Breathing exercises for anxiety

Various clinical studies have shown that voluntarily regulated breathing practice can improve anxiety disorders, trauma-related disorders, depressive disorders, etc. Breathing practices can even substitute the psycho-therapeutic process by reducing anxiety and defensiveness. This practice also helps people to regain feelings of meaningful connection, bonding, and love for those who feel disconnection or emotional numbing, which are usual consequences of trauma and loss. Patients with long-standing psychological and somatic PTSD symptoms responded really well to voluntarily regulated breathing practice after years of traditional psychotherapy and psychoanalysis with normalization of their sexual function, body perceptions, sense of self, pain syndromes, etc.

Breathing practices complement conventional treatments. It is known that a lot of people have difficulties in learning mindfulness and other meditation techniques because their level of anxiousness is so intense that they are unable focus on anything else. In breathing practice it is not important what the mind is doing. If one simply paces their breathing to 6 cycles per minute, the anxious ruminations will quiet down and cognitive functions will improve. The calmer the mind, the easier it is to focus on mindfulness, meditation, and eventual psychotherapy.

Future of breathing exercises

The use of breathing practices in the treatment of stress-related and immune-related medical conditions (cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes,  dementia) is being developed.  Breathing practices for children is an area with great potential for improving emotion regulation, behavior, learning, and social development.

Clinicians can also use voluntarily regulated breathing practice to reduce their own level of stress and to enhance their emphatic abilities.


Slow voluntarily regulated breathing practices are not invasive, they are also easy to learn, and generally safe for treating patients with symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, depression, stress- and trauma-related disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia, and substance abuse. Breathing practices can provide help in correcting imbalances of the stress response systems and to improve emotion regulation, social engagement, bonding, and post-traumatic recovery.

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