The Graduate School of Behavioral Health Sciences was organized in 2012 to provide experienced healthcare practitioners, human service professionals, and performance consultants with a learning curriculum that integrates physiology with behavioral science for practical interdisciplinary applications in their own professions.

The central theme embedded in these interdisciplinary applications is the relevance and importance of students learning to design, develop, and implement more comprehensive and effective solutions to health and performance challenges, where emphasis is on “client-centered” learning, in addition to “therapist-centered” treatment.

The Graduate School chose the integration of respiratory physiology with behavioral science as its first educational endeavor, and formed the School of Breathing Sciences, a division of itself with a faculty of 16 highly recognized scientists and clinicians. Over time, the Graduate School intends to offer additional interdisciplinary degree and certificate programs.

The School of Breathing Sciences began offering the MS degree in Applied Breathing Sciences in August of 2013 and graduated its first students with degrees in 2014. The degree program, along with two closely related certificate programs, prepare practitioners to offer behavioral solutions to learned dysfunctional breathing, an immense and misunderstood worldwide problem that responds well to interdisciplinary thinking and ingenuity.

Up to 25% of the US population may suffer from the effects of learned dysfunctional breathing habits. And, surveys show that as much as 60% of the ambulance runs in major US cities may be the consequence of acute symptoms brought on by dysfunctional breathing habits. Although the enormity of this problem is staggering, it has been only superficially addressed.

People learn dysfunctional breathing habits that seriously compromise respiratory function and that directly and negatively impact multiple physiological systems. Compromised respiration can rapidly and profoundly result in serious and often debilitating symptoms and deficits, usually mistakenly attributed to other causes by clients, patients, and practitioners.

Dysfunctional breathing habits may have profound immediate and long-term effects that trigger, exacerbate, perpetuate, and/or cause a wide variety of emotional (e.g., anxiety, anger), cognitive (e.g., attention, learning), behavioral (e.g., public speaking, test taking), and physical (e.g., pain, asthma) changes that may seriously impact health and performance. These physiological changes are dramatic and can be readily identified and ameliorated in many cases.

Professionals are rarely trained to identify dysfunctional breathing habits and their patterns, much less how to help their clients learn new habits consistent with good physical and mental health. Millions of people worldwide study breathing, but little of what is taught or learned is rooted in the basic sciences of physiology and psychology. As a result, “breathing practices” are often based on pseudoscience prescriptions, misinformation, misconceptions, and lack of knowledge about the relevant sciences.

Dysfunctional breathing is an important and relevant issue to a wide range of professions concerned with health and performance. The MS degree and certificate programs were designed to provide this complete range of practitioners with new expertise, new skills, and the requisite business knowledge to bring practical interdisciplinary solutions to dysfunctional breathing, where practitioners empower their patients and clients to help themselves. It was this philosophy that led to the formation of the Graduate School of Behavioral Health Sciences and its School of Breathing Sciences.