Recently I went on our Instagram stories to ask our followers what questions they have about breathwork. Here’s one of my favorite questions someone asked:
“What does breathwork tend to address? Is it focused on emotional or physical ailments?”
The simple answer? It addresses both.
The longer answer? Well, if you’ve been to the clinic recently, your practitioner may have recommended that you try out a breathwork private session or group practice. For those of you coming in for acupuncture to support your hormones, regulate your digestion, deal with chronic pain, or a variety of other physical ailments we treat here at the clinic you might be confused as to why we’d recommend a practice that focuses less on the physical body and more on the emotional body.
Here’s the truth as I see it: Our physical and emotional bodies are inextricably tied.
Yes, breathwork is an amazing and empowering practice to reconnect with your emotions. And yes, breathwork can also help heal physical symptoms.
So often we focus on our physical symptoms of pain and suffering. That’s perfectly normal! Those bodily dysfunctions are loud and clear signals telling us that something is amiss. Being able and willing to listen to those signals is a great first step at tuning into your body.
And what if we got curious to what lies underneath the pain and suffering? What if we were able to find patterns of guilt, shame, sadness, fear, anger, and anxiety underneath the exterior layer of our body? What if we noticed we were holding onto not just our own pain, but the pain of our parents and their parents and generations before them?
Tapping into this layer of the work is where breathwork can not just reduce physical pain, but transform the root cause to begin with and allow permanent healing to begin.
Because I firmly believe that our physical healing begins with our emotional healing.
Once I worked with a client who had suffered a bad car accident, leaving them in chronic bodily pain. They had wanted to try breathwork to improve general lung function, and during our work together it came to light that they had been holding onto a lot of anger and fear in regards to the accident and the trauma it imprinted on them.
Through our breathwork sessions we were able to tap into those feelings and give them space to be heard, seen, and witnessed. Unsurprisingly, their main areas of chronic pain were their neck (we often hold anger in our jaw/neck area) and their low back (where we often hold fear). During breathwork the client was able to release a lot of the anger and fear as well as much of their chronic pain. They had never noticed before how tied together their emotions and pain were, until they were allowed and encouraged to integrate together and release as one.
So, to answer the original querent’s question: Breathwork focuses on moving stuck emotions, AND in the process of doing so often moves stuck energy in the physical body as well.
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