Holotropic breathwork, or breathing focused on wholeness, is a key cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine. From meditation to belly breathing, there are numerous variations that can be customized and even combined to best fit the needs of each individual. As Dr. Junger iterates in his book, Clean, “A simple exercise involves putting attention on the breath in a mindful way for a few minutes,” (Junger, 181). Breathing techniques are simply a mindfulness practice that has several health benefits for the body, mind, and soul.
Learn more about the benefits of mindful breathing in Dr. Junger’s book, Clean.
One of the major health benefits associated with consistent breathwork practice is increased stress and anxiety relief. In fact, as Dr. Junger mentions, “Deep cleansing breaths do wonders for alkalizing the body as well; they actually change the pH levels in the blood,” (Junger, 224). Focusing on one’s breathing fully allows the brain to slow down and forget outside circumstances or stressors. Slow, deep breaths slow the heart rate as well and “activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which takes us out of fight or flight.” This allows a feeling of calm to wash over the mind, body, and soul.
Find more beneficial forms of stress relief on the Clean blog.
Holotropic breathwork also works to improve overall digestion. Clean 21 and Clean 7 cleanse programs both involve colon cleansing, which also assists with this process. When someone is under stress and taking shallow breaths consistently, the intestinal tract is also tense. Thus, when breathing techniques are utilized, the muscles within the intestinal tract can relax and contract, improving the body’s natural digestion ability. Furthermore, “...breathwork creates a positive feedback loop by reducing stress, which reduces cortisol, which reduces gut inflammation.”
Breathwork can also assist with dealing with the feeling of hunger experienced on the cleanse during periods of intermittent fasting. Oftentimes, what one thinks is hunger is a habit, the urge to eat for many reasons such as comfort or a distraction. Dr. Junger explains that once a person begins to ignore the desire to give in to this habit and incorporate breathing techniques, “...that ‘hungry’ feeling will pass more quickly, and you become stronger than your cravings,” (Junger, 169). Of course, listening to the body is critical to overall health and if nutrients are needed, there is no shame in ending a fasting period early.
Increased Self-Awareness & Healing
Beyond stress and anxiety relief and regular digestion, a focus on intentional breathwork can also work to increase self-awareness and emotional healing as well. In Ayurvedic medicine and many other forms of traditional medicine, it is believed that trauma can be trapped within the body. Specifically, holotropic breathwork opens the door to a deeper relationship with oneself which allows for deeper introspection and healing. A deeper understanding of the self is a huge step and promotes more self-love as well.
Discover more about self-love and connecting with yourself, check out this blog post.
Improve Sleep Quality
Breathwork has also proven to vastly improve the quality of one’s sleep. Due to the increased state of relaxation that mindful breathing provides, it quiets the mind, allowing a deeper sleep to be experienced with fewer inhibitors. Breathing techniques also speed up the process of falling asleep itself, since these stressors are calmed. Sleep quality is also commonly improved, and routine is regulated during a detox. Dr. Junger explains, “A natural correction of fatigue tends to occur during the program, at which point is it normal to find yourself waking up earlier than usual, without the normal tiredness or desire to stay in bed,” (Junger, 186).
Hit the reset button on your health and wellness with the Clean 21 cleanse.