Breathwork, a modality which arose in the late 1960s and 1970s, is a label for a variety of conscious breathing practices which are thought to influence one’s mental, emotional and/or physical state.
In fact, it’s a method of breath control (actually various breathing techniques are used depending on the type of Breathwork) with the goal to induce changed states of consciousness and to have an effect on physical and mental well-being.
Although forms of Breathwork existed already in various ancient bodywork, martial arts and spiritual traditions (such as Pranayama in Indian Yoga), it was first studied and practiced in the West by Wilhelm Reich (1897 – 1957), an influential Austrian doctor of medicine and psychoanalyst.
Apart from promoting simple relaxation, it can be used therapeutically to stimulate physical, emotional, and spiritual changes, to access special — notably spiritual, hypnotic and trance-like — states of consciousness, and to release traumatic emotional or sexual experiences.
Today, there are many, many types of Breathwork, such as Rebirthing Breathwork, Vivation Breathwork, Holotropic Breathwork, Integrative Breathwork, Transformational Breathwork, Shamanic Breathwork, Conscious Connected Breathing, Radiance Breathwork, Zen Yoga Breathwork, and of course Tantric Breathwork.
Although, here also, there are a variety of Tantric Breathwork modalities — with different aims, used in different ways and with different techniques — but the principal idea is to release blocked energy, control energy flow in our bodies, release trauma, and induce well-being of mind, body and spirit to enable higher spiritual or consciousness levels within a person.
It’s thought that several benefits can be obtained with the practice, such as healing sexual blockages and traumas, integrating our sexuality in our lives, connecting with our bodies, spiritual development, improving our sex life and relationship healing, among others.
The practice can be done alone, with a partner, within a group or with help of a Breathwork therapist. Notable therapeutic applications can be found, for instance, in Tantric Coaching, Tantric Massage and in Sexological Bodywork.