mentioned something known as a chakra, as I discussed color and emotions.

In review, a chakra (from the Sanskrit – the classical language of India) is an energy center within our bodies. According to tradition, it’s through chakras that life energy flows into, and out of, our auras. So chakras are all about our emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical beings. It’s said we have seven of them.

Well, wouldn’t you just know it, the 3rd chakra is centered at the solar plexus. In Sanskrit, it’s known as Manipura, and its associated color is yellow – its elements, fire and the sun. In addition to the solar plexus, the 3rd chakra includes the muscular system, skin, large intestine, stomach, liver, and others.

But what’s really cool is the 3rd chakra is thought to be involved with power, control, freedom, the ease with which we can be ourselves, self-esteem, personality,  ego, and the “mental body.”

And it’s linked with a few things we’re all too familiar with – worry, anxiety, fear, and excitement.

Bingo! We have a connection – and a relief target.

Okay, let’s chat about the two solar plexus related maladies I mentioned early on…

Upper Abdominal Knot – I read it’s referred to as The Knot of I;  and, “knot” surprisingly, presents in the midst of difficult and anxious circumstances. For some, it’s there all the time. The knot is thought to be based in self-contraction – a separateness from self and the outside world, as well as an acute sense of fear. This is a phenomenon of what’s called the “body mind.”

Poor Breathing Habits – Those enduring depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder often breathe incorrectly – the diaphragm contracting on inhale and expanding on exhale. This not only robs us of oxygen, but the ability to feel, as well.

Those who are into healing by focusing upon chakras would propose numerous relief techniques. These may include the application of color, light and gemstones to specific areas and acupoints on the body. Also used are candles, wands, prisms, colored fabrics, bath and soap treatments, and colored glasses or lenses. Hydrotherapy and aromatherapy are frequently added to a healing regimen.

But if those don’t grab you, how ’bout this simple breathing technique…

Sitting in a comfortable and centered position, visualize energy being pulled up from below you. Sense it entering your spine and being channeled throughout your body. Now, visualize a beam of healing energy flowing down your head; again, being channeled throughout your body.

Once you’ve accomplished this, visualize yourself stretched out in the sun in a setting that’s comforting to you. You can very much feel the sun pouring its healing rays down upon you. Take yourself to your solar plexus area and visualize it absorbing golden balls of sunlight – providing great and comforting warmth. At the same time, explore a little bit. That’s right, ask your solar plexus area what it’s holding on to and what needs resolution – and silently listen to its response.

And while you’re at it, practice your breathing – gently placing the palm of your hand on your diaphragm, feeling it slowly and surely extending outward as you inhale.

You know, I so often talk about living “neck-up.” Simply, it means doing all one can to stay in their mind in either a conscious or unconscious effort to avoid any sense of living down in their body. And the mission is simple – to avoid the solar plexus, and its wealth of feelings and self-opinions.

So what do you think about all of this, chipur readers? Anything potentially helpful? Maybe you’ve been into this philosophy and method of healing? Why not share?

image courtesy of heart-of-fire-illuminators.com

Bill White Hi! I’m Bill White, founder and producer of Chipur – and a licensed counselor. Are you looking for help? The miles are irrelevant. Visit my Coaching|Mentoring page.

  • Mark Reynolds

    Hey, I read your article on the healing the solar plexus and it was overall very helpful. However, one thing seemed contrary to beliefs I have adopted through spiritual teachings. And this may be opinion but here goes…. You mentioned the “neck-up” way of living and to inhabit the mind and avoid our wealth of overwhelming feelings in our body. Well, someone may read this and have very negative thoughts in their head. They will disregard their pain and listen to their brain. They may be living unconsciously already and read into this to listen more to their internal heckler they hear in their head. Eckhart Tolle talks about finding our roots in being and the joy of being by inhabiting the body fully. Through breath and by observing the world with every cell of our body. We should become more present and in the Now if we experience resistance or pain in the body. We do not sweep it under the rug and discount its wrong doing but use its energy to release it from our body and dis identify from our pain. Thank you : )

    • http://chipur.com Bill

      Hi Mark. And thank you for a well-considered and helpful comment. I may have expressed it poorly in the article – my intent was inline with what you just detailed. People spend so much time “neck-up,” avoiding the feelings (and pain) downstairs. And it’s down in the body where so much healing can be accomplished. And not to mention, as you said, the wealth of “negative thoughts” that so often float around in one’s head. Again, thanks for your comment – and your visit.

