The process of recovery from mental health problems and/or substance use disorders (SUDs) can be stressful. To make it easier, many people rely on a combination of treatments that may include medication, mainstream treatments, and holistic therapies. Although professional therapy and treatment are essential, for optimal healing one needs to develop self-driven healing and recovery strategies. One way to do this is to purposely introduce healthy coping mechanisms into one’s life.
At Roots Recovery, clients practice healthy coping mechanisms in a safe, guided environment. As they learn various self-help techniques, they begin to incorporate these into their daily lives. One of these coping mechanisms practiced at Roots Recovery is breathwork.
What Is Breathwork and How Does It Work?
Breathwork is a technique that involves breathing in a certain way that encourages the body to release tension and stuck emotions. The technique is typically used in a quiet and soothing environment and involves mindfulness. Breathwork is also sometimes referred to as diaphragmatic breathing or deep breathing. No matter what it’s called, this breathing practice helps repair and improve the connection between the body and mind.
This form of breathing involves diaphragm contractions and deepening one’s inhalation and exhalation. Breathwork is commonly taught at healing centers, in certain spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, and in yoga and martial arts classes. When someone is in this meditative environment, their deep breathing helps them clear their minds, release stressors, and begin a deeper process of healing. Helping improve the mind-body connection in this way is vital when coping with mental health disorders or SUDs.
How Can Breathwork Help in Recovery and Healing?
Breathwork can help one’s body relax, and relaxation itself improves both physical and mental health. Research summarized in the journal The Psychiatric Clinics of North America shows that practicing breathwork has a variety of positive effects on mental health. In the article, the authors explained that breathwork can help normalize the stress response, improve emotional regulation, and reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other trauma-related disorders or experiences, depression, and attention-deficit disorder (ADD).
When paired with medical treatment and/or other therapies, breathwork can be a significant help to individuals who are healing from any of the aforementioned issues. It is also a treatment people can use to help them stay sober and feel good enough to continue with their healing protocols.
Providing an Accessible Coping Mechanism
After treatment, people often find it difficult to cope with their daily lives. Incorporating personal practices and healthy coping mechanisms such as deep breathing, can be a wonderful outlet that doesn’t cost money. Using breathwork during one’s day can help reduce the impact of daily stressors. It also can remind one of their control over themselves and allow them to find an inner sense of peace.
Finding personal coping mechanisms is important for the longevity of recovery and healing. However, finding mechanisms that are right for oneself can be difficult or overwhelming. Practicing guided breathing in a safe and controlled environment is beneficial to many struggling with substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Roots Recovery helps clients discover new coping mechanisms, such as breathwork, that they can use outside of treatment and therapy.
Breathwork at Roots Recovery
At Roots Recovery, breathwork is incorporated into mental healthcare and treatment. In the somatic therapy group, clients lay on the floor and participate in a guided breathing practice. This therapy group uses a combination of meditation and somatic therapy, which helps clients to identify their feelings and sensations within their bodies. The facilitator of the group teaches people to expel their negative sensations through breathing. Many clients find this group to be a very powerful and intense experience.
Somatic experiencing is a body-oriented approach to trauma and stress healing. In releasing traumatic shock, breathwork helps clients understand their emotional wounds and analyze where they are stuck in a fight, flight, or freeze response. Guided breathing encourages clients to release this energy bound in the body. Simultaneously, clients increase their tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.
Group therapy at Roots Recovery encourages clients to form a supportive and non-judgemental environment. Building a community with those who have SUDs and mental health disorders can help encourage one’s healing and growth.
Bridging the Mind, Body, and Spirit
Breathwork and its benefits align with the treatment philosophy at Roots Recovery which advocates a whole-person, integrative approach. By practicing breathwork, clients develop a greater sense of self. They interact with their emotions, thoughts, and feelings on a deeper personal level. Rather than analyzing their feelings out loud, clients learn how their bodies and minds react to certain emotions and feelings and then release the high tension or negativity.
Breathwork also helps clients experience the connection between their minds, bodies, and spirits. As they experience greater mental peace, they physically feel better. As they grow spiritually, they begin to heal on all levels. At Roots Recovery, this is known as the whole-person approach. Increased integration of all aspects of one’s self helps clients foster a happier and healthier lifestyle free from SUDs or mental health disorders.
Here at Roots Recovery, we encourage clients to develop healthy coping mechanisms to improve the longevity of their healing and recovery journeys. One coping mechanism we introduce to clients is breathwork. Breathwork is practiced by deep inhalations and exhalations to improve both physical and mental health. Our facilitator helps clients release negative emotions through guided breathwork practices. This deepens the client’s connection with themselves. This practice can be used outside of treatment and therapy as well. Breathwork helps clients understand the root of their emotions and how their feelings affect their minds and bodies. By releasing negative energy, clients may experience improved emotional regulation and reduced stress. To learn more about breathwork at Roots Recovery, contact us at (562) 473-0827.