Holotropic Breathwork is a type of New Age practice that was found in 1970s and developed by psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof. The reasons is they interest in changed states of consciousness as a potential therapeutic tool.
Holotropic Breathwork is about how to control breathing pattern to influence mental, emotional, and physical states. Actually is started from a spiritual framwork. Many countries use this as a spiritual practice rather than a therapeutic one. By this way , people who practice this in order to expand their awareness instead of to overcome a problem of some sort.
Definition of Holotropic Breathwork
After LSD became illegal in the late 1960s, holotropic breathwork came out and developed by the Grofs. Stanislav Grof is known as the co-founder of transpersonal psychology (along with Abraham Maslow). Grof began his work at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague and finally moved to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. His target patients include patients experiencing psychiatric illness, cancer, and drug addiction.
During practice holotropic breathwork, participants breathe rapidly to induce an altered state from which it is believed that a deeper understanding of oneself can be created. Some people call this as a intense form of meditation.
The main rule of this technique is that healing comes from within the person practicing the breathwork.
Each of us have our own inner radar that can determine the most important experience at a given moment, but that we cannot be aware of this experience until it happens. This mean when participants don’t need to be tell what to concentrate but have to it by their own. This will always be specific to the person at that particular time in their life.
How to Do It?
Here is a description of what a session of Holotropic breathwork might look like.
- Holotropic Breathwork usually practiced in a group.
- The sitter only helps the breather if needed.
- People have pair to practice in group.
- A session might last from 2 to 3 hours in total.
- A direction will give to breather and sitter.
- The breather will lie down on a mat in a session.
- Playing meditation music.
- The session become an open-ended period.
- Breather and sitter swaps their roles.
- Participants are free to work on whatever comes up for them as they enter the altered state.
People who agree with this technique said that ltered state allows individuals to access parts of the mind that are not usually accessible; this might include re-emerging memories of past events.
What’s Benefit Holotropic Breathwork Bring?
Research show that it might help us for relaxation, stress relief, personal growth, or self-awareness.
We also recommended that Holotropic breathwork is undertaken alongside traditional therapy, rather than be used as a replacement for it.
Harmful and Potential Risk
Because the purpose of process holotropic breathwork is a “deep experience,” it is possible that uncomfortable feelings will arise, also known as a “healing crisis.”
Also there are some concern that this technique causes distress in vulnerable individuals, such as those at risk for psychosis. In addition, there are significant medical risks of hyperventilation.
Who Should Avoid Holotropic Breathwork
There are some require conditions for people who want to participate in holotropic breathwork practice. Because this technique can evoke intense physical and emotional changes. Here are a list of conditions that should avoid this technique:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart attacks, high blood pressure, and angina
- Glaucoma or retinal detachment
- Recent injury or surgery
- Any condition that requires you to take medication
- Panic attacks or psychosis
- Severe mental illness
- Aneurysms (or family history)
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding