Breathing is among the most natural and instinctual things that we do, as humans. Yet this should not diminish the importance or power of breathing, because deep, cleansing breaths can do everything from lower stress to promote healing. To tap into this power, a health trend called breathwork has emerged.
This article explores what breathwork is, what its benefits are, and how you can use it for better overall health.
Understanding Breathwork Therapy
In a general sense, breathwork can be described as any type of breathing-centric exercise. There are various approaches to breathwork that have been established, however, including shamanic breathwork, holotropic breathwork, and clarity breathwork. But something that these approaches all have in common is that they focus on the inhales and exhales of your breath for specified increments of time.
The practice of conscious breathing is nothing new and has been steadily part of Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cultures for thousands of years. Breathwork is one component of meditation and yoga but is more exclusively focused on the breath instead of the breath combined with physical movements or targeted self-reflection. Breathwork is a simpler approach to natural health that is easy to try and that can be done essentially anywhere at any time.
Benefits of Trying Breathwork
The overall goals of breathwork are to use the breath to balance the body and mind. Research studies have been conducted about the human breath and found that longer inhales and exhales have an impact on blood pressure, cortisol levels, and emotional states. Other researchers have been looking into how breathing techniques can even help reduce pain and inflammation in the body.
Here are some of the possible benefits of breathwork that may entice you to give this natural health strategy a try:
- Reduce stress
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve sleep
- Boost positive self-development
- Overcome addiction
- Release anger
- Deal with grief
- Get through chronic pain
How to Do Breathwork
There are some simple breathwork exercises that you can try at home to see if you notice any benefits or a calming response. Box breathing involves holding your breath for a slow count of four between slowly inhaling and exhaling. Alternate nostril breathing involves using a finger to close one nostril while you exhale through the other nostril and then inhale through that same nostril. Then, switch sides and rotate the cycle for up to five minutes.
The practice of 4-7-8- breathing is often used by people who are having anxiety, stress, or sleep trouble. With this technique, you inhale while counting to four, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for a count of eight. Specific breathing patterns that make you hold your breath for a period of time aid in replenishing oxygen in the body and bringing about a deeper state of relaxation.
Learn more about natural practices that promote healthy breathing right here at the Seagate blog: