Scientifically Speaking, What Happens to our Bodies During Breathwork?

Breathwork allows us to reach non-ordinary states of consciousness often compared to the use of psychedelics.

This may seem crazy to think about, but that’s the true power of the breath.

To best illustrate the scientific reasoning, the below synopsis offers a quick but powerful overview:

Breathing like this, a form of controlled overbreathing, where we take in more air than we metabolically need, removes too much carbon dioxide from the body, placing us into a state of temporary respiratory alkalosis (an increase in blood pH). This causes our blood vessels to narrow, temporarily decreasing blood circulation, including in the brain. However, the fascinating thing is overbreathing doesn’t just reduce total cerebral blood flow, it also changes the distribution of blood flow within the brain, with the hippocampus and the frontal, occipital, and parieto-occipital cortices all receiving reduced blood flow within seconds to minutes (Naganawa 2002, Posse 1997).

These are the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive functions such as memory, experience of time, directed attention, reflective consciousness, and the idea of self (Dietrich 2003), as well as visual processing and the integration of body sensory information (Blanke 2005, Maravita 2003). Reduced function in these areas of the brain can elicit strong hallucinations, out-of- body experiences or simply a deep sense of relaxation and release.

What is the type of Breathwork you use to facilitate?

The breath used is an open-mouthed deep inhale and free exhale with the entire experience centered around surrendering, allowing, and opening up to a greater intelligence without judgment. It is most closely associated with the rebirthing method.

The concept is to inhale fully, breathing from the belly up into the chest. Then, without forcing it, exhaling fully with no pause between breaths.Keep in mind a gentler version can be practiced by breathing in and out through the nose.I’ve studied many types of Breathwork and I have found this circular breath to be the most transformative for two reasons:

1) It’s the breath in its purest form and most closely linked to the breath we automatically exhibit. There is no forcing, no holding, no control which allows more space for having the experience most necessary for the highest evolution of your own unique life path.  It allows for surrender, flow, opening, and expansion at a pace divinely orchestrated for the client.

2) Many of the Breathwork modalities today are nothing more than an experiment and are more masculine in the sense they’re designed to force a cathartic or primal reaction. From fire breathing to holding your breath, there is still control and a forced surrendering in a sense. Similar to yoga and the original origin, breathwork has as many offspring as the roots of yoga do.

Because breathwork is about becoming your own guru and trusting yourself fully,  it’s critical for me to facilitate using a breath that exemplifies the importance and integrity of this.

What is the difference between Breathwork and Meditation?

Technically speaking Breathwork is a form a meditation. They’re both known for their transformative and healing aspects. Meditation is more focused on relaxation and peace. Yes this can be transformative, but in certain aspects it is more limiting. Breathwork pushes your emotional barriers and energetic edges.

And if you’re neurodivergent like myself, it gives you something to focus on. :)

Is Breathwork Safe for Everyone?

In general, Breathwork is a perfectly safe with limited risks. It’s been scientifically proven to offer a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental health, and because of its fast growing popularity, it has even been recommended by medical professionals.

Breathwork can affect some medical conditions and it can also be a stronger experience for people with certain mental health conditions. If you have any of the below medical conditions, checking with your doctor first is a recommended:

- Aneurysms
- Asthma
- Cardiovascular disease and/or irregularities, including prior heart attack
- Detached Retina
- Epilepsy
- Glaucoma
- High Blood Pressure that is not controlled with medication
- History of strokes or seizures
- Osteoporosis
- Pregnancy
- Prescription blood thinning/anti-clotting medications such as Coumadin

For the following mental health diagnosis list. it’s important to reach out and schedule a free consultation with me and speak with your doctor to determine if breathwork is a stepping stone for you. I’m also available to do a free 15-20 minute session so we can get a feel for how you respond.

- Bipolar disorder or schizophrenia (diagnosis by a health professional)
- Hospitalization for any psychiatric condition or emotional crisis in the past 10 years, like an attempted suicide or nervous breakdown
- Any other medical, psychiatric or physical conditions which would impair or affect ability to engage in activities involving intense physical and/or emotional release.

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You talk a lot about releasing stuck energy during a session. How do I know if I am suppressing energy?

