"BreathHoldWork Meditation Saved My Life"

case study Oct 29, 2022

In late 2021 and early 2022, Erwan held seven live, online BreathHoldWork Meditation Programs. Hundreds of students from all over the world signed up and attended, with dozens writing testimonials praising the BreathHoldWork method and Erwan's teaching. (Read them on our testimonial page.)

We were recently contacted by one alumnus of the program, Andrew Johnson, whose BreathHoldWork testimonial stood out from the crowd. Andrew was a student in Erwan's program in April of 2022. Below is his story:

"To be frank, BreathHoldWork Meditation saved my life. 

For the past six years, I've been dealing with debilitating health issues that took me from a vibrant and healthy young man with passions and dreams to a burned-out, broken shadow of a person struggling to walk up the single flight of stairs to my apartment. Literally. I was so exhausted that I dreaded getting home every day and having to walk up to my apartment, or God forbid doing such demanding tasks as taking out the trash or doing the laundry.

Andrew in 2016, at the onset of his health issues.

I was riddled with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgiac symptoms, tremors, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, mood swings, chronic pain, decreasing mobility, cardiovascular issues, dyspnea, feelings of dissociation and depersonalization, and brain fog that got so bad at times I couldn't tell where I was. I felt crazy and I acted crazy. I felt possessed in the sense that my actions and thoughts and who I was becoming felt foreign to me and beyond my control. 

During this time I spent all of my limited energy trying to figure out what was going on. I navigated the healthcare system, visiting doctor after doctor, and specialist after specialist, to little avail- my only diagnosis after 6 years of tests and visits was chronic fatigue syndrome. I pored through medical texts; studying biology, chemistry, physiology, neurology, etc- which was incredibly tough because the brain fog really disrupted my ability to read and comprehend information.

Andrew in 2021 when his illness was at its peak and sleep was about all he could do.

I dove into sleep hygiene, breathwork, meditation, supplementation, nutrition, detoxification, movement, light therapy, hormetic practices like ice baths and sauna, I went to therapy, did plant medicines, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. 

Not a single thing I did improved my well-being. Nothing- and I mean nothing- made me feel even slightly better. It felt like it didn’t matter what I ate or how I moved or how well I slept or how much time I spent in nature or in the presence of friends, I always felt awful. I had no clues or answers and I had no hope, I was absolutely devastated and demoralized. To call my outlook and perspective bleak would be an understatement. Nearly every single day I contemplated suicide. Some days I got pretty close to actually doing it. 

I’m grateful I didn't.

Today, I sit here writing this as a once-again happy, healthy, and vibrant young man. Thanks to Erwan's work I now have knowledge about my innate ability to heal myself. I no longer dread doing basic tasks, I am able to read (and remember what I’ve read), and I feel happy, genuinely happy, and content, like I’ve been bestowed an assurance that I can accomplish and get through anything. I feel incredibly resilient- getting cut off in traffic or someone saying something nasty to me doesn’t bother me anymore, and I can handle stressful situations without feeling overwhelmed. I no longer feel like I’m mentally caught up in past traumas and events. I have peace and contentment in my heart. Once again I can see the inherent beauty in the world. 

I can still remember the first day after the course had ended. I was actually feeling a little bummed the day before because I didn’t reach the time I had wanted to, it was less than my previous max time, but when I woke up the next day I felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest. I felt a lightness and a softness in my body that I had forgotten was my normal state. I felt real joy and elation- and eventually some fear. “What if this is just temporary”, I thought. But every day I felt better and better. 

And then a friend passed away and I became very stressed out and my symptoms returned. Not as intensely but there was what I would call a noticeable flare-up. But I remembered the lessons I had learned in the course- of how to generate a felt and lived experience, I’d say peace or contentment, during a period of intense neurophysiological stress- and I kept practicing the work and felt better again. I say all of this because it’s important to know that it wasn’t just a sudden permanent change, the improvement in my health, I don’t know that this work “cured” me, and even though there was a setback I had been equipped with real tools to address my problems and when I was faced with a stressful situation I was able to overcome it in a healthy manner with grace and compassion for myself. 

That’s probably the most important thing I learned in this course- not how to hold my breath for a long time but to have faith in myself and be patient and compassionate with myself. 

I am incredibly grateful for this course, for Erwan's expertise, presence, ability to teach, and desire to help others and I cannot wait to get certified in this method and share this work that has profoundly changed my life."

Andrew in August of 2022. He's back to regular activity, training, and living his life. 

Andrew's story is amazing, and he attributes his healing to the practice of BreathHoldWork and Erwan's teaching. It's a testament to the power of the BreathHoldWork method and how it has the potential to improve the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of practitioners.


If you're interested in learning about BreathHoldWork, visit our website www.BreathHoldWork.com.


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