The Healing Power of the Breath: Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Enhance Concentration, and Balance Your Emotions Paperback – Jun 12 2012
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“Whether we are facing the distressful outcomes of trauma or simply seeking relief from the stresses of everyday life, the life-changing steps in this book and audio program provide the essential skills we need to bring health into our lives.”—Daniel J. Siegel, MD, Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine, author of Mindsight
“As pioneering researchers in the field of mind body practices and mental health, Drs. Gerbarg and Brown have researched the ancient traditions, both Eastern and Western, and know what works. In their groundbreaking new book, they keep it simple —no religion, no deities, no mumbo jumbo; just clear breathing instruction easily introduced in a clinical setting or for use at home.” —Amy Weintraub, author of Yoga Skills for Therapists and Yoga for Depression
“Firmly based in scientific and clinical observations, the simple techniques in The Healing Power of the Breath are a breakthrough for anyone wishing to lessen stress, balance emotions, and/or enhance concentration. The book is engaging and clearly-written, which makes the techniques it introduces easy to learn and put into practice. Best of all, these techniques require no special training and give results without the harmful side effect of pharmaceuticals. I have personally witnessed their effectiveness treating veterans with combat stress or PTSD. Highly recommended.” —Shad Meshad, president and founder of the National Veterans Foundation
“The Healing Power of the Breath is an accessible book on a very important topic. Drs. Brown and Gerbarg deal with the complex subject of breathing and how it can impact our mental health from both conventional medicine and concepts from ancient philosophies. With a blend of anecdotes, citations from published medical literature, and actual practical sessions, this book is for anyone who would like to develop their self-help skills to improve their sense of wellbeing.” —Shirley Telles MBBS, Ph.D. (Neurophysiology); director of the Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India (www.patanjaliresearchfoundation.com), and head of the Indian Council of Medical Research Center for Advanced Research in Yoga and Neurophysiology, Bangalore, India
About the Author
A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD, is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at New York Medical College and maintains a private practice, and facilitates research on mind-body treatments for anxiety, PTSD, and stress-related medical conditions. She has lectured on integrative treatments in psychiatry at the American Psychiatric Association, and other professional conferences.
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Sarah Chana Radcliffe, author "Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What I mean is that when I discover physicians who are dedicated healers, I become more than excited. They are practicing the new medicine I feel is waiting for us in the 21st century.
Drs. Brown and Gerbarg have training from the best medical schools in the U.S., yet they take us back to the simplest and most profound of natural therapies - the healing power of the breath - as the title says. Breathing is something all of us do, every day--with insufficient attention. It is only in the synergy of these two capacities, breath and awareness, the authors show us, that we can breathe our way to health.
Do not be put off by the brevity and accessibility of this book. In addition to their medical and scientific training, Brown and Gerbarg are familiar with the ancient technologies of consciousness that undergird the practices they present; particularly, Yoga and Qi Gong. I have been fortunate enough to study with some of the same traditional teachers from whom they learned, but they have gone beyond their mentors in giving scientific validation to the methods they teach.
Clincally, Brown and Gerbarg have helped traumatized people all over the world using their techniques: victims of floods and tsunamis, returning vets, 9/11 survivors, and the families of those who didn't survive. Participants say the workshops invariably leave one with a feeling of inner peace, and yet exhilaration. The book and its accompanying CD are the next best thing to an actual experience with the teachers. It's not quite the same as being in the room with a hundred people going through the exercises--but it's the next best thing, because you can do it on your own time and in your own home or sanctuary. Another option is that it allows people who have already taken the courses to take the method home and integrate it into their lives.
I plan to have the book and CD available in my waiting room, and will recommend them to all my patients.
Stephen Larsen, Ph.D., psychologist and author
The authors have researched across cultures to find universal practices that they describe in simple language that is easy to follow. The anchor breath upon which other practices are added is Coherent Breathing, an even inhalation and exhalation that slows the breathing rate to five breaths per minute. This simple breath increases heart rate variability and balances the stress-response system.
In each practice, the authors offer trouble shooting tips--what to do if your nose is stuffed up, what if you fall asleep, what if you run out of breath, or what if the practice hurts the throat--so that practice can be adapted to every reader's circumstance.
The authors suggest a combination of practices that they call "Total Breath." This practice includes Coherent Breathing, the yoga pranayama, Ujjayi, which they call "Resistance Breathing" and "Breath Moving," an ancient practice from China, which involves visualizing the breath moving through different parts of the body. It's fascinating to learn that many of these practices were developed independently in Hawaii, and by Russian monks. "Traces of these practices," say the authors, "have remained as part of the training for elite Russian Special Forces soldiers."
There are stories of healing in relationship through breath practice, as well as the beneficial impact on the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome. "I came away [from a two-day workshop with the authors] with a sense of being reunited with my life and my loved ones," says a woman deeply affected by the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. The authors have taken their breathing training, "Breath~Body~Mind" to areas of the world where disaster has struck--the Sudan, first responders to the attack on the World Trade Center and into a clinical setting for those who have suffered from early childhood trauma. Brown and Gerbarg discuss these cases with compassion and insight, often using the patient's words to describe their positive changes as a result of the breathing.
In addition to the narrative descriptions, the Appendix contains clear charts that indicate how and when to use each practice and the suggested order of practice.
In the CD included with the book. Dr. Brown leads listeners through each exercise. This is a wonderful learning tool that can be used daily to guide your own practice.
--Amy Weintraub, author of Yoga Skills for Therapists (W.W. Norton), Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books).
BUT, when I tried copying the link, which was www .shambala .com/ healingpowerofthebreath (Amazon TOOK OUT that link in my 1st version of this review, so put those components together), to another window, it brought me to some opportunity to buy the Shambala domain. ???? When I simply clicked on it, it brought me to the site, where I was able to download the mp3 files.
SO, it's still unclear about how available those audio files are for the Kindle version. If you have a Kindle or Kindle app, you also have access to the cloud version of the book. So, the link should work there. I say 'should', but I haven't done that, in exactly that way, so I don't know..
All the way around, they could've done a much better job of making those audio files clearly available to Kindle readers.
And, let me say THANKS to people who write these reviews. I often get the best information, such as pointers to better books, or other material. It's really great that so many people are out to help each other.
The rating of 3 stars isn't accurate. I've just started the book, in the cloud, so I don't know how good it is. But, I wanted to relate my experience accessing the files, and some kind of rating seemed necessary.
As the writers reflect "By voluntarily changing the rate, depth and pattern of breathing we can change the messages being sent from the body's respiratory system to the brain....if we feel anxious, just a few minutes of Coherent Breathing (a practice taught extensively in the book) can calm our worried mind and foster more rational decision making" Based on years of research and experience this hands-on manual is paired with a user friendly CD that gently guides the reader through various breath practices. When I was stressed I popped on the CD, put on track one and was quickly transported to a sense of greater ease and calm. As I advanced through the book and continued to follow the cumulative instructions in conjunction with the CD, I have seen great self-improvements and I was totally sold! As someone who develops programs for mental health, I am well-aware of the impact of breath and was impressed to find what seemed to be a one-stop shop on how to use breathing to enhance well-being. I have since recommended this book to clients and am getting wonderful feedback and seeing inspiring results. The practices are safe and can be practiced by anyone, further, as the authors are seasoned psychiatrists they are able to pre-empt any issues that readers might have with the breath practices and provide sound solutions. At the back of the book there are specific programs designed for various mental health conditions making this book a perfect find for those who require immediate guidance or are looking for a long-term reference for stress related issues
I say thumbs up! Read it
Founder Yoga Therapy for the Mind
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