Embarking on the Healing Journey: Somatic Breathing for Women Seeking Mental Health Support
Embarking on the Healing Journey: Somatic Breathwork for Women Seeking Mental Health Support
In this intriguing episode of “Women’s Mental Health Podcast,” join licensed psychotherapists Randi Owsley, LMSW, and Jessica Bullwinkle, LMFT, as they dive into the transformative world of Somatic Breathwork. Discover the power of this unique modality for stress relief, emotional healing, and improving mental well-being. You'll also hear testimonials both Randi and Jess, who have experienced its benefits firsthand, and learn how to incorporate Somatic Breathwork into your daily self-care routine. If you're a woman aged 25-55 seeking mental health resources, this episode is a must-listen on your healing path.
Are you looking for effective ways to manage stress and anxiety in your life? Somatic breathwork could be the solution you've been searching for. In this podcast, you'll discover valuable information on somatic breathwork and how it can serve as a powerful technique that can help you find balance and calm in your daily life. Learn practical ways to incorporate somatic breathing into your routine, enabling you to find peace amidst the chaos. Whether you're struggling with stress, anxiety, or simply seeking a sense of relaxation, somatic breathwork can be a valuable tool for helping you to manage your emotions. Find the resources you need to cultivate a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life today.
Get ready for a lineup of exciting and transformative topics in our upcoming podcasts! We have a range of discussions planned to help you explore deeper into the world of Somatic Breathwork. Join us as we explore Somatic Breathwork for stress reduction, allowing you to find a sense of calm and balance in your everyday life. Learn how to integrate Somatic Breathwork into your daily self-care routine, making it a natural and nurturing part of your well-being.
Dive into the world of Somatic Breathwork workshops and retreats, where you can immerse yourself in a supportive community focused on healing and growth. Explore the potential of Somatic Breathwork Healing for physical pain management, discovering how the power of the breath can aid in alleviating discomfort. Finally, unlock the secrets of Somatic Breathwork breathing techniques for deep relaxation, helping you to release tension and find true serenity. Get ready to embark on a transformative journey with our upcoming podcast episodes!
- What is somatic breathing?
- Somatic breathing is a practice that involves focusing on the breath to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and increase mind-body awareness. It involves utilizing specific breathing techniques to access the body's natural healing and self-regulating abilities.
- How does somatic breathing help with stress reduction?
- Somatic breathing helps reduce stress by activating the body's relaxation response. Through deep and intentional breathing, it calms the nervous system, lowers cortisol levels, and promotes a sense of relaxation and calmness.
- What are some popular somatic breathing techniques for beginners?
- Some popular somatic breathing techniques for beginners include diaphragmatic breathing, box breathing, and 4-7-8 breathing. These techniques focus on deepening and slowing down the breath to stimulate relaxation and stress relief.
- Can somatic breathing be incorporated into my daily self-care routine?
- Absolutely! Somatic breathing can easily be incorporated into your daily self-care routine. Taking a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing exercises can help you feel more centered, grounded, and better equipped to manage stress throughout the day.
- Are there any workshops or retreats that focus on somatic breathing?
- Yes, there are various workshops and retreats that specifically focus on somatic breathing. These immersive experiences provide an opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners, deepen your understanding of somatic breathing, and connect with a supportive community of like-minded individuals.
- Is somatic breathing helpful for managing physical pain?
- Yes, somatic breathing can be beneficial for managing physical pain. By increasing oxygen flow and promoting relaxation, it can help alleviate tension, reduce pain perception, and support the body's natural healing process.
- Are there any specific somatic breathing techniques for deep relaxation?
- Yes, there are several somatic breathing techniques that can induce deep relaxation. These include progressive muscle relaxation combined with deep breathing, guided imagery breathing exercises, and long, slow exhales to activate the body's relaxation response.
- Can somatic breathing be practiced by anyone, regardless of age or fitness level?
- Yes, somatic breathing can be practiced by individuals of all ages and fitness levels. It is a gentle and accessible practice that can be easily modified to suit individual needs and capabilities.
