Using Breathwork for Healing Chronic Disease, IBS, Anxiety and More

Breathwork is a powerful tool to promote physical healing, calm the nervous system, release fears, and soothe anxiety. It's a deep form of meditation that you can access quickly. Tuning into your breath, slowing it down and modifying in different ways allows you to consciously influence your autonomic nervous system – change your heart rate, digestion, body temperature, etc. 

SOMA Breath takes fundamental Pranayama techniques put into a sequence that combines rhythmic breathing to beat-driven music, for therapeutic function. It's also inspired by the core breathwork technique of the Wim Hof Method. SOMA Breath techniques are designed to be practiced regularly – some on a daily basis – and they lead to improvements in every area of your life.

Your Breath is Healing if You Use it Correctly

Depending on how you breathe, you can activate the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) or you can activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). You can also activate the vagus nerve through vocal toning with AUM chants. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve of the human autonomic nervous system. It's fibers connect to all of your body's organs from the neck down (except the adrenal glands), making it the primary component of your parasympathetic nervous system.

There are 3 Key Phases of SOMA Breath

There are three phases of SOMA breath, each with specific health benefits. The three phases are rhythmic breathing, breath retention (intermittent hypoxia), and mula bandha lock. Each is described below. 

1. Rhythmic Breathing

Slow diaphragmatic rhythmic breathing has been shown to reduce stress not only over the long-term, but almost instantly. 

  • Reduces oxidative stress
  • Increases heart rate variability
  • Improves symptoms of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Facilitates Lymphatic drainage
  • Has been linked to healing IBS

When you slow your breath and extend your exhales, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is your rest, relax, and digest state. Your body and mind switch from survival mode (fight or flight) into a calm state of relaxation.

This has a profound effect on reducing stress and anxiety. As you slow your breathing and breathe in a rhythmic pattern, you go into heart coherence. Your breath is no longer erratic. Erratic breathing leads to erratic thoughts and anxiety.

When you slow your breath and breathe in a coherent rhythm then you achieve heart coherence, lower stress levels, calm the mind, and allow the body systems to sync back into proper rhythm (digestion, heart rate, etc).

2. Intermittent Hypoxia (Nisshesha Rechaka Kumbhaka)

Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT) is used to treat a range of disorders including high blood pressure, diabetes, Parkinson’s, emotional disorders, and more. The first Yogis – thousands of years ago – already knew about this. The most revered breathing technique of Pranayama lowers oxygen levels in the body for a brief period of time.

Your body adapts to having less oxygen and starts to become more efficient in producing energy. This also where you put a positive stress response on the body making you more resilient to stressful situations.

This is a time in which you can enter a deep meditative state and access your subconscious mind where you can begin reprogramming imprints that hold you back from living your best life

Benefits of Intermittent Hypoxic Training:

  • Anti-aging: Stimulates cell reproduction and regeneration encouraging repair, growth and development of nervous tissue.
  • Increases stamina and endurance
  • Supports optimum blood flow
  • Relief from many chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and sleep disorders.

IHT can be beneficial for the treatment of a wide range of degenerative diseases including:

  • chronic heart and lung diseases
  • hypertension
  • asthma and chronic bronchitis
  • liver and pancreatic diseases
  • anxiety and depression
  • iron-deficiency anaemia
  • lack of energy and fatigue

3. The Mula Bandha lock isolates and engages your pelvic floor muscles. In this phase you hold all your breath in, lock your mula bandha and rush blood flow and oxygen to your brain. This can have a powerful feeling of energy and excitement. It also stimulates the production of feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. This can awaken dormant parts of the brain helping to increase creativity and cognitive functionsHere’s how to do it:

  • Gently squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. They include the genitals, the anus, and the perineum. These are the muscles that you use to hold in your urine. It’s the floor of your body.
  • Hold the squeeze for about one second, then let go and fully relax.

To discover more breathing techniques and ways to implement breathwork, check out my video series on youtube >>

Now that you know all of the healing benefits of SOMA Breathwork, I encourage you to give it a try!!

I invite you to join me for a virtual breathwork retreat - Breath of Life - free and online June 19th-21st. Click here to register >>


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