Breathwork Therapy

Breathwork for addiction in Costa Mesa, California

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Breathwork Therapy at Costa Mesa

Struggling with recovery from addiction and substance abuse can be stressful and challenging on its own. Any additional stress-creating factors can easily entice those who are in recovery to relapse and reuse alcohol or drugs to cope. Because breathwork has been recently discovered as a positive tool to support recovery, this holistic approach has begun to see scientific backing for helping to reduce anxiety, and calming the mind.

Breathwork is a powerful practice that many are now using for its therapeutic effects tied to the awareness and control of one’s mind, body, and emotions using breathing techniques. This therapy is being used widely in professional addiction treatment centers around the world and practitioners have since reported benefits in people with substance use disorders.

Although breathwork practices have been used by Eastern practitioners for thousands of years, they are currently gaining popularity in drug and alcohol treatment programs for those struggling with addiction. In short, breathwork refers to any technique that involves the control of breathing to alter our biological or psychological condition, and can be a beneficial element in treating addiction.

Breathwork – What is it?

Most of the breathwork techniques that exist today are based on meditation and yoga practices. For example, the Wim Hof Method was developed using the ancient meditation technique called Tummo used by Tibetan Buddhist monks. Wim Hof has used this technique to stay alive during long time periods of extreme cold exposure.

Several studies have shown that this specific type of meditation can alter the brain’s regular cognitive waves (alpha and beta waves) and promote brain relaxation without affecting our alertness. 

Conscious breathing techniques, when used in combination with other mindful practices such as yoga and meditation can be a helpful practice to add to addiction treatment programs.

 

How is Breathwork used for treating addiction?

Breathwork therapy is performed through a series of techniques where an individual learns to consciously alter their breathing patterns so that they can learn to calm their minds and become more mindful. Through gradually changing their breathing patterns, participants will notice that their physical, mental and spiritual health is also improved.

Breathwork has been found to be effective in both individual and group settings. In addiction treatment, breathing techniques are taught by an experienced therapist to help improve awareness, connection with one’s own self, and emotional stability.

Breathwork has been shown to have positive effects on:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Chronic Pain
  • Immunosuppression

Using breathwork can create a radical change in the life of a person with addiction. In addition to improving mental and emotional stability, this kind of therapy can lead to empowering the clients on their own inner journey of self discovery.

Types of Breathwork

Professional practitioners can help identify a practice that’s most suitable for each individual. There are hundreds of breathing patterns and techniques, and some of them have been proven to be most useful, such as:

The altered state of consciousness produced from breathing exercises in combination with other practices such as yoga have shown therapeutic benefits.

Mental Health and Addiction

People with addiction often have more than one problem. The onset of alcohol or drug habits are usually associated with other underlying problems that are generally quite significant. Therefore, they often have more than one diagnosis once they arrive at a health care facility.

The good news is that breathwork for addiction treatment have shown to help alleviate several illnesses that often occur in addicts. They provide a healthy alternative to alcohol and drugs in order to curb anxiety and help with depression, trauma or stress.

That’s the potential of breathwork: it gives you control.

 

The Power of Breathwork against Addiction

We start from the premise that specialists in breathwork use: Humans neglect their breath. Your breathing has kept you alive this long, so what’s the issue? Well, the way we unconsciously develop breathing patterns throughout our lives sometimes leads to less efficient oxygen intake over a long time.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air is one uncontrollable factor in a person’s unconscious breathing patterns. Built-up CO2 in our body triggers our brain stem’s to work its involuntary breathing mechanisms.

The more active we are, the more CO2 our body builds up. That’s why we take deep breaths during strenuous exercise. Stress and anxiety also add to this build-up.

Physical and psychological stress in people dealing with addiction or alcoholism can see significant trouble here. Factor in the respiratory suppression that many of these drugs cause, and there’s a perfect storm for unbalanced breathing habits—especially when going through the early stages of sobriety.

The good thing is breathing can be a conscious connected activity. Learning and practicing new breathing techniques can strengthen an addict’s self-control and lower anxiety the distance from drugs and alcohol causes them. This control can help addicts face realities of the real world.

Clarity breathwork for addiction therapy can be ideal for addressing any negative thoughts, emotions, or stress that gets in the way of a sober lifestyle. In fact, breathwork is an excellent way to use our brains to our advantage. Whenever it is applied by a professional, we can modulate thoughts and the brain’s chemical reactions by controlling Alpha and Beta waves.

Not only could this teach alcoholics or drug addicts how to survive in a world full of temptations, but it could also help them to maintain a regimen on the medicine they may need, the time at rest, the selection of activities, etc.

References

  1. Link Sprava. [The use of holotropic breathing in the treatment of chronic alcoholism]. Lik Sprava. 1996 Mar-Apr;(3-4):134-6. Retrieved from PubMed
  2. Maria Kozhevnikov, James Elliot, Jennifer Shepard, Kalus Gramann. Neurocognitive and Somatic Components of Temperature Increases during g-Tummo Meditation: Legend and Reality. 2013. Plos One. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0058244
  3. Surbhi Khanna and Jeffrey Greeson. A Narrative Review of Yoga and Mindfulness as Complementary Therapies for Addiction. Complement Ther Med. 2013 Jun; 21(3): 244–252. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.01.008

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