Category Archive Editorial


About Holotropic Breathwork

What is Grof Holotropic Breathwork?

The practice of Holotropic Breathwork, developed by Stanislav Grof, M.D. and Christina Grof, as well as other forms of work developed by the Grofs, can be used by practitioners in one of two ways:

a. Psychological Counselling and Treatment

The Grofs have written an extensive body of literature indicating powerful benefits from Grof Holotropic Breathwork for a wide variety of psychological and physical conditions, including depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder. Grof Holotropic Breathwork (and other techniques derived from the Grofs’ work) has also been used to alleviate certain physical symptoms such as migraine headaches and chronic pain.  Grof Holotropic Breathwork and related techniques are often offered under direct medical supervision or in a recognized treatment facility by licensed medical professionals. They are sometimes offered as the primary form of medical treatment or can also be offered as part of a treatment plan.
b. Spiritual Counselling and Development
There is an extensive body of literature suggesting that people who engage in Grof Holotropic Breathwork or other techniques derived from the Grofs’ work choose to do this for their own spiritual development. Unlike many other forms of spiritual development, these techniques do not prescribe a particular spiritual path or religion; however, many participants report that these techniques help them find deep, life-changing spiritual insights, and many participants choose to attend workshops like these specifically in order to satisfy or deepen their spiritual quest. Our facilitators are available to help you find, deepen, and explore your own spiritual values and beliefs.

Books about Other Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness

Gilligan, S. ( 1987.) Therapeutic Trances: The Cooperation Principle in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. Brunner/Mazel Publisher .

This book explains the therapeutic use of trance states. It synthesizes the approaches of Erickson, Bandler & Grinder and Bateson and brings a new perspective that goes even further. Gilligan is a master of therapeutic relationship in hypnosis.

Mindell, A. (1989, 1999.) Coma: The Dreambody Near Death (Arkana)and Coma: A Healing Journey. Portland, OR: Lao Tse Press.

The first book was by Arnold Mindell, the second by the same name was authored by his wife, Amy. The Mindells tell amazing stories of how presence, breath, and touch has enabled communication with comatose patients. Really amazing stuff; gives us a whole new framework for working with people in “extreme states.”

Monroe, R. (1973.) Journeys Out of the Body. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday.

This is a description of Monroe’s investigation of out-of-body, or astral projection, experiences. Please fasten seat belt before reading (we warned you!)

Tart, C. 1969, 1972. Altered states of consciousness. Anchor Books/John Wiley & Sons.

An edited compendium of articles on non-ordinary states of consciousness including hypnosis, dreams, meditation, psychedelic drugs, and psychophysiology research into nonordinary states. Some of it is still cutting edge work even today.


Books about Shamanism

Achterberg, J. (1985). Imagery in Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine. Boston and London: New Science Library Shambhala.

This influential book shows how the systematic use of mental imagery can have a positive influence on the course of disease and can help patients to cope with pain.

Eliade, M. (1964.) Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Bollingen Series (General)). New York: Pantheon.

This is the seminal text on shamanism.

Halifax, J. (1979.) Shamanic Voices: A Survey of Visionary Narratives (Arkana). London: Arkana.

A collection of accounts by contemporary shamans of their initiations and journeying. [from Manne and Dowling’s breathwork bibliography.]

Harner, M. (1980, 1990.) The Way of the Shaman. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Anthropologist Harner’s synthesis of shamanic healing methods was learned from his personal experiences in tribal cultures.

Ingerman, S. (1991.) Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self. San Francisco: HarperCollins.

Description of this shamanic technique to connect lost parts of ourselves through shamanic trance.

Prechtel, M. (1999.) Long Life, Honey in the Heart: A Story of Initiation and Eloquence from the Shores of a Mayan Lake. Tarcher/Putnam.

The intimate view of rituals and everyday life in the Mayan village juxtaposed by modern political conflict. A lynrical, haunting memoir crafted with lovely words and powerful emotions.

Prechtel, M. (1998.) Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: Memoirs from the Living Heart of a Mayan Village. Tarcher/Putnam.

