Breath4LifeTM Breath Work - a cutting edge technology?

When I ask at workshop and seminars what do people really want the most frequent answer is ‘Inner Peace’. They want to know how to achieve this and what is the quickest route to gaining this in their own lives. Unfortunately there is no quick answer to that question, however one of the quickest tools I have ever come across to achieving inner peace is Breath work. Breath work can mean different things to different people, but in its simplest form, it is the practice of using some type of conscious breathing technique to enhance physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. It can be combined with other techniques such as meditation or used as a stand-alone practice.

The breath functions as a link between the unconscious and conscious mind, as a tool to influence the involuntary nervous system, and as a technique to decrease anxiety and increase spiritual awareness and development. It grounds the mind, body and spirit and increases the communication pathways between mind and body. I would add that it can also be used to relieve pain and increase creativity and intuition.

For both those who have an existing health condition and those embracing prevention, the breath is a simple yet exceptional tool that can be used in day-to-day life to not only manage stress but to encourage optimal health.

The Science of Breath Work
Breathing is the only function in the human body that is done either completely unconsciously or completely consciously. It can be a voluntary or involuntary act and thus it is governed by two distinct sets of muscles and nerves, depending on which mode is in use - the involuntary nerves and muscles or the voluntary. Each set of muscles and nerves can fully drive and manage the system. Therefore the breath has this phenomenal, unique characteristic that enables it to affect the involuntary nervous system. It is the only function in the human body that has this ability. We can use our voluntary breathing to influence our involuntary nervous system.

The involuntary nervous system, also called the autonomic nervous system, controls those aspects in the body that occur on their own, "automatically", such as heartbeat, digestion, blood pressure, widening or narrowing of blood vessels and breathing. It consists of two branches - the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight or flight system or stress response system, is activated when we are under stress. It triggers the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, noradrenalin and adrenalin that increase our heart rate and blood pressure, direct blood flow away from the surface of the body, halt digestion, provide us with energy and make us alert, thus providing us with the resources to deal with the stressful situation at hand. The parasympathetic nervous system does the complete opposite. It relaxes, calms down, reduces blood pressure and heart rate, directs blood flow towards the surface of the body and improves digestion.
When all is functioning as it should, these two systems work in harmony with one another and maintain homeostasis in the body. When we're under stress, the sympathetic nervous system responds to get us through the crises and then the parasympathetic system brings us back to a normal state of rest and relaxation. However, a common phenomenon found in many people today is an imbalance in the involuntary nervous system. Primarily, there is over- activity in the sympathetic nervous system and under-activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. It's as if our bodies are in a constant state of stress, otherwise known as fight or flight. This results in a complex condition called dysautonomia, or autonomic nervous system dysfunction.

The sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive all the time because we are all under too much stress. Stress comes in various forms - work, family, social, cognitive, emotional, environmental, spiritual, noise, financial, biochemical and many more. Whatever the cause may be, the negative effects of stress result in a sympathetic nervous system that doesn't shut down. On-going over-stimulation of the fight or flight system leads to burn-out of the adrenal glands and an under-active parasympathetic nervous system.

Additionally, when we are under stress, we breathe fast, short and shallow. As so many of us are under stress at all times, we have developed an unconscious pattern of chronic unhealthy breathing. Even when the stressful event passes, we continue to breathe as if we are still under stress and this keeps the sympathetic nervous system turned on.

This over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system has many negative effects on our health and is often at the root of, or exacerbates, a large number of health conditions we find in society today, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, circulation disorders, digestive disorders, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, anxiety disorders, depression, adrenal fatigue, hyperactivity, addiction and poor health in general.
This is where breath work is helpful. Voluntary acts of breathing with specific techniques can be used to turn off the sympathetic nervous system and turn on the parasympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system is dominant, the breathing is fast, short and shallow, while when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated we breathe slower, deeper and longer.

Therefore if we intentionally breathe slower, deeper and longer we can turn on the parasympathetic nervous system. We can calm down, rev up or harmonise the nervous system with our breath. There is simply nothing easier, more affordable and effective for reducing stress.

