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There are many different pieces to the recovery process. One of the lesser-appreciated pieces is proper breathing techniques. West Coast Recovery Centers offers a variety of mindfulness and relaxation techniques to clients.

The Purpose of Relaxation in Treatment

There are myriad reasons a person enters a recovery program. The initial issue revolves around their substance use disorder (SUD). However, there are often other issues that exist below that surface that treatment helps to extract and decipher.

One of these issues is stress. Stress can be caused by SUD, mental health issues, and even the recovery process itself. That is why relaxation techniques are so important to the process.

How Breathing Techniques Are Taught

One of the most important parts of relaxation is breathing. This is a truth that many people have realized when going through an anxiety-causing event or life change.  

Treatment addresses these issues by teaching people how to regulate themselves in the moment. The goal is to teach clients that within any given situation, there is a chance to calm oneself and find inner strength through mindfulness. One such practice is meditation.


One of the first things that people are taught is meditation. A key part of the meditation process is focused breathing techniques. For first-time practitioners, the idea of being taught how to breathe may seem unnecessary. However, focused breathing can create a sense of calm and reduce stress in ways that clients may never have considered.

When a person begins meditation, they will be given initial guidance on how to choose a safe space, ways to clear their minds, and reassurance that it is not as easy as it sounds. Also, meditation can be practiced even when situations are not stressful. When a person can set aside time to create a calming bubble around themselves, it affects how they think, how they feel, and how they live their life.

During meditation, individuals are asked to focus on their breathing. This simple act of mindfulness gives people an achievable goal that can be self-hypnotic. When they focus on their breathing, it will begin to slow, causing their heart rate to calm and their body to receive much-needed oxygen. This can be especially necessary during stressful times when people may find themselves hyperventilating and light-headed.

The Effects of Breathing Techniques on the Physical Aspects of Recovery

Proper breathing techniques can have a strong impact on a person’s physical well-being. They can help with the following:

These are only a few of the physical aspects that are helped by deep breathing. For many people, these particular issues are often cause for concern. Medical professionals may avoid prescribing certain medications to people with SUD. Due to this, breathing techniques are just part of a series of mindfulness exercises that can help solve issues holistically and without medication.

When an individual is able to learn proper breathing techniques, they are likely to become more active both physically and socially. The idea of stressful situations may not loom as large as before. These people are aware that they essentially have a release valve for the pressures of stress, which they did not have before. This simple piece of knowledge can completely change a person’s outlook.

Another aspect of deep breathing is the clear focus on the mind/body connection. People who are consistently stressed often hold that stress in their bodies. They clench their teeth, strain their muscles, and experience pain on a regular basis.  

When deep breathing techniques are introduced on top of typical therapies in recovery, it adds a level of personal realization. Traditional therapy focuses on things like past trauma and works on dealing with SUD. Deep breathing allows a person to focus inwards and live as much in a self-calming moment as possible. One goal of this is to counteract the pressure and stress of bringing up trauma by presenting an outlet to eventually let that stress wash over and past the individual rather than build up in their mind.

How Breathing Techniques Carry Into Post-Treatment Life

When breathing techniques are introduced in treatment, they are not presented as a one-and-done solution. They are like any other task that must be practiced and repeated before they become second nature.  

While treatment starts people on this path, they must eventually make these techniques a part of their everyday life. The benefits of practicing stress relief in both stressful situations and in day-to-day life are presented in treatment so that people can build on them post-treatment.

Many people who take to these techniques will often begin practicing meditation and other more advanced relaxation and mindfulness activities such as yoga. The goal is to incorporate them into daily life so that when a stressful situation arises, it does not need to be feared or run from.  

When breathing techniques are understood, these types of situations become commonplace and far less triggering for those whose prior mindset may have been far from ideal. West Coast Recovery Centers understands these benefits and aims to present new techniques to each client as a way of bolstering their post-treatment life. 

People in recovery are taught a variety of skills to assist them in the post-treatment process. For many of them, the hardest part to learn is regulation. This means bringing oneself to a point of both physical and mental stability. West Coast Recovery Centers helps by providing proper breathing techniques. While this may sound simple, knowing the proper ways to breathe can be of utmost importance in self-regulation. That is why it is an integral part of our program. The goal is to set everyone up for success as they transition back into society. To learn more about West Coast Recovery Centers and our amazing programs, contact us today at (760) 492-6509.