Measure of Significance of Holotropic Breathwork in the Development of Self-Awareness

J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Dec;21(12):796-803. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0297. Epub 2015 Nov 13.

Abstract

Objectives: To investigate whether Holotropic Breathwork™ (HB; Grof Transpersonal Training, Mill Valley, CA) has any significance in the development of self-awareness.

Design: A quasi-experiment design and multiple case studies. A single case design was replicated. The statistical design was a related within-subject and repeated-measures design (pre-during-post design).

Setting/location: The study was conducted in Denmark.

Participants: The participants (n = 20) were referred from Danish HB facilitators. Nine were novices and 11 had experience with HB.

Intervention: Four HB sessions.

Outcome measures: The novices (n = 9) underwent positive temperament changes and the experienced participants (n = 11) underwent positive changes in character. Overall, positive self-awareness changes were indicated; the participants' (n = 20) scores for persistence temperament, interpersonal problems, overly accommodating, intrusive/needy, and hostility were reduced. Changes in temperament were followed by changes in paranoid ideation scale, indicating a wary phase.

Results: Participants (n = 20) experienced reductions in their persistence temperament scores. The pretest mean (mean ± standard deviation, 114.15 ± 16.884) decreased at post-test (110.40 ± 16.481; pre-during-test p = 0.046, pre-post-test p = 0.048, pre-post-test effect size [d] = 0.2). Temperament changes were followed by an increase in paranoid ideation; the pre-test mean (47.45 ± 8.88) at post-test had increased to a higher but normal score (51.55 ± 7.864; pre-during-test p = 0.0215, pre-post-test p = 0.021, pre-post-test d = 0.5). Pre-test hostility mean (50.50 ± 10.395) decreased at post-test (47.20 ± 9.001; p = 0.0185; d = 0.3). The Inventory of Interpersonal Problems total pre-test mean (59.05 ± 17.139) was decreased at post-test (54.8 ± 12.408; p = 0.044; d = 0.2). Overly accommodating pre-test mean (56.00 ± 12.303) was decreased at post-test (51.55 ± 7.797; p = 0.0085; d = 0.4). The intrusive/needy pre-test score (57.25 ± 13.329) was decreased at post-test (52.85 ± 10.429; p = 0.005; d = 0.4).

Conclusions: The theoretical conclusion is that HB can induce very beneficial temperament changes, which can have positive effects on development of character, measured as an increase in self-awareness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness*
  • Breathing Exercises / methods*
  • Breathing Exercises / psychology
  • Cognition
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods*
  • Relaxation Therapy / psychology
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Temperament