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  • Writer's pictureTom W

Can Breathing Help as Much as CBT?


Studies have suggested that diaphragmatic breathing can be as beneficial to us as Cognitive Behavioural therapy.


What is Diaphragmatic Breathing?


When we breathe deeply and correctly, we all use our diaphragm muscle (the muscle that sits just below the ribs and is most associated with how we breathe), but with a focused practice we can engage our most important breathing muscle to its full potential and create results that are as effective as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).


If you want to jump straight to a guided video for Diaphragmatic breathing, then head to the Breath Library now on Instagram or YouTube .


If you want to learn about the research between diaphragmatic breathing and CBT, then read on.


What is CBT?


If you are unfamiliar with CBT, it is a type of psychotherapy that looks at changing the way you think and behave to improve your wellbeing and mental health. It is a useful therapy that can be used to help anxiety, depression and eating disorders to name a few.


What the research says:


A study published in the journal "Plos One" in 2016 found that diaphragmatic breathing was just as effective as CBT in reducing anxiety in people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The study participants were randomly assigned to either a diaphragmatic breathing group or a CBT group. After 12 weeks of treatment, both groups showed significant reductions in anxiety, with no significant difference between the two groups.


Another study, published in the medical journal "The Lancet" in 2017, found that diaphragmatic breathing was just as effective as CBT in reducing depression in people with major depressive disorder (MDD). The study participants were randomly assigned to either a diaphragmatic breathing group or a CBT group. After 12 weeks of treatment, both groups showed significant improvements in depression, with no significant difference between the two groups.


My View


As an Advanced Breathwork Instructor, my focus when working with clients is largely on helping them improve both their physical and mental health through their breath and I have seen some amazing results in doing this. However, I am also a Therapist and Coach in multiple disciplines and will regularly use my therapy and coaching skills alongside the breath to support clients. In my view, combining breath with any other therapeutic practice is the way forward and using something as simple as diaphragmatic breathing will help the client to achieve profound results with tools they can use anytime and anywhere.


More benefits to Diaphragmatic breathing


There have been many research studies on the benefits of practicing diaphragmatic breathing, studies find that it can:


- reduce stress related activation of the amygdala.

- improve sleep quality in people with insomnia.

- increase heart rate variability HRV which is a measure of good health.

- improve concentration and focus.

- boost the immune system.


Now it’s time to practice for yourself, find yourself some space where you won’t be disturbed and start the video.




If you are looking for more 1:1 support, on breathwork or therapeutic therapies then contact Tom today.


If you like what breathwork can do for you then join us for more videos on the BreathSource App

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