Therapeutic breathing practice, known as holotropic breathwork, combines several aspects of breathing techniques. What makes it greatly distinctive from other types of breathwork is that it incorporates body awareness and movement. Primarily, this breathing therapy aims to promote healing in individuals who developed anxiety issues.
Additionally, holotropic breathwork is also helpful for people who experience grief, trauma, pain, and other emotional disturbances. With this kind of breathing practice, a therapist encourages you to focus on how you breathe. With the therapist’s help, you can focus on movement and the intangible value of life during sessions.
Popularly, holotropic breathwork is said to produce an altered state of consciousness. Many believe it is a great practice that can impact overall health, emotional healing, personal growth, and well-being. Also, it involves breathing rapidly for minutes to hours. Supposedly, the practice can help to alter the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide efficiently.
With the right guidance and practice, holotropic breathwork can put you into a dreamlike, meditative state. Thus, it can help improve your psychological and spiritual development. On top of that, the therapeutic breathing practice is meant to activate your natural capacity for self-healing. Sounds great so far, right? Discover if it is worth trying or risky for you below.
Holotropic breathwork is popular because many people have already found it an effective therapy. Well, since it uses powerful brainwaves, it is safe to trust that it can help balance the body and heal trauma.
In addition, the breathing technique uses powerful yet safe mind-altering frequencies. That means it can reach into the subatomic realm of our consciousness. Through this sense of awareness, you can access deep memories and patterns of experiences.
According to some studies, it can also help people with the following conditions:
While some studies prove that it can be helpful for many people, it doesn’t mean that holotropic breathwork is completely safe to practice for everyone — know that and more below. But before that, let’s dig into how this therapeutic breathing practice works.
Through self-examination and guided imagery, participants of holotropic breathwork are encouraged to uncover current conditions. As said above, the process involves breathing fast for minutes or hours, depending on the technique that a person wishes to do. The breathing practice can enable people to explore their inner thoughts and feelings, including their anxieties.
Truly, the therapist also uses music to create a meditative state during the breathwork. They use it for communication with the “higher self.” By that, it can be used for pre-treatment, during treatment, or as a post-treatment tool. As a result, it will enhance the session or as an alternative therapy in its own right.
Without a doubt, great music stimulates deep relaxation and awareness. It has the power that pushes past physical or intellectual barriers. This includes facilitating the release of negative emotions, archetypes, and limiting beliefs.
Besides its effectiveness, holotropic breathwork is also highly popular since there are risk issues involving it. Ironically, its great power can activate and trigger intense feelings. The practice can increase physical and emotional releases, which can be too much to handle for some people.
If they fail to manage the emotions unveiled through the breathwork, it could lead to intense reactions, provoking more deep-buried feelings. This is when holotropic breathwork becomes highly controversial, making some skeptical about trying and learning it. So, wondering about its side effects as well? Then, let’s see them below.
Overall, holotropic breathwork is safe to practice. Yet, it is quite difficult to deny that there are side effects that even you can observe by learning the breathing practice. That’s why it is beneficial to be well aware of what it can do to you. Let’s start with the common risks now and later with the breathwork’s great benefits
Since holotropic breathwork can change the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body, you can experience woozy feelings or lightheadedness. Surely, you can feel dizzy if you are not familiar with the changes in oxygen levels when practicing controlled breathing.
Aside from dizziness, a sudden change in oxygen levels can also result in temporary loss of consciousness. This is why it is important to be properly guided when trying holotropic breathwork to avoid this side effect.
As this therapeutic breathing practice can release more emotions, you might experience negative emotions from the memories or trauma you have hidden from your consciousness before.
The change in oxygen levels in your body can also result in a temporary loss of strength. This is why a nice rest after practicing the breathwork can be great.
Frankly, you need to be mindful of practicing holotropic breathwork. If not, you can hyperventilate with just improper breathing. Truly, the focus is a must with this type of breathwork.
Changes in oxygen levels can also result in potential changes in your body’s circulation. When this happens, there will be numbness or cramping in different body parts, such as legs, hands, feet, and arms.
As holotropic breathwork controls breathing, it is only natural to influence changes in breathing patterns. Common side effects are seizures or hallucinations in people struggling with mental disorders.
The fact that holotropic breathwork can intensify emotions and trigger side effects, it becomes clear that it is really not for everyone. In fact, it is not recommended for people with heart disease, a history of severe emotional disorder, and a serious cardiovascular disorder. At the same time, it is not a breathing practice for pregnant women to try.
Another thing that can efficiently trigger side effects of the therapeutic breathing practice is improper execution. To give you an idea, there are relevant details about what happens during a holotropic breathwork session. Scroll down to learn more.
A holotropic breathwork session occurs one-on-one between a facilitator and the person seeking the breathing therapy. Yet this technique is most often offered in group sessions. Sometimes, participants in a session are paired off with one person as the “breather.” The other person, the “sitter,” is available to assist the breather if necessary. But they only offer support and do not interrupt the process unless necessary.