  • Jaime

    I’m so glad I found this article while surfing through your always helpful and interesting site. You may remember our discussion a while back about my extreme DD/panic episode that occurred to me at work about a month or so ago. What I didn’t tell anyone (because I thought it sounded weird), was that during that episode, it felt like my body/my mind/my world was swirling around this strange knot in my solar plexus. This might sound weird, but it felt like this “knot” was like a stalk and I was spinning around it, and it felt like I might snap off it at any moment. It wound tighter and tighter. I remember saying “I feel like my heart is breaking”. Ugh, it was such an ugly experience. I wonder what would have happened if I HAD snapped off the stalk. Weird, huh?

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi Jaime! Thanks for visiting – and for your comment. Listen, nothing is “weird” around here. We endure some seemingly strange stuff for sure. But there’s always a cause; and if we keep our cool and avoid misinterpretation and overreaction, we can usually get to the bottom of it. The article was generated by own solar plexus knot. Oh, and guess what – my money says you’ll never snap off the stalk. One suggestion – without obsessing over it, during quiet moments swirl your knot/stalk experience around. Don’t try to force an explanation, but give it time to talk with you. Over time, some cool revelations may come forth.

    • Dick

      If you are in an negative relationship with another person you could be receiving neg energy from them thinking it is yours. Place your hand or a large book over your solar plexus and if it goes away it is not from you.We receive a lot of energy from others and do not know it, thinking it is ours.Remember the solar plexus is very strong antenna and receives a lot of energy from outside.

      • http://chipur.com chipur

        Excellent input and direction. Thanks, Dick…

      • Dee

        I understand what you are saying here Dick about picking up others energy in the solar plexus. I have gone from feeling wonderful to feeling out of control in an instant when my partner’s energy changed. We were getting along wonderfully and then all of a sudden he felt fearful and had to leave the room. When he returned i could feel this energy he was feeling and felt out of control myself but managed to keep it from taking me over. This has been ongoing for a while now. The only thing i have learned to do is leave the room at once. I have had many instances were i have not done this and regretted it later.

      • http://chipur.com chipur

        Thank you for your participation, Dee. It’s comments like yours that hold the potential to help so many. Please come back. Bill

  • Ashleysherritt

    I currently have a knot in my solar plexus. In times of conflict I experience anxiety, also at times when I don’t feel in control. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi Ashleysherritt!

      Welcome to chipur and thank you for participating. I’m thinking you’ve found the inter-relationship between your anxiety and that knot in your solar plexus. If not, do some personal journaling/charting to confirm it (you’ll spot it, I’m sure).

      So that means if you’re able to use assorted techniques to keep your anxiety (and moments of conflict and loss of control) in check, you’ll untie that knot.

      For me, directed breathing exercises with my one of my hands actually on top of the knot helped tremendously. I also spent quite a bit of time massaging it.

      I sure appreciate your visit to chipur and encourage you to continue reading! Thank you…


      • colleen

        does the pain in the pit of your stomach get worse after you eat inrf in what your talking about?

      • http://chipur.com chipur

        Thanks for your participation, Colleen. Let’s see if we get a response…

  • Mike

    Hi Chhiour.  Thak you for your insight.  I have been aware of this Sooar Plexus ache, as I call it, since I was 8 or so. It can be very painful ofr me and I often hold my fist over it and apply preasure.  I feel it can be triggered to release pain and can be very destructive when released.  I fell it it is the Pain body didscussed by ekhart Tolle.  He teaches that awareness of it happening will shrink it and its affects.  I believe visualizations as you have suggested are another way of being concious and healing

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi Mike…

      Interesting comment, as I can recall odd sensations in the solar plexus area since I was a boy, as well. It’s amazing what our bodies tell us about our emotional status.

      I appreciate your participation…


  • Teemoking

    i used to suffer with anxiety, which has made me read countless books on the body and i think your spot on everything you said there ive had to change. the knot thing i suffer with only sometimes know where im just trying to break the old habit. thank you for confirming what i thought x

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      You’re more than welcome, Teemoking. And thank you for visiting chipur and participating! Bill

  • Becky

    Ahhhh…well thank you. Was in the bath earlier trying to assertain what this constant feeling and sometimes contracting in my solar plexius is, i’ve had it since last summer. I feel in a constant state of something is about to happen….excitement….nervousness (not fear though) it took me some time to realsie that this is actually anxiety as i don’t see myself as anxious. But definately understand this connection to nature and the also the spirit senses which is healthy in me and the outside physical reality which i really struggle with…there is a huge split there. I am being drained of energy by this feeling as it never goes away. And more recently I have been ill for months which is so unlike me. I’m going to try to get a dialogue going in the way you sugested…such a relief to find this!   

