Back to Breath-Directed.
Back to Inner Healing.
Back to Holistic Healing.
It is important to note that I am not an expert in all of these Breath-Directed
Inner Healing and Transformational techniques. I have the most experience with
Vivation: over 60 coached sessions and I teach the process. I have had
approximately 30 Holotropic Breathwork sessions. Since Integrative Breathwork is
similar, I would say I have a good deal of general experience with this process as
well. I have some experience with Vivation, but am not an expert.
I have had only one Radiance Breathwork session. However, I am familiar
with and have used the techniques that are taught along with Radiance
Below, I will do my best in relating to you what I like about each of the breathwork
Thoughts About Each Technique
- Holotropic Breathwork
Holotropic Breathwork helps the breather go into a nonordinary state of
consciousness. The use of nonordinary states of consciousness are
seen in almost every culture. In such states, healing and reconnecting
with various aspects of life are possible. One might experience a release
of physical or emotional tension, deep relaxation, joy, or other
experiences including transpersonal experiences.
According to Kylea Taylor, there are fourteen aspects of a Holotropic Breathwork
session which work together to help create a successful session:
- Accelerated breathing
- Evocative music
- Trained and experienced facilitation
- A safe setting or container for the work
- Partnership of participants
- Preparatory information
- Focused energy release work
- Fasting at least four hours before the session
- Open body position of the breather
- Guided relaxation
- Mandala drawing
- Group sharing
- Community support
- Silence during the workshop
Additional Useful Points
- The training for the breathwork facilitators is fairly extensive. It
requires 150 hours of preliminary work as a participant of Holotropic
Breathwork sessions (breather and sitter). 350 hours of residential
theoretical and experiential modules are required. 10 hours of
private consultation are required. Finally, a two-week training seminar
is required for certification. This makes me feel confident about the
dedication and training that the Holotropic Breathwork facilitators have.
- I and many others have found the focused energy release work to be
extremely helpful when it feels like the energy/feelings are "stuck" in
a certain area of the body and the breathing and music cannot seem
to change this situation. Such bodywork has, at times, helped me feel
much better and more relaxed after the session.
- I now very much like (but didn't for a long time) doing the process
in a small group setting. Openly sharing your own process with others
in a very nonjudgemental and caring atmosphere can be very healing. It
can also be a very good way to meet others who are using holistic
- The evocative music is a big help (at times) for going into a nonordinary
state of consciousness. I believe this makes it possible to more easily
get in touch with other aspects of our story such as the birth process
and transpersonal experiences.
- It can be slightly easier to find a breathwork facilitator with Holotropic
Breathwork because it is relatively popular (as breathwork techniques go),
there are alot of trained faclitators, there is an online database of
practitioners (partial listing only), and referals can be obtained over the
- Session prices vary, but usually seem to be reasonable.
- Integrative Breathwork
Integrative Breathwork is very much like Holotropic Breathwork in that the
breather goes into a nonordinary state of consciousness where some aspect of
healing and transformation can occur. It seems that the main difference is
that other therapies and holistic healing techniques are used along with the
breathwork to help people integrate their breathwork experiences.
Additional Useful Points
- I like the fact that Jacquelyn Small and the team at Eupsychia have
brought together a number of useful techniques into their retreats (e.g.,
yoga, bodywork, meditation, traditional psychology techniques, nutrition
counseling, shadow work, Twelve Step meetings, etc.). This may make the
process much more healing than just the breathwork alone. This might
be considered a better clinical application of the breathwork techniques.
(Note: Some Holotropic Breathwork retreats often have some of these other
healing tools as well.) Please keep in mind that working with a trained
Integrative Breathwork practitioner (as opposed to Eupsychia retreats) may
include only Integrative Breathwork and less or none of the other holistic
- The same Additional Useful Points listed in Holotropic Breathwork apply
to Integrative Breathwork as well except that there are fewer certified
practitioners and that there are no online listings...yet.
- The Eupsychia training includes teaching how to work with people who
are in deep spiritual crises (e.g., addictions).
- The 6-day Eupsychia Intensive Retreat cost is reasonable.
- Radiance Breathwork
Radiance Breathwork is only one part of the healing and transformational
process taught by practitioners certified through the Hendricks Institute.
All of the tools and techniques used work together to promote healing and
The entire program includes Breathwork (Radiance Breathwork and a short
healing breathwork/presencing program to be practiced daily), Movement
Therapy, and Body-Centered Psychotherapy. One may find it difficult to
understand how a process which includes "psychotherapy" would be useful
for a person with a chronic physical disease such as asthma or arthritis.
