The therapeutic support of breathwork is not just about learning how to breathe easier in and out. It is a way to improve the body holistically, from the brain down to the toes. Women, especially, are caretakers of so many people in their lives, they often put themselves last. When they put themselves first in this area of meditation and mindfulness, they build personal self-awareness and begin to notice patterns shifting and moving. Breathwork alone is not going to uproot old patterns of behavior, as with addiction, but it can be used in combination with individual, couples, and group counseling to begin the work of supporting a woman’s healing journey with the right professional help.
Therapy comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, talking it out is boring or painful. Breathing can be the easiest thing to do when it is difficult to talk about what is going on in the mind or heart. To improve a person’s state of being, it helps to look at a holistic picture of how breathwork taps into meeting a woman’s goals for treatment. There are many different kinds of breathwork. The therapeutic benefits can help women who are dealing with myriad challenges, including:
- Low self-esteem
- Trauma or PTSD symptoms
- Physiological responses to triggers (similar to PTSD)
Approaches to Breathwork
To understand breathwork, it helps to look at the different types of therapeutic breathing that exist. Knowing the various types of breathwork helps develop a healthy approach to recovery when combined with traditional therapy:
- Clarity: working in this type of breathwork focuses not just on the trauma of birth, but all the issues that keep energy and breath from flowing well. The main goal is to teach people to take a full breath from head to toe and feel the effects of receiving the air and releasing it again. Many women, especially, breathe quickly and without thinking. This helps restore the breath so the woman can focus and be more engaged in her own body.
- Holotropic: the goal with this breathing technique is to achieve ‘wholeness’ of mind, body, and spirit. Certified practitioners complete a training program to offer the best therapeutic benefits of this type of breathwork. This is meant to create altered states of consciousness and is done usually in groups. People create mandalas related to breathwork and sessions end with sharing and discussion.
- BioDynamic: this breathwork focuses on trauma release. This modality integrates ix elements to release tension, support healing, and get the internal system working better. This approach recognizes all the ways trauma is stored in the body. This breathwork aims to restore balance and gives them a sense of peace. It might be done in conjunction with music or sound therapy, even dance therapy. Self-transformation is the key goal. Basing this on creating space and relaxation is the way to help the mind and body connect.
Connecting to Breath
In addition to the types of therapeutic work being done with women, there are exercises to do that deepen the impact of this for a long time after. Just doing the therapeutic work is not going to keep the breath moving unless a person is doing it with intention. Using full breath, the woman is connected to a circle of breath. Like in yoga, practitioners are asked to take a deep breath counting, then hold it, and finally count down again until it is released. The goal is that breathing ‘all the way through’ can be helpful and healing.
The goal of breathwork therapy is to provide one more avenue for women to experience an approach to healing they might not get elsewhere. Depending on how the work is incorporated, it can be helpful or add to a woman’s stress level. There are ways to breathe that facilitate destressing the mind and body, while also lowering blood pressure but not everybody responds the same. It is best to work with practitioners who know how to help a woman who might be experiencing traumatic flashbacks while doing breathwork how to come out of it so she feels safe. The reality of addiction is that it changes the chemistry of the brain and body. Seasoned practitioners are able to notice this and adjust the practices as needed. With the right support, it is a great tool that can be used for the greater good. In combination with other therapies, it can be a helpful way to embody the practice of healing from addiction with a mind, body, spirit approach that can have positive benefits for a lifetime.
Casa Capri created an experience that is safe in a small group of women who are seeking restoration from addiction. Recovery looks individual for each person but, as a group, we form a sisterhood of people who can help women navigate the challenges in a holistic way. Breathwork is just one of many therapeutic offerings Casa Capri has on-site. If you are looking for community and connection in rehab, call Casa Capri today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon, Founder & CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, obtained her BA in Psychology and is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LAADC) specializing in women’s core issues. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mental health and substance abuse recovery where she has been an advocate since 2006.