Treating PTSD with connected breathing: A clinical case study and theoretical implications

European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

Volume 5, Issue 3, September 2021,

Extended connected breathing (Rebirthing-Breathwork) has been popular as a self-development tool for more than 4 decades, but has been subjected to minimal scientific research. Similarities between connected breathing and two therapeutic modalities used to treat <a class="topic-link" title="Learn more about posttraumatic stress disorder from ScienceDirect's AI-generated Topic Pages"

href=”https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/posttraumatic-stress-disorder”>posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and Somatic Experiencing—suggest connected breathing to be efficacious in treating PTSD.

The underlying theoretical model in these three approaches suggests that trauma is a result of the blocking or repressing of spontaneous somatic and cognitive processing. This study investigated the efficacy of connected breathing to treat PTSD in a firefighter.

Pre- and posttreatment measures consisted of instruments to measure PTSD symptom-severity, anxiety, depression and heart rate variability (HRV). After 8 connected breathing sessions the participant’s PTSD and comorbid symptoms were in complete remission. Subjective reports and HRV data-analysis support the blocking/repression theory and suggest a role of the parasympathetic nervous system in the blocking of spontaneous trauma processing. In this case the original trauma appears have been a traumatic birth.

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