What Is Rebirthing – Your Questions About This Breathwork Technique Answered

Have you come across the term rebirthing and wondered what is rebirthing, anyway?

When I was in Koh Phangan, Thailand, I kept seeing rebirthing everywhere but had no idea what it was. 

Being in a major yoga and spiritual hub, I assumed it had something to do with yoga or meditation.

Well… all I can say is I’m glad I researched it and didn’t just casually “drop in” to try a rebirthing session. 

Rebirthing breathwork is an intense therapy designed for a specific purpose. So, let’s discuss what is rebirthing, why people do it, and if it is for you.

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What is rebirthing?

Rebirthing therapy is an alternative therapy involving a particular and intense breathing technique. 

New-age spiritual guru Leonard Orr developed this holistic process. The aim is to release suppressed emotions and repressed trauma. 

It allows you to resolve negative experiences you may have had from early childhood. It can also trigger memories to help you work through the associated emotions and release the blocked energy.

What is the meaning of rebirthing?

As the name suggests, rebirthing means to be born again. The idea of a rebirthing therapy session is to stimulate the experience of birth so that you can “rewrite” your early childhood history. 

Rebirthing instructors claim that rebirthing breathwork can make you feel like you are born again. However, with this birth, you are free from the trauma you experienced before.  

Still, there is currently no scientific evidence to back up these benefits. Moreover, neither the American Academy of Pediatrics nor the American Psychiatric Association recognize rebirthing breathwork as a therapy technique.

Why people seek out rebirthing

People who had a difficult or traumatic start to life seek out rebirthing breathwork as an alternative medicine. They will usually come to rebirthing after having no luck with other types of therapy or Western medicine.  

However, you don’t have to be consciously aware of early childhood trauma to try rebirthing breathwork therapy. 

Many people who have trouble forming healthy relationships find that rebirthing can help them find answers. This is because the therapy can bring up repressed memories, including from birth.  

What conditions can rebirthing help with?

Rebirthing sessions are said to help treat attachment disorders, particularly reactive attachment disorder.

So what is reactive attachment disorder? It occurs when a baby or young child experiences physical or emotional neglect or abuse. It can also occur in people who became orphaned when young. Because their basic needs were unmet, they now have trouble forming healthy relationships with others. 

Rebirthing can also help with other mental health disorders, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Behavioral issues in children
  • Drug or alcohol addictions

6 benefits of rebirthing breathwork 

So what is rebirthing good for? Besides being a treatment for reactive attachment disorder, it can have more general benefits, such as:

  1. Eases depression
  2. Reduces stress and anxiety
  3. Reduces anger and promotes calmness
  4. Improves self esteem
  5. Aids grief and emotional healing
  6. Helps break free from self-destructive patterns

What’s more, because the rebirthing technique involves deep breathing, it can help with some physical health issues, such as:

  • Improves ability to deal with chronic pain
  • Lowers blood pressure and improves circulation
  • Increases energy levels
  • Boosts immunity
  • Promotes better sleep

Different types of rebirthing 

Rebirthing therapy can include only breathwork. Or it can involve other techniques designed to stimulate the experience of being in the birth canal. 

The latter may involve being in an enclosed environment that resembles a womb. Typically, blankets and pillows are used to create a physical barrier. Part of the rebirthing work is escaping from it, simulating the experience of being born.

However, it’s important to note that this type of rebirthing is controversial and can be unsafe. In fact, in 2000, a 10-year-old girl died from suffocating during a rebirthing session in Colorado

This happened when the facilitators wrapped her from head to toe and used their body weight to hold her down. As a result of this event, rebirthing has become an illegal therapy technique in Colorado and North Carolina.

Therefore, I discourage anyone from attending any rebirthing session that involves physical restraint. As shown, these techniques can cause severe oxygen deprivation, leading to brain damage and death.

What happens in a rebirthing breathwork session?

Rebirthing breathwork involves a breathing technique called Conscious Energy Breathing (CEB). This is a shallow circular breathing technique consisting of quick and shallow breaths. You inhale and exhale through the nose with no breaks in between.

Circular breathing is an intense technique, especially as a rebirthing breathwork session typically lasts one to two hours. 

Taking short breaks throughout the session is essential, particularly if you feel dizzy or nauseous. This is just one reason you should only practice with a highly trained instructor holding medical credentials.

As the session continues, unpleasant emotions and disturbing memories may arise. To process blocked emotions and trauma, you will be encouraged to cry, scream, or release that energy in whatever way you need.

Ideally, by the end of the session, you will have processed the energy and feel calm and peaceful. 

What does a breathwork rebirthing ceremony include?

A breathwork rebirthing ceremony lasts a few hours, and breathwork is the main technique. However, the session will include some other type of therapy or ceremonial rituals. These are added to promote more of a transformative experience. 

For example, between the breathwork rounds the facilitator may include:

  • Meditation
  • Sound
  • Movement 

It may also involve water immersion in a hot tub, bathtub, or natural hot spring. You can do this type of rebirthing floating face-down, breathing through a snorkel, or on your back with your face out of the water.

Takeaway on what is rebirthing

It is essential to fully understand what is rebirthing and the different types before deciding whether it is for you. While many people claim rebirthing has helped them heal from trauma and process challenging emotions, the rebirthing breathwork technique is still controversial, similar to how tantra yoga can be perceived. 

Even so, the rebirthing breathwork technique is still controversial. So if you decide to try it, only work with highly trained instructors and stop immediately should you feel unsafe.    

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Gemma is a Certified Yoga Teacher of over 5 years. Aside from being a CYT 200, Gemma is also certified in Yin and Yoga Nidra. Gemma is passionate about sharing her expertise of yoga and wellness through words, guiding others along the path of personal and spiritual development. She is in LOVE with everything related to personal-growth and psychology. Aside from helping others find more peace and stillness, Gemma runs a kitten rescue project in Thailand, where she is currently residing. Gemma can be reached at gemmac@theyogatique.com, or you can connect with Gemma on LinkedIn.

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