As a morning addict of that elixir called coffee, one day last week was different. At sunrise, I awoke to a new dawn, feeling totally refreshed, as if I had a shower on the inside, and gone was my interest in meeting my former caffeinated best friend or in rushing around first thing as I normally would first thing. No, I haven’t won the Lotto (I wish !). The reason for the change, I suspect, is this week’s therapy, one I have to admit to being a tad skeptical of beforehand. To be honest, re-birthing sounded a bit new-age hippy-ish for me, but my experience has surprisingly proved otherwise.
Re-Birthing Breath-work Therapy
Developed in the US in the 1970s, re-birthing is a simple technique used to release suppressed emotions, which is practiced worldwide and is supported by the governments of Sweden, the US, the UK and Australia , to name a few.
Contrary to popular belief, re-birthing does not necessarily involve re-experiencing your birth. It often does, but each client is different. Brenda Doherty, based in Wicklow Street in Dublin city centre, has been a re-birthing breath therapist for 20 years. “As Erich Fromm said, ‘Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is.’ Re-birthing is a gentle breathing process that facilitates this to happen from the inside out”, says Brenda. “It allows what is already there for a person – acknowledged and unacknowledged – to gently emerge, so the associated emotions can be released.”
It couldn’t be simpler
Just how this is to be achieved seems as though it couldn’t be simpler and is comprised of engaging in a breathing technique and developing an awareness of the ‘felt’ sense of the body. “When you breathe in a consciously-connected way, you energise the body, which results in the movement and release of energy and emotions that may be stagnant or held in the body. Holding on to emotions has an adverse effect on the body and creates tension.
After re-birthing, people often feel they have less baggage and are free-flowing in the present moment”, explains Brenda. As a form of psychotherapy, a trusting and safe relationship between client and therapist is essential. In this session I see lifestyle patterns that I’ve fallen into and why I’d excelled at sleep deprivation and why I’d neglected my body nutritionally and exercise-wise. Not that those days weren’t fun. They were.
In the next session, while seated, she introduced me to the basic breathing technique, or as it is otherwise known, conscious-connected breathing, which, in essence, is a constant flow from exhale to inhale without pausing in between. As I lie on the plinth we get started with the breath-work. When worries, and the energy with which they resonate, come to the surface, Brenda guides me with how to release them through varying the depth and speed of my breathing.
A sense of stillness
As the energy begins to flow, my mind races. She intuitively knows when I’m drifting off (a technique to avoid unwanted feelings) and places her hand gently on my chest to encourage me to come back to mindful awareness of my body. After 75 minutes of breathing, in accordance with whatever comes up, she helps me to begin integrating the experience. I leave, feeling a sense of stillness within and enjoying being present, which has stayed with me since.
Over a few years, Susan, from Dun Laoghaire, has experienced profound changes in her life from re-birthing breath-work. ” I went to re-birthing when I realised I was playing a role in life based on what I thought others expected of me and was not being true to my self,” says the 39-year- old. “I feel so much happier now – grounded, present and decisive and totally true to myself and, interestingly, people relate differently to me.”
A gentle, practical and powerful technique that allows tension and emotions to be released from the body, leaving, in their wake, a real stillness and contentedness. A refreshing shower inside.
A two-hour session with Brenda Doherty costs €120. To make an appointment call 087 4111542.
(copyright – Irish Independent, 30th June 2008)