Emotional Health

Crying Relieves Pain & Stress


We are all born with the innate ability to express emotions. Express literally means “push out”. Emotion can be thought of as “energy in motion”. When emotions become overwhelming and they are not expressed, they can become “stuck”, so to speak, causing a blockage in the flow of energy.Crying for relief from pain

Laughter, yawning, crying, sighing, and even singing – all facilitate the expression of a variety of feelings. These natural and contagious inclinations serve to cleanse the body, mind and soul, so that we can maintain a healthy balance. It is important to note that all of these can also be seen as breathing exercises, since they expand the flow of breath.

As we are conditioned to live in society, however, many of these natural forms of expression are stifled and even shamed. For example, pretty much as soon as we begin to talk, we quickly learn that it is not acceptable to cry. In order to hold back those tears, when we feel physical or emotional pain, we must constrict our breathing and disengage our mind from body and soul.

When we do this, the energy that was meant to move through us, on a “wave” of breath, gets trapped instead in our muscles, which must be held – constricted – to prevent the breath/energy from moving. This painful energy is then stored as tension in the subconscious mind and body (which are not really separate at all). If this buildup of pain is not cleansed, the results can be devastating – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

As infants cry, they breathe in a connected wave pattern. “Connected” means there is no pause (or holding) between the inhalation and exhalation. It’s a “wave” because the in-breath rises in the lower belly, first, and flows upward to expand the chest area. The out-breath is an uncontrolled flow, similar to a sigh of relief, but with loud sound attached. Crying allows that buildup of pain energy to exit the body/mind. It is indeed a big relief when this happens, and this is why we think of babies as being so resilient. They cry, letting the pain energy leave the body/mind, and the event that caused the pain is often forgotten.

A Transformational Breathing session is a process that relies upon breathing in a similar fashion to re-establish the healthy ability to process emotions. In the process, we can clear and release self-defeating beliefs that were formed as a result of the cultural conditioning that says “don’t cry”.

A series of ten weekly sessions typically restores the innate ability to move energy through us, releasing tension and deep rooted stress. At the same time, we are restoring (or creating) a sense of safety and worthiness to express our authentic feelings in the world, without fear of being shamed.

What’s more, when the subconscious mind is cleared of excess baggage, those old familiar voices of conflict are quieted, allowing the voice of Spirit to be heard more clearly. Many people report profound experiences of feeling connected to God, a higher power, Jesus, or whatever name they choose to refer to the essential Source of Life which breathes through each of us.

One of my favorite quotes came from an Asian mother, who had suffered with Traumatic Brain Injury for years.  She attended a workshop along with a group of her peers from Boston, MA. After her first Transformational Breathing session she said. “Before this experience, I did not think there was a God. But today I know God.”


Why “Manage” Stress? Master It with Conscious Breathing


Lois Grasso, CTBF

Anxiety, PTSD, peace of mind, brain, Dr. AmenAre you dealing with social anxiety, panic attacks, depression, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), chronic pain (aka fibromyalgia) or chronic illness, chronic fatigue? Maybe you’re trying to figure out how to manage the stress of parenting, weight loss, financial problems or difficult relationships? If so, you’re not alone and there is real, drug-free help available right here! Here’s the scoop.

According to Dean Ornish, M.D., author of the highly-respected bestseller, Reversing Heart Disease, “Deep breathing exercises are the most powerful and effective form of stress management”. This is no surprise, since stress is the number one reason people get sick and heart disease is the number one killer of Americans.

Likewise, pioneering psychiatrist and brain activity researcher, Dr. Daniel Amen says in his bestselling book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, that he teaches all his patients “deep, diaphragmatic breathing” as the first step in healing the brain. Hmmm.. so deep breathing is key for mental health, too!

So if our leading heart and brain doctors know healing is mostly a matter of plain old deep breathing, why are so many people so stressed out and taking drugs to deal with the consequences? It turns out that most people are not breathing properly. Taking a deeper breath in the wrong way, does not help. In fact, this can possibly make matters worse.

So let’s back up a moment. We all know that when we go without oxygen for even five minutes, we usually die. It’s pretty black and white. But there are also many shades of gray in between life and death. How well you are breathing also determines how well you are living, in more ways than one.

When your cells are bathed in abundant oxygen, you are free to relax and enjoy an abundant life. Chances are, however, your cells are starving. How do I know? Almost 80% of the population restricts their breathing! And it happens especially when they need oxygen most: under stress.

