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Alternative Healing: Breathing to Health



Most of us have experienced avoidable pain. This tends to manifest in forms of rock-hard shoulders, increased heart rate and severe headaches.

Often avoidable are silly accidents. We may injure ourselves in hasty movements, absent-minded behaviors, and disregard for personal limits.

What’s the answer to greater comfort and fewer injuries? Incredibly, the most effective non-medicine for healing is your own breath.

We take breathing for granted. Unconsciously we assume that if we’re alive, we’re breathing. Often, people use less than half their lung capacity. This allows toxins to build up in non-exchanged air. As blood carries air to your cells, the body responds to the carbons contained in the supply. This is the part of suffering that is easily avoidable.

The cleaner the air in you body, the better you feel. Those who enjoy aerobic workouts know the exuberance created by increasing the available oxygen to the entire system. A sense of emotional well-being is coupled with physical stamina.

Effecting breathing doesn’t necessarily begin and end with exercises, however. When we’re faced with trauma (stress, fear, worry, etc...) we hold our breath in order to stop feeling the sensation of distress. Becoming conscious of this tendency is the first step in healing with breath. Taking a moment to fully inflate, exhale and continue breathing can distribute the energy stuck in the upper body.

Try it right now.

Stopping to breathe creates a window for common sense. A needed pause may enable strategy for moving heavy objects, may employ the most judicious route on a crowded highway, and may afford us patience when dealing with challenge.

Breathing for comfort can be simple. Breathing to heal deeply stored memories of physical and/or emotional trauma is powerful and usually requires facilitation. Current modalities of breath related healing include rebirthing and holotropic breathwork. Conscious breathing techniques may be augmented with guided imagery as well as bodywork.

When alone or in a structured format, celebrate the healing power of your own breath.




by Toni Zuper
Alternative Healing
Center City, Philadelphia


published in Weekly Press -- February 2, 2000 issue