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Breathwork: Australia’s Rising Trend for Stress Relief and Mental Well-being

New wellness trend Breathwork

In Australia, breathwork is swiftly emerging as a potent antidote to stress, sleep issues, and burnout, marking its place as one of the newest wellness trends. The practice has garnered attention, even making an appearance in popular reality TV shows like the latest season of Real Housewives of Sydney.

Johannes Egberts, a leading breathwork coach in Australia, asserts that breathwork is on the cusp of mainstream acceptance, drawing parallels with the societal embrace of meditation and mindfulness for mental health management. In a world characterized by heightened anxiety levels, Egberts sees breathwork as a powerful tool for individuals seeking an alternative to traditional methods of care.

What exactly is breathwork?

Breathwork involves intentional control of the breath, functioning as a remote control for the human body and nervous system. By retraining breathing patterns, individuals can shift their states and manage stress effectively. Egberts, backed by recent research with the University of Queensland, highlights the therapeutic potential of breathwork in alleviating mental health issues, epilepsy, asthma, hypertension, and autoimmune conditions.

The focus on breathwork comes at a time when many Australians are experiencing heightened stress and burnout, evident in the visible signs of tension among people during daily activities. Egberts emphasizes that breathwork is not just about the number of breaths but about using a retraining protocol to bring the body’s chemistry back into balance.

The breathwork techniques Egberts teaches include ‘coherent breathing’ – a slow and rhythmic process that induces a calming effect. Another technique, ‘psychedelic breathwork’ or holotropic breathwork, caught attention for its claim to achieve an altered state solely through breath, offering a quick 10- to 20-minute session impact.

Egberts’ personal journey into breathwork began after overcoming significant mental health struggles, including a period of intense depression. A chance encounter with world breathwork expert Wim Hof turned his life around, inspiring him to dedicate himself to breathwork and establish Breathless Expeditions.

During a session with a journalist, Egberts demonstrated the power of psychedelic breathwork, guiding the individual through a series of breath patterns that induced an altered state. The experience, likened to a modern spiritual awakening, prompted emotional releases and profound insights into aspects of life.

What does breathwork achieve?

The effectiveness of breathwork in achieving altered states without psychedelic drugs has historical roots, as psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof developed holotropic breathwork in the 1970s after the illegality of LSD. Egberts attests to the potency of breathwork, emphasizing its ability to gently activate the limbic system, induce altered states of consciousness, and provide a therapeutic avenue for individuals seeking relief.

Days after the breathwork session, the journalist reported feeling more energized, connected, and with a renewed sense of well-being. While not a panacea for life’s challenges, breathwork offers a valuable space for self-reflection and stress relief, contributing to the growing landscape of holistic wellness practices in Australia.

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