With the regular and repetitive practice of breathing deep, slow, and long we can change our breathing patterns and this will affect the underlying issue of these health conditions by helping to restore balance to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

Breath Work Mind/Body Connection and Spirituality
Breath work is a practice in which the world of science and spirituality come together. The act of breathing can be either conscious or unconscious; it also serves as a gateway between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind; and it is the channel that connects the mind and body. It has both a mental and physical element, therefore the breath can be used to influence the impact of the mind on the body and vice versa.

For example, we can use the voluntary element of breathing to influence the involuntary physical effects we experience when we're angry, afraid or upset. By simply changing the rhythms of your breath, both the body and state of mind can be calmed down.
Furthermore, in many cultures the word breath and spirit, or universal energy, are the same and this encourages us to see breath in this manner. Life begins and ends with breath. In other words, the breath is where the spirit resides. The breath is what connects us to all other living things, including the Earth and the universe itself, because we all share the rhythmic expansion and contraction of breath.
When we focus on our breathing, we are focusing on the non-physical essence (spiritual) of who we are. Essentially we are connecting with our spiritual self, which allows us to reach higher states of consciousness and inner peace, develop increased spiritual awareness and experience spiritual nourishment, all of which enhance our spiritual health.

Putting Breath Work into Practice
Our goal in breath work is to change the quality of our breathing. When we are under stress, upset, angry or afraid our breath is shallow, irregular, noisy, and rapid. In a relaxed state, our breath is quiet, slow, deep and long.

Therefore, we want to focus on making our breath deeper, longer, quieter, regular and slower as often as possible. The more often we do this, the more often we put the parasympathetic nervous system in the driver’s seat and calm down the sympathetic.

If we practise this type of breathing on a regular basis, then eventually we can train the breath to follow this pattern on its own and the nervous system will respond accordingly. Repetition and frequency are important. With the continuous repetition of deep, slow, long, quiet breath we can restore the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which results in a slower heart rate and blood pressure, decreased anxiety, relaxation, enhanced digestion, better sleep, etc. We feel more harmonious in body, mind and spirit, and the nervous system and organs function more smoothly.

Benefits of Breath Work
Breath work can be used to improve overall mental, physical and spiritual health or to correct an existing health condition. If there is an existing condition or disease, breath work will help the body and mind to function better and assist in the healing process.
Some of the conditions that respond the most to breath work may include arrhythmias and other heart conditions, cold hands, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, circulation, depression, generalised anxiety, anxiety attacks, stress, panic attacks, adrenal fatigue, constipation, irritable bowel, indigestion or other digestive disorders, hyperactivity or ADHD, insomnia, chronic pain and addiction, but there isn't any condition that is out of reach.

Deep breathing stimulates the release of melatonin, our primary hormone that is responsible for inciting sleep; it is a supreme and easy natural sleep aid.

The most profound benefit of breath work is its ability to span the physical, psychological and spiritual spheres all at one time. On the physical level you can acquire benefits such as improved sleep patterns, digestion and circulation, an increase in energy levels, a calmer, more balanced nervous system, natural pain relief, lower blood pressure, less stress and anxiety.

On the psychological level you may experience more stable emotions, improved relationships, less depression, enhanced feelings of well-being, a better outlook on life, less internal conflict and a more centred state of mind.

While on the spiritual level you can achieve higher states of consciousness and spiritual awareness, more meaning and purpose in life, more creativity, insight and intuition, a deeper more meaningful relationship with self, a richer connection with the universe.
At the very least, you'll see improvement from the relaxation aspect alone. There isn't anyone who can't benefit from relaxation and neutralising or minimising the negative effects of stress.

Where else can you find such a vast amount of benefits from one health care strategy? There is no other medical treatment, traditional or otherwise, that has this much power. The power of breath is to know how and when to use it.

“We have three types of courses – each one is run over a year. The Foundation Course includes 10 days of training, 10 group breath work sessions and 10 1:1 sessions with a practitioner and is designed to help anyone who feels stuck, in pain or wishes to explore self more. The Practitioner level is a professional training for those who wish to practice as a Breath4LifeTM Breath Work Practitioner seeing 1:1 clients and Level Three the Facilitator/Teacher is for people who want to run group sessions and facilitate workshop, we work as a community of like-minded people, collaborating with experts including health professionals, therapists, educational advisers and spiritual teachers, to help and train others.

