Breathwork has been everywhere in the media lately, gaining significant attention in the field of mindfulness and well-being. Get this: the word “spirit” originated from Latin “spiritus” meaning “a breath”, so the fact that breathwork is used by yoga and meditation practitioners for spiritual connection may not surprise you, but how about corporate companies like Nike and Nasa introducing their employees to breathwork?1 Well, let’s just say it seems that breathwork can do a whole lot more than connect us to “the divine” – it can also reduce stress and cure both psychological and physiological conditions. I know what you’re thinking… “Oh sure, by breathing?! Give me a break.” I know, I know. Let me explain…
The use of breathwork techniques dates back to ancient traditions originated in China, Egypt and India. One of the first records of breathwork use is from 2700 B.C.E. when Emperor Huang Ti from China encouraged the use of breathing exercises for both mental and physical well-being. In recent years, research has shown breathwork to boost immunity, help manage pain, increase creativity and focus, as well as improve sleep, mood and self-esteem.
Working your inspiratory muscles through breathwork has been shown to improve strength and stamina, as well as reduce breathing fatigue in athletes2 and improve scores in swimming and weightlifting competitions3. Scientists have also shown breathwork to be highly beneficial for the reduction of stress, anxiety, depression and even PTSD symptoms4. Pair it up with CONKA’s scientifically assembled natural ingredient-based supplements and you get… a calm super-hero with laser focus and increased reaction time? Something like that.
Researchers have developed breathing techniques to stimulate the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) in order to induce a more relaxed state, often through deep-breathing techniques that have been shown to lower heart rate5 and high blood pressure6. Cool, huh? There’s more. Created in the 1970s, holotropic breathwork is said to have similar effects to that of psychedelic drugs due to the release of oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin in the brain. It increases body awareness, facilitates spiritual connection and consequently leads to the understanding of subconscious causes of mental conditions7. A moment of silence for your aha moment… So we can cure both physical and mental conditions by breathing?! Yes. Crazy, I know.
Many short courses, books and videos on breathwork are available for those wanting to learn more about it. The variety of breathwork techniques and their respective outcomes is immense, so I advise you to think about what you would like to get out of this experience before trying in order to find the appropriate technique. As athletes especially, the benefits from breathwork can be taken even further by CONKA supplements and its positive effects on mood, focus, etc. A good place to start may be CONKA’s first month free offer8, and Michael Bijker’s “Breath is Life” course, which is available for purchase on a “pay what you can” basis9. Happy breathing!
Leticia Hosang, BSc
Leticia is a sports science, sports psychology and neuroscience researcher, previously working with Brunel London University and exploring the effects of exercise on brain activity.