COVID19 Guidelines for Breathworkers
Hi Dear Friends and Members,
We hope this finds you well at a difficult time for the world and our community. We send out our love and light to you and your loved ones.
The IBF Executive Team, Science & Research Advisory Group, Integrity Committee and the Global Professional Breathwork Alliance felt it was important to discuss and collaborate to offer some guidelines in these exceptional and challenging times. We would like to express our gratitude to all those who contributed to this document.
- We strongly recommend that you follow the government recommendations regarding the prevention and containment of COVID-19 in your own country.
- We trust that all breathwork practitioners are safely guided in taking the right decisions concerning their ongoing work with clients in the coming months.
This pandemic poses a very serious threat to ourselves, our clients and our loved ones. The containment of this virus depends on every individual taking responsibility for social distancing and on strict self-isolation for those who have symptoms or have been exposed.
- We encourage our community to be leaders of light in this crisis; to maintain our daily breathing practice, connect to the collective consiousness and be mindful and responsible in how we share our work.
COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets and even being in the same room as another person puts us at risk of transmission. The practice of conscious connected breathwork, regardless of whether breathing through the nose or mouth poses a significant risk of spreading the virus.
The majority of people in the community will feel well and it is impossible for everyone to be tested – so noone can know for certain whether or not they are carrying the virus at any moment. A fit and healthy person could spread the virus for up to 5 days before developing symptoms so there is no way to be certain that we are safe when breathing together in person.
The virus can survive for up to 72 hours outside the human body, so there is no way to be certain that our space and air is clean between clients. This is an unprecedented situation.
- After careful consideration we recommend that you cancel ALL in person one-to-one and group breathwork sessions during the outbreak of COVID-19 while social distancing recommendations remain in place in your country.
The need has never been greater for the world to unite in conscious breath and we have an important role to play in the weeks and months to come. Experienced breathwork practitioners may wish to consider moving their practice online. Please consider carefully whether you and your clients have enough experience to do this and remain within the scope of your own training and experience.
We would like to offer the following guidance for breathwork practitioners who wish to offer one-to-one sessions online.
IBF GUIDANCE FOR ONLINE BREATHWORK SESSIONS
Guidelines for clients:
- Ensure that the breathworker offering the online session is fully trained.
- Wear comfortable clothes and loosen belt and bra.
- Prepare your space: Make sure it is warm enough. Have a pillow and blanket, a glass of water and clean tissues handy.
- Position your camera in a way that you are visible so that you can be guided in safe way.
- Make sure you will not be disturbed: Inform others in the house that you are doing a session, close the door, switch off your phone/doorbell.
- Before the session: Go the toilet, avoid consuming any alcohol or intoxicating substances and do not eat a large meal.
- If possible, have another person around in the house in case you need help.
Guidelines for practitioners offering sessions:
- Make sure you are fully trained and experienced enough as a breathwork practitioner before offering online sessions.
- Ensure that you are operating within the scope of training of any other profession in which you may be licensed.
- Check that you are insured appropriately to deliver your practice online.
- Ensure that you take a full history from all clients before beginning the session.
- Identify all clients who are new to Breathwork.
For NEW clients:
- Limit the time of breathing to 20-30 minutes.
Example of an online session:
15 min explaining
20 min breathing
15 min sharing afterwards
- Focus on awareness, mindfulness, regulation and relaxation practices.
- You may want to offer nose breathing as a more gentle approach unless the client is comfortable and experienced with the mouth breathing process and you are experienced enough to facilitate it.
- We do not recommend teaching new clients to do conscious connected breathwork that may induce altered states of consciousness online.
For ALL clients:
- We discourage process oriented breathing online, unless both the client and practitioner are experienced in the practice and in working together.
- Only those practitioners who are experienced at working with groups both in person and online should consider offering group sessions online at this time.
- Only those clients who are sufficiently experienced with the practice that is being offered should be invited to participate in group sessions online.
- It is safest to invite clients to breathe lying down or sitting on the floor or on their bed.
- Clearly explain what could happen in the session including but not limited to:
trembling or shaking
other physical sensations
- Remind the client: “ You can always go back to your own breathing at any time”
- Make sure that the client is aware of the contraindications to breathwork (see below).
- Make it clear that people are self-responsible (use a disclaimer).
Contraindications for conscious connected breathing online:
Breathwork results in certain specific physiological changes in the body and also can result in intense physical and emotional release. As a precaution, the following conditions are contrandicated in certain breathwork practices. It is crucial that you inform your breathwork practitioner if any of the following conditions are relevant to you:
- Detached Retina
- High Blood Pressure (not controlled with medication)
- Cardiovascular disease including angina, previous heart attack or stroke.
- Diagnosis of aneurysm in the brain or abdomen
- Uncontrolled thyroid conditions and diabetes
- Asthma – if the client is asthmatic, ask them to bring their inhaler to the session.
- Prior diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or previous psychiatric condition.
- Hospitalisation for any psychiatric condition or emotional crisis within the last 10 years.
- Any other medical, psychiatric or physical conditions which would impair or affect ability to engage in any activities that involve intense physical and/or emotional release.
If you are unsure about the safety precautions or contraindications please discuss it with a more experienced breathwork practitioner or trainer.
We recommend that every client does the following in writing (email) before working online:
- Confirms that they have read and understood these guidelines and contraindications.
- Confirms that they have disclosed any existing medical conditions before the session.
- Confirms that they have read and agreed to your disclaimer.
- Provide their name and contact details (phone number & address).
- Provide contact details for their next of kin (phone number) in case of emergency.
In love and light:
We recognise that there may be exceptional circumstances where a breathwork practitioner decides that is is appropriate and necessary to work in person with a client. It is impossible for IBF to advise on safety measures as there is limited evidence for the benefits of face masks and it is likely that the virus will survive in the space for up to 72 hours after the session.
There is no reliable way to protect yourself, your client or anyone else that uses your workspace once you have completed your breathing practice. We advise that you do not undertake breathwork sessions in person until your government removes their social distancing advice.
We encourage you to join the regular breathing circles offered online by IBF to stay connected with our community and with yourself during this time. You are not alone.
In love and light always,
IBF – The International Breathwork Foundation