You know that yoga is good for your body, and you know that being active is good for your health. You also know that food should nourish your soul, but what about the breath?
The benefits of breathwork are mood, body, and life-enhancing. It’s an outlet to release repressed anger, doubt, and other emotions. From boosting immunity to enriching creativity, breathwork is a safe tool that can be practiced to recover from trauma, heal emotional pain, and process emotions.
Here’s how to “do” breathwork: Just breathe.
It can sound too easy to be effective. But, breathwork is an ancient practice that has been practiced for a looooong time and it’s been proven over and over again that the benefits of breathwork are tenfold when it comes to your health, your happiness, your body, and your sanity.
Breathing intention and with certain rhythms and patterns is the most basic definition of breathwork. It all seems pretty intuitive, and it is – but the benefits of breathwork have some incredible scientific backing. So, though the practice of breathwork has been around for many years, most impactful studies have been conducted throughout recent years and have proven the positive benefits of breathwork on health and wellness. For example, in a study published by the peer-reviewed scientific journey Nature, it was found that slow breathing lowered blood pressure for 10 minutes.
A second study Completed in 2019 at the Western Michigan University found that deep breathing meant people in cancer infusion suites reported fewer symptoms of pain and nausea. Since there have yet to be larger long-term studies done regarding the practice of breathwork, it’s tough to make statements about breathwork’s true effectiveness for physical and mental health. Though I do think there is an importance in trying the practice out for yourself and deciding if it works for you.
Speaking of mental health, I’ve been curious about the work of Dr. Ela Manga, MD, a breathwork expert who runs an integrative medical practice for a while. She stated in an interview with Bustle, “every breath that we take mirrors our conscious and unconscious thoughts, the emotions, feelings, and sensations that we experience in every moment… Observation of the subtle nuances of our breathing patterns is the obvious way to observe mental and emotional fluctuations.”
When we breathe, we are accessing our truths. We are getting deep with ourselves and choosing to unmasks parts of us that need healing. Here are more benefits of breathwork that come with regular practice:
Benefits of Breathwork
- Positive self-development
- Processing emotions, healing emotional pain, and trauma
- Increased self-awareness
- Reduced stress and anxiety levels
- Released negative thoughts
- Increased confidence, self-image, and self-esteem
- And increased joy, happiness, and creativity
Even if there aren’t many long-term studies backing the benefits of breathwork, when hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals have shared, in some capacity, how breathwork has changed their life — it’s hard to ignore.
Eating well, exercise, and getting enough sleep have all been proven ways to strengthen your immune system. So, with recent times in the world being rather health-focused (ie: Corona Virus), I wanted to also add a little about how one of the benefits of breathwork is increased immunity.
How Breathwork Increases Your Immunity
As I was reading a blog from The Breath Effect, a resource for people to access tools and techniques for better breathing, I came across a study done in 2005 (one of the earliest studies I’ve found regarding the benefits of breathwork) discussed the for rhythmic breathing to potentially strengthen the immune system and reduce stress.
Taking long, slow breaths sends a message to your brain that activates the parasympathetic response – the part of the nervous system that, According to ScienceDirect, is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response when the body is relaxed, resting, or feeding.
All in all, breathwork can give you a deeper sense of self and can support in stepping into your power of choosing yourself. If you breathe with intention, you will inevitably calm your mind, nourish your body, and feed your spirit. What’s really exciting is the fact that we have so much more time to learn about more of the benefits of breathwork. Remember this, you are in charge of your healing, and breathwork is a way of opening up to, accepting, and releasing – crucial parts of the healing process.