You can know you’re suppressing energy if you’re in a human body. We all do it even if it’s not conscious. Simply becoming aware of this can be life changing.

The four major ways we learn to suppress energy are:

1. We hold our breath, specifically the exhale, because that’s where things come out (tears, laughter, etc.).We clench our jaws.

2. We tighten our bodies. All kinds of places and all kinds of ways. It’s not just the shoulders—it’s the forearms, it’s the buttocks, etc.

3. We learn this so early on and it becomes deeply ingrained. By the time we’re adults we have no idea that we’re using those repressive mechanisms hundreds of times a day.

4. We constrict the throat (portal of expression)

What do I need to bring to my session?

The most important thing you can bring to your session is an open mind and heart along with a willingness to trust the process.

I provide everything else, including the mat setup, blankets, bolsters. and eye masks.

I recommend wearing comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing, layers if you tend to run cold, and eating only a light meal if you do eat in the hours leading to your session.

Hydration is important, especially afterwards, so feel free to bring water.

How can I continue a breathwork practice at home?

I recommended starting small with at least three to five minutes using the same type of breathing as we do in the session. If you already have a meditation practice I encourage clients to do this before the meditation practice. It helps to get the energy moving and allows you to go deeper.

Some people enjoy setting a timer on their smart watch for 2-3 minutes a few times a day.

Keep it simple and experiment with what works for you to ensure it’s sustainable.

Listening to music is important because this way the mind has two focal points.

Music is a cornerstone—a song with rhythm or faster beats will encourage you to breathe more powerfully. This helps fuel the breath. I have some of my playlists available on Apple Music and Spotify I offer as well.

The greatest benefit of doing this daily breathing practice is that you notice your breath more in your day-to-day and it translates into every aspect of your being.

When we have a consistent daily practice of breathing fully and more consciously, we will breathe deeper in moments of stress. That is an absolute game changer. Because at any moment, you can come home to yourself with a breath.

What are some of common experiences in breathwork?

I always joke that breathwork sessions are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.

It’s important to remember there is no hierarchy of experiences and everything is safe, normal, and welcome. One of the most important aspects of the sessions is the sacred and safe space I strive to create.

The key is to show up and allow your breath be the medicine and work it’s magic as an alchemist.

You may experience some of the following or you may experience none. Because breathwork meets us where we’re at and gives us the experience we need most at that moment, your experiences will change from session to session and vary person to person.

Body Sensations and Oxygenation

Because you’re bringing in more oxygen than normal, AKA life force energy, the experience of moving energy in the body can be strong and feel unnatural at first.

Breathwork can trigger physical sensations. Tingling, body vibrations, numbness, tingling, lightheadedness, or temperature changes are among the most common.  Like anything even the uncomfortable sensations are an opportunity to witness and sit with.

We experience sensations because our bodies are highly conditioned to feel a certain way and we believe this is normal. These sensations are there to move energy, recalibrate the body, and birth new awareness into our human experience.


Breathwork never shows us anything wasn’t already there. Emotions are simply waves of energy. You may be surprised how quickly and easily emotions move through you when you breathe into them. Experiencing the full spectrum of emotions is not only possible but safe and welcome. Everything from joy, anger, sadness, guilt, relief, peace, or frustration can arise. Often times what is stuffed, forgotten, and stored in the body can show itself during a breathwork journey and provide a powerful opportunity for letting go.

Mystical Experiences

Because the breath helps us to tap into the our subconscious mind, this can bring forth ethereal journeys where nothing is unexpected. These types of journeys can be powerful motivators by helping us dive deeper into our concept of reality by unveiling the vast possibilities that exist. You may have visuals, clarity, insights, childhood memories, creative ideas. It’s not uncommon to connect with ancestors, angel guides, or loved ones who have crossed over.


At first you may experience resistance. In this case just notice it and then return to focusing on the breath. Because how we breath is a metaphor for how we experience life, this may indicate resistance you are up against in your life.

Quiet Journey

Just because you have a quiet or peaceful journey doesn’t mean you’re not receiving the impactful and healing benefits. Something is always happening in breathwork.

Cathartic Experience

Pent up grief is one of the foundational elements of depression and low self worth. It affects everything including our ability to experience abundance and receive love. For many of us this is uncharted terrain and we don’t realize we are holding grief. Because breathwork dissolves our defense mechanisms, grief may feel safe to surface.

