Breathwork Therapy What Is It?

Breathwork is a psychotherapeutic, meditative activity that involves the conscious alteration of natural breathing patterns. Breathwork has been associated with other body-centric practices, such as yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong.

As is the case with this other practices that emphasize body consciousness, breathwork is used to help reduce stress, clear the mind, focus on the moment at hand, and gain personal, psychological, and spiritual insights.

Under the guidance and supervision of a qualified breathwork therapist, breathwork patients may speed, slow, or otherwise alter their breathing patterns as a means of calming, focusing, and centering themselves.

Common forms of breathwork include Breath Awareness, Clarity Breathwork, Conscious Breathing, Holotropic Breathwork, Rebirthing Breathwork, Shamanic Breathwork, Transformational Breathwork, Vivation Breathwork, and Zen Yoga Breathwork.

What are the Benefits of Breathwork?

In an article in Breathe magazine, Joy Manne, PhD, described breathwork as having psychological, psychoanalytic, spiritual, cognitive, and physical benefits.

“Our breathing takes place in our body,” Dr. Manne wrote. “Through breath awareness we can find the blockages in our body and by taking our breath to them, work with them and release them. There is no body work that can succeed without using the breath to support it.”

On the website of Breathwork Europe, longtime breathwork practitioner and leader of the Spiritual Breathwork movement describes breathwork in the following terms:

It is very exciting to discover that by focusing on your breath, and by breathing in certain ways, you can awaken healing energies and calming forces within you.

By controlling and directing your breath, you can control and direct many so called “unconscious” reactions or “involuntary” processes. Through conscious breathing you can regulate your physiological, emotional, psychological and spiritual states.

What Conditions/Disorders Does Breathwork Treat?

Breathwork has been employed in a variety of treatment programs, including those for individuals who have been dealing with grief or loss, trauma, drug addiction, alcoholism, and related emotional and psychological issues.