The chronicle of this shaman offers modern readers a privileged and rare glimpse into the complex and spiritually rich life of a contemporary Mayan village. Unique and wonderful writing.


Global Holotropic Breathwork Day Global Sharing

This group provides a global public sharing circle for before, during, and after Global Holotrooic Breathwork Day 2017. Please share only from your own experience and do not post things about the specific experiences of others. Note that this is a public space. Thanks for your interest and engagement!  



Comment by Carolyn Green

Ahhh. Greetings from ‘the other side’. I’m thinking of those breathwork face masks that were made up with ‘See you on the other side!’ Well today is that day. A lazy Sunday morning after yesterdays Vancouver, BC, Canada workshop. I have a satisfied feeling remembering and savoring memories of the sessions, sharing, mandalas and food after fasting. Thank you everyone around the world for joining together around the world of another wonderful GHBD.


Research on Holotropic Breathwork

This section of the Holotropic Breathwork Community Site is dedicated to reporting on and inviting participation in research related to Holotropic Breathwork, as well as listing related publications and downloadable files as available. Please let us know what you think about what you find here and especially if you know of relevant peer-reviewed research, articles, or dissertations that are not yet listed here. We are also interested in research in languages other than English. Thanks in advance for your help. Please send email correspondence related to research to [email protected]

For a comprehensive index of books and articles related to Holotropic Breathwork but not specifically research-oriented, refer to the References section of this site.

Note that copyrights for all of the materials here are retained by the authors and/or the publishing organizations and these materials should not be republished or posted on web sites without written permission from the copyright holders. The Grof Foundation has obtained such permissions for the material presented here, for web presentation here.

Note that all downloadable documents are in Adobe .pdf format. The Acrobat Reader for these documents can be downloaded for free from

  • How you can help
  • The Grof Foundations’s Research Mission
  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
  • Scholarly/Academic Papers
  • Books
  • Doctoral Dissertations

AHBI’s Mission and Research

Two of the five points in the AHBI Mission statement relate directly to research. Specifically, AHBI is committed to support the practice of Holotropic Breathwork as a resource for healing and transformation by:

Promoting awareness about Holotropic Breathwork by distributing information and research in a variety of languages and formats.
Supporting research into the theory, practice, and effects of Holotropic Breathwork.
You can support the publishing of HB research and research projects by becoming a member of AHBI or donating to AHBI. .

Supporting Holotropic Breathwork Research

Research into the healing potential of Holotropic Breathwork is imperative for this approach to assume its rightful place within the healing and therapeutic communities. There are a number of research projects, currently being designed, that require additional funding for their successful completion. Please consider financially supporting the work of AHBI’s dedicated volunteers in these important research efforts with your donation.

AHBI is a registered non-profit public benefit corporation so donations are usually tax deductible for US taxpayers. Membership dues may also be deductible for professional members and partially deductible as a donation for non-professional members.

You can donate to help support AHBI and its research projects. By becoming a member of AHBI you are also supporting its goal of publishing and sponsoring research.


Academic Articles and Papers

The following academic papers have not been peer-reviewed or published in journals, but deserve attention nonetheless.

Examining the Effects of Holotropic Breathwork in the Recovery from Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 1995, Byron A. Metcalf, M.S., NCAC II, CAS, 14 pages, 5 MB.

The effects of Holotropic Breathwork were examined in twenty adults recovering from alcoholism or other chemical addictions. The major underlying issues and concerns affecting this population were individually assessed to determine the clinical efficacy of utilizing Holotropic Breathwork in psychotherapy and treatment settings. The test sample consisted of ten men and ten women who were interviewed utilizing a self-reporting, structured survey. Results indicate that Holotropic Breathwork is an effective therapeutic tool for treating alcoholism and drug addiction. The results of this particular sample also suggest that Holotropic Breathwork could prove very beneficial in the area of relapse prevention. Each category examined showed marked improvement or a positive outcome. The highest improvements were in the areas of depression and anxiety; feelings and emotions; family relationships and intimacy; stress reduction; self-esteem and spirituality.