What are Trapped Emotions? How does this occur?

I am one who enjoys a good “rabbit trail.” Following the trail of how memories and emotions are recorded in our bodies ultimately led me to a great read. For the scientific minded people I would encourage the book The Body Keeps The Score, by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. for a deeper understanding on the physiology of how this happens. In short, memories are a compilation of emotional energy stored in our body reflecting everything our five senses experienced at that moment.

Wikipedia defines memory as “faculty of the mind by which data or information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is this retention of information over a period of time that has the purpose of influencing future action.” Interesting…”influencing future actions!”

Trapped Emotions are invisible, harmful, spinning energies that irritate body tissue.  They can be the size of an apple or even a cantaloupe.  This irritation can cause emotional pain, physical discomfort, illness, and even cause damage to our personal relationships.  When we have an extreme emotion the vibration of that emotion may become stuck in us; because of this vibrating, when we experience that same emotion at a later time, we tend to rush to that emotion quickly and more intensely.  If that is anger we get angrier than the situation may warrant.  If it is sadness we slip into sorrow quickly. Surprisingly, even the emotion of overjoy can become trapped and damaging to the body. This may cause one to respond joyfully in a situation that may not be appropriate for that situation.

We often hear how damaging stress in in our daily lives. Trapped emotions are part of that stress. With each released trapped emotion the body can then heal by restoring your body to homeostasis.  That is the healing that occurs within you and e you will find you begin to react differently in situations. The results can be subtle or even dramatic but the release of these harmful trapped emotions is permanent!  That’s right!  They do not return.  What does that mean for you?  Less worry, less stress, more happiness and more contentment. 

How did I get trapped emotions? What do they cause?

Throughout our lives we experience things through our five senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling. Our subconscious takes all this information and records it. Emotions may then become “trapped” when we do not take the time to process them; essentially to recognize what you are feeling and just let it go.

Three things happen when we experience an emotion. First, our body generates the emotional vibration. Second, we begin to feel the emotions and any thoughts or physical sensations that come along with it. Third, we choose to let the emotion go and we move on in a few seconds or minutes. If either the second or third step is interrupted, the emotional experience is incomplete and the energy of the emotion is likely to become trapped in the body.”

The Emotion Code, Dr. Bradley Nelson, pg. 6.


For example, on a recent trip with my husband as we were driving down the interstate, I looked up from the book I was reading to see a semi trailer cresting the hill on the opposite side of the road of which we had only ‘slightly’ crossed the center line. Immediately I began to panic and hyperventilate! My husband questioned my ‘extreme’ reaction…and truthfully I did as well. I paused mentally asking myself where that reaction came from. To my pleasant (okay, not so pleasant) surprise my subconscious brought forward a memory of when I was 16 and a distracted driver. I had crossed the center line and when I looked up I was in direct line with an oncoming semi trailer. A quick swerve almost landed me in the ditch back on my side of the road. My reaction with my husband was, in essence, a subconscious response to that buried memory of long ago! That became my next body code!


Emotions can be inherited from past generations; absorbed from others; shared with those who experienced the same scenario at the same time with the same emotion; or, even received while you were in your parent’s womb! We can trap emotions from both good situations and bad. Such as increased stress related to planning your wedding or the arrival of a new baby. Or by watching horror movies, observing parents fighting, from the loss of a loved one, through the experiencing of tragedy, the death of your favorite pet, even a comment made in passing. These are all permanently recorded within your subconscious.

Some emotional life experiences can cause emotions to be trapped:

  • loss of a loved one
  • divorce or relationship problems
  • financial hardship
  • home or work stress
  • miscarriage or abortion
  • physical trauma
  • physical or emotional combat
  • physical, mental, verbal or sexual abuse
  • internalization of feelings
  • neglect or abandonment
  • negative self-talk
  • negative beliefs about yourself or others
  • long term stress
  • bullying/harassment
  • rejection
  • betrayal
  • lack of support/love as a child
  • physical illness (cancer, heart attack, near death experience, severe asthma)
  • feelings of inferiority

What problems can trapped emotions cause?

Dr. Bradley Nelson states to some degree, trapped emotions can cause:  acid reflux, ADD/ADHD, allergies, abdominal pain, asthma, cancer, carpal tunnel, chest pain, chronic fatigue, Chron’s Disease, colitis, constipation, depression, diabetes, dyslexia, fibromyalgia, headaches, heartburn, hip pain, hypoglycemia, infertility, insomnia, irritable bowel (IBS), joint pain, knee pain, learning disabilities, lupus, migraines, night terrors, panic attacks, phobias, PTSD, sinus problems, vertigo, and more.  Emotion & Body Code is not a cure-all and should not be the main course of action with a serious illness but if trapped emotions are allowed to irritate tissue in large numbers for a long length of time, illnesses may occur.  Emotion & Body Code may decrease the severity of many maladies.


It is always exciting to hear from clients on how Emotion & Body Code has helped transform their lives. I would love to hear from you as well. Please take a moment and read about real world experiences from other clients who have experienced Emotion & Body Code. You, too, can experience increased peace and joy in your life.


Disclaimer: Nothing on this website is intended to diagnose, treat or cure any physical or medical conditions. If you have a physical or medical condition, you should seek the advice of your medical professional immediately.