My client starting having a panic attack during workout
So this morning my client started having a panic attack toward the end of our workout. She first started feeling nauseous; then dizzy; then rapid breathing and then started into panic mode. It caught me by surprise because I am big on breathing and I am always watching and instructing my clients on proper breathing. I was aware that this particular client is prone to panic attacks so this was not new to her. At any rate, I was able to get her through it pretty quickly. I had her really focus on her breathing, making sure her belly was rising and taking long slow breaths. I had her keep her eyes open and and also take some breaths with her arms over head. I was speaking slowly and calmly, assuring her everything was okay and I gently massaged her shoulders. It only lasted about 5 minutes.
Has this happened to any of your clients? How did you handle it? I would love to get some tips and pointers on how to handle this and what I could have done different.
I never had that happen to me, and I am impressed how well you handled the situation. It certainly was helpful that you were aware of this problem.
What I would do, though, is ask the client whether there is something she would have liked you to do or not do. I would also ask whether there are circumstances to be aware so that you may be able to avoid this attack altogether.
You acted very professionally. Well done!
Has she been checked out by her doctor?
Does she have high blood pressure?
Your technique for dealing with this seems helpful, and your keeping your cool also helpful. I am wondering whether the specific breath work you were using comes from a specific training? I would be very interested in what made you choose those specific techniques.
When I was training I had a client with fibromyalgia who had a great deal of anxiety. I did find that always being on an even keel myself was very helpful for her. I suspect your presenting yourself as calm and in control, and the situation as not needing an escalating response were both very helpful.
I think Karin is right to suggest getting to what was the trigger, so you can hopefully prevent, and at least prepare for it happening again. It could easily have been something that was not related to the training, but having the conversation ( and ideally at least getting a sign off from her physician for the training, with a form that has a space for any suggestions he or she would have) is a good idea.
I did a couple of blogs on breath (pranayama) and stress and its reduction within the practice of yoga (my thing). I am putting the links here, in case you might find either helpful:
Thanks again for the advice.