COMA COMMUNICATION Pacing the Breath Coma Communication and Process-oriented facilitators deal with patients, health practitioners, caregivers, and families - Victoria, BC, Canada
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Pacing the Breath

Friends and relatives often feel helpless when faced with a loved one who is in coma. They want to support and relate; pacing the breath can enhance these things and can be taught in a few minutes. Pacing the breath communicates: I'm with you; I'm here at your side, at your pace. Most care givers and family see or feel a response to this technique.

Six steps for introducing yourself and pacing the breath:

Step 1: Knock on the door, even when open, and introduce yourself, "Hello, I'm so and so, and I'm going to sit with you for awhile if 'that's all right." Notice feedback, any change whatsoever, or lack of change from the patient.

Step 2: Sit quietly and observe your client's cues and your own feeling reactions. Pace their breath first by breathing at the same rate and into the same place in your own chest or stomach that they are breathing into. Breathe with them for a few breaths. Continue pacing by speaking only on their out breath.

Step 3: Then say, "In two breaths I'm going to put my hand on your right/left forearm. . . Here comes my hand. . . There." Notice any reactions: eyelids flickering, sounds, changes in breathing rate or location, twitches, small or large movements, etc. These reactions indicate you are in the right track.

Step 4: Then say, "In two breaths, I am going to gently squeeze your arm at the top of each breath." Proceed to very gently squeeze at the top of each inhalation and let off as the patient exhales. Notice any reactions, especially upon the very first squeeze. You will now be communicating with your client on the body sensation channel.

Step 5: Again check for cues such as sounds, limb movements, eyelid movements, changes in breathing: rhythm; depth; or placement. Support reactions with blank access techniques. Cheer the person on by exclaiming immediately after their cues, "Mmm!" "Great!" "Fantastic!" or similar encouragement. You can also say something more channel specific such as: "See what you are seeing and believe in your experiences." "Hear what you are hearing, and know this will show you the way." "Feel what you are feeling. . ." "Move how you are moving. . ." When you get positive feedback, a reaction of any kind, however minimal, a slight change in breathing, a flutter of the eyelids, a skin flush, a groan, a swallow, a muscle twitch, etc., continue encouraging that channel. "Yes, that's it, keep seeing/hearing/feeling/moving, knowing that your experience is for you, showing you the way."

Step 6: When you feel complete, or tired, or have not gotten any positive feedback for awhile, or need to leave; end your visit with something like, "I've got to leave in a moment, if there is anything else you wish to communicate, please do so now (pause for reactions). I'll be back ________. Keep experiencing what you are experiencing. Goodbye." If the patient's condition allows and you feel comfortable enough, give them, a hug, or a light touch on the arm at this time.

We are available as keynote speakers, workshop facilitators, and for private training sessions. For more information contact:

Stan Tomandl, MA, PWD & Ann Jacob, BA Ed
#502--620 View Street, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 1J6
Phone+1.250.383.5677  Email**  URL**

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