A Cross-Sectional Study Of The Effects Of Holotropic Breathwork: Quantitative And Qualitative Findings

by Kirsten Enriquez

This study investigates Holotropic Breathwork (breathwork), a therapy/spiritual practice originating within the framework of transpersonal psychology. There have been 25,000 participants of breathwork over the past decade (Taylor, 1994) and dramatic claims have been made for its unique effectiveness over other therapeutic approaches (Grof, 1988a); however, there have been no empirical studies of any kind on.breathwork to date. To investigate these claims, 27 individuals who had participated in breathwork were given questionnaires assessing their control profiles, the effects of breathwork, their evaluation of breathwork’s value, and the role of surrender /positive yielding. Although 85% rated the ‘breathwork highly or very highly, only 11% have replaced other therapies with breathwork. Further, 15% had adverse effects and 4% said that they would not continue the breathwork practice. The paper concludes with guidelines and suggestions for further research of experiential therapies and for matching therapeutic techniques with personal concerns.

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