WAS your birth easy or traumatic, with forceps or by Caesarean and was your father there, holding your mum's hand and mopping her brow? Whatever happened on that momentous day can affect your future years, from job prospects to relationships. And, according to practitioners of one of this decade's most popular and unconventional alternative therapies, if you can regress to those moments and recall the following few years as a child you could transform your life and personality.
All you need do, they say, is to be born again. Then, career problems, difficulties in love and repeated bouts of illness can be solved easily.
Rebirthing is based on unique breathing and relaxation techniques which unlock memories, buried deep in the subconscious, of when you were born. Most midwives will tell you that a baby's memory begins a few days after birth. However, since the Seventies therapists have disputed this theory and have been perfecting a remarkable technique that transports you back to those precious first moments.
Often it's another event that triggers the remarkable rebirthing process for instance, when mothers tell children about their labour. Those words ``Oh you were such a difficult birth'' or ``You hardly cried at all'', are often something forgotten until the experience of rebirthing.
Remembering, rebirthers claim, can help you conquer your fears, deal with emotional problems and do wonders for your health.
Rebirther and councellor Dieke Begg, who conducts clinics here in Ireland her next is on December 13 says that rebirthing is essentially a breathing technique which produces quite amazing results.
``It is an advanced quasi-Yogic breathing specifically developed for rebirthing, breathing that reaches part of the body other breathing doesn't,'' she says. ``There is a theory that memory is stored in minerals within our cells and this rebirthing breathing stimulates these memories.''
Not everybody re-experiences their birth while undergoing rebirthing, she says, but many people do and find that a lot of the problems in their lives that may have stemmed from their birth or been exacerbated by it will be allieviated.
Rebirthing, she says, has also been found to help asthmatics and people suffering from abdominal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Rebirthing sessions with Dieke Begg last for two hours. Typically, the people attend are having problems in relationships or in their jobs, and people who want a bit more out of life, she says. The first hour is spent discussing with her the main problems a person is facing in their life. Focusing on these problems are vital in creating solutions, she says.
So, how could rebirthing help us in our relationships, career and health?
Many high achievers successful, happily married with a comfortable lifestyle may still feel unfulfilled, as though they are striving for something more in their lives. The problem is, they don't know what they are looking for they can't ask the questions to which they seek answers.
Such a person may have had a very rapid birth, resulting in shock and trauma. This means they always feel they've missed out on something, they're always chasing after something else, something better. Rebirthing can give people a wider picture, to help them understand the reasons for this emptiness. They'd then reflect on their values in life and create an idealistic vision for the future.
If you feel completely controlled at work, bullied by your boss and reluctant to speak up, then you may well have had an induced birth. It is often the case that an induced birth one which has been artificially started and therefore controlled - has instigated this personality trait. So, during the breathing sessions, you'd be encouraged to explore the unconscious emotions connected with feeling downtrodden and then letting go of any tension and fears.
Perhaps you lack self-confidence and are fearful of interviews or confrontations, even though you know you're good at what you do. This means you may have been held back in the womb, perhaps because of a long or difficult labour, and this has manifested itself in a fear of coming forward.
Someone who enjoys the chase and falls in love (or thinks they do) at the drop of a hat, yet can't commit for long, may discover they feel inadequate as a man or woman. This often stems from parents wishing that they had had a boy instead of a girl or vice versa. In your unconscious, you feel all future relationships are wrong because of that first disappointment.
Unravelling this gives the client a new objectivity about the potential partners they meet, giving them a chance instead of rejecting them immediately. A Caesarean birth can often affect people's future relationships in a physical way. Such people find it difficult to be tactile and may actually dislike touch. They also tend to feel misunderstood and angry with life, and have a fear of not being able to follow through and tend to procrastinate.
Relationships between twins may be particularly complex and often come to the fore in rebirthing. The eldest may have always had guilt feelings towards their twin for leaving him or her in the womb. The youngest may feel angry about having been left, and have felt invisible or insignificant for many years. Rebirthing would help these twins understand their feelings once you recognise those feelings you can begin to overcome them.
During rebirthing it may become clear that a client was delivered with forceps sometimes forceps marks may even appear during rebirths. Migraines are common in those who had this kind of birth and once this link has been discovered, the headaches often disappear. When a baby is delivered by forceps or vacuum extractor, this can also result in feelings of powerlessness throughout life.
``Why can't I do anything on my own?'' is a typical sentiment. This may result in anger, helplessness and constant worry, which may cause stress-related illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome. The physical symptoms are closely related to what the client is feeling emotionally and resolving emotional issues helps to heal the physical symptoms.
A breech birth or one where drugs have been used can also result in stress-related health problems. This feeling of struggling in life mirrors the struggle during birth. People who develop alcohol or drug problems often find their mother was given drugs while in labour. There are also people who hate anything around their neck scarves, ties and even a neck massage. This is typical of someone who was born with the cord around their neck and by talking through this experience and understanding it, the problem usually disappears.