- Are there any contraindications or precautions to consider before practicing somatic breathing?
- While somatic breathing is generally safe for most people, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or respiratory issues. Some individuals may experience dizziness or lightheadedness when practicing deep breathing, so it's important to listen to your body and practice within your comfort level.
- Can somatic breathing be used as a standalone practice or in combination with other modalities?
- Somatic breathing can be used both as a standalone practice and in conjunction with other modalities. It can complement various wellness practices such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and therapy, enhancing their effectiveness and providing a holistic approach to well-being.
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Embarking on the Healing Journey: Somatic Breathing for Women Seeking Mental Health Support
[00:00:00] Randi: Welcome to the Women's Mental Health Podcast with Randi and Jess. We're two licensed psychotherapists and we talk about mental health, well being, and strategies for coping with life's challenges, and how it's all normal and you're not alone.
[00:00:12] Jess: You are in the right place, my friends.
[00:00:15] Randi: In this episode, we're diving deep into the benefits of somatic breathing for mental health. This is a fascinating topic that has gained a lot of attention recently. Somatic breathing is a practice that shows tremendous benefits for our mental and emotional well being.
[00:00:30] Jess: We even tried it for y'all last week. We're going to share our personal experiences with somatic breathing, how it's helped us in our own mental health journeys, and honestly, it isn't what we thought it was going to be.
[00:00:42] Randi: So if you're looking for ways to improve your mental health, self care, and overall wellbeing, this episode is for you.
[00:00:49] Jess: Have you ever thought?
[00:00:52] Randi: the hell is somatic breathing?
[00:00:54] Jess: Does breathing really help my depression or anxiety?
[00:00:58] Randi: Why am I hearing and seeing a lot more about somatic breathing?
[00:01:02] Jess: How do I even start trying it or learn about it?
[00:01:05] Randi: How do therapists and doctors not talk about breath work and how important deep breathing.
[00:01:12] Jess: And does this really help or is this some really like, hippy dippy shit?
[00:01:17] Randi: ? So let's
begin. Somatic breathing is rooted in ancient traditions such as yoga, meditation. These somatic breathing techniques have gained a lot of momentum and attention in recent years. due to their potential to enhance your mental health and your overall well being and Kind of sitting with your feelings like we've talked about in previous
[00:01:40] Jess: It's something to put into your toolbox. It's this powerful tool and it helps us women to prioritize our mental health, our wellbeing. As Randy was saying it's a practice that allows us to tap into our own internal resources for healing.
and self discovery. And I'm sitting here tapping my chest,
right? Whether it's like reducing stress, regulating emotions finding self awareness. It really, really, it, it, whoo, it was mind blowing the experience we had.
[00:02:07] Randi: So it empowers you as a woman. So what exactly is somatic breathing?
[00:02:13] Jess: So somatic breathing is also known as like conscious breathing or mindful breathing,
it's a practice that combines specific breathing techniques with focused and conscious attention to promote this deeper connection to your mind and your body Oh my gosh, let's talk, start talking chakras and dippy stuff.
[00:02:34] Randi: So
it's it really taps into the mind body connection.
And we don't talk about this enough, like our whole the whole person health, right? Mental health and physical health and emotional health and how this is such an important part of your overall well being as a human being, let alone a woman, and so that's what somatic breathing is.
[00:02:57] Jess: And so as a therapist, I do tapping. A lot of people have heard tapping, You get your chakras going and you do tapping and I will work clients through with some tapping when they're having to process something. to me, tapping is sort of like. EMDR, not the same, right? And I know I'm going all into details here, ?
But the idea of tapping
[00:03:16] Randi: It's like kind of like a pressure point, almost like in a way you're like touching yourself. You're bringing
[00:03:21] Jess: She said touching yourself.
[00:03:24] Randi: just as a six year old boy, if you didn't know this yet.