This is how anxiety and panic attacks happen, and it’s all because of a conditioned response to stress (recall Pavlov’s dogs? Bingo.). As children, we usually learn very early on to restrict our breathing because it’s the only way to “stop crying or get something to really cry about!”

Remember hearing that? Maybe you’ve even said it to your own kids? But you didn’t realize the long term damage it was doing – neither did your parents – so don’t beat yourself up. Because of the need children have to gain parents approval, they learn to breath shallowly – using tiny, weak chest muscles instead of the diaphragm – the 2nd most powerful muscle in the body.

Restricted breathing severely limits health and vitality, as it depletes your energy and brain power. This depletion in turn spirals into deeper levels of stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, and illness.

The good news is: this cycle of doom can be reversed. But not with drugs.

Click here for more info…


Breathing Techniques to Reduce Stress


Lois Grasso

Breathe DeeplyYou can use conscious breathing to either manage your stress or master it. While there are many different breathing exercises taught and practiced worldwide, most of them do not actually reverse improper breathing, as described in my previous post.

Pranayama is yogic breathing developed in India, while Chi Kung (aka Qigong) is commonly practiced in China. In fact, in major Chinese hospitals, Medical Qigong is commonly used by doctors to treat ailments as serious as broken necks! Developing this skill is known to require decades of dedicated practice, however, and this may not be as profitable as typical high-tech treatments currently used in U.S. hospitals (which may explain why you’ll probably never hear about this on TV or other mainstream media).

Pilates and yoga are both breathing-focused forms of exercise, that are now becoming very popular in the U.S. And there are many others. If your breathing is restricted, imbalanced or worse “backwards”, however, practicing some of these could actually make the problem worse, at least for a while, and may be very difficult to stick to.

There are methods that offer shortcuts to mastery. I recommend starting with a process that is specifically aimed at reversing restrictive breathing patterns. Then, when you can automatically breathe “into the belly” (aka diaphragmatic breathing), even when feeling pain or stress, it’s time to move on to these other wonderful methods (above) and achieve even more in your life.

The common factor in each of the following “shortcut” methods is the use of “conscious-connected breathing”. This effectively means deliberately keeping your breathing going without pausing between inhalation and exhalation — usually for about an hour. Many different styles and brands of conscious-connected breathing have popped up over the years.

I have experienced many different forms of conscious-connected breathing, since 1981, when I attended a Rebirthing weekend with Dan Brule’. To my knowledge, these three have been the most successful and widely shared worldwide:

1) Leonard Orr discovered Rebirthing in the early 1960s, while breathing under water with a snorkel in his hot tub! Leonard is still teaching what he now calls Rebirthing Breathwork, across the globe at the young age of 80+. The name was changed mostly to differentiate from the so-called “Rebirthing” session that suffocated a 10-year old girl in England the 1990’s. (There is no connection between the two modalities.)

2) Stanislav Grof, PhD discovered Holotropic Breathing® around the same time Orr was discovering Rebirthing. The two pioneers were unaware of each other. Dr. Grof had been conducting lab experiments with LSD, and somehow discovered that conscious-connected breathing could provide a healthier, more productive experience than the drug- induced altered states.

3) Judith Kravitz got her start as a Rebirther 40 years ago, but has been continually developing Transformational Breathing® ever since. She has trained hundreds of facilitators worldwide, and hundreds of thousands of individuals have attended Transformational Breathing® sessions. In my experience, her methods are more fine tuned because they include key aspects to emotional clearing and spiritual development, as well as physical expansion of breathing capacity.

For a fascinating discussion of the specific differences between these modalities, please subscribe to this blog and stay tuned.

I trained with Judith to be a facilitator in 1998, and then published and edited her book in 1999. So I cannot claim to be completely impartial, I just know how well it works, after 14 years in private practice. Mostly I prefer Transformational Breathing® because there’s a strong focus on breathing with the diaphragm – key to overall health and stress reduction.

Judith Kravitz has been “Breath facilitator to the stars” you might say, and some of them have come forward. For example, after a Transformational Breath session, Canyon Ranch owner Enid Zuckerman, was quoted saying, “My breathing is so much freer… layers of stress have melted away. I highly recommend it.”