Meanwhile, the trained facilitators who guide the session lead participants in an exercise. They encourage them to increase both the speed and depth of their breathing. It allows them to know the most comfortable rhythm.
Commonly, a session can last between two and three hours. During the session, the breather lies on a mat and utilizes breathing. At the same time, evocative music enters a different state of consciousness. The content is flexible where the sessions are open-ended. It helps individuals stimulate their inner healing.
Moreover, the mechanism has a unique internal experience with fewer constraints. It is better than a typical therapy. That means music with repetitive rhythms incorporates a way to promote a trance-like brain state.
Certainly, holotropic breathwork explores problems and gets into a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This is a return to the ordinary with new perspectives. Yet a person who practices this therapeutic breathing can go deeper into their inner world. As a result, the charged subconscious rises to consciousness. When the tension blockage releases, it aims to achieve holistic healing in the body.
Despite the risks, is it still beneficial to learn holotropic breathwork? Well, knowing its great benefits can help you figure out the answer. So, dive into the details below.
The therapeutic breathing practice allows the body to turn to exit fight-or-flight mode. As a result, you can relieve your stress and be more peaceful.
Since the breathwork can change the breathing pattern, it also eases the mind, clearing it. There will be fewer negative thoughts. Also, you can focus more on positive thinking and being happier.
How you breathe is truly important. That’s why controlling it to make it even better is beneficial. The most common benefit is triggering your parasympathetic nervous system. It rests, and you will experience improved relaxation.
Holotropic breathwork can clear your mind and let you see more of yourself in a more confident and positive light. This can be a good practice if you are struggling with your self-esteem.
Since this breathwork can help you with your negative thoughts, it can also influence more personal growth. You can understand more of your struggles and learn to face them.
Aside from helping you improve your self-esteem and personal growth, holotropic breathwork can also help you increase your self-awareness. In short, you can know more about your identity and behavior.
This deep breathing practice can help you improve your breathing well. Besides that, you will feel your higher pain tolerance by just helping your circulation and helping you in a more positive mood.
Surely, you can improve your overall mental well-being when you become more knowledgeable about holotropic breathwork. It will be easier for you to confront your past experiences and eventually move forward with your life.
The holotropic approach triggers strong states of consciousness. It is through a combination of simple techniques. It aims to start a natural healing process with controlled breathing and music observation. Resulting in the release of energy blockage.
In holotropic breathwork, symptoms are not seen as the disease. They are not some destroyed pathogens but guides in the treatment process. Thus, rather than complications, they create opportunities for treatment. The treatment process consists of temporary resolution, intensification, and activation of symptoms.
The practical elements of the holotropic approach consist of focus, breathwork, music, and sitter. Typically, the process lasts 1 to 2 hours. It is best recommended to have a practitioner for the first few practices.
The necessary element sustains holotropic therapy and self-exploration that focuses on introspection. Yet like meditation, focus and introspection are tools. It accesses different higher levels of consciousness and layers of the mind.
Music is a key element in holotropic breathwork. Usually, other people prefer to use dynamic and uplifting music. Therefore, it reveals their emotions, enhances their senses, and makes them feel complete.
A continuous flow from a stimulating and immersive rhythm is necessary to a higher and more dramatic one. Its gradual increase in volume and rhythm encourages an emotional breakthrough. Afterward, the music goes back to a quiet and calming rhythm.
In the holotropic approach, the breathing rate changes with the rhythm of the music. Afterward, it is calm before the music synchronizes and starts with the music. The breathing becomes faster, and a higher consciousness state begins to surface.
It is important not to push oneself during conscious breathing. By this, it will allow the transitions to flow naturally as possible. The breathing rate should reflect one’s needs during this personal process.
Holotropic healing can be practiced by an individual or in a group setting. But others recommend having a ‘sitter’ in the first few exercises. The sitter’s role assures that everything goes according to plan. This person adjusts the music and keeps the room, the surroundings, and the lighting. At the same time, the sitter is there to interact and support only when needed.
The sitter can be your partner or the facilitator. Of course, the breather is you. You are the one who needs to focus on learning the technique and learn how to decrease the likelihood of experiencing its risks.
By requiring the guidance of a trained facilitator, holotropic breathwork is an advanced practice that you must learn before trying by yourself. Due to its intensity, it is best to join group sessions to avoid its risks.
If you think about what you can gain from it, it is not expensive to join workshops and be guided by a professional therapist. You don’t need fancy therapy to be at your best. At times, you can start with basically how you live: breathing. Then, you will see how it can actually improve you naturally.
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Interested in experiencing breathwork with Regina? Regina holds two virtual breathwork sessions a month that you can access from anywhere in the world. Check out www.breathewithregina.com and join us for a session!