Holotropic Breathwork combines very simple means – faster breathing, evocative music and releasing bodywork – to induce intense holotropic states of consciousness; it uses the remarkable healing and transformative power of these states. This method provides access to biographical, perinatal and transpersonal domains of the unconscious and thus to deep psychospiritual roots of emotional and psychosomatic disorders. It also makes it possible to utilize the mechanisms of healing and personality transformation that operate on these levels of the psyche. The process of self-exploration and therapy in Holotropic Breathwork is spontaneous and autonomous; it is governed by inner healing intelligence rather than following the instructions and guidelines of a particular school of psychotherapy.
Most of the recent revolutionary discoveries concerning consciousness and the human psyche on which Holotropic Breathwork is based are new only for modern psychiatry and psychology. They have a long history as integral parts of the ritual and spiritual life of many ancient and native cultures and their healing practices. Basic principles of Holotropic Breathwork thus represent rediscovery, validation and modern reformulation of ancient wisdom and procedures, some of which can be traced to the dawn of human history. As we will see, the same is true for the principal constituents used in the practice of Holotropic Breathwork – breathing, instrumental music and chanting, bodywork and mandala drawing or other forms of artistic expression. They have been used for millennia in the healing ceremonies and ritual practices of the all pre-industrial human groups.