Unveiling the Power of Breathwork

The Research Behind Breathwork and Breathless, and the Intersection of Science and Spirituality.



Dubbed  ‘The New Yoga’, breathwork has been one of the fastest growing trends in the wellness industry since 2019.  It’s experienced such a surge in popularity that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s an entirely new phenomenon. The truth is it’s been around for thousands of years.

In fact, breathwork has a vast and complex history that spans many disciplines and cultures; yogis, monks and meditators have been practising various forms of breathwork for millennia; psychedelic communities have experienced the spiritual highs and transformative power of conscious breathing since Woodstock; and scientific and medical researchers have been studying the breath for well over four decades, uncovering its immense potential and power.

This potential includes regulating the autonomic nervous system, modulating neurophysiological activity, improving cardiovascular and respiratory function, and even aiding in healing. It’s this power that makes breathwork an ideal complementary therapy for conditions like anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and PTSD.

Studies also show the benefits of breathwork include improved sleep, relief from menopausal symptoms, and better post-surgery recovery – but it’s not just about treating ailments; intentional deep breathing can also enhance cognitive and athletic performance, creativity, and overall well-being.

Breath is the bridge between ancient
and modern,
the head and the heart, science and spirituality.

The connection between ancient practices and modern science is very clear: intentional deep breathing is a natural and effective way to improve not only physical health, but mental and emotional health as well.


Breathless and Curious:
The Story Behind our Involvement in a New Study

Breathwork has received an enormous amount of attention and hype in recent years, with a vast array of touted benefits that can be bewildering and, at times, even outlandish.

Although the field of research around breathwork is well established and incorporates well over 4 decades worth of clinical trials, it remains highly diverse and extensive, with studies published across journals ranging from neuroscience to yoga. Added to that, researchers often blend various breathwork styles – such as yogic, slow, deep, or abdominal – which can make it challenging to navigate the findings.

Nonetheless, many well-founded conclusions have been made, with one consistent finding that everyone agrees upon: conscious breathing works through the parasympathetic nervous system.

In the less robust studies, we’re still seeing significant evidence that deep breathing can help with post-stroke aphasia, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, recovery from bypass surgery, ADHD, chronic neck pain, quitting smoking, wellbeing in breast-cancer patients, and even menopausal  symptoms, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Where We Come In

Our goal is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access and benefit from the wealth of cutting edge and ancient practices that are now being validated by current research.
Our mission is to bring breathwork to the world.

For many years, breathwork was either a medical intervention that was only used by people with respiratory ailments, or a spiritual practice that was often seen as vague and woo by the western world. But now we live in a time where science and spirituality can walk hand in hand to empower our modern lives.

It is our mission to respect and explore the depths of the spiritual practice, while explaining, clarifying and demystifying breathwork with modern western language.


Breathing New Life Into Research

We recently collaborated with a group of researchers, practitioners, and experts in psychiatry to publish a research paper on breathwork and anxiety in Brain Sciences, an international, peer-reviewed journal on neuroscience.
The study was published in January 2023.

It was clear to us that a comprehensive review of the existing literature was needed in order to bridge the gap between old and new research, because despite decades of study. breathwork has only been partially investigated by clinical research and psychiatric medical communities.

Our meta-analysis of clinical trials spanning four decades explored whether breathwork could be an integral part of the solution to the rise in mental health and anxiety disorders. and looked at the effectiveness of current approaches.

We saw a real need to create coherence within the extensive and diverse domain of breathwork research. Our objective was to consolidate the research findings, bridge the gaps in our understanding, and also look at breathwork’s versatility and accessibility as a self-care practice. In doing so, we aimed to highlight the extraordinary potency of the breath and the intersection of science and spirituality.


Our study also highlighted that current drug-psychotherapy protocols for the treatment of anxiety disorders are sadly falling short (often completely missing the mark), and as such, there’s a real and pressing need for non-drug therapies that can be self-administered and used by large populations, easily and cost effectively.

According to Johannes Egberts, Breathwork Pioneer,
Biohacker and co-author of the study:

“Breathwork meets all of the requirements that our study identified:
its proven to be safe, effective, and accessible, and we believe that it could be a fundamental part of the solution to the unprecedented explosion in stress and related disorders such as anxiety and depression that we are seeing worldwide.

“Something the study highlighted is that it is illogical that treatments focusing at least in part on the breath are not already gold standard, given the bi-directional relationship between anxiety and breathing. The breath is the most readily available tool worldwide for anyone alive today. Regardless of race, religion or social class, we all breathe, and in the modern world, that means we can all learn to breathe a little better.”


