Better health can be as easy as breathing

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How can breathwork nourish you?

Breathwork is a bridge to our body, mind and soul[1]. Consciously controlling our breath impacts our psychological and physiological[2] state via the autonomic nervous system. Breathwork may assist with the body’s natural ability to heal, as well as promoting self awareness and personal transformation[3].

Our life experience is mirrored in our breath. When we are nervous our breathing is rapid, when surprised we gasp, when sad we sigh and when we are relaxed our breath is deep and slow. Breath awareness allows us to adjust our respiration to recognise and hinder health and happiness. 

The birth of breathwork can be traced back to timeless traditions of Buddhism, martial arts, Sufism and yoga. Meditative breathing was often used to manage emotions, focus awareness and elevate energy. Conscious breathing is the practice of breathing with awareness, intention and attention to your inner experience, in the present moment[4].

A number of breathwork specialisations have emerged over the years. Modern breathwork pioneers include Dr. Wilhelm Reich of 1920’s Reichian Breathwork[5]. Leonard Orr of 1970’s Rebirthing Breathwork[6], Jim Leonard and Phil Laut of 1979 Vivation[7], Stanislav Grof of 1970’s Holotropic Breathwork®[8], Jacquelyn Small of 1991 Integrative Breathwork[9] and Giten Tonkov of 2006 BioDynamic Breathwork Trauma Release System[10].

The Australian Breathwork Association[11] sets professional standards for breathwork practitioners who practice breathwork based on the conscious connected breathing cycle as the breathing technique. Each breathwork specialty has their specific governing body to ensure consistent qualifications.  

Benefits of breathwork

Breathwork is reported to have a range of anecdotal and clinically proven benefits. In general, deep breathing oxygenates the bloodstream, alkalises blood pH, decreases cortisol[12], lowers blood pressure, increases parasympathetic function, raises nitric oxide and improves respiratory muscle tone. It has also been shown to regulate and release emotions[13].

Breathwork may assist in relieving symptoms related to:

ADD/ADHD Alzheimer’s disease Anxiety Asthma Blood pressure Dementia and alzheimer's Energy and vitality Fatigue, burnout and exhaustion Headaches and migraines Immunity issues Insomnia and sleep disorders PTSD and trauma Respiratory and breathing issues Show all

What to expect from a breathwork session

Breathwork varies according to the discipline, patient and practitioner. It can be conducted in an individual or group setting facilitated by a qualified breathwork practitioner.

Prior to a practical session it is vital to communicate any existing health concerns including issues with breathing, heart issues, injuries, surgeries, psychiatric or vision impairment. 

Following a thorough consultation and briefing the experiential journey begins. Depending on the discipline you may be asked to move, sit or lie down for the practice. Touch, sounds and exercises may be incorporated into the therapy. 

Common sensations arising during breathwork may include calmness, connectedness, cramps, dizziness, energy, exhilaration, memory recall, palpitations, tightness, tinnitus and tingling. If past trauma arises, an expert practitioner should gently guide you to release it rather than risking re-traumatisation. 

It is generally recommended that new participants commit to 3-10 sessions. Do also ensure you get sufficient rest and hydration after a session to ensure your emotions and metabolic processes can stabilise. Take a deep breath for a profound path towards optimal health and longevity. 

While breathwork is a non-invasive, gentle modality which is unlikely to cause any adverse effects, it is always important to consult your medical professional before commencing. If you have an injury, health issue, or any concerns, do inform your practitioner who will be happy to address these and explore how the session can be adjusted to best suit your requirements.


  1. Online Holistic Breathwork School | Sacred Breath Academy
  2. How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing | PubMed
  3. What is Breathwork | Australian Breathwork Association
  4. Breathwork Definitions | IBF Breathwork Foundation
  5. Reichian Breathwork | The Reichian Institute
  6. Rebirthing Breathwork International | Leonard Orr
  7. Vivation International | breathwork, meditation, empowerment breathwork, meditation, empowerment | Vivation International
  8. About Holotropic Breathwork® | Grof Transpersonal Training
  9. Integrative Breathwork is best way for human development. This breathwork is effective for stress reduction. | Integrative Breathwork
  10. Breathwork | Trauma Release | Breathwork Practitioner Training | BBTR Institute
  11. Home | Australian Breathwork Association
  12. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults | PubMed
  13. Mindful attention to breath regulates emotions via increased amygdala-prefrontal cortex connectivity | PubMed

Frequently asked questions

Breathwork refers to various techniques that involve conscious control of breathing for psychological, physiological, and spiritual benefits. Different specializations have emerged over the years, including Reichian Breathwork, Rebirthing Breathwork, Vivation, Holotropic Breathwork®, Integrative Breathwork, and BioDynamic Breathwork Trauma Release System, each with its unique approach and pioneers.

Conscious control of breath impacts our psychological and physiological states through the autonomic nervous system. By intentionally altering the breath, individuals can influence stress levels, emotional states, and overall well-being, creating a bridge between the body, mind, and soul.

Yes, Breathwork has been suggested to assist the body's natural ability to heal. Through intentional breathing practices, individuals may experience relaxation, reduced stress, and improved energy flow, contributing to overall health and well-being.

Breathwork serves as a powerful tool for promoting self-awareness and personal transformation. The conscious engagement with breath allows individuals to explore and release emotional and physical tension, facilitating a deeper understanding of themselves and fostering transformative experiences.

Various Breathwork specializations, such as Rebirthing Breathwork, Holotropic Breathwork®, and BioDynamic Breathwork Trauma Release System, differ in their techniques, philosophies, and goals. Each specialization may emphasize unique aspects of breath awareness, energy release, or psychological exploration.

While Breathwork can be beneficial for many, it may not be suitable for individuals with certain respiratory or cardiovascular conditions. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in Breathwork, especially for those with specific medical concerns. Additionally, individuals should choose a Breathwork specialization that aligns with their personal goals and comfort levels.
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