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Inhaling Health with the Power of Breathwork

December 21, 2023 5 min read

    Inhaling health with the power of breathwork

    Did you know that the simple act of breathing can have a profound impact on your health and well-being? It's true! Breathwork, a practice that has been gaining popularity in recent years, offers a multitude of benefits for both your physical and mental health. In fact, breathwork is not just a trendy wellness fad; it has a rich history and a solid foundation in science. In this article, we'll explore the fascinating world of breathwork, from its ancient origins to modern-day practices like the Wim Hof method and the techniques detailed in James Nestor's enlightening book, "Breath."

    The Astonishing Power of Breathwork

    Let's kick things off with a mind-boggling statistic: Did you know that the average person takes approximately 20,000 breaths per day? That's 20,000 opportunities to harness the power of breath for improved health and well-being. Breathwork, in essence, is the intentional and conscious control of your breath to achieve specific outcomes. It comes in various forms and has been a cornerstone of ancient practices like pranayama in yoga for centuries. As breathing is a naturally automatic process, it is closely connected to the way we feel. So, if we are stressed, our breath automatically becomes quick and/or shallow. Reminding ourselves to take conscious breaths can make a significant difference in the way we feel.

    A Brief History of Breathwork

    To truly understand the significance of breathwork, it's essential to delve into the history of the breath. 

    Pranayama, an ancient yogic practice originating in India, has been one of the earliest forms of breathwork. Yogis recognized the profound connection between breath and life force (prana) and developed various techniques to optimize the breath for spiritual and physical purposes.

    In more recent times, the Wim Hof method has gained immense popularity. Named after the Dutch "Iceman" Wim Hof, this method combines specific breathing techniques with cold exposure and meditation. It has been linked to numerous health benefits, including increased energy levels, improved focus and enhanced immune function.

    In "Breath" by James Nestor, readers are taken on a captivating journey into the world of breathwork. Nestor uncovers the lost art of breathing and its profound impact on our health. He explores the evolutionary history of breathing and how modern lifestyles have led to dysfunctional breathing patterns. The book delves into various breathing techniques, including the Buteyko method and Wim Hof method, shedding light on their potential benefits. Supported by scientific research, Nestor highlights the intricate relationship between breathing and our physical and mental well-being. Throughout the book, practical tips and exercises are provided, offering readers a pathway to harness the incredible power of conscious breathing for improved health and vitality. We highly recommend reading his book, especially the parts about nose breathing.

    Types of Breathwork and Their Benefits

    Types of breathwork and their benefits

    Now, let's dig into some of the most prominent types of breathwork and their science-backed benefits:


    As previously mentioned, pranayama is an ancient yogic practice that focuses on breath control. It encompasses various techniques like Ujjayi breath, Kapalabhati, and Anulom Vilom. Pranayama can improve lung capacity, reduce stress and enhance mindfulness.

    The Wim Hof Method

    Wim Hof's method involves a combination of rhythmic breathing, cold exposure and meditation. Scientific studies have shown that it can boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and increase mental resilience.

    Holotropic Breathwork

    Developed by Dr. Stanislav Grof, this form of breathwork aims to induce altered states of consciousness. It has been used for self-discovery, emotional healing and spiritual growth. Many people report intense holotropic breathwork can have some of the same effects, and benefits, as psychedelics like magic mushrooms. 

    Box Breathing

    Also known as square breathing, this technique involves inhaling, holding, exhaling and holding the breath in equal counts. Used by health enthusiasts and Navy Seals, it's an effective method for stress reduction, anxiety management, and improved focus.

    Buteyko Breathing

    Developed by Russian doctor Konstantin Buteyko, this technique emphasizes nasal breathing and reduced breath volume. It can help manage asthma, improve sleep and enhance overall respiratory health.Myriad reports of reversing asthma and other disabling breathing conditions have been reported after focused work in the Buteyko method of breathing. 

    How to Practice Breathwork

    Now that you've learned about some of the most trusted and useful breathwork techniques, here's a brief overview of how to get started with each:


    Find a quiet space and sit comfortably with a straight back. Feel as if there is a string pulling from the crown of your head. If needed, support your back by placing a cushion underneath the tip of your buttocks. Focus on your breath. Start with deep, slow breaths. The simplest, first exercise, is to do Ujjayi breathing. Keep taking deep breaths, focusing on the flow of air to your lower abdomen. Now start to make an ocean sound with your throat while you breathe in and out. For detailed instructions on this practice, as well as other pranayama exercises, check out this Yoga Journal guide.

    Wim Hof Method

    Sit straight or lay on your back. Begin with deep inhales and forceful exhales, do about 30 rounds of these, followed by breath retention. It is important to do this guided first, in person or with Wim Hof’s video explanation, to fully understand how the breath works in this exercise. For a comprehensive guide, visit Wim Hof's official website or download his app.

    Holotropic Breathwork

    This practice is often done in a group setting with the guidance of a trained facilitator. It involves rhythmic and intensified breathing to induce altered states. To explore this further, visit Grof Transpersonal Training. Make sure to do this with guidance, as the experience can be quite intense.

    Box Breathing

    Sit or lie down comfortably, then inhale for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, and hold for four. Repeat this cycle for several minutes. This practice can be done anywhere! For more information, check out this article.

    Buteyko Breathing

    Practitioners following the Buteyko breathing technique, breathe calmly and shallowly through their nose, as opposed to rapid and mouth breathing. Focus on nasal breathing, reduce breath volume, and practice breath-holding exercises. To learn more, visit Buteyko Clinic International.

    O+ for Enhanced Breathwork

    Oxygen Plus recreational oxygen for enhanced breathwork

    At Oxygen Plus, we're passionate about promoting a healthier and more mindful lifestyle through breathwork. Our recreational oxygen canisters are designed to complement your breathwork journey. We provide portable oxygen canisters of various sizes, including a refillable option. All O+ oxygen products are easy to carry on the go, and provide deep breaths of pure oxygen. To learn about all the benefits connected to oxygen, from focus during studying or work to enhanced athletic performance, visit our website.

    Inhaling health with the power of breathwork is a journey worth embarking on. From ancient practices like pranayama to modern methods like the Wim Hof technique, the benefits of breathwork are well-documented and scientifically supported. Whether you seek stress reduction, enhanced immunity, or greater mindfulness, breathwork offers a versatile toolkit to optimize your well-being. So, take a deep breath and dive into the world of breathwork for a healthier, happier you!


    Oxygen Plus (O+) products, which contain pure recreational oxygen, are intended for recreational, intermittent use only, not to be used as medical nor life-saving products. Prolonged use is defined as uninterrupted intake for more than 8 hours. Any person with any type of health or medical condition should consult their physician prior to the use of O+ products.Since O+ is not a medical product or intended for medical use, it is neither regulated nor approved by the FDA.

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