So you, you're, you are touching yourself, but you're bringing awareness, the physical awareness to the surface while you're walking through something emotional,
[00:03:37] Jess: And it's a way to connect your hemispheres of your brain and create this bridge to pass your traumas over, ? Like the whole idea of the, the body keeps the score where traumas get stuck in your body. And so it was interesting when we did this, because somatic breath work, what it does is it utilizes two parts of breathing,
and I can't even, I don't remember what the name of it is called, like Paranama or something. But anyway, it's some sort of a breath practice,
[00:04:04] Randi: Yeah, there's different patterns of breathing that you do, , like a deep belly breath, but like really powerful with a little bit of a shallower breath.
It depends too on the practitioner and who you're going to and how they're leading it, but you can think of it. It's, it's like a guided meditation in a way, but for your full body.
[00:04:24] Jess: But really intense. Yeah. Because what it does is it brings the nervous system into this like altered state of consciousness.
[00:04:31] Randi: Mm hmm. You're almost like putting yourself in a fight or flight mode. Think of oh shit, like I'm running, I'm running from this trauma. I don't want to deal with it, but I'm being forced to deal with it right now. I'm having to, I'm breathing through this. I'm breathing through this.
[00:04:45] Jess: And most of us are running from trauma anyway. So this is us facing it head on, but it's really interesting.
, it's a way to get our frozen or stuck energies and emotions, , I guess to thaw them or to like kind of get them out.
[00:04:58] Randi: yeah, bringing them to the surface, which you have to be aware when you're walking into this that you are going to be approaching things that are uncomfortable for you.
I want to say this because I walked in not really like understanding the full
[00:05:12] Jess: I sent her a text the night before and I was like, hey, come do this with me.
[00:05:14] Randi: And so,
you are going to bring up things that are either stressing you out or that you've been holding onto or deep trauma. If you let yourself and so, but it also helps you with learning how to regulate your emotions. Emotional regulation is super important. And those of us that are neurodivergent like Jess and I who have ADHD or.
You know what we just talked about?
[00:05:36] Jess: dysphoria.
[00:05:38] Randi: So we have a hard time regulating our emotions and this is great because it teaches you to tap into that you can take some deep breaths. You can refocus you can control the way your body is feeling and Kind of bring your you know body and mind together
[00:05:53] Jess: And so maybe we should explain kind of what our experience was and then we can go into some of the benefits. I was actually talking about this and showing somebody and I'm like, Oh, Hey, look, , this new company, they have a workshop here tomorrow night in our town.
I don't like to leave more than, five minutes from my house. So I'm like, cool. It's right down the road. I said, Hey, I already did it. It was like 45 bucks. Hey, Randy, do this with me. And then I was like, next day, do you do it? Do you do it? Let's do this. Let's do this.
[00:06:17] Randi: I'm like, fine, fine. I'll go. Fine, Fine,
[00:06:18] Jess: fine.
Fine. Bring your yoga mat. So we show up, we're at this yoga studio. They had just got done with the hot yoga and the room was hot.
[00:06:26] Randi: Yeah, she's like, why is it so hot in here?
And I'm like, I think they do hot yoga in here. Not thinking I'm going to be doing hot yoga in a minute.
to sweat. ,
[00:06:35] Jess: we sit down and there's probably, what was there, 30 of us maybe? Yeah. Uhhuh, about 30 of us were all kind of, , laid out. It was nice and calm and mm-hmm. You know, most people there hadn't really been there before. And Randy's looking at me and she goes, it's hot in here. I did not sign up for hot.
[00:06:49] Randi: I'm like, what the fuck did you
get me into? She
[00:06:52] Jess: She was, and and it was so funny cuz um, there was nothing next to us that was open. So the kid next that was in between us mm-hmm. He had never done it, but it was like the owner's son. Yeah. And so he was in the back and we're like, I guess we're sitting next to this young kid.
Right. Yeah. 16. 16 year old. 16. Yeah. Right. And so they have you, they. Start, they explain the breath work. They tell you you're doing like this belly breathing. It's you're pushing yourself past your comfort zone. Mm-hmm. So expect it. And then he says, I mean, you'll have to help me here, Randy. Yeah. But then he says, Look to your left, look to your right.
