Breathing Techniques in Massage Therapy | Breathwork

Published: Jan 17, 2021 | Revised: Aug 8, 2023
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Breathing Techniques in Massage therapy

Breathing techniques are used in various massage and bodywork modalities, in the martial arts, and in spiritual traditions, and often are important aspects of the practice.

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In massage sessions, breathing techniques are typically used to synchronize massage work between therapist and receiver. That is, slow, deep, and rhythmic breathing can help clients to relax, soften their muscle tissues, aid in increased body awareness, and support them to “enduring more,” while enabling the massage therapist to go “deeper.”

Usually, within a massage session, the receiver would first breathe in while the therapist would give pressure during which the receiver breathes out. The therapist typically also breathes out when giving pressure, thus breathing being synchronized with the receiver.

But using certain breathing techniques in massage or touch therapies can have much more functions, such as influencing the receiver’s mental, emotional and/or physical state and induce changed states of consciousness, which are believed to have a beneficial effect on one’s physical and mental well-being.

This latter application of breathwork is found, for instance, in Tantric Breathwork, Reichian Breathwork, and in the Indian Yoga Pranayamas, among others.

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