The Science of Breathwork

The connection between breathing and mental health is a well-established field of research, and the evidence shows that people who have difficulty breathing or who have poor breathing habits, are at a higher risk for developing anxiety and other mental health problems.


There are a few ways in which poor breathing habits can contribute to mental health issues. One of the primary ways is through the activation of the body’s stress response system. When people breathe shallowly or rapidly, they are more likely to activate the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, panic, and stress.

Likewise, when people are experiencing anxiety or other mental health problems, they may be more likely to engage in poor breathing habits. For example, they may breathe rapidly or shallowly which can exacerbate their symptoms and lead to a cycle of poor breathing and anxiety. People may become chronic over-breathers over the long term, which adds fuel to the fire and feeds into a vicious cycle.

Certain health issues can also contribute to poor breathing habits. For example, people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have difficulty breathing, which can lead to anxiety and other mental health problems. Similarly, people who have experienced trauma or have a history of panic attacks may also have difficulty breathing, which can exacerbate their symptoms.

Overall, the relationship between breathing and mental health is complex and multifaceted, but the good news is that breathwork has been shown to be effective as a therapy.

Whilst poor breathing habits can contribute to mental health issues, improving breathing techniques and engaging in mindfulness-based practices can have a positive impact on mental health and overall wellbeing and have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Learning how to restore the natural flow of the breath is an essential first step to retraining the breath and moving away from the cycle of stress-anxiety and over-breathing towards a natural flow that supports both physical and mental health.

And it’s not just deep breathing that’s been shown to work. The research illuminates that there’s also a case for conscious super-ventilation. So, to put it all in a nutshell:

There is an undeniable link between breathing and anxiety disorders;
the way we breathe matters for our physical health
and more specifically for our mental health.

Additional Study Published in Nature

In January 2023, another significant study on breathwork was published, this time in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. It was also a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, titled “Effect of breathwork on Stress and Mental Health”.

The study found that breathwork can significantly reduce stress and improve mental health outcomes. As with the study published in Brain Sciences, the authors also highlight that breathwork could be a part of the solution to meeting the need for more accessible approaches to stress and mental health conditions.

The aim of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of breathwork as an intervention: and to sort the data from the media hype. Their interest also arose out of the unprecedented amount of public attention around breathwork and the many supposed beneficial effects on health and well-being.

As with the study published in Brain Sciences, the study published in Nature recognised that current protocols for the treatment of depression and anxiety which usually include a combination of drugs and psychotherapy/cognitive behavioural therapy, are leaving patients feeling considerably dissatisfied; illuminating the fact that the traditional drug-therapy approaches to treating anxiety disorders are not working so well.

Many patients do not recover and waiting times can be long, in addition to extensive professional training and ongoing supervision being required for therapists. Drug side effects also play a large part in the problem and result in lack of patient compliance, as do issues around the cost and accessibility of treatment. Added to that, therapy is usually individualised and offered on a one-to-one basis, making it resource intensive.


The Problem with
Current Approaches


The studies highlight a real and pressing need for non-drug therapies that can be self-administered and used by large populations, easily and cost-effectively, to reduce the stress and anxiety that people are facing.
We believe breathwork meets this remit.

Breathwork Meets All Requirements


Breathwork and Gold Standard Treatments

Although dysfunctional breathing is a hallmark of anxiety disorders, our study found that standard treatment protocols today do not tackle, or even consider, poor breathing habits and patterns in patients who are suffering anxiety or depression.

Whilst researchers found that breathwork significantly decreased stress, anxiety, and depression, they also found that gold standard treatments pay zero or very little attention to breathing.

Given the robust correlation between breathing techniques and improved symptoms of anxiety disorders, it raises the question as to why current protocols do not focus on breathing.

People with stress and anxiety disorders tend to chronically breathe faster and more erratically. Researchers have shown that slow breathing practices are effective in reducing stress and mental health issues – this is part of the reason that slow breathing practices have received most of the research attention to date.

“Given the need for effective treatments that can be offered at scale with limited resources, interventions focusing on deliberately changing breathing might have significant potential. Indeed, some government public health platforms already recommend deep breathing for stress, anxiety and panic symptoms (NHS and IAPT, UK)” say the authors of the study that was published in Nature.

Breathing exercises can be easily taught to both trainers and practitioners, and learned in group settings methods remotely and online. Giving patients AND practitioners access to:

Give more, get more



let the science talk



Going from the Research into the Application / Methods

Breathless® advocates for a multidimensional approach to address the complex and cultural problem of poor breathing. We believe that our research-based and unique breathwork approach can effectively treat anxiety and mental health disorders in a cost-effective and accessible manner.

