The beauty of breathwork
With more and more people turning to breathwork to support them through tough times, Vitality Editor Becci Vallis looks at the techniques you can add to your treatments.
It’s part of the norm to start a treatment with three deep breaths to get your client to slow down and connect with you but spas and therapists are increasingly dedicating more time to incorporating breathwork into their repertoire.
“It affects every process in the body so to ensure that our treatments work effectively we pay a lot of attention to breathing so clients can achieve a faster and deeper relaxation in the body and the brain – before, during and after the treatment,” explains Annemarie Wortman, co-founder of The Tides Wellness. “Our aim is to constantly stimulate the activity of the vagus nerve to increase vagal tone, which has an immediate effect on reducing physical, mental and emotional stress. We find that it’s a natural way to obtain relaxation for both the therapist and the guest and to synchronise the contact between both which in our view is crucial for a successful treatment.”
Why the breath is so beneficial
Obviously breathing is the thing that keeps us alive but there is more evidence emerging that by focusing on the breath it can make you healthier, happier and improve both physical and mental performance. From increasing our immunity to helping manage symptoms associated with anxiety, depression and insomnia, the possibilities are endless. Certain types of breathwork like the Wim Hof Method where you perform short, sharp inhalations and exhalations followed by an elongated breath hold can even increase your amount of red blood cells as the pathways that deliver oxygen to the cells become stronger.
It’s also something that everyone can do, anytime, anywhere which is why as a therapist it’s a brilliant way to give clients a take home benefit so the serenity they feel in the treatment room continues long after they’ve left. “If it didn’t work, people wouldn’t do it, or they’d abandon it after trying it once,” says Stuart Sandeman, founder of Breathpod and who teaches online and in-person breathwork classes. “Taught in the right way, it’s an incredibly empowering and accessible tool and we can use it to turn our stress to calm, to help us through daily challenges, to resolve trauma, to improve sleep…the list goes on.”