Twitching and Body Movements

Twitching is energy/tension releasing. Shaking can also be a sign of trauma releasing. Let the shaking happen organically. The body knows how to release trauma when we get out of our own way. Remember nothing is unusual and everything is welcome.


Tetany is a cramping in the body, most commonly experienced in the hands. It’s the result of a buildup of CO2. Most times, the fingers curl up and the hands feel heavy and cramped but it can occur anywhere in the body. It can also be symbolic of something you’re holding onto and not ready to acknowledge or let go.

It’s safe, normal, and will dissipate within a few minutes after the journey has needed. Before your session I will provide a variety of tools to work through this if it does occur. Uncovering profound truths and having monumental breakthroughs don’t necessarily coincide with cathartic or huge emotional releases  These lightbulb moments or may be subtle yet life altering.

I can’t seem to shut my mind off. What if this doesn’t work for me?

Good news. Breathwork works for everyone. Every time. Pinky swear. My neurodivergence brain held these same narratives. It’s why I love breathwork. There’s always something to focus on.


1. Keep Breathing Whatever the experience is, keep leaning into the breath. Just keep the breath going; keep yourself open. When you keep your breath flowing and keep yourself open, you’ll notice how quickly and easily both emotions and sensations can move through you.

2. Keep Trusting you will be guided exactly where you need to go. Just know that whatever you experience is what you most need to notice about yourself, to be with. It’s always perfectly orchestrated by that vast field of intelligence, within and without. No hierarchy of experiences. This is all about learning how to be with ourselves.

3. Know you fully supported and I am fully available.Good news. Breathwork works for everyone. Every time. Pinky swear. My neurodivergence brain held these same narratives. It’s why I love breathwork. There’s always something to focus on.

What can I expect after a breathwork session? And what should I do for self care?

Your insights, clarity, and ability to be a wise observer within your own life will most likely be enhanced. Allow yourself to flow with the new synchronicities and make space for your process to unfold. Oftentimes the journey and it’s teachings will continue for a good portion of time after the actual journey.

Similar to the uniqueness of each journey, self-care after breathwork is based on bio-individuality. It’s important to honor your needs. As long as you’re listening to your needs this will look different for everyone.

Breathwork journeys can be freeing, but also highly stimulating leaving you feeling more sensitive, open, and vulnerable.

You may prefer to be alone while others might feel called to process deeper with a trusted friend or family member.

Rest and hydration is essential. Avoiding alcohol if possible and having nourishing food on hand is also recommended.

Some people enjoy epson salt baths, while others feel called to hike, take a yoga class, dance, or be in nature. One person may enjoy journaling by candlelight while another may throw on a good comedy to lighten the day.

Showing up for yourself in a session is profound. What you’ve chosen to dive into is brave and vital. It can feel powerful, but it’s bigger than you can fully internalize.

Be kind and loving to yourself. That's the key.

Why did you choose to become a breathwork facilitator?

I didn’t. Breathwork chose me.

I could write a book on this question alone (spoiler alert: it’s in the works) but here’s the vulnerable and raw Cliff’s Notes:

In 2020, I suffered a mild heart attack which landed me in my 3rd treatment center for an eating disorder. I was also addicted to prescription diet pills and drinking heavily to calm my nervous system at night. My chaotic childhood, repressed trauma, battles with depression, attempts to medicate my anxiety,  and years of self-destruction had me in a choke hold once again.

Considering eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder, at this point it was life or death. I was deemed a chronic/severe case. Call it denial or a perhaps a deeper knowing, I refused to accept this.

I knew what I didn’t heal in myself my two daughters would have to heal in themselves so I vowed to make this my redemption chapter regardless of how many people had given up on me.

And I don’t blame them.

This wasn’t my first rodeo. 2 years prior to this incident I was admitted to the psychiatric ward after a legal battle with my father. I wanted to die and felt like I was crawling outside my skin on a daily basis. My depression and anxiety was unbearable. I had been to treatment at age 15 and again at age 27; both times leaving against medical advice.