Give yourself and your people next to you permission to process however they need to.
[00:07:34] Randi: Right. And that you're gonna be vulnerable
and that some people might process things differently like with sound or emotions, crying, noises, and I was, I was
[00:07:46] Jess: of
[00:07:46] Randi: like, what?
[00:07:48] Jess: And if you guys know us, Randy, , she's the crier. I'm not right. She's notorious for crying. So I honestly was like. It's Thursday night. I'm going to go in. I'm just going to breathe and relax and she's probably going to cry. Okay, cool. It'll be
It'll be fine. So we're sitting there and they start us off with this breath and it's just a meditation to get like, , the anxious energy
[00:08:07] Randi: And so you do it laying down, like dead man's pose, if you know anything about yoga, , so it's like that you do with your eyes closed. So it is a very, even though you're in a room full of people, which can be kind of awkward, it is a very like personal experience because you are looking inwards and your eyes are closed and you're centering and focusing on
[00:08:24] Jess: The entire thing, ? I was like, what? So they get us to go through and they do a meditation. So we're kind of relaxed and then they turn on this music.
[00:08:33] Randi: It's like, Thumping, tribal rave
[00:08:37] Jess: It
was so, it was like this visceral thumping. Yeah,
[00:08:40] Randi: right? And
I'm like, okay, are we in like a tent in the middle
[00:08:48] Jess: And so we're sitting there and then like we're doing this deep breath, right? It's like a, I don't even know how to, if you guys can even do
[00:08:53] Randi: it,
It is. you're
supposed to go in and out through your mouth. Like
and heavy, which yeah, through your belly, which I suck as a breather.
We've already been off this. If you've, we've done some breathing exercises on previous podcasts and Jess and I both have asthma. So we were kind of like, Oh, holy shit. Are we going to be able to do,
[00:09:10] Jess: I was like, I think I'm gonna have an asthma attack,
but, we didn't. And so we're sitting there and then. I really, Oh, Oh, and before they go, they have you write down on a piece of paper, what your word of intention
is, what are you there for?
And I was like acceptance. Okay, cool. And then I couldn't spell acceptance. So I was like, okay, so I'm not there for acceptance. Maybe I'm here for forgiveness. So I wrote down forgiveness. I'm like, I don't know what the hell I'm here
I just made Randy go. So as we're doing this breathing, what I noticed was we're doing the first round of breathing.
It's intense. And my hands are getting like, Okay. Tingly and my nose is tingly and my feet, and then I'm like
the, and that's totally
[00:09:49] Randi: to Feel
like this. You are basically. Causing yourself to hyperventilate in a way, and, and in a, for a lack of better terms. So
can kind of visualize this safe if you've never seen but safe.
Yeah, because , there was three people overseeing this and they were like telling you, like coming by and saying breathe deeper or this, or breathe from your belly or do this. So, you're not like totally off on your own.
[00:10:11] Jess: . And then I was sitting there as we're breathing and I was like, Son of a bitch. They're going to make me cry and I
[00:10:20] Randi: I was
[00:10:20] Jess: like,
I'm not going to
cry. I'm not
[00:10:21] Randi: going
[00:10:22] Jess: No, she's laughing at me because I'm like, I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry. I am not. Oh, God damn it. I'm doing the big ugly cries and I am just crying and I was just so it was so intense and so it was such a wonderful experience.
It really was for me and like I Was processing everything that had happened in the week and all of the heavy stuff. I was holding And like I was crying and it was so intense I mean honestly people down the way We're yelling hollering and i'm like, I think they're having an orgasm. I'm, not sure
And it was actually totally fine. I know we joke about it, but it was totally
okay. and I, I was sitting there and because it was so intense and I'm not the let go and, I'm not going to scream and yell. I'm not that person. So I started doing my tapping, and I'm tapping on my head and I'm tapping. Cause it was just so.
overwhelming the emotions I was having. And I mean, that's not me normally. And so I was tapping and letting it go. And then they go into another breath work where they actually have you exhale and hold your
breath, but you're so oxygenated
already that ,
[00:11:29] Randi: wow
I was Really surprised because like I said, I suck your breathing. And I was like, I cannot believe I'm holding my breath and just pausing like this. Yes. For such a long time. And being okay. . And , that's what breathing does for your body.
