The Healing Power of the Breath

Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Enhance Concentration, and Balance Your Emotions

Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg are medical doctors, clinical psychiatrists and university professors. They also happen to be two of the world’s leading breath experts—integrating Western science and ancient breath techniques derived from yoga, qigong, Coherent Breathing, and Open-Focus meditation. Big Ideas we explore: Pill or 20 minutes?, Breath = portal to mind-body systems, Coherent Breathing, Resistance Breathing and turning off your worry centers via vagus nerves.


“Throughout history, great healers have discovered the power of breathing to enhance the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of their people. Once secret and sacred, breath practices are now available to everyone. We invite you on a journey through our book and the Healing Power of the Breath CD to learn simple, natural methods to become calmer, overcome stress, boost energy, focus your mind, enhance physical fitness, sleep peacefully, and feel closer to those you love. We will teach you core breathing techniques, explain how they work, and show you how to use them to meet the many challenges you face.

The human body has the power to heal itself from the cellular level up. We regenerate our body tissues every day. …

Studies are revealing that by changing the patterns of breathing it is possible to restore balance to stress response systems, calm an agitated mind, relieve symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), improve physical health and endurance, elevate performance, and enhance relationships. The scientific bases for such powerful effects of breathing practices will be presented as we show how to use them in many aspects of your daily life.”

~ Richard P. Brown & Patricia L. Gerbarg from The Healing Power of the Breath

Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg are medical doctors, clinical psychiatrists and university professors. They also happen to be two of the world’s leading breath experts—integrating Western science and ancient breath techniques derived from yoga, qigong, Coherent Breathing, and Open-Focus meditation. (Oh, and they’re married. Power couple. :)

I got this book in preparation for Optimal Breathing 101 after I changed my life integrating some simple suggestions from Patrick McKeown’s great book The Oxygen Advantage.

As I said in our Notes on Belisa Vranich’s Breathe, I’m so moved by my own personal experiences with optimizing my breathing that our list of fundies has gone from Eat Move Sleep to BREATHE Eat Move Sleep (+ Focus).

Although I haven’t listened to it yet, this book comes with a CD that has a number of guided meditations. What I most enjoyed about the book, in addition to the simple powerful breathing techniques the author’s share, is the rigor with which they explore the scientific underpinnings of *why* optimizing our breathing is so beneficial to, as the sub-title suggests, reducing stress and anxiety, enhancing concentration, and balancing your emotions.

If you’re looking for a practical guide to optimizing your breathing written by two psychiatrists backing up their ideas with science, I think you’ll dig it. (Get a copy here.)

As always, the book is packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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About the authors

Authors

Richard P. Brown

Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University College.
Authors

Patricia L. Gerbarg

Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry, New York Medical College.