Long term effects of shallow breathing and why observing breathing patterns in clients is important.
As a Breathwork Practitioner and Psychotherapist I am consciously aware of my own breath and my clients breath when in a session.
Shallow breathing is a habit and is related to cutting off from the feeling body at an unconscious level. Chronic stress is linked to shallow breathing and a question to consider is which came first, the chronic stress or the shallow breath? When we change to deeper breathing, everything can change.
Shallow breathing results in lower amounts of lymphocyte in the blood, white blood cells that helps to defend the body from invading organisms, and lowers the amounts of proteins that signal other immune cells. The body is then susceptible to contracting acute illnesses, aggravating pre-existing medical conditions, and delaying healing.
Shallow breathing can be set up from birth and how we take our first breath can set up a breathing pattern that will remain in place for someone’s whole life, if they do not become conscious of it.
Traumatic experiences can also effect how we breath. We can always choose to consciously take a deep breath into the diaphragm but a client who you notice is reluctant to breath more deeply is likely to be avoiding feeling states without realising it. It is good to check in with your own breathing patterns, AM I AVOIDING FEELING BY NOT BREATHING DEEPLY?
Shallow breathing can contribute to fatigue, aggravate respiratory problems, and is a precursor for cardiovascular issues. This breathing pattern also creates tension in other parts of the body and can lead to a lot of everyday problems. When we breathe into the chest, we use the muscles in our shoulders, necks, and chests to expand our lungs, which can result in neck pain, headaches, and an increased risk of injury. Our shoulders slump forward and our posture changes as well. Collapsed posture can effect confidence and self-esteem and changing posture over time can develop confidence and self-esteem. Another piece of the jigsaw for some clients.
Diaphragmatic breathing, on the other hand, can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, relax muscles, decrease stress, and increase energy levels. Deep breathing grounds us as well. Deeper breathing helps us to access bodily sensations, experiences/memories, and emotions. Breathing mindfully brings more awareness and allows the client to speak from the feeling body, rather than the mental body.
There is a direct link to breathing a shallow breath and unconsciously avoiding controversial or painful content. Introducing deep breaths into client sessions can help the client to start to feel into the content so that they can feel the feelings, process and integrate the content that they have been unconsciously avoiding.
WHY BREATHWORK IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN TALKING THERAPY ALONE 4.3.2022
Breathwork therapy is a combination of talking therapy and powerful body based connection.
Breathing consciously after talking about life experiences can drop a client deep into the story of the body, accessing information at a cellular level. The body remembers everything we have ever experienced, as early as growing in the womb.
It is possible to hear the thoughts of mum whilst growing in the womb and to start to take on the thoughts of mum as we grow, not realising that our thoughts are influenced in such a way.
Breathwork sessions can access such memories. I have experienced this process through my own Breathwork journey, hearing my mum’s thoughts around struggle and fear of being in the world. These beliefs about the world were influencing my life until I was able to become conscious of them and finally release myself from them.
When the cells of the body begin to open through the oxygenating process as we bring more and more oxygen into the body, the information can start to surface, out of the unconscious and into the conscious mind.
Breathing deeply and consciously helps clients release overwhelming feelings that may have been built up over time related to the content of the unconscious memories.
Trauma release techniques can be used during sessions. These can free up pain from the body and release memories associated with the pain held in the body. A usual place of holding in the body is around the neck and shoulders.
Heart armour built up in the chest can be released over a series of sessions, offering a client more availability to both giving and receiving love because the information is being processed at a cellular level.
The breathing process allows the body and mind to connect and offers the opportunity for them both to release whatever is ready to move out. Clients often have significant insights come to them as they integrate their experience towards the end of the session.
I really can not recommend Breathwork therapy enough having experienced talking therapy over the last 20 years. EMDR and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy both took me beyond talking and into the body with Breathwork taking me deeper still.
Thanks for reading………….. Ivan
What is Breathwork? 20.2.2022
Breathwork is not to be confused with meditation or breathing performed during yoga practice. It is sometimes called conscious connected breathing and the person remains conscious and focused on the in breath, taking long, deep inhales into the belly through the mouth initially.
When consciously breathing through the mouth, the person will maintain a 70% inhale and just a 30% exhale in one fluid and continuous flow of breath in and out of the body just like a figure of 8, with no breaks in the cycle.
As the person maintains this pattern of breathing, the bloodstream becomes filled with oxygen and the increase in energy into the body starts to wake up the energetic systems in the body.
Shallow and fast breathing is associated with fear states and Breathwork helps the person to take deep and slow breaths that can start to address anxiety and fear held in the body from habitual shallow breathing patterns.
Changing the breathing pattern in the body allows emotions, thought patterns and physical patterns held within the body to begin to open up/shift/change because the old breathing pattern is no longer holding them in place.
Many people report having psychological and emotional breakthroughs during Breathwork sessions and opening up the body to more breath and therefore more energy, brings about changes for people in their relationships to partner, family, work, etc.
People become more available to their feelings and experiences, having opened up to their emotional and psychological bodies during session work.
The session is always ended with the nose breath.
Breathwork is simple in theory but is far reaching in its benefits and results when the body achieves a fuller breathing pattern.
Thanks for reading………….. Ivan