All people breathe on auto-pilot. However, you can gain several benefits if you learn to control your breathing. For instance, you can relax and calm your mind by taking deep breaths. Aside from that, numerous breathing techniques can provide health benefits. One, in particular, is holotropic breathwork. In fact, this breathing technique can deliver positive effects on your emotional, physical, and mental states. So, why is this unconventional practice taking over the wellness world? Here are some of the reasons holotropic breathwork is gaining popularity.
What is Holotropic Breathwork?
The development of holotropic breathwork started after LSD, a psychedelic drug, became illegal. In the 1970s, Stanislav and Christina Grof developed the breathing technique to achieve a psychedelic state without using drugs.
Because the Grofs were trained in psychoanalytic therapy, they were able to explore how reaching altered states of consciousness can help heal a person. From there, they discovered the positive effects of deep or rapid breathing.
Holotropic breathwork involves breathing patterns that are rapid and controlled. Through them, a person can reach an “altered state of consciousness” or a “dream-like experience.” Once a person achieves this state, he can access some parts of his consciousness that he can’t reach under normal conditions. From there, the individual can cope with his past traumas and increase self-awareness.
Reasons Holotropic Breathwork is Gaining Popularity
1. It Helps Relieve Stress
As you know, your brain will release the stress hormone cortisol when you’re having shallow breaths. Even so, you will be able to relax and calm your body with deep breaths.
Compared to other breathing techniques, holotropic breathwork is more intense. As a result, it activates your sympathetic system, the part of your nervous system responsible for your fight or flight response. From there, you’ll be able to access and process deep-seated traumas or emotions.
Keep in mind that unprocessed emotions and trauma can make you feel unsafe. Eventually, it can cause daily stress that could lead to depression or a burnout state. Remember, if you can’t manage your emotions or feelings, they can be suppressed in your body. As time goes on, they will show up as worries in your mind and muscle tension in your body. Fortunately, you can reduce stress and improve your overall well-being by learning how to cope with your unresolved issues.
2. It Improves Your Self-Awareness
One of the top reasons holotropic breathwork is gaining popularity is because it can improve a person’s self-awareness. According to a 2015 study, the unconventional practice was able to achieve a higher level of self-awareness and change their temperaments. Some of the participants described the experience as a “spiritual awakening.” The reason is that the breathing technique provided mental clarity and renewed sense of purpose.
3. Other Benefits
Some people practicing holotropic breathwork also reported other health benefits; including the following:
- Improving digestion
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Boosting immune system
- Increasing creativity
All in all, these are some of the reasons holotropic breathwork is gaining popularity. However, keep in mind that this breathing technique may release intense feelings or emotions. As such, experts recommend consulting your doctor before trying this unconventional practice, especially if you have an underlying medical condition.