Stressed out? Lethargic? Struggling to concentrate? There could be a fix right under your nose; just take a deep breath. Breathing is an automatic function of the human body controlled by the subconscious, but some health practitioners are promising major benefits if we can all just put a little more thought into the way we take air into our lungs, a technique known as Transformational Breath.
What is it?
A technique of ‘conscious connected breath work’ focussing on improving breathing patterns to open up the full potential of the breathing system for better physical and emotional well-being.
How does it work?
Everyone has their own individual breathing pattern. Breath coach Aimee Hartley describes this pattern as being “as unique as our thumbprint”.
“Some of us are ‘upper chest breathers’, whereby we overuse our shoulder, intercostal and neck muscles (the upper respiratory muscles) to breathe, while others are ‘belly breathers’, those who use the diaphragm but are not accessing the upper respiratory tract,” she explains.
“There are also an increasing number of ‘breath holders; those who tend to ‘stop breathing’ when under mild or extreme stress.”
During a Transformational Breath session, a breath coach will analyse your natural breathing pattern, then help you use your entire respiratory system through a combination of therapies involving conscious breath work, movement, sound, acupressure and positive mental affirmations.
Aimee runs The Breathing Room, a City-based breath clinic offering private Transformational Breath sessions for individuals, workshops and corporate wellbeing programmes aimed at stressed out workers.
The number of sessions required to develop the technique varies – some people pick it up straight away, others might need four or five sessions before they can practice effectively without assistance.
Why all the fuss?
Learning and practicing to breathe fully can have a hugely positive impact on your physical health, which in turn does wonders for your mental state. Regular practice can relieve long-term respiratory difficulties, boost your immune system, improve posture by releasing tension in the muscles, aid detoxification of the body, and boosts circulation and oxygen to your organs.
You will also find it easier to relax your nervous system, which promotes feelings of calm and relaxation and reduces stress responses, and improve your mental concentration and productivity. Aimee discovered the technique eight years ago while teaching yoga, describing the effects of her first session as “a calm high”.
Finding that the technique was overlooked, even in yoga practice, she established the Breathing Room five years ago to educate others about the benefits.
“Many clients come to learn the technique with the view to manage stress, overcome anxiety (often when public speaking), recovery from burnout; while others come needing inspiration for a new direction in their work-life.”
One-on-one coaching is £125 for the initial 90-minute appointment and breath analysis, then £75 for a 60-minute session thereafter. Half and full-day corporate packages are also available.
Where can I try it?
Breathing Room operates out of the Physical Health Clinic, 33-34 Chiswell Street EC1Y 4SF, and Stillpoint Meditation and Therapy Centre, 18 Devonshire Row EC2M 4RH.