Middendorf Breathwork therapy was developed by the German Professor Ilse Middendorf (1910 – 2009). The method is also called the Middendorf Breath Experience, Breathexperience, or the Perceptible Breath Experience (which are all translations of Der Erfahrbare Atem in German).
The core idea behind this type of Breathwork is that one consciously allows breath to manifest itself naturally, that is, spontaneous breathing (or natural breath) not influenced by the will, thereby discovering your own way of breathing, while getting to know its original, normal rhythm, your body, and your inner self.
It’s a balance between unconscious, spontaneous activity (the breathing activity) and conscious awareness of what’s happening on a sensuous level (mindfulness) allowing the breath to move and to feel the body alive. In fact, at no time there’s any type of “breath control” involved, which actually makes Middendorf Breath Work an anomaly in the world of Breathwork.
An important focus is to discover the body’s own spontaneous response to breathing as one’s breath comes and goes. It’s also encouraged to experience what happens on other levels, such as conceptualization, imagining, feeling, and thinking. As such, one can discover the relationship and process between certain ways of breathing and the emergence of other types of perceptions, and subsequently learn about oneself.
The other way around is also practiced. For instance, through movement exercises, visualization, vocalization, touch, massage, and music, participants are encouraged to experience how their breath reacts and works. This equally leads to a deep learning process about oneself.
The philosophy behind Middendorf Breathwork is that when a person consciously experiences the change of breath, they will also experience change in themselves. Thus, becoming fully aware of how, where, and why certain phenomena emerge, seeing the causes and effects, also initiates the beginning of a profound healing process. In fact, full awareness is the start of spontaneous change, moreover, is in itself change.
It’s thought that the Middendorf Breath Experience therapy can have several health and other benefits. Practicing it means being connected to your breath which has its own healing intelligence, and connects you to the entire body, the present now and here, and Life itself.
As it is, Middendorf Breathwork is by many considered a type of Somatic Breathwork, the latter being an umbrella term for those breathing techniques that see the body as self-regulating and intelligent, capable of transcending the capabilities of the conceptual, cognitive mind.
Additionally, Middendorf’s Breathexperience is thought to give you more inner peace and strength, stabilize your health, help to experience yourself and your body in a more sensitive and lively manner, boost your creativity and joy in life, support you to engage in transforming negative aspects in your life, becoming more attentive, emphatic, and clear, and stimulate your openness to spiritual dimensions of yourself and the world.