What is it?
Integrative Breath Therapy is a wonderful tool for self-exploration. It is a simple, gentle yet powerful technique which allows you to access, release and integrate memories, emotions and patterns stored in your body, mind and soul that hinder you from living your full potential, physically, emotionally and mentally.
How is it done?
After discussing your particular needs with your Breath Therapists, the session itself is done lying down or sitting up. Having been guided through a relaxation sequence, you consciously connect your breathing so that there are no pauses between the inhale and the exhale. The breathing is relaxed, yet full. Slowly you will be guided to find your own rhythm, probably slightly faster and fuller than you are used to.
Every breathing session has its own cycle, which includes an activation phase (20 to 40 minutes depending on the individual), an expression phase where we work with the material that surfaces and an integration phase. The length of a "breathe" is generally 1 to 1.1/2 hour, a full session usually lasts for 2 hours.
How does it work?
The breath is the bridge between the conscious and the subconscious. You can control your breathing consciously (e.g. pranayama breathing exercises) but if you don't think about your breathing even for the whole day, you still are breathing.
Breath Therapy works on the principle that there is a direct connection between mental and physical well-being and the openness of the breathing. Relaxing and releasing the breath dissolves tension in the body and mind. Key elements of a session are breath, relaxation and awareness and to allow to „happen what wants to happen“.
Through breathing continuously without break, your body takes in more oxygen than usual, which changes the CO2 as well as the hormone and endorphin levels in your brain. You enter a self-induced trance state (non-ordinary state of mind) where memories, pictures or emotions can come up to the surface to be reviewed, released and integrated.
The power of Breath Therapy is that in this state you are the experiencer and the observer of a past incident at the same time, and therefore able, to release or re-interpret what happened previously from a new and conscious perspective.
Through conscious connected breathing, you accumulate life force energy (prana, chi, ki), which starts to move freely through your body (experienced as tingling, energy rushes or waves). This loosens up stored blockages held in your four-body energy system (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual), thus working on all four levels at the same time. Therefore possible experiences can be manifold and may vary every time.
The spectrum ranges from physical sensations of heat, cold, pain or pleasure, waves or bursts of energy, to release of emotions (sadness, anger, joy etc.), realisations of dysfunctional thought patterns or new thought connections and insights, and deeply spiritual or energetic experiences or any combination thereof.
The Breath Therapists
The Breath Therapist is your guide on the journey. He/she will skillfully manoeuvre you through the surfacing material, witness and validate your experiences, help you to stay present and maintain your mental clarity. To integrate what has come up a skilled Breath Therapist may use various psychotherapeutic integration tools ranging from Counselling, Family Dynamics, the Inner Child, working with the mind, psychic surgery, past life etc.
The Breath Therapists most needed qualities, besides being professionally highly trained and experienced, are unconditional personal regard and being non-judgmental and compassionate. Together you form a morphogenetic synergistic energy field consisting of the Breath Therapist's self-experience and self-integration, plus yourself and your willingness and trust.
Therefore it is important that you feel comfortable with your Breath Therapist so check out a few, till you find the one who feels right for you. Breath Therapy sessions with a male therapist will be different from Breath Therapy sessions with a female therapist and will bring up different issues.
Safety and acceptance
Integrative Breath Therapy has an innate self-regulatory mechanism. Your subconscious and your Higher Self decide what is the most appropriate for you to experience right now and how much to release. Whatever surfaces might be challenging for you, but is never more than can safely be integrated. You don't necessarily have to understand or review certain incidents as pictures or thoughts to be able to release the charge around them and the whole process has its own innate intelligence. All you have to do is to trust the breath. It will take you where you need to go, and it will bring up what is most important for you at this moment, enabling you to take your next step towards becoming whole and happy.
Logistics and finances
Some Breath Therapists offer a free initial consultation to discuss your particular needs and to find out if you are suited to each other. Cost and length of a session may vary widely. Once you have chosen your Breath Therapists you usually agree on a sequence of 10 Breathwork sessions. After these, you decide together what would be the most helpful or appropriate next step for you. Another way of experiencing Integrative Breath Therapy is in a group setting and many Breath Therapists also run various workshops.
I've been wanting to sit down and write a proper email since returning from our exceptional breathing space and healing time together. A lot has changed in me from the breathing. I feel stronger and more conscious in my legs, my motivational energy is changing and some deeply learnt behaviours have been broken, really quite profoundly in my brain. The breathing sustains and my boundaries feel clearer, I am standing up for myself more! Balance is returning (A.C)
It was a great retreat if challenging at times but I felt really good after it. It's so great to get the chance to work with people who really "get" what breathwork is all about. ( W.M.)