These techniques are not used to treat those diseases, but it has my
experience and the experience of many others that the deep healing which
can come from such a program can have a significant positive impact on
chronic physical diseases. As put eloquently by Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks:
The Healing Journey Is Into the Body, Not Out of It
In our years as body-oriented psychotherapists, we have been privileged to be
with thousands of courageous people as they have journeyed through deep and
life-changing transformations. Although these changes have been infinately
and intricately different, they have had one element in common: They were
accomplished by journeying into the body, not out of it. Each person tuned in
to his or her bodily experience, amplified it through breath and movement, and
flowed with the emerging waves of energy. The results have often been
miraculous, and always wondrous to behold.
All of the Inner Healing & Transformational Tools discussed on this web page
are about journeying into the body.
Additional Useful Points
- The synthesis of body-oriented, movement-oriented psychotherapy with a
short daily breathing/presencing program and Radiance Breathwork makes
for a very practical healing and trasnformational program. The Radiance
Breathwork has some similarities to Holotropic Breathwork in that it
is a "cathartic" breathwork, while other parts of the program have some
similarities to a feeling meditation (not unlike the ideas behind Vivation).
- Feeling all feelings (pleasant and unpleasant) deeply in order to
integrate them is at the heart of the Radiance Breathwork program.
- The facilitators "have as much experience with their own [inner
transformational] work as they do in facilitating others."
- The training/retreat prices seem reasonable. The Radiance Breathwork /
Body-Oriented Psychotherapy session I attended was a little pricey -- but
it was with an experienced teacher in New York.
- A good deal of emphasis is place on "willingness." This includes the
willingness to take each experience as it comes, the willingness to
express the truth, and the willingness to take responsibility for one's
life. These are important and very useful parts of the program in my
- The possibility of making significant transformations and not spending
year after year in therapy is emphasized by practitioners.
Vivation is different than the other breathwork techniques since it is not
a "cathartic breathwork" meaning that there is generally not a huge release
of emotions. It tends to be gentler than the other breathworks. There may be
crying at times, and in some cases physical vocalization, but it is not as
common as in the other breathwork techniques.
Instead of a release of emotional energy, a Vivation Professionals helps the
client focus on inner feelings using some very simple, yet effective techniques
and then lovingly accepting and embracing these feelings. Often what is felt
emotionally and/or physically are surpressed feelings which cause energy
blockages within the body. (Such energy blockages can contribute significantly
to the developement of a number of chronic and some acute diseases.) By using
the Vivation process to embrace and integrating the feelings, the energy is
released and changed. As the session continues, more and more feelings are
felt and integrated leading to the deeper healing of the body, mind, and
Additional Useful Points
- The focus is not on "getting rid" of the feeling or "bad" emotion, but
on deeply feeling, embracing, and integrating it, thereby transforming
the energy around that supressed feeling. I believe that this type of
process can lead to a more permanent healing and transformation. I like
the fact that emphasis is put on activating the feelings, feeling them
deeply, and then significant emphasis is put on integrating the feelings.
It is a good balance.
- The Five Elements of Vivation including the breathing are coached in
that suggestions are given from time to time by the facilitator.
I found this very helpful for staying with the process. My willingness
to stay with the process during a breathwork session used to vary
considerably and it was too easy for me to say "The heck with it!" on
ocassion when I wasn't coached in other forms of breathwork. (Note:
Most people I have encountered in Holotropic Breathwork sessions did
not have this difficulty to anywhere near the extent I did, so it may
not be a problem for most people.)
- I very much like the emphasis placed on willingness. I find it to
be the key element with any form of breathwork that is used.
- Vivation is more gentle than the other breathwork techniques (usually)
and can therefore be used by nearly everyone.
- There is a emphasis on the eventual learning of the Vivation process
on your own so that you can exchange sessions with other
experienced students. There is also a goal to use the Vivation process
to your benefit at times during your daily activities. This is similar to
the way practitioners of mindfulness meditation sometimes practice during
daily life to enhance their wellbeing and spiritual growth. The
facilitators are clear that it is very important to get a significant
number of sessions to practice feeling, embracing and integrating before
trying to do the process on your own.
Obviously, there are aspects of each of the breathwork techniques discussed which
I feel are wonderful and very healing. I suggest you use the information discussed
on this and other breathwork web pages to help you decide on with techniques to use.
If you like, you can order and read the books relating to each of the techniques.
(See Resources sections on each individual web page for book listings.) But the
best way to decide is just to jump in and go to a class with a trained breathwork
facilitator in a group or one-on-one session. As with other Inner Healing &
Transformational techniques, try not to jump around constantly from practitioner
to practitioner, but instead, stick with one type and one practitioner for quite
a few sessions (unless you are experiencing problems with the technique or the