Breathing techniques are used in various ancient massage and bodywork modalities, in the martial arts and spiritual traditions, and often are important aspects of the practice.
In massage, breathing techniques are typically used to synchronize massage work between therapist and receiver. That is, rhythmic breathing can help a client to relax, aid in increased body awareness and endure more, 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 can have much more functions, such as influencing one’s mental, emotional and/or physical state and induce changed states of consciousness, which are believed to have a beneficial effect on physical and mental well-being. This type of application is found, for instance, in Tantric Breathwork, and perhaps better known — in the Indian Yogic Pranayamas.