Medical and Psychiatric Contraindications To Participating In Breathwork

Breathwork results in certain specific physiological changes in the body and also can result in intense physical and emotional release. Therefore, for safety purposes, in most circumstances (click arrow next to name of condition for details) we do not allow persons with the following conditions to participate in a breathwork session:

Medical Contraindications

if either you have had an aneurysm or if more than one person in your immediate family (parent, child or sibling) has had one. –  In breathwork, while many times the participant just lies or sits quietly with all of the processing being internal, there are also times when the participant spontaneously starts moving around and/or vocalizing while emotional material is being released which could place the arteries of the brain under strain.  If you have already had an aneurysm, this type of experience may put you at increased risk of having another.  In most cases, brain aneurysms are not hereditary, and there is generally only a single case in a family. Occasionally, however, an individual with a brain aneurysm will have other family members who are affected. When two or more first-degree relatives (parent, child, or sibling) have proven aneurysms, these are called “familial aneurysms.” Individuals in these families may be at higher risk of developing aneurysms than the general population. See this article for details.

If you have asthma, you are welcome to breathe, but your must have your inhaler available as sometimes, during breathwork, in cases of psychosomatic illnesses such as asthma, your psyche may actually intensify the symptoms as it is trying to ameliorate the condition.

strong emotional release and/or physical movement can put stress on the cardio system.

breathing faster and deeper reduces intraocular pressure.  This increases the risk of having permanent vision damage for a person with a detached retina. Click here for more information.

there is a slightly increased chance of having a seizure during breathwork due to the faster deeper breathing.

sometimes, during an intense process, the breather may stess and strain internally, which could temporarily increase intraocular pressure which would make the symptoms of glaucoma worse.  In addition, if, after a session, you have blurred vision, it could be a symptom of an undiagnosed case of glaucoma and you should get your eyes examined before continuing breathwork.

strong emotional release and/or intense physical movement can exacerbate high blood pressure issues, raising it even higher than it is.

that is serious enough whereby moving around actively could cause physical damage to your body.

 in breathwork, the deeper breathing creates certain physiological changes in your body, including making your blood more alkaline. This is the same blood that goes through the fetus.  Since there have, to our knowledge, never been any studies on the impact of this on the health of the fetus, we do not allow pregnant women to do breathwork. In addition, later in pregnancy, if a breather has a “rebirthing” style of experience, it could trigger premature contractions.

sometimes breathers move around quite actively during breathwork.  If he/she were to, for example, bang their head on something and create an internal bleed their body would find it difficult and/or impossible to heal the bleed through its standard healing mechanism of clotting.

Psychiatric Contraindications

If you have bipolar disorder, breathwork could trigger a manic episode. 

If this is the case, we ask that you contact us before breathing and get written approval.  We want to make sure that you are grounded enough to handle any of the intense emotional or physical releases that may occur during your breathwork session.

Many participants have had profound healing experiences in regards to PTSD. However, if you have a severe case and are under a therapist’s care, we ask that you get his or her approval to participate so we are sure that you are grounded enough to handle what might come up during the session, including possibly reliving the experience which caused the PTSD in order to release it out of your system.

Please email us at admin@breathworkline.com (Subject: “Contraindications”) if you are at all unsure if one or more of the above apply to you.