I’d been in counseling since I was a small child. I’d read all the books and taken all the supplements, tried all of the anti-depressants, and listened to all the gurus and coaches and healers. I signed up for all the healing courses and did all the yoga and tried all the 12 step program’s “fake it til you make it” concepts more than once. Still, from hypnosis, to energy work, to juice cleanses, nothing worked.

I felt broken beyond repair—internally waving a white flag of surrender but refusing to flash it to the outside world.

While I can’t quite articulate the knowing, ever since I was a little girl I understood it wasn’t going to be this way forever and that my life was actually divinely orchestrated for my future self to guide others no matter how painful it was at the time.

Besides my daughters, this core knowing is one to the only things that stopped me from checking out of this life on my own accord.

Breathwork became my portal to healing and reclaiming my intuition. Having grown up in a home soaked with addiction, chaos, and abuse, it became the anchor I craved. And the beautiful part is that it all comes from within me.

My defiant self-reliance shifted to a freedom I didn’t know I was capable of experiencing.

I truly believe breathwork is the reason I am still alive and not just another statistic.

My love and respect for the power of breathwork in my own healing quickly shape-shifted to a passion and desire to share it with everyone. It was bigger than me.  While I’ve dabbled in every healing modality available and am shamelessly a bit of a certification junkie, breathwork facilitation is my calling.

I hurt countless people while I was in my addictions and eating disorder. Although I cannot change this fact, I can devote my life in recovery to helping others who harbor the same desperation for change and healing I did.

Because breathwork gave me my life back, my mission is to provide this profound gift to others.

It’s never been so clear how this life force energy, which we often take for granted, is our single-lane highway to self-awareness— reminding us the answers, the peace, the clarity, and the acceptance, are all within our own conscious, connected breath. Watching the transformations that take place and baring witnessing to another human’s vulnerability and openness often leaves me as deeply impacted as my clients.

Breathwork showed me that while I can’t save the world, I can save myself while the world watches.

Breathwork chose me.

Are you trained and certified?

I was trained and certified by Gwen Payne who lives in Sedona, Arizona. She took everything she knew could transform valuable internalized knowledge into conscious action and created a training program unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I spent a week in Sedona under her wing, followed by 3 months of intensive follow-ups.

Ripe with over 20 years of breathwork training and facilitation experience, her unique, science-backed approach to facilitating was born from the motivation of providing others with what she wish was available to her during her years of being a student.

I consider her an alchemist or sorts—able to take all the most powerful pieces from her decades of learning and dilute them into the most impactful method of facilitation I’ve come across.

Her entire philosophy is centered around how breathwork becomes the medicine we now get to take with us and work with on a conscious level. After all, the breath is our steady ally, the only thing we can control, and always ready to take us home to ourselves.

After completing my certification, I flew back to Sedona months later to help her train new facilitators which allowed me internalize the sacredness of this practice even more.

I continue to educate myself, practice breathwork myself, and evolve my own practice and knowledge to better serve my clients.

After all, you can only take people as far and deep as you’ve gone yourself. If you’ve been to hell and back more than once, I see you. And I can be you’re soft spot to land as you learn to be your own safe haven.

I’m scared I will cry or break down. How can I stop fighting this?

First things first, just recognize this resistance and fear and meet it with compassion. Often times we hold so much for others we are unable to access what we hold within us.

Crying is beautiful. It means your heart is open.

Because I’ve had such cathartic and emotional sessions, I am able to meet others with that save compassion. We can’t take anyone where we haven’t been ourselves.

I’ve had sessions where I thought I was clear or moved on from a certain issue and when it showed up again I released tears I didn’t even know I still had in me. There’s always another layer.

The beauty of breathwork is that it never takes you where you’re not ready to go. If you resist these primal cues coming in, you’re not allowing yourself to have a full spectrum journey.

The more you can show up with an open heart and mind and intention to surrender to the process, the more impact your journey will have.

The breath always leads to safety.

Is it smart to do this type of work with a partner, friend, or family member?

It’s brilliant actually. Next level IQ type of genius.

In couple’s or group sessions, you’re essentially creating a unified prayer field. What talk therapy cannot access, the breath can.

I’ve witnessed many couples and groups have a profound shift from one session. It’s the deepest and most impactful way to connect in my opinion.

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