It may annoy you when your Apple Watch tells you to breathe, but the concept of healthy, intentional breathing is nothing to be flippant about.
Breathwork therapy can connect you with your body and mind. This connection creates lasting changes in your mental health and even helps you recover from addiction.
What is Breathwork?
Breathwork describes any therapy that uses breath practices to clear mental, physical, and spiritual blocks or stressors.
While there are numerous approaches to breathwork therapy, Integrated Life Center uses an approach grounded in Carol Lampman’s Integral Breath Therapy. It combines eastern practices focused on breath (yoga pranayama, etc.) with body-centered western psychotherapy practices.
Goals of Breathwork in Recovery
The goal of breathwork therapy is to help you achieve a greater sense of self-awareness and trust in your capacity for self-healing. It’s essential to continue the techniques you learn in breathwork therapy long-term to maintain recovery.
Benefits of Breathwork Therapy
There are many benefits of breathwork therapy that you should consider when deciding which treatment program is right for you. With breathwork, you can practice breathing techniques that help you connect with your inner self — your thoughts and feelings. This connection can give you insight into your life and choices. Insight enables you to cope and helps you make a full, lasting recovery.
Other benefits of breathwork include:
Ease Anxiety and Stress
It’s not uncommon for breathing to become shallow when you’re tense or anxious. You may even hold your breath without realizing it.
Breathwork therapy can help you regulate the flow of oxygen to the brain.
Many people spend most of their day engaged in shallow breathing without realizing it. This breathing prompts the sympathetic response – emotions you feel when you’re stressed. The slow, controlled breathing techniques learned in breathwork therapy help promote relaxation and happiness.
Assisting with Anger Management
Anger can become an old familiar companion. When a particular emotional frequency feels normal, we tend to recreate it — even when it feels miserable. As a result, your mind may naturally give attention to anger, feeding the pattern that reinforces this emotional reaction.
Breathing techniques learned in breathwork therapy can help you direct your focus and attention in a more healthy direction.
Releasing Repressed Emotions
You may have learned to protect yourself from adverse situations during childhood. These protective methods may include suppressing your emotions, tensing your muscles, and restricting your breath. Through (unconscious) practice, this may have become a habit. As a result, you may have lost the ability to experience or release emotions fully.
Using conscious, connected breathing practices, you can relieve mental, physical, and emotional tension resulting from past trauma.
When you’re depressed, exercise is encouraged to create hormonal changes to help you feel better. But exercise is a tall order when it’s probably one of the last things you want to do or feel capable of doing.
Breathwork therapy can help stimulate the deep breathing that happens through cardiovascular exercise.
Your ability to process loss and grief depends on your experience. Many people have difficulty expressing their emotions surrounding loss, whether the loss is a loved one, pet, job, place, or treasured item.
Breathwork therapy can help you to cope with loss and grief in a healthy way.
Boosting Your Immune System
Breathwork therapy can help control your body’s sympathetic nervous system, which is the part that controls fight or flight. It also can help boost your immune system’s response.
In one study, researchers took 24 volunteers and split them into two groups. A group of 12 studied meditation techniques. The other half did not. Then, researchers exposed all 24 volunteers to a toxin that causes flu-like symptoms. The volunteers who underwent meditation training reported fewer flu-like symptoms than those who did not. They also reported lower amounts of several proteins associated with inflammation and higher levels of an inflammation-fighting protein.
Treatment Options at Integrative Life Center
At Integrative Life Center, we intend to meet your specific needs. Through personalized treatment, we help you rediscover the you that’s been lost, masked, or hurt.
We blend traditional therapeutic methods like Residential Treatment, PHP Treatment or IOP Treatment with non-traditional approaches, like art and music therapy. We believe in nutritional support and medical support at all care levels, as well as community re-integration. Our master-level therapists equip each person with the tools and principles to help them live the life they desire.
Does your life feel out of control because of mental health challenges or addiction? ILC can help. Contact ILC via this form or by calling 615-891-2226.