[00:11:43] Jess: I need to breathe. I know. I'm like, okay. And I thought, well, I'm not gonna be able to exhale and hold all my breath. Mm-hmm. And I could. And it was like, okay. And it just felt so relieving.
[00:11:54] Randi: And I did not cry. It was not an emotional experience for me, but it was It's relaxing for me in a way that I gave myself permission to move my body and stretch my body and, you know, like, tell myself it's okay like, and they do other things like they walk you through like, you're worthy, are you, taking enough care for yourself?
Are you playing enough? , what do you need to bring into your life? What do you need to let go of your
[00:12:17] Jess: Part of who is it that you're thinking of, and who is it?
You're sending love out too. . feel yourself with love and feel the love. And I mean, it sounds really hippie dippy. It does.
[00:12:27] Randi: I mean, yeah, like my husband was like, woo, it was it a little like woo woo. And I was like, yeah and I mean, that works for some people, but even me being like, I'm not very like woo woo hippy or whatever. I'm always open though, to a new experience and I would do it again.
Understanding what I was going into this time. I might be a little bit more relaxed than I was this time,
[00:12:48] Jess: and what was interesting for me is at the very end of it. I sat up and it was like, I felt like I lost 20
pounds. it was
[00:12:56] Randi: was very transformative for Jess. Yeah.
[00:12:59] Jess: so, I didn't realize that I was holding as a therapist, right?
30, 40 clients a week. I was holding so much of their, like I I'm holding, like I'm doing all
this handwork, right? But like I hold a lot of space for my clients just like we hold space for our children We hold space for our spouses
[00:13:18] Randi: In any profession where you have a high rate of burnout health, mental health nurses doctors paramedics, things like this
. You are holding all of that in. You're carrying, you have secondary trauma. And so we don't think about that because that ends up being ,
that we're always carrying this and have this heavy load and we never let it go. You need to think about that and do this for self care to let it go.
And for Jess, it was like, You could just see like a weight like coming off of her like at the
Even the 16 year old kid next to us, he
[00:13:48] Jess: He
cried. He did. And I was like, how'd you do? He goes, I cried. I was like, I cried too. I have been bouncy. It's been almost what a week and a
half. And I have been bouncy and I feel light and like I can't even describe the word I was looking for, the intention that I didn't know was relief. And so
I was like, Oh M G. So I've been like, y'all have got to try it once. Go in with an open mind. Be very aware that this is not what you think it's going to
be. And ,
[00:14:18] Randi: try
things. Well, and even someone else shared in the workshop too that they were not a very emotional person either, and they had a hard time processing emotions and they said this was the first time in their life they had ever been this intimate with themselves.
And I felt that was very, very powerful as a woman to say that. And I'm going to say, there was men there too. It was a mix. It was, men and women. And she said,
And I think that's the thing she paused and she gave herself, the ability to do that.
[00:14:53] Jess: As women we don't do that we you know juggle
and and hold it all in and it becomes what we like what you said earlier is our
baseline We think we're that
[00:15:06] Randi: That's why this can be so beneficial. So, the benefits. of this are that it really can help you reduce your stress
[00:15:14] Jess: It also can help people who have trauma, ? , and this is the part about trauma is that sometimes you can go to therapy and talk about, things that have happened to you as a child, all you want and sometimes you can still feel it,
You can talk about it, but it still sits with you. And sometimes some of this, when you're doing the tapping or you're doing the breath work, this is , the game changer because it can help you actually process So you're not feeling it
[00:15:40] Randi: You can release that physical hold that the trauma has on you.
And it allows you to kind of step back and observe what's happening in your body and your mind and how you want to kind of let go of that or respond to it or process it.