How was the International School of Energy Medicine born?

“I was standing by a patient’s bed one day after managing an emergency situation, when I thought there has to be a better way than this,” “Looking around for answers, I decided to retrain in complementary medicine, not wholly convinced it would work.”

Embarking on a four-year journey of training as a homoeopath I was introduced to a different philosophy to orthodox medicine, the Law of Similar and discovered that it made complete and utter sense to me. From that place I did a lot of in depth research and wrote The Energetic Models of Health, Disease and Cure. This is an approach which, I believe, underpins all complementary therapies, everything in our lives is to do with energy and the interesting thing about energy is you can’t add to it – you can’t destroy it, but you can change its nature by changing it’s vibration. At the core of the energetic models is the Breath4LifeTM Programme, which helps those in need to make real, lasting changes to their lives through a series of sessions, focusing on simple breathing techniques. Most of us never give much thought to how we are breathing and yet 85 per cent of us do not breathe correctly. How we breathe affects every aspect of our lives and can greatly improve overall health.

Breath4LifeTM Breath Work is a powerful yet simple technique which can help release pain, negative emotions and unlock depression. It is gentle, safe and easy with the aim of clearing physical, mental and emotional health problems. Its benefits are enormous and range from increased energy to helping relieve chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Matthew Donnachie, a builder by trade, is a firm proponent of the beneficial effects of Breath4LifeTM Breath Work. He comments: “I had problems growing up, which led to depression in adulthood. I was going out every weekend, consuming vast amounts of alcohol and drugs, was very angry and living on a knife edge with my temper. A friend suggested the Breath4LifeTM Breath Work as a good way of dealing with my type of situation.

“The first Breath4LifeTM Breath Work session changed my life - not only teaching me about myself but also allowing me to understand how energetic medicine works. It has led me to an inner peace I didn’t know existed. I am now on a Breath4LifeTM Foundation Course and enjoying every minute of it. I would really like to become a practitioner myself.”

Jill Pay works with Camden Carers (London). She comments: ”One of the benefits of Breath4LifeTM Breath Work is that people who are not quite ready to talk, or can’t find the language to express their trauma, pain or emotions, can do a session and start to break through what is holding them back, gaining much more clarity as a result.”

Jill uses the therapy in her own life: “Breath4LifeTM Breath Work has been a brilliant discovery for me – quite literally changing my life, from living in pain, fear and depression to positively thriving in my daily life and relationships, the inner peace I have found is truly amazing and I’m grateful for it on a daily basis. I could not recommend these courses more highly.”

Beverley Glick, a human potential coach and writer, is also a keen advocate of Breath4LifeTM Breath Work. “I have benefited so much from being part of the Breath4LifeTM Breath Work programme – on a personal as well as a professional level. Breath4LifeTM Breath Work has given me the tools to process emotions in a healthy way, allowing me to feel suppressed emotions and reintegrate them. I don’t think talk therapy would have got me to this point.”

Beverley is now training to become a Breath4LifeTM Breath Work practitioner and is halfway through the course. She firmly believes that this professional qualification will add a valuable, life-enhancing and deeper level of service to the life coaching she already provides.
To book on to the courses, and for more information on the International School of Energy Medicine, call Pennie Quaile-Pearce on 0044(0)7951 873732 or visit

Author's Bio: 

Pennie Quaile-Pearce is a spiritual midwife. A firm believer that everyone can experience true inner peace by uncovering their own unique divinity she runs inspiring courses, trainings and workshops to help individuals regain their connection to their authentic self and live with heart intelligence in their daily lives. She is a Reiki Master and has developed the Reiki Training that Acorn to Oak delivers and is accredited with the IGPP. Pennie is also a Breathwork Practitioner & creator of the Breath4Life™ Programme and a Life Coach. She is member of the Self Realization Fellowship & a Kriya Yogi. For more information please visit