Started in 1974, "Rebirthing" has an international following with centers all over the world. This procedure which involves prolonged connective breathing is claimed by Leonard Orr and the Rebirthers to return persons to their birth stage. Purported benefits include the healing of cancer, senility, and AIDS, among other diseases.
A Matter of Life and Breath examines Leonard Orr and his followers, as well as Orr's assertions of physical immortality. The author of a number of books including Breaking the Death Habit, Orr claims to have met immortal yogis in the Far East, some older than 9,000 years. These experiences have compelled him to lead a movement which teaches