[00:15:57] Jess: it's interesting that we don't I didn't learn about this in grad
[00:16:01] Randi: school
No, I mean, I have done research on somatic psychology, which is, is the mind body connection, but and that's, I've done some things about drawing and like journaling and things like that are very like a somatic experience as well because you're taking like a physical kind of almost repetition.
competition pattern and working through your emotions and so that is kind of like what this similar to this, but I didn't really make that connection, you know about the breathing and the intention and bringing that all together
[00:16:32] Jess: And that is what is so interesting is I wish I feel like We are so either Eastern or Western culture, right?
We're either, all meds and go to your doctors and that's it. Or it's this whole, herbal
essence. Sorry, not
herbal essence, essential oils
[00:16:48] Randi: But yeah, and it's you don't have to be all one way or another. I like finding a happy medium. I think, drugs are great. The prescription drugs.
Thank you. And that they can be so beneficial for people, especially if you're ADHD or things like that, where your brain is totally wired differently. But I also think it's important to take in this whole body care. Your mind, your soul, your emotions, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, but also, medicine is okay too, and you don't have to be all like, one way, I have to be natural 24 7, or I have to be, I'm all medicated 24 7 find a happy ground that works for you, it doesn't have to be us against them,
[00:17:27] Jess: I wish we would do more. Cause like I said, this is a tool for your toolbox, I do think you should go to therapy. I think you should add in tapping. I think
add in somatic breathing,
[00:17:36] Randi: Yeah. right?
it all and see what works or sticks.
[00:17:40] Jess: I think that, trying to add some of this different stuff in, right? We talk about doing red light therapy sometimes and we talk about how, sitting in an infrared sauna can help,
[00:17:50] Randi: that's the thing. My husband had a back injury where , he has a fracture in his spine. , the only thing that alleviates his pain totally is doing those.
salt I could never do that because I'm claustrophobic, but for him, it is so healing for him, so he goes and does that because it gives him that pain relief. And that's like this, like the somatic breathing or tapping or things like that. It can also help with anxiety can help with depression, it can help with chronic pain.
[00:18:17] Jess: Mm I'm an advocate now. I really am because I did not realize how much of the trauma I was holding vicariously, like
And I, and I know this is a therapist, but it feels like it has left. It just opened up this other area where I can be more present as a mom and as a friend. And it's just so cool because now I have made space and I keep holding my heart guys. I have made space in my heart and in my body. to let my little one back in a little bit more to be more present in my family.
And that is what is so cool because I didn't realize I did not have, I didn't have enough space.
And because , it sounds hippy dippy again, like
The universe. We're
[00:18:59] Randi: not diminishing it by saying that, , we joke around a lot in here. , But it is, it's , for people that are afraid of it, that's a way to kind of make it seem a little bit Yeah. You know, softer and lighter to them , , and be like, come on, it might be hippy dippy, but you'll, you'll enjoy it.
Just open yourself up to a new experience. It doesn't have to be this, but like any new experience too can totally open up your world and your mind and your heart.
[00:19:22] Jess: And for my universe to open up and be like, Hey, lemme look at this. Oh, hey, they have one tomorrow. Oh, hey, it's in my town. Oh, and there's, and it's available.
Great, I'm doing it. and that just said, okay, I have to go do this. I can't chicken out. I'm going to do it right now. Yeah. And I'm so glad I did.
I think that if we were able to do more of this and we had, if my insurance covered it, I wish my insurance be like, Hey, you want to do this?
[00:19:46] Randi: Yeah. Let's do
You could probably get your doctor to write you a prescription for it and then you could, do if you have an HSA account, you could
it off. Cause like we do that with our massages. Anyway,
So we hope that you guys have learned something new about the power of somatic breathing and mindfulness for your mental health and that you are inspired to give something like this a
[00:20:08] Jess: .
And remember that self care is an important part of maintaining good mental health.
Somatic breathing is just again, one more tool in your toolbox,
[00:20:16] Randi: So join us next time for more tips and insights on women's mental health.
[00:20:21] Jess: All right. See you later.