Higher Energy

How Does Breathwork Work? 3 Powerful Insights Unveiled

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How Does Breathwork Work

Introduction: How Does Breathwork Work?

If you’ve found yourself landing on this article, it’s probably because you or someone you know has been curious about the benefits of breathwork; however, maybe you or they have been a bit skeptical. Does breathwork work?


Yes, it absolutely does, and because of the advancement of modern-day science, we are now beginning to understand the physiological benefits proven to support mental clarity and emotional resilience in the most natural forms.


This article delves into the transformative power of breathwork, exploring its scientifically backed benefits, such as regulating the autonomic nervous system, improving heart health through increased heart rate variability, and strengthening emotional resilience.


We also provide practical advice on integrating breathwork into your daily routine and discuss the variability of its effectiveness among individuals. Whether you’re new to breathwork or seeking to deepen your practice, this guide illuminates the path to harnessing the profound impact of breathwork on overall health and well-being.

What is Breathwork?

Breathwork is an active practice of intentionally manipulating the breath through various techniques and patterns, which we will share later in this article. This type of conscious breathing stimulates the body’s natural ability to self-soothe and self-regulate, tied to the autonomic nervous system, which is a key component to managing stress.


When done consistently and safely, it enables the body to restore energy and release stress – naturally. Over time, the body can repair and build a new template to better manage stress daily that has lasting effects on cardiovascular health and overall vitality.


What is also interesting to note is that Breathwork has ancient roots deeply embedded in various spiritual, religious, and healing traditions dating back 6000 years.


While specific practices and beliefs vary, many ancient cultures recognized the profound connection between breath, mind, body, and spirit. What we love about breathwork is how it unites every human being, including all backgrounds and beliefs, with one common truth. Breath = life.

Breathwork Regulates Your Autonomic Nervous System

When it comes to managing stress and promoting relaxation, how does breathing tie into nervous system health?  Breath is closely connected to the ANS, which is a crucial part of our physiology and oversees our body’s automatic functions, such as heart rate and digestion, and is divided into two branches: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems.


The former prepares the body for action, while the latter helps the body rest. Breathwork techniques can modulate the activity of these branches, leading to various physiological and psychological effects.

Autonomic Nervous System

How Does Breathwork Influence the ANS?

Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS): Activation/Fight/Flight

  • When activated, the SNS prepares the body for action, triggering physiological changes such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and faster breathing.
  • Breathwork practices such as connected breathwork involve deeper, more intense mouth-to-mouth breathing or breath retention that stimulates the SNS, mimicking the physiological response to stress or danger. This is beneficial for increasing energy, especially if someone wants to increase energy or alertness.
 

Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS): Rest/Recovery/Homeostasis

  • The PNS promotes relaxation, rest, and recovery by counteracting the effects of the SNS. Activation of the PNS leads to decreased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and enhanced digestion.
  • Deep, slow breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing or paced breathing, stimulate the PNS and promote relaxation.
  • Practices like heart coherence breathing, where inhalation and exhalation are balanced and rhythmic, can synchronize heart rate variability (HRV) and promote a state of calm.
 

Using both functions of the nervous system enables the body to shift from a state of stress to calm easily and with more flexibility, which, over time, builds resilience, a key skill in mastering stress and performance.

Studies and Evidence: Does Breathwork…Work According to Research?

  • Clinical Research: Studies have shown that connected breathwork aids individuals with anxiety and PTSD, offering a positive response to “Does breathwork…work?”
  • Objective Measurements: Heart rate and blood pressure studies provide objective evidence of breathwork’s calming effects on the ANS.
  • Client Testimonials: Many individuals who have worked 1:1 with a breathwork facilitator here at Higher Energy report a greater sense of peace and reduced stress levels; read more about our transformations here.

In research, participants practicing regular breathwork exercises reported notable stress reduction. 


Another study measuring physiological responses to stress before and after breathwork training found a significant decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity.


This data suggests a positive answer to the question, “How Does breathwork work?” By engaging in breathwork, individuals may unlock their whole human potential for self-regulation, leading to a tranquil state that permeates their daily lives. 


Breathwork connects us to the internal knowing that our body has the innate ability to self-heal and find balance.

The Heart of the Matter: Improving Heart Health with Breathwork

Breathwork goes beyond just a moment of calm; it extends its benefits to one of the most vital organs in our body: the heart. 


Heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat, indicates cardiac health and the balance within the autonomic nervous system. Engaging in breathwork has positively impacted HRV, suggesting a stronger, more resilient heart.

