08 May 2022

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Breath-Body-Mind is an evidence-based therapeutic practice developed by Dr. Richard Brown, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at Columbia University, and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at New York Medical College. Breath-Body-Mind combines gentle movements with voluntarily regulated breathing practices which have been scientifically shown to help alleviate a wide range of physical and psychological challenges including anxiety, depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain.

These techniques have also proven effective in enhancing concentration, improving performance in athletes, and maintaining general health and well-being in healthy individuals. Breath-Body-Mind has been successfully implemented in a wide variety of contexts including clinical settings, schools, and trauma relief. In the clinical setting, Breath-Body-Mind is a complementary or alternative therapeutic modality that is effective, affordable, and drug-free. Breath-Body-Mind can be practiced by anybody regardless of age, disability, physical fitness, and educational level. Adaptations in breathing practices can be made for people with respiratory problems or specific psychological vulnerabilities.

In schools, Breath-Body-Mind has been shown to reduce mental, emotional, and behavioral health disorders including substance abuse, anxiety, and depression, while teaching young people to develop techniques to help them self-regulate their emotions, balance their stress response system, improve attention and learning, increase their ability to communicate and cooperate, and reduce problem behaviors. Drs. Brown and Gerbarg and other Breath-Body-Mind teachers have implemented these techniques with various populations around the world suffering from trauma such as:

  • Displaced people in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.
  • First responders after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.
  • Active Duty Military and Veterans.
  • Recently liberated slaves in South Sudan.
  • Rohingya children in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Drs. Brown and Gerbarg are engaged in ongoing research into both the effects of Breath-Body-Mind and the neuroscience that underlies the effectiveness of the techniques. They currently hypothesize that the practice of Breath-Body-Mind activates the parasympathetic system by stimulating the Vagus nerve and activating GABAergic pathways from the insular and prefrontal cortex to the amygdala. These pathways are important for inhibiting over-reactivity and regulating the emotions, particularly fear and anger, that are processed in the amygdala.

For more information, see

For more information, see

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