Balance Body & Mind

HISTORY OF BREATHWORK

For centuries, people have sought spiritual awakening, self-healing, and meditative relaxation through breathing techniques. Breathwork has roots in Eastern practices like yoga, Tai Chi, and Buddhism. However, most of the breathwork therapy used today got its start during the consciousness-raising era of the 1960s and 1970s.

Several types of breathwork were formed during this era. These included Holotropic Breathwork and Rebirthing Breathwork. Some models emphasized self-awareness and inner peace. Others dealt with altered states of consciousness and psychedelic effects. Rebirthing Breathwork, for example, was developed by Leonard Orr. It focused on the traumatic experience of birth. Holotropic Breathwork, established by Dr. Stan Grof and his wife, Christina Grof, grew out of their research on consciousness and the effects of psychedelic drugs like LSD.

Since the 1970s, the field of breathwork therapy has grown further. In 1991, Jacquelyn Small founded Integrative Breathwork. This approach is based on her work in Holotropic Breathwork alongside Dr. Grof. In addition, Clarity Breathwork, which evolved from Rebirthing Breathwork, was established in 1999. Clarity Breathwork expanded upon the principles of Rebirthing to include a more generalized approach to trauma and therapy.

Today, the field of breathwork continues to evolve. Dozens of models and certification programs are available to interested participants and practitioners alike. Many organizations contribute to the training, research, and expansion efforts of Breathwork therapists around the world. These include:

The Stanislav and Christina Grof Foundation (formerly called the Association of Holotropic Breathwork International (AHBI))

Rebirthing Breathwork International (RBI)

The Global Professional Breathwork Alliance (GPBA)

The International Breathwork Foundation (IBF)