The purpose of the present study was to explore the effects of Holotropic Breathwork (HB), on levels of distress, meaning of life, death anxiety and personal orientation in a young adult sample in the context of a weeklong workshop, and also the subjective effects and persistent effects of HB. A single group, Pre-Post test design, with three follow-ups (1, 6 months and 12 months after the workshop) was used. A total of 29 subjects, aged 18-35 years, participated in the study.

The tests used were the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), the Purpose in Life Test (PIL), the Death Anxiety Scale (DAS), the Personal Orientation Inventory (POI), the States of Consciousness Questionnaire (SCQ) and the Brief Persisting Effects Questionnaire (BPEQ). Measures were taken before and after the workshop (four weeks, and 6 months later, for the BSI, PLT, POI and DAS, and 12 months after, for the BPEQ) and during the workshop (for the SCQ).

No significant differences were found one month after the workshop. Significant increases of Temporal Competency scale, and in 5 subscales of the PEQ were found six months after the weeklong workshop. HB also occasioned mystical-type or peak experiences in 6 participants. At 12 months, volunteers rated the HB experience as having substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance, and attributed to the experience an increase of personal wellbeing and life satisfaction.