Our methodology is based on research and experience.
Our approach targets the following areas:

Assessing poor breathing habits, specifically overbreathing, (shallow, rapid and irregular breath patterns) which are shown to be hallmarks of anxiety, depression and poor health.

Restoring the natural flow of breathing to improve respiratory health and breathing habits in day-to-day life, by reprogramming the brain centres responsible for the fear response.

Reducing sensitivity to C02, by 'breathing retraining'; which can be used to lower responsiveness to breathlessness in the amygdala - the brain centres that are specifically responsible for fear and anxiety.

Our method of restoring correct breathing (the natural flow of breathing), or 'breathing retraining', can be used to increase the tolerance and sensitivity of the amygdalae to CO2. This helps restore balance so the amygdalae respond in a more balanced way to stimuli, without being triggered so easily.

Educating on the relationship between breathing and the nervous system (ANS) which controls the fight-or-flight reflexes responsible for the experience of anxiety and panic.

Focusing on conscious breathing techniques that interface with the parasympathetic nervous system and stimulate the vagus nerve for immediate improvements in wellbeing.

Strengthening the heart brain connection via breathing interventions, techniques for self regulation and biofeedback based methods.

A dyadic approach of both fast and slow breathing recognising that both approaches can be equally relevant in differing presentations.

Techniques that voluntarily change the rate, depth and pattern of breathing to interact with the sympathetic nervous systems as well as the heart-brain connection.

A body-based, neuroscientific approach that through specific techniques and deep group work, restores neuroplasticity in 'the social brain' and works with implicit memories in body and psyche.

1. Offer workshops and classes that teach breathing techniques to slow down and regulate breathing patterns. These include techniques like belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and paced breathing exercises.


2. Provide breath retraining sessions for people who are sensitive to CO2. This can include personalised instruction and guidance to increase their tolerance to C02 and reduce the sensitivity threshold.

3. Host relaxation-focused breathwork sessions that utilise breathing techniques to stimulate the rest-and-digest response; including practices such as deep breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and guided meditation.

4. Offer education that focuses on the bi-directional effects of breathing on the autonomic nervous system and the heart-brain connection. This can include techniques like coherent breathing, box breathing, breath holds, and other voluntary changes in breathing patterns.

5. Provide individualised consultations or coaching to help individuals with anxiety and respiratory abnormalities develop personalised breathwork plans that address their specific needs and goals.


The Solution - the Place of Breathwork

In recent years. there has been a growing interest in meditation as a means of reducing stress. enhancing focus. and attaining improved mental clarity. This trend has led to a steady growth of the meditation market, and it is expected to persist in the foreseeable future. according to projections.

Breathwork has been dubbed ‘The new yoga’ and has been one of the fastest growing trends in the wellness industry since 2019.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global meditation market size was valued at USD 1.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.1% from 2020 to 2027. The report cites factors such as increasing awareness about mental health, rising adoption of breathwork apps, and the growing popularity of mindfulness-based interventions as key drivers of market growth.

Breathwork has experienced significant growth in recent years, with a 400% increase in popularity since 2019, according to a report by the Global Wellness Institute.

This growth can be attributed to several factors, including the increasing interest in alternative forms of healing and wellness practices. as well as the growing body of scientific research supporting the benefits of breathwork for mental and physical health.

Breathwork has also become more accessible through the rise of online platforms and breathwork apps. making it easier for people to learn and practice from the comfort of their own homes. Additionally, more and more wellness retreats and centres are incorporating breathwork into their programs. further increasing its visibility and popularity.

Overall. the growth of the meditation market and the increasing popularity of practices like breathwork suggest that there is a growing demand for tools and techniques to help people manage stress and improve their mental and physical well-being. This presents a significant opportunity for individuals and businesses looking to enter the wellness industry, particularly in areas related to mindfulness, meditation, and breathwork.



Our goal is to bring the power of breathwork to people worldwide. making it accessible to everyone. Our approach to breathwork is grounded in science and takes a comprehensive. holistic view of breathwork’s potential to improve both physical and mental health.

Decades of study have demonstrated that breathwork can be an effective complement to treatments for stress, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Whilst we acknowledge that more research is needed to completely understand breathwork’s full potential, the benefits are already resoundingly clear.

Put simply, we believe (and the science shows!) that incorporating breathwork into your life is a sure way to enhance an overall improvement in your health and happiness. We all breathe, and we can all learn to breathe better. We believe that breathwork is a powerful tool that can meet a wide range of needs: and we are convinced that breathwork ticks all of the boxes.

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