The Connection Between Breathwork and Increased HRV

  • Research Insights: Studies link high HRV with improved cardiovascular efficiency and a lower risk of stress-related heart issues.
  • Breathwork Techniques: Slow, deep breathing exercises are known to enhance HRV by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. At Higher Energy, we develop heart coherence training programs for both individuals and teams looking to improve health and performance by leveraging the power of the heart.
  • Adaptive Capacity: A higher HRV is associated with the body’s better ability to adapt to environmental stressors.

Facilitators of breathwork here at Higher Energy utilize heart-coherence bio-feedback technology by Heart Math as a tool for enhancing HRV, which in turn can contribute to better heart health. 


By consciously controlling the breath, one can potentially steer the heart towards a rhythm that is not only healthier but also indicative of a more resilient and adaptable cardiovascular system. With each breath taken with intention, we open up the possibility of a healthier heart that beats with life and vitality.

Building Emotional Resilience: The Role of Breathwork

Emotional resilience is our ability to bounce back from stress or adversity, and it’s a critical aspect of our overall well-being. Breathwork can be a key player in enhancing this resilience. By learning to manage our breath, we can influence our emotional state, helping us to remain balanced in the face of life’s challenges.

Techniques in Breathwork for Strengthening Emotional Resilience

  • Mindfulness Breathing: This practice anchors us in the present moment and can prevent overwhelming emotions.
  • Rhythmic Breathing: Regular, rhythmic breaths can create a sense of inner stability during emotional turbulence.
  • Extended Exhalation: Prolonging the exhalation activates the calming response in the body, soothing immediate emotional stress.
 

These techniques serve as tools for individuals to cope with emotional upheaval. They provide a sense of agency over one’s emotional responses and can be particularly beneficial in moments of acute stress or when dealing with traumatic events.

Personal Testimonials and Practical Studies on Boosting Emotional Resilience.

Individuals and teams who have worked with us 1:1 at Higher Energy report a greater sense of peace and emotional steadiness with regular breathwork practices. 


Take, for example, our client, Rob M. Rob, is a safety director based out of the US who has, in the past, struggled with severe digestion issues due to stress, which led him to spend time in the emergency year after year.


Rob’s wife and mother are fighting cancer, and the stress of family, finances and health are weighing on him. Here is his testimony after completing our three-month 1:1 breathwork coaching program with our master trainer and facilitator, Kindra Fox.

How Does Breathwork Work

“In the past year, I sought guidance to enhance my breathwork practice. Experimenting with short-breath exercises for anxiety control had some benefits, but I felt something was missing.


Joining Kindra’s breathwork program proved transformative. Kindra’s coaching and guidance introduced me to conscious breathwork, helping me release emotions and enhance energy regulation. 


I am happy to know now what coherence feels like in my life. I am able to regulate my daily energy better and keep my anxiety and stress levels in check. I am able to get and stay centred in a different way than I have ever experienced, and I can now feel more connected to my family and friends in a new way.”


We’re so honored and grateful to work closely with individuals looking to unlock their whole human potential by learning to self-heal and awaken to their highest potential.


When it comes to the additional benefits of breathing, a study of 14,000 participants conducted by the Heart Math Institute who practiced regular breathing techniques such as coherence breathing paired with positive emotions such as gratitude, care, compassion and love enhanced sleep +36%, emotional vitality +27%, calm +49% as well as decreased depression -67%, fatigue -53%, and anger -67%.


The science and stories behind breathwork’s impact on emotional resilience are compelling. Not only does it offer an accessible way to manage emotions, but it also equips individuals with a non-pharmacological method to support their mental health. 


The practice of breathwork, with its deep roots in ancient traditions and its wings in modern science, stands out as a promising ally in the journey toward emotional resilience and psychological well-being.

The Practical Side: How to Integrate Breathwork into Your Routine

Incorporating breathwork into daily life doesn’t require a significant time investment or special equipment. With a few simple techniques, anyone can begin to experience the benefits of breathwork. Here’s how to make breathwork a regular part of your wellness routine.

Simple Breathwork Exercises for Beginners

  • Slow Diaphragmatic Breathing: Focus on breathing deeply and slowly into your diaphragm rather than your chest, promoting relaxation.
  • Resonance Technique: Inhale for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. This method is great for reducing anxiety and regulating heart rhythm patterns.
  • Three-part Connected Breath: Inhale for 2 breaths through the nose or mouth, and exhale with an audible sigh through the mouth, with no pause in between breaths, creating a circular rhythm. This method is great for charging the body with energy.

These practices can be done anywhere, anytime. Starting or ending your day with breathwork or using it as a break during stressful moments can significantly enhance your overall quality of life.

Tips for Incorporating Breathwork into Daily Life

  • Make it a Habit: Schedule a specific time for breathwork in your daily routine to ensure consistency. We recommend early mornings, a mid-day break or before sleep.
  • Working with a Coach 1:1: Higher Energy offers various 1:1 and group coaching programs to help jumpstart your breathwork practice and sustain long-term success.
  • Utilize Guided Tracks & Apps: Dive deeper into breathwork with our guided breath tracks, or join our Higher Energy learning portal for self-guided programs and monthly community breathwork sessions.

Integrating breathwork into your routine is a step toward better physical health, improved mental clarity, and emotional stability. The adaptability of breathwork makes it a versatile tool that can be tailored to fit the needs and schedules of individuals from all walks of life.

Measuring the Impact: How Does Breathwork Work for Everyone?

While breathwork is universally accessible and offers numerous benefits, its effects can vary from person to person. Understanding how to gauge its impact on your health and well-being is crucial for integrating breathwork effectively into your life.

Variability in Individual Responses to Breathwork

  • Personal Sensitivities & Past Experiences: When developing a breathwork practice, it’s important to consider your current state of being, checking in and ensuring the breathing techniques feel safe and comfortable. At Higher Energy, the team is trauma-informed to deliver breathwork with a lens of creating safety in the body first before intensive breath techniques are utilized.
  • Depth of Practice: The benefits often correlate with the depth and consistency of practice. More profound results may require dedicated practice over time. It is estimated that with regular practice, one can expect to experience profound effects on the overall energy and stress levels within 2 to 3 weeks of practice of about 20 minutes per day.
  • Set and Setting: External factors like environment and lifestyle can influence how individuals respond to breathwork. It’s very important to ensure a safe and quiet space to practice. When leveraging connected breathing patterns and techniques, it’s important to be in a stationary position, as well as not driving motor vehicles.
 

Recognizing that breathwork is not a one-size-fits-all solution is essential. It’s about finding what works best for you and adapting practices to meet your needs. If you are curious about what breathwork can do for you or where to start, feel free to book complementary breathwork consult with us to explore if breathwork is right for you.

How to Assess if Breathwork is Working for You

  • Monitor Your Feelings: Note any changes in your stress levels, emotional state, and physical well-being before and after practicing.
  • Keep a Journal: Documenting your breathwork journey can help you identify patterns and improvements over time.
  • Seek Feedback: Sharing experiences with a community or Higher Energy instructor can provide insights and adjustments to enhance your practice.


Assessing the effectiveness of breathwork in your life involves both introspection and observation. It’s a personal journey that unfolds differently for everyone; going at your own pace and rhythm is important. With each breath you take, you build a more conscious awareness of yourself and those around you.

Encouraging Consistent Practice and Patience

  • Start Small: Even short, daily sessions can lead to noticeable benefits. Start with ten minutes a day and slowly increase week after week.
  • Be Patient: The benefits of breathwork, like those of any wellness practice, often accumulate gradually. Usually, clients start to see improvements between weeks two and three of our six-week online breathwork program.
  • Stay Open: Be willing to try different techniques and approaches to find what resonates with you.

Conclusion and Learning More about Higher Energy

Breathwork’s true value lies in its practice over time. While immediate effects can be felt, the lasting impact on well-being, emotional resilience, and physical health emerges through consistent and mindful practice. 


Whether you’re seeking to reduce stress, improve heart health, or build emotional resilience, breathwork offers a path to greater well-being that is both ancient and newly relevant in our fast-paced world.


In answering the question, “Does Breathwork Work?” it’s clear that the practice holds the key to unlocking whole-human potential for many. However, the journey is deeply personal, and the results are as varied as those who embark on the path of breath awareness and control. 


To learn more or speak to a certified breathwork instructor, visit us and learn more at www.higherenergy.ca. Feel free to sign up for our monthly newsletter and be invited to upcoming events.


Keep breathing.

Kindra Fox

Kindra Fox

Kindra Fox, the CEO of Higher Energy and certified breathwork facilitator, can help you improve your corporate productivity and team connection while reducing employee burnout through virtual resilience training and breathwork services. Interested in learning more? Book a free consult below.

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How Does Breathwork Work

How Does Breathwork Work? 3 Powerful Insights Unveiled

Introduction: How Does Breathwork Work? If you’ve found yourself landing on this article, it’s probably…

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