July 7, 2023

The Benefits of Breathwork Therapy for Addiction Recovery

A man sits in a field representing Outpatient substance abuse treatment.

Breathwork therapy for addiction recovery is a therapeutic practice that aims to help people manage physical, psychological, and emotional pain during the recovery process.

Incorporating breathwork into addiction recovery can help people learn new ways to manage challenging situations in a healthy and sustainable way by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and developing healthier coping mechanisms.

Today, you will discover:

  • What is breathwork?
  • What is breathwork good for?
  • Does breathwork work in addiction recovery?
  • How can you practice breathwork for recovery?

Breathwork Therapy

Breathwork is a form of therapy that uses breath practice to clear blocks or stressors, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. In simple terms, breathwork involves intentionally altering your breathing patterns by using specific breathing techniques. By changing your patterns of breathing, breathwork can promote clarity and release emotional tension.

Incorporating breathwork into a comprehensive addiction recovery plan can deliver many benefits. Practicing breathwork can facilitate a deeper connection with your thoughts and emotions, providing helpful insights into your life and the decisions you make. Additionally, breathwork can equip you with robust and effective coping strategies for ongoing recovery from addiction.

A woman does breathwork representing breathwork for addiction.

What is Breathwork Therapy

Breathwork therapy is a modality that utilizes conscious and intentional breathing techniques to promote healing, self-discovery, and personal transformation. In a holistic approach, breathwork recognizes the strong connection between breathing, emotions, and overall well-being.

During breathwork therapy sessions, individuals are guided to explore and change their breathing patterns, allowing them to access deeper levels of emotional awareness and streamline emotional release. Breathwork practitioners use varied techniques, often including deep breathing, rhythmic breathing, breath-holding, and other specific breathing patterns.

The core goal of breathwork therapy is to create a safe, supportive space for people to connect with their inner selves, release physical and emotional tension, and gain a valuable understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and life experiences. Working with the breath consciously allows people to access and then release unresolved trauma, emotions, and limiting beliefs that may be stored internally.

Breathwork therapy can effectively address a range of issues, including:

  • Addiction
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional blockages

This form of addiction therapy can help people to improve emotional resilience, develop greater self-awareness, promote personal growth, and enhance overall well-being.

Types of Breathwork

There are many different types of breathwork:

  • Vivation: This breathwork meditation relies on a set of guiding principles that include complete relaxation, awareness of detail, and circular breathing.
  • Clarity: Before engaging with clarity breathwork, you will have a counseling session to set your intentions. The method focuses on circular breathing and ends with time for sharing.
  • Transformational breath: This type of breathwork involves the facilitator observing your breath to see where it’s held and where you may have blockages. These blockages may be opened using sound techniques, hands-on techniques, and positive affirmations.
  • Rebirthing: Rebirthing, also known as conscious energy breathing, deals with the physical impact of repressed or unprocessed emotions on the body by using circular breathing.
  • Shamanic: Also known as pranayama in yoga practice, shamanic breathwork allows you to control your breathing through meditative exercise.
    Holotropic: Holotropic breathwork encourages continuous circular breathing and utilizes techniques like hyperventilation, evocative music, focused bodywork, and expressive drawing.

Each type of breathwork provides unique approaches and benefits for those looking to recover from addiction and mental health issues.

Breathwork For Addiction

Breathwork can be an effective complementary therapy for those in recovery from addictions. Here are some ways in which this therapy may help:

  • Emotional regulation: Breathwork techniques can help people develop emotional regulation skills. This can be beneficial for those managing intense emotions associated with the recovery process, enabling them to observe and release emotions without resorting to substance use.
  • Stress reduction: Stress is a common trigger for relapse in recovery. Practicing breathwork can help reduce stress levels by activating the body’s relaxation response, calming the nervous system. This may help with craving management during recovery.
  • Self-exploration and healing: Through breathwork, people can explore the patterns of behavior, underlying emotions, and traumas that may contribute to their addiction, promoting mental, emotional, and spiritual healing.
  • Mindfulness and presence: Breathwork cultivates mindfulness – being fully present. This is especially beneficial for those in recovery, enabling them to become more aware of triggers, cravings, and thought patterns.
  • Enhanced self-awareness: By becoming more self-aware through practicing breathwork, those in recovery can start setting goals, making positive changes, and maintaining long-term recovery from addiction.

Breathwork Benefits

​​Breathwork offers a range of benefits that can positively impact various aspects of an individual’s well-being. Here are some key benefits of incorporating breathwork into your life:

  • Stress reduction: Breathwork techniques activate the relaxation response in the body, helping to reduce stress levels and promote a sense of calm and inner peace.
  • Emotional release: Conscious breathing can facilitate the release of pent-up emotions, allowing individuals to process and heal emotional wounds, trauma, and unresolved feelings.
  • Improved mental clarity: Breathwork practices enhance oxygenation to the brain, increasing mental clarity, focus, and concentration. This can support decision-making, problem-solving, and overall cognitive function.
  • Enhanced self-exploration: By working with the breath, individuals can access deeper states of consciousness and self-awareness, facilitating personal growth, self-exploration, and a deeper understanding of oneself.
  • Increased energy and vitality: Conscious and intentional breathing can boost energy levels, invigorate the body, and enhance overall vitality.
  • Emotional regulation and well-being: Breathwork techniques help individuals develop emotional regulation skills, manage anxiety and depression, and promote emotional balance and well-being.
  • Improved physical health: Deep breathing stimulates the lymphatic system, supports detoxification, enhances lung capacity, and improves overall respiratory function. It also promotes relaxation and can help lower blood pressure and reduce muscle tension.

Breathwork offers a wide array of benefits that extend beyond addiction recovery, providing individuals with valuable tools for self-care, self-discovery, and personal transformation.

Breathwork in addiction recovery is a therapeutic practice that aims to help people manage physical, psychological, and emotional pain during the recovery process.


Does breathwork heal trauma?

Breathwork can be a valuable tool in the trauma healing process, as it helps regulate the nervous system and promotes relaxation and emotional release.

How powerful is breathwork?

Breathwork has the potential to be a powerful practice because it can induce altered states of consciousness, improve oxygenation, and facilitate deep energetic, and emotional shifts.

What happens to the brain during breathwork?

During breathwork, the brain undergoes changes that include increased oxygenation, altered brainwave patterns, and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering relaxation, heightened awareness, and potential emotional processing.

A group of people sit together on the beach to represent treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in Southern California at Gratitude Lodge.

Get Holistic Addiction Treatment at Gratitude Lodge

Here at Gratitude Lodge, we can help you fight back against all types of addictions and mental health issues at our rehab centers in Long Beach and Newport Beach, California.

For those who require assistance with detoxification, our supervised medical detox program offers the safest and most comfortable route to recovery. After a week or so, you shift into a 30-day inpatient program.

During inpatient treatment, you can access the following science-based and holistic therapies:

For a whole-body approach to addiction recovery, call Gratitude Lodge today at 888-861-1658.

Want to learn more?

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.

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Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.

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