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The Power Of Rebirthing Breathwork

Older Woman Performing Rebirthing Breathwork Exercises
Emotional detox and healing is sometimes overlooked, yet it is essential to a truly holistic and natural approach towards healing. We live in a fast-paced and systematic world and we often have to set aside our emotions, instinctive reactions, and our basic sensitivities and needs, to the point that these feelings accumulate in the body, further developing as unresolved conflict.

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By Renee Daly

‘Detoxification’ is more than a buzzword-movement, and awareness of its healthful impact is growing daily. Physical and mental detoxification practices can be tailored into our daily lives through wholesome foods, movement and strengthening sessions, yoga, pranayama, and short meditations. Emotional detoxification occurs inherently as a flow-on effect from these practices, while all-important ‘downtime’ is an equally important aspect of the cleansing and healing process. 

Emotional detox and healing is sometimes overlooked, yet it is essential to a truly holistic and natural approach towards healing. We live in a fast-paced and systematic world and we often have to set aside our emotions, instinctive reactions, and our basic sensitivities and needs, to the point that these feelings accumulate in the body, further developing as unresolved conflict. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean deep trauma or repressed memories. It can be as simple as our societal conditioning and/or disapproval of our parents or peers that cause us to hold things inside and affect us physiologically. Here, we aim to go deeper into emotional detox and healing by exploring a gentle, effective, and powerful way to reach the next level in restoring your body and soul.


American founder of Rebirthing Breathwork, Leonard Orr states: “The main part of the discovery of Rebirthing took about 10 to 15 years, starting in 1962. The giant leap occurred in 1974-1975.”

Orr was taking a bath one morning and describes slipping into a state of regression. Fascinated, he remained in the bathtub for a number of hours. Over the following weeks and years, he would often lay in the bath for long periods, well after he had ‘the urges’– an emotional or psychological urgency—to get out of the water. He came to realise that every time he sat through these urges, deep insights about himself and his life, including memories of his birth and subconscious programming, would arise.

At a seminar in 1973, he spoke of his experiences to an intrigued audience. He left them with the basic instructions of how to experience it too, encouraging those who wanted to, to try it at home. Some later reported that the intensity of the experience could only have been enhanced by having someone with them to talk through the emotional releases and revelations—spiritual and otherwise.

Orr then complied with their wishes, providing safety and support in bathtub sessions; observing the similar rhythms in their breathing that these states induced. Thus the beginning of rebirthing (the first method) was developed. Orr’s sessions evolved over the next year or so, into the second, third, and dry rebirthing models discussed below.

In the late 1970s, Stanislov Grof, a European psychiatrist, joined the ‘conscious breathwork movement’ with his creation; Holotropic Breathwork. This practice has a substantially different intent and focus in regards to achieving emotional detox. In the decades since, many approaches to conscious breathing have subsequently evolved within these two main philosophies, with practitioners and trainers all using the title “Rebirthing” or “Breathwork.”


In the second model, Orr incorporated a snorkel and nose clip into hot tub sessions, simulating a womb-like environment through breathwork. This practice amplified responses, and people were regressing to their birth—and even prenatal states—almost immediately. “It wasn’t just reliving the past, it was also a very high exploration into the spiritual dimensions of life,” explained Orr. “People had a completed energy cycle, which was an integrated healing experience.”

The third model is the natural progression of the practice, with the energy cycle mentioned above increasing in number and the breather “learning to breathe from the Breath Itself — directly from God”. It is at this stage that Orr found the breather felt safe enough to relive the moment of their first breath, liberating themselves and mastering breathing, one of the most practical, yet profound skills that humans are capable of having.

Dry Rebirthing was born of the full understanding that “Connected Breathing” is the key to the practice—not so much the water, at least initially. This shift in thinking created a mass movement with rebirthing sessions as it wasn’t quite so confronting and ‘woo-woo’ in nature. The breather can continue into the deeper aspects of the practice if he or she wishes, or simply work with freeing themselves from previous conscious and subconscious decisions, beliefs, and conditioning as described.


As we touched on before, Rebirthing Breathwork is a breathing method that connects us with our subconscious mind. This natural approach inspires connection which not only clears trauma, repressed memories (if present), and sometimes even physical pain, but also allows us to simply get to know ourselves better by embarking on an ongoing practice of transformation that helps us to understand the nature of the mind.

While lying down, use the breath in a cyclical way, with no pause between the inhale and exhale. This creates an energy flow in the body, helping to release negative emotions that may be “stuck” on a cellular or physiological level. These emotions are assimilated and the breather goes to a deeper level of relaxation, with the potential to achieve higher states of awareness, clarity, and maybe even a sense of bliss about themselves and the world around them.

Upon completion of a 1 to 2 hour detox session of Dry Rebirthing (now considered the “entry point method” without the use of water), the person feels calm, light and free. A trained practitioner will guide you through this natural approach, ensuring a safe, supported, and practice. A detox package with practitioner usually contains 10 sessions, prompting long-term transformation. As you feel more comfortable, you may continue the practice on your own, drawing further health, happiness, success, and peace of mind into your life.


There are now a myriad of styles and schools of thought around both rebirthing and other forms of breathwork, particularly as pertains to natural detox. You can attend one, a couple, or participate in the recommended 10 detox package sessions, and you can find various retreats the world over where you can fully immerse yourself into the levels of practice, and even train to facilitate sessions for others.

A good starting point for finding a practitioner is using the founders RBI (Rebirthing Breathwork International) directory. You can also visit us at the Natural Detox Center and engage in a detox program. We offer emotional detox, breathwork, yoga, as well as take into account the complementary services that each practitioner can offer.


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