Breathwork: A Method to Access Deeper Healing
“Breathwork?. Yeah, I know how to breathe. I’ve done meditation and watched mindfulness videos.” Uh, not the same. Not even close. Not to diminish the efficacy of those practices, but I would like to delineate more on this modality. So what is breathwork? I will refer to several sources throughout this article, which have helped in my training, which happened at The Wellness Institute, as well as the book by Kylea Taylor, The Breathwork Experience, and from trainings and writings of Carol Lampman, one of the premier trainers of Integral Breath Therapy.
From the training at Wellness, breathwork is bodywork, with aerobic breath, conscious connected breathing. It is a “highly personal, experiential process that uses breathing techniques to clear out physical, mental and emotional blocks or stresses” (Internship I48, Breathwork, p. 1.) A breathwork session allows the client to access, in a totally different way, the emotions that have been locked, often for years, within the body. The teachers described the process as surrendering, allowing the body to work and letting the mind rest, to “get out of the way”, which then opens up a new tool into making life changes, often in a more spiritual way.
The process involves both the client and a “sitter”, a person trained to observe and note body changes, be totally present for the client, to “hold the space”, and be ready for any notes, needs, or wishes of the person while in process. From start to finish, induction through to reflection and even journaling, the process may take almost two hours. The benefits to a session are usually immediate and long-lasting, both physically and emotionally. The release of long-held emotions allows the client to purge the body and brain of chemicals, leading to a greater detoxification within. The emotional release can help clients to tap into, recognize and then let go of unresolved trauma that has become a limiting script in their lives. The process is life-changing, not to be taken for granted, and because it is so crucial to be done accurately, only done in a safe environment, with trained facilitators.
Lampman describes the process as “a natural, organic, energy therapy to which a multitude of applications can be applied. The breath accesses all four levels of our being for healing: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. There is a mechanism within each of us, the inner healer, that knows exactly what is needed in order to return to health and wholeness.” (Lampman, 2016 Conference Presentation, Integration Concepts). Lampman also states that “For integration to occur during Integral Breath Therapy, the following elements must be present: connected breathing, surrender, relaxation, full awareness, integration and acceptance.” The Conscious Connected Breathing, or Circular Breathing, is a technique taught that allows for the creation of energy throughout the body, which activates stored material in the unconscious, allowing it then to be brought to the conscious, and the integration then can happen as awareness is present.
Taylor, in her book, writes that “Seen from one angle, breathwork looks like therapy and from another it more closely resembles a spiritual technique.” (Taylor, p. 121) She later writes that “Breathwork complements therapy by providing a special time, place, and technique for going more deeply within ourselves.” (Taylor, p. 132). It can often present another opportunity, when clients are ready to do deeper work, when trauma keeps presenting itself in re-enacted patterns, when clients decide that they are open and welcoming deep growth and healing.
My clients who have participated in and utilized breathwork sessions are usually those who have done hypnotherapy regressions and have recognized the value of surrender and becoming aware of what they have been holding in their bodies, then willing to move forward to growth and healing with an oft-misunderstood modality. My personal experience is that every one of my sessions has been so crucial to my understanding and accepting myself on a deeper level. During my ongoing training, I looked forward most to “Sunday funday” and the afternoon of breathwork.
At Wholeness Healing Center, we have two trained breathwork facilitators, both Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapists, who have been in training and facilitating for over 10 years. Please contact our office with questions or to check availability of scheduling.
Lampman, Carol A. (2016) Integrated concepts, integral breath therapy. Heart-Centered Therapies Conference, Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative Medicines, Lyndhurst, OH.
Taylor, Kylea. (1994) The breathwork experience: exploration and healing in nonordinary states of consciousness. Hanford Mead Publishers. Santa Cruz. CA.
Zimberoff, Diane and Hartman, David. Internship I48 Training Manual. The Wellness Institute. Issaquah, WA.Tags: Benefits of breathwork, Breath work, Breathwork is bodywork
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
Licensed Professional Counselor
Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist
- Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.
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