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Rebirthing is an alternative therapy technique used to treat reactive attachment disorder. This therapy uses a specific kind of breathing (breathwork) meant to help you release emotions.

Supporters of rebirthing claim that by participating in a “rebirth” as a child or adult, you can resolve negative experiences from birth and infancy that may be preventing you from forming healthy relationships. Some even claim to have memories of their birth during rebirthing.

In other words, supporters claim that the technique gives you a do-over of your entrance into the world, without the trauma or instability you originally experienced. The goal is to process blocked emotions and energy, leaving you free to form trusting, healthy attachments.

A new age spiritual guru named Leonard Orr developed the rebirthing technique in the 1960s. At the time, it focused only on breathwork. Since then, its definition has expanded to include other types of therapy that simulate birth.

Rebirthing therapy is controversial because there is little evidence of its merit. In some cases, it has proven to be dangerous. Rebirthing sessions can take several forms, depending on your age and your treatment goals. Sessions are usually led by trained instructors. They work with you one-on-one or two-on-one, coaching your breathwork and leading you through the technique.

The breathwork technique used in rebirthing is called conscious energy breathing (CEB).

With your instructor’s supervision, you’ll practice “circular breathing” — quick, shallow breaths without any breaks between an inhale and an exhale. You’ll do this for one to two hours, taking breaks if you need to. During this time, participants are told to expect a release of emotions or a triggering of difficult memories from childhood.

The goal of this type of breathing is to inhale energy as well as oxygen. Practitioners of rebirthing claim that by breathing in energy, you’re healing your body. Your session may consist of only breathwork, or it may include other techniques.

Some practitioners simulate birth by putting you in an enclosed environment meant to resemble a womb and coaching you to escape from it. This may involve blankets, pillows, or other materials. Another popular method of rebirthing involves submerging yourself in a bathtub or hot tub and using a breathing device such as a snorkel to stay underwater.

What is rebirthing used for?

Proponents of rebirthing tout its mental health benefits. It is especially popular for the treatment of reactive attachment disorder.

Rebirthing is also used to treat:

  • self-destructive tendencies and patterns
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • depression and anxiety
  • chronic pain
  • mental distraction and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • behavioral issues in children
  • low self-esteem
  • addiction to drugs and alcohol
Is there a difference between Rebirthing and Breathwork?

Rebirthing is a precise and very powerful breathing technique which was invented and perfected by Leonard Orr. When mastered it is also a way of life that leads to excellence, abundance, joy and spiritual clarity. This circular breathing technique usually conducted through the nose brings a very deep healing to the receiver who is washed in blissful sensations and a deep understanding of themselves.

Breathwork refers to all breathing techniques, ancient or modern, through nose or mouth and using any specific parts of your breathing mechanism to achieve different states of awareness. Used by most cultures in various ways to deepen spiritual experiences and by others as a base for scientific research for physical and mental health, breathwork is also used for the training of individuals to grasp their ultimate potential, leading to the accomplishment of body and mind mastery for a variety of purposes.

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