History of Rebirthing
by Leonard Orr, founder of Rebirthing Breathwork
(copied from the international Rebirthing-Breathwork website)
The main part of the discovery of Rebirthing took about 10 to 15 years, starting in 1962. The giant leap occurred in 1974-1975.
The First Rebirthing Method
In 1973 I gave a spiritual psychology seminar. There, I talked about the birth memories that I had been having since 1962 in my bathtub and most of the people attending wanted to have birth memories too. I told them to get into their bathtubs and sit there until they felt it was time to get out. Then, to stay in the tub 30 minutes to an hour longer. The feeling that we must get out is an urgency barrier. Every time we sit through an urgency barrier we get a fantastic realization about ourselves and we learn about another program that is controlling us. This was the beginning of the Rebirthing movement. This was the first technique of Rebirthing: to just sit and meditate in the bathtub through an urgency barrier.
Most of the people in the seminar group tried this experiment and had such powerful emotional releases and spiritual revelations that they wished someone had been there to talk with them about what was happening to them. I volunteered. I experimented with Rebirthing people this way. It was very powerful. I was just sitting by the bathtub while they were relaxing in the bathtub. Something about the safety of my presence caused them to have spontaneous regressions and powerful spiritual experiences.
The Second Rebirthing Method
Later I got the idea of using a snorkel and nose clips in a hot tub. When I put people into the water, they were in a womb like environment and they instantly regressed to birth and prenatal states of consciousness. They did not just have memories, they regressed to a psychophysical state. It wasn't just reliving the past, it was also a very high exploration into the spiritual dimensions of life. It was a complete spiritual, mental and physical experience. People had a completed energy cycle, which was an integrated healing experience. I stayed with each person until they felt peace. It usually took 2 hours. Very fast actually, if you think about it! People experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding. They breathed themselves out of pain and tension into relaxation and peace. Most Rebirthing Breathwork sessions are physical, emotional, and spiritual. People experience breathing out pain, tension, drama, and trauma into relaxation and peace. Relaxed, gentle, connected breathing was the key.
It was this group of people that inspired me to purchase the Victorian mansion in San Francisco that came to be known as Theta House. We created a One Year Seminar group. I picked Theta because theta brain waves are the electronic, scientific measurement that indicate we are in the transcendental state also called samadhi or bliss or deep spiritual peace. The Greek letter Theta is also a symbol for Spirit, Mind, Body, and the Manifestation process. It is a simple symbol for the Truth and the Law of Life in just one letter.
The Third Rebirthing Method
In 1975, after giving hundreds of hot tub Rebirths, I noticed people having a "healing of the breath" experience. I realized their breathing mechanism was totally transformed and their mind-body-spirit relationship was forever transformed. This healing took place after several sessions — when they felt safe enough to relive the moment of their first breath. Most people feel fear during this moment, so they have to feel safe to reach it. This is the experience of learning to breathe from the Breath Itself – directly from God. When we have enough completed Energy cycles and consciously learn to contact the Breath of Life, we have mastered breathing and have one of the greatest and most practical skills that humans are capable of having.
Next I experimented with this connected breathing rhythm without the water and found that it was much better to do ten one-to-two-hour Connected Breathing sessions out of the water before giving people a session in a hot tub with nose clips and a snorkel. Dry Rebirthing was born. This made it possible for Rebirthing to become a mass movement. Getting in a hot tub, nude except for a snorkel and nose clips, and reliving your birth, was a little esoteric for most people. But now all people had to do was lie down, relax, and breathe, fully clothed, and they could have the most marvelous experience of their Life.
I found that most people can learn the connected breathing rhythm and how to breathe Energy as well as air in ten two hour sessions with a good Rebirther. I gave sessions to infants, to people in their nineties, and all ages in between. Rebirthing is good for anyone who is breathing or who has a body. It teaches people to relax and breathe better. Breathing is totally harmless, but the human mind is not. Therefore, it is important that people learn how our mind works and how to process our mind and feelings. Don’t forget to notice that we have to Live in our mind whether we learn Rebirthing or not. And it is much easier to Live in our mind when we can breathe properly and relax anytime we like. We can breathe into and release our feelings. We can relax out of any kind of intense emotion or physical pain when we have this simple powerful skill of Conscious Breathing.
It is now 2002 and the discovery is still going on for me. Every year I learn more about breathing and spiritual liberation in very practical ways. However, learning to breathe from the Breath Itself is eternal and never changes. I practice conscious Divine Energy breathing every day. It is as important as good nutrition, exercise, working, or sunshine, etc.