Closer to home, one of my favorite groups to work with was a group of Asian-American clients of South Cove Community Health Center, Boston, Massachusetts, all of whom had sustained Traumatic Brain Injuries. One woman shared this afterwards,”Before today, I didn’t think there was a God. Today I know God.”

Eric Lee, the group leader who arranged the two day long retreats wrote, “What a wonderful job done. Every one of the participants enjoyed the trip. They had the best, now there is no looking back. I admire your work and wish in the near future to take more courses.”
On 6/1/2012, Holly McHaelen posted the following on her Facebook page after about three months of private Transformational Breath and holistic coaching sessions with me:

Lois Grasso is a gifted Breathwork facilitator and healer, who made a great difference for me. I want to give her the gift of a spontaneous, unsolicited and grateful testimonial. I had several years of increasingly crappy health, but I’m doing extremely well now (YAY!).

I resisted going, because I thought I knew how to breathe. But my friend, Jeri Reid (another wonderful holistic practitioner), kept urging me to see Lois. I figured I had nowhere to go but up. Yowsa! I couldn’t believe the difference that the effortless ‘work’ with Lois made in my health and life — like growing wings. I know that I’m healthier, happier, stronger, freer, dancier, singier, clearer and aliver today because of Lois.”

Not sure if this approach is right for you at this time? Click here to read more testimonials from my clients who have come forward.

Bottom line? While differences between the various styles and brands of breath work can certainly affect the results, they all offer significant benefits. The physical, spiritual and emotional benefits of restoring deep, balanced and effective breathing patterns are reported to be life-changing by those who experience it.  Nobody can do it for you, but I can sure help.


Reliving Trauma May Not Relieve Trauma


Lois Grasso

As a holistic health coach and practitioner of Transformational Breathwork® and EFT (aka Emotional Freedom Technique aka Tapping), I am often amazed by the results provided by these two holistic healing methods. After reading Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Dr. Peter A. Levine, the reasons for the results have become quite obvious to me: Almost everyone has some degree of unresolved trauma and these two body-oriented methods are effectively resolving trauma.

Look, it doesn’t take much to traumatize a young child. But trauma is easily shoved to a dark dungeon in a child’s mind — hopefully to be dealt with later in life (or not) at great cost and difficulty.

Unfortunately, few adults have the patience or understanding to even realize this, never mind being able to help the child process the trauma. So, most of us – children and adults – have unresolved trauma stored in our bodies and minds. I believe this is what causes the all-too-common “chemical imbalance” blamed regularly for mental health issues.

Mainstream medicine acts as if our brains are just randomly selected for chemically imbalanced. And supposedly the only thing we need to balance the brain chemistry is Prozac, Zoloft, Celebrex, or perhaps Ritalin or Adderall, etc.

Contrary to popular belief, unresolved trauma causes all kinds of physical and mental health issues. Relationships and families suffer, phobias and/or control issues develop, trust issues keep us isolated, fibromyalgia (unexplained pain) develops. And then there’s the anxiety disorders, eating disorders, weight problems, panic attacks. Perhaps depression or chronic fatigue emerges. Even irritable bowel syndrome (aka IBS ) can be relieved when early childhood trauma or adult trauma is resolved.

Rachel (not her real name) came in recently, after repeated prodding by a former therapist, who knew of my work. Rachel said she wanted help with a career change and fibromyalgia (unexplained pain) throughout her body. In the second session, we uncovered the origin of her difficulties: Trauma from decades ago – a result of severe childhood sexual abuse.

Apparently, after years of psychotherapy, despite bringing many repressed memories to the surface and gaining many valuable insights, she was still suffering in many ways that were interfering with her ability to move forward.

After just 11 months of regular coaching sessions, with Transformational Breathing® , EFT Tapping, and my own method: On The Ball Anger Clearing™, Rachel was feeling good enough to choose a new career direction. She now feels very good about supporting adult rape victims at a non-profit agency.

Granted, childhood sexual abuse is one of the most challenging of traumatic experiences to recover from, but with body-centered “energy psychology” approaches, like Transformational Breathing® and Emotional Freedom Techniques, there is hope for the determined person.

After reading Waking The Tiger and doing the work in my office,  Rachel realized that simply reliving the horrific experiences in her mind by talking about them was not going to resolve the trauma. Here’s why…

Please share this information with everyone you know. You never know who might benefit!

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