  • Ian

    Very interesting. I find most emotions, be it positive or negative affect the solar plexus. Recently, I found myself and I became aware of my ego. Reflecting on the new me, I felt a new energy surrounded me, a more positive way of thinking and a higher sense of reality. With these thoughts, and my new state of mind I felt a big release of energy in my solar plexus, it was nearly like a river flowing, it was a very interesting feeling; I then linked emotion with the solar plexus. This is how I came across this page. Interesting stuff, I will try a few of the techniques mentioned.

  • rob

    Great Article, Through my own journey I have discovered that deep emotional traumas can cause one to ‘rise up to the head’ to survive life, to ‘think’ there way through life..because the injury to the emotional self was so severe and unbearable..I know this to be in my own case..it’s been recently that I have focused attention on the pain in the solar plexus..just resting my attention on it and just by resting my attention on it I have noticed many shifts in perception and the usual chatter in my mind lessens..I have actually made a shift in my life..a new stage..Living ‘from’ the solar plexus. I have found this to be extremely interesting and healing..I believe that many philosophers like nietzsche and the like suffered tremendous emotional traumas which caused a severe disconnect and attachment to the intellect..of course this is just my personal perception..;) Keep on writing!!

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Thank you, Rob. I will, indeed, continue the writing – as long as folks like you continue the reading. Nothing like living “neck-down” when it comes to resolving emotional gunk. I believe your strategy is spot-on…


    • ange

      I recently saw my beautiful little dog killed outright on the road, he took his last breaths in my arms and passed..I feel so lost without him and my heart feels so heavy, whenever I am going to sleep I feel a pulling on my solar plexus, a tugging sensation, I feel it may be connected to my little dog and his sudden leaving physical…It is as if I feel him even through the intense grief…I also lost a family member 5 month ago, there has been huge changes in my life..what can I do to deal with this strange sensation..? Thank you Ange

  • Beryl

    Rob, just reading through your feedback and the comment “usual chatter in my mind” resonates so strongly with me. That chatter is so loud that I desperately long for peace, silence and quiet around me, to balance the volumes in my mind.
    Bill, thank you for THIS!! I have just arrived at your site, looking for information on Valdoxane which I have been given to take by a new and hopefully insightful and intuitive doctor to whom I turned in my fight to stay in control of my hectic life.
    I have been on all sorts of anti-depressants, and have tried to do as much as I can to “read” what my body and mind need, in order to cope with normal life. The last few years were treatment for bi-polar, and a year ago I stopped taking conventional pharmaceuticals. Since then I have been trying to learn how to lessen my reaction to anxiety and stress, and have used a variety of ayuvedic herbal remedies for worry, stress, etc. I realised that my trips to the psychiatrist often happened at a time that I was under particularly heavy mental stress, and if I could equip myself to recognise the triggers and defuse them, I had a better chance of coming through the episodes safely, and stronger. It was based on that realisation that I stopped taking the drugs a year ago. My mind is so much clearer now, creativity is starting to kick in again, at last, and I have so much more hope of surviving. Never too sure what I am surviving, but there is hope!! So, thanks

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi Beryl!
      Thank you for visiting Chipur and participating. I’m so pleased for you that your mind is clearing-up and creativity is returning – and that hope has arrived on the scene. What a relief and joy that must be! Chipur readers, Beryl mentions Valdoxan, aka Agomelatine. Here’s a piece I did on it some time ago http://chipur.com/2011/05/20/agomelatine-for-depression-a-breakthrough/
      Again, thanks, Beryl…

  • Nitzke

    I have had this ache for much of my life.At the age of 71 I am now attempting to treat the cause of what I feel to be symptomatic pain. In my case I believe it is the locked away pain and grief of being forcibly separated from my mother at the age of four, and her subsequent death from cancer at the age of thirty-six. I am seeing a psychotherapist to attempt to go through some sort of grieving process, so that I can come to terms with my loss emotionally as opposed to intellectually. I do feel that it is the cause of the solar plexus’thing’ as well as the ‘chatter in the mind’ (which I take to be all the processing that I do in an attempt to guard myself against further hurt) which inhibits spontaneity etc.

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Thanks so much for visiting Chipur and participating, Nitzke! I have absolutely no problem accepting your belief. I mean, to the very extreme: as you may know, conversion disorder is a diagnosable emotional/mental health situation in which one may experience blindness, paralysis, or other neurological symptoms that can’t be explained by a medical evaluation. I have no doubt that our emotional/mental wounds and status frequently manifest physically. Best to you in your psychotherapy work. I admire your insight and drive to find relief.

