TREND: BreathTech: New Apps, Platforms and Devices Put Breath at the Center of Wellness
Our original trend “Just Breathe!” explored how breathwork was being brought to ever-larger audiences and pushed in exciting new directions. And in our recent Mid-Year Trends Update, we examined how the trend has had real legs (or lungs) in 2021. It’s no wonder because, for the last 16 months, the world has been focused on our ability (and right) to breathe more than ever before.
A clear sub-trend is virtual breathwork, and with the surge in all kinds of digital wellness, more apps and tech platforms are aimed at optimizing our breath. Lockdowns drove the star breath coaches and studios online, and the modality translates extremely well to digital platforms. So many sites and apps now, whether ALTYR, Our Breath Collective, or breath guru Richie Bostock’s Flourish, are delivering breath training—and report huge recent growth.
More wellness and fitness apps are interweaving breathwork
The new fitness app PRTL incorporates sessions with top practitioners while meditation app Calm is partnering with recording artists Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello on a content series called “Breathe Into It.” People of color suffer a profound lack of access to mental healthcare, and apps and platforms are bringing stress-fighting, trauma-healing breathwork to those communities. Black Girls Breathing dramatically expanded its free virtual sessions during the pandemic, and founder Jasmine Marie has recently pledged to bring breathwork to a million black women and girls by 2025, by greatly expanding their virtual breathwork circles and by working with community organizations, clinics and schools. That’s impact.
The big health/fitness wearables are making “breath moves”
Apple just revealed new features coming soon to watchOS 8 and AppleWatch, and its new Mindfulness App includes an enhanced “Breathe” experience and also lets you track your respiratory rate overnight (which could detect sleep apnea or lung disease). Google recently announced that its new Google Fit will measure respiration, adding breath to the health data it crunches.
Breath-tech devices and wearables are seeing real momentum
For example, Airofit from Denmark is a “smart breathing trainer” that works your breathing muscles to build “Vital Lung Capacity.” Handheld devices that track air quality are gaining traction (because what good is breathwork if you’re sucking in air pollution?), such as the new Breathe Smart 2, a palm-sized air quality monitor that measures the deadliest air pollution, Particulate Matter (PM 2.5), to give you real-time data on air quality wherever you go (to help you avoid pollution hotspots).
Psychedelic or holotropic breathwork is trending
This is using an intense method of controlled breathing to reach a psychedelic-simulating experience. Psychedelics companies are also partnering with breathwork platforms. For example, MINDCURE recently licensed SOMA Breath’s 21-day breath training program so they can deliver psychedelic-like experiences via breathwork and also enhance the effectiveness of their psychedelic therapies post-session by delivering breathwork online.
This plethora of virtual and high-tech breath offerings helped us heave a collective sigh of relief during the pandemic. But they will far outlive it because, while breathwork isn’t a panacea, the studies mount for its positive impact on depression, anxiety, COPD, hypertension, chronic pain—and now to treat long COVID.
Breathwork was already a powerfully accessible wellness approach, and a new wave of virtual platforms and breath-optimizing technologies will only make it exponentially more so.
This is part of the “Just Breathe!” trend in the GWS’s new trends report update.