Breathwork: What It Means for Therapy
Breathwork is a term used to refer to breathing exercises or techniques of any kind. When people in Dedham, MA, say they were performing their breathwork, they mean they are intentionally changing their breathing pattern. Breathwork techniques are performed to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Breathwork therapy is an energizing therapy involving breathing in a conscious, systematic way that promotes deep relaxation.
What Is Breathwork?
The evolution of breathwork has happened over thousands of years. The intentional breath control used in yoga began over 2000 years ago, and people practice it outside the practice of yoga. Formal kinds of breathwork programs are still being created because people are still learning to incorporate the healing power of breathwork into their typical daily routine.
Activation of the body’s relaxation response is one of the main goals of breathwork. The fight or flight response is the physical and emotional reaction to stress, and breathwork triggers a response in the brain and body that stops the fight or flight response. We can influence the autonomic nervous system by learning to manage our breath, affecting heart rate, blood pressure, and the fight-or-flight response.
The core philosophy associated with breathwork is that when a person intentionally changes their breathing, they directly affect the autonomic nervous system, which then deactivates the sympathetic nervous system and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Controlled, conscious breathing improves energy flow, increases awareness of thoughts and emotions, and improves physical and mental health.
Benefits of Practicing Breathwork
Breathwork improves overall functioning because it benefits individuals physically, cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually. Breath directly affects how the nervous system and other systems operate. Learning to control breathing, therefore, can lead to greater well-being.
Physical Benefits of Breathwork
Intentional breathing allows the body to use oxygen more efficiently, improves neurotransmitter and hormone functioning, boosts cardiovascular and respiratory health, and facilitates healthy gut functioning. There have also been links to chronic pain relief in those who practice breathwork. When someone experiences chronic pain, they don’t breathe deeply.
Breath that remains shallow activates the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in off-balance pH and inflammation. Using breathwork to learn to control breathing reverses that process which helps to manage chronic pain.
Mental Benefits of Breathwork
Breathwork doesn’t just impact physical health. It also positively impacts mental health. Breathwork has been found to regulate mood, sharpen attention and concentration, and improve the ability of the brain to change in response to encountered situations.
Breathwork enhances mindfulness which anchors a person to the present. Being anchored to the present eliminates the negative thoughts and feelings associated with the past or future, and those negative thoughts can contribute to anxiety or depression.
Spiritual Benefits of Breathwork
People in Dedham, MA, don’t have to consider themselves spiritual to practice breathwork. However, it’s believed to have spiritual benefits. Some people use the technique specifically for spiritual components. Deep breathing is associated with an enhanced connection to the subconscious mind and a heightened sense of connection to something greater.
Intentionally controlling breathing through breathwork can benefit individuals in Dedham, MA, physically, mentally, and spiritually. The use of breathwork techniques helps to anchor individuals in the present rather than the past or future, which makes it a useful method for those who also practice mindfulness therapy techniques.