  • Katharine

    I found this page looking up stomach pain. Today I have been having pain from that indentation below the breast down to just above my naval. My solar plexus, diaphram, and stomach feels bruised. I think with emotional support I can work again. More than a decade ago, health issues hit. They thought they were emotional for years until I ended up in the ER. They finally figured out the reasons were physical conditions when I was in the ER. I think I can deal with the physical health issues and get back to work and living if I can have support of some kind. I went from people around me to finally pushing my friends away last year which has left me desperate. I think with emotional support once they diagnosed the physical problems and gave me medicine I could have been back to work years go.

    The aloneness over a decade, along with the physical conditions caused depression, and panic/anxiety, and agoraphobia– something I always had off and on, but not like this. Before Christmas, I felt I couldn’t keep going, with no reason to get up, no job to go to, no husband, all the things we think we need in the great U.S. of A. Well, I do want a job. After more than 10 years I prayed 4 days before Christmas as I felt I couldn’t go on anymore. I immediately heard like a thought in my mind the word Lexapro when I prayed. Oh my god, it took away the panic, fear and anxiety quite nearly completely, but I still feel no purpose. Some months back, in spite of a Dr. telling not to take melatonin I decided to buy it, and I sleep well and feel better the next day.

    There is still heavy duty stuff going on, as I still feel no purpose, but the empty, painful, unbearable hole in my heart area is mostly gone from the Lexapro. I have been seeing someone in my family again and it is helping me feel like a person that has hope again.

    I don’t know why I’m writing all this, it’s very personal, but I just stumbled on this page. I’m interested in the medication I’ve always pushed away.

    I’ve meditative for nearly 33 years until this got so bad a few years ago I couldn’t. But my intuition is good. I prayed and got an answer immediately, and knew to take the melatonin and now I recently knew I had to get in touch with my mother and begin seeing here. I hope I will have a life again.

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi Katharine!

      Thank you so much for visiting Chipur (even if it wasn’t intentional), and participating (I’ll assume that was). I’m glad you found something with which you could connect.

      It’s good that your physical “issues” were identified in the E.R. And it’s my hope you find the support you need to get back to work and live that life of yours. It would be great if you could reconnect wtih at least some of your friends. No doubt, “aloneness” can generate all kinds of icky, depressive feelings and mood. I’m glad the Lexapro brought relief; however, I understand the “heavy duty stuff” is still going on. Still, it sure reads as though you’re “on it” and can expect good things in the future, as you work toward maximizing your recovery.

      You know, you were wondering why you wrote as much, and as deeply, as you did. Seems to me you felt comfortable here and compelled to share. Not only does that help you – it helps others. And I appreciate that.

      Again, thank you for your participation, Katherine. And with hard work, I just know your tomorrows will be bright.


    • Patricia Miller

      Dear Katharine,
      I think there is so much power and healing in the sort of sharing you did here on Chipur. The only thing I would suggest to you is that I’ve really found counseling a great adjunct to all of the interventions you list. There is some significant power in that alliance as you work on “tidying up” the old business and developing new skills. It is hard to be your own coach. I am so thankful for you that your ER trip was positive though.

      Take gentle care,

      • http://chipur.com chipur

        Pretty sweet, Patricia. Thank you for your contribution!!!

  • Katharine

    Thank you Bill. Thank you for this site. When you said, I know your tomorrows will be brighter, you’re “on it”, with hard work.., etc. it made me feel better that you cared enough to respond and your positive mind affected my mind ;).

    Yes, when I read the article above I felt comfortable here. At age 20 my life took a spiritual bent -daily meditation, and I understand to some small degree all these interconnections with emotions, chakras, etc. I’ve wondered how much of my physical issues were enviromentally caused or emotionally based. I think it goes from the sub-atomic level until we can become sick on many levels if things aren’t dealt with. That doesn’t matter now, I have to survive this ordeal now and find a way to come out of it, as I am working on pushing from day to day.

    I know that we can all affect each other so much. Like the child afraid of the ballet class, and the mother says you can do it, and the child trys, runs back to the mother afraid, and the mother gently pushes and the child soon is a little ballerina.

    When we don’t believe anymore, someone elses strong mind can make us believe. I know I use to do that for others often when I was well, and even now I do it when I can, but I think I need to do it for myself with help from my mother and new liasions.

    Seeing my mother just twice has helped. And I am going again. Friends, I will have to pray, as last year I lost my temper with them, and they’d never seen me do it, and I tried to apologize, but that was it. One 17 year friendship, one 10, and one 1 year. Shocking, that if you fall out of character you can be abandoned. It was very hard for me to take and has been quite devastating, but God willing I will get and make the breaks I need.

    Thank you for your positive thoughts, and kindness.


    • http://chipur.com chipur

      You’re more than welcome, Katharine. Please chime in anytime. By the way, you express yourself so very well – and your writing is just great. Funny how I catch the writing thing – always have. And thank you for your kindness shown by sharing so much with us…


  • Katharine

    Dear Patricia,
    I was very shocked and I felt very acknowledged by you and the universe, that someone else beside Bill would respond to my post and be so kind. I knew my sharing was more than others, but I guess I’m at a point where I really need to be heard.

    I do have a therapist, and I told him I few weeks ago, the pain was becoming to much as I would stay inside 3 and 4 days in a row, I really let him know I was in trouble and he heard me. I told him he needed to tell me to do something everyday and I had to keep my committment to him. It has worked. Sometimes I can’t wait to get back to my safe home, but getting out is helping and breaking up the day, and I see there is life out there.

    My problem is before this hit, I was obviously younger, thinner, very up on the work I did, and could get those jobs easy. Now I am older, not as thin or pretty, and the truth is I don’t know how to launch from here. And I need to walk everyday, and build up my strength so I can work somewhere. I am working on this with my therapist. I have a good mind, at least good enough. I just need people is the real problem. The physical, as I said I can deal with.

    Thank you so much for seeing the pain I am in and caring. You are appreciated.



    • http://chipur.com chipur

      I’m lovin’ the love here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • Patricia Miller

      Oh, Katharine….. You are so absolutely welcome. I am so sorry you are hurting, and finding life so painful right now. Please know your sharing here is a positive and healing step. You are likely far more lovely than you perceive, and I can only share from my experience that any little bit you can do will be enough each day. Just never believe the falsehood that you are alone on this path.
      With healing thoughts,

      • http://chipur.com chipur

        …and that’s what Chipur is all about!

  • womble

    Thank you so much , my solar plexus started to open a few years back and scared me as the feelings from it put so much fear in my mind. I didn’t realise it then as it was new to me but all I needed to do was let go, let go of the fear. This year I am working on vibration, heightened consciousness and clearing my chakras, you mentioned living from the neck upwards and this is exactly what I was doing, my brain was taking over everything and ultimately would be my downfall if it continued. Now I am addressing that and understand the fear and karma in this area, we have to release it to get to the heart chakra and be masters of our destiny, to get off the karmic wheel. Thank you and lots of blessings.

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hey, womble! Thank YOU for paying a visit and contributing. The details you provided will no doubt help Chipur readers. This sharing thing – it’s everything I’d like Chipur to be. Blessings to you…

  • Nikita Dalal

    I never noticed it but have heard of the ‘Chakras’ from my Granny. In India, gemstones are used to balance the chakras. :)

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Cool, Nilkita. Glad you stopped-by and shared. Amazing how recollections sneak up on us, huh?! Thanks for your visit, and please come back…


  • aly

    This!! I have been suffering with this horrible anxiety for 3 years and I have been telling people “it feels like the wind was knocked out of me” ,”I’m running a marathon and cant catch my breath” or”All my energy is gone and it feels like its being drained from my stomach”. I have lyme disease and its been hell, but the worst part isnt the pain its this tight, constricting muscle feeling in my stomach that causes issues breathing, which has resulted in MAJOR anxiety and panic attacks. I was prescribed a medication for the lyme, BAD IDEA. The medication sent me over! And since then, I havent been able to leave the house on my own, my mother has to drive me to doctors appnts. and thats literally the only place I’ve been within the last 8 months and its all a result of this anxiety that is coming from my stomach. I’m generally a calm person, but this thing has turned me into someone I dont even know! None of the “deep breathing, relaxation” techniques have worked, I have to find a way to fix this!!!

    • http://chipur.com/ Chipur

      Hey, Aly! I’m so glad you stopped-by and participated. Really sorry you’re having such a rough go of it. Sans the Lyme disease part, I fully feel your pain – as I’m sure is the case for most all Chipur readers. Incidentally, I have a client who’s currently being treated for Lyme, having a PICC line in her right arm. Just brutal. I’m wondering if you see a counselor – a good one, that is. So much comfort and healing can come of it. Do keep us updated on your progress, and know you aren’t alone, k? Thank you, Aly. Oh, almost forgot! Chipur readers – wanna’ learn more about Lyme disease? Posted an article on it several weeks ago http://chipur.com/lyme-disease-have-you-been-fooled-by-the-great-imitator/