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Breathwork = less stress

How does breathwork help reduce stress and anxiety

Breathwork, also known as controlled or conscious breathing, is an ancient practice used for centuries to calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety. In recent years, scientific studies have confirmed the effectiveness of breathwork in reducing stress and anxiety by altering the body's physiological response to stress.

Breathwork involves intentionally changing the rate and depth of breathing, often using specific techniques such as deep belly breathing, alternate nostril breathing, or breath retention. The goal is to increase oxygen flow to the brain and body, which can help reduce stress and anxiety by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body's "rest and digest" response, which helps to calm the body and mind. When stressed or anxious, the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the "fight or flight" response, is activated, leading to increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and muscle tension. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system through breathwork, we can counteract the effects of the sympathetic nervous system and promote relaxation and calm.

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that a four-week program of slow breathing exercises reduced anxiety and improved quality of life in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Another study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that practising pranayama, a form of breathwork, for just 20 minutes a day for eight weeks significantly reduced stress and anxiety levels in participants.

In addition to activating the parasympathetic nervous system, breathwork can directly impact the brain. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that a single session of slow breathing reduced activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that plays a vital role in the body's stress response. The study also found that slow breathing increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain involved in emotional regulation and cognitive control.

Breathwork can also help to increase mindfulness, which is paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Focusing on the breath during mindfulness exercises allows us to tune out distractions and become more present in the moment. This can help to reduce anxiety by breaking the cycle of worrying about the future or ruminating on the past.

In conclusion, breathwork is a powerful tool for reducing stress and anxiety that has been used for centuries. Scientific studies have confirmed its effectiveness in activating the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing activity in the amygdala, and increasing mindfulness. Whether you're new to breathwork or an experienced practitioner, incorporating breathwork into your daily routine can positively impact your mental and physical well-being.


Jerath, R., Barnes, V. A., & Crawford, M. W. (2015). Mind-body response and neurophysiological changes during stress and meditation: central role of homeostasis. Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents, 29(4), 563-576.

Streeter, C. C., Gerbarg, P. L., Whitfield, T. H., Owen, L., Johnston, J., Silveri, M. M., ... & Jensen, J. E. (2017). Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder with Iyengar Yoga and Coherent Breathing: A Randomized Controlled Dosing Study. Journal of psychiatric practice, 23(4), 269-282.

Vranicić, M., Begić, D., & Jakovljević, M. (2019). The effect of slow breathing on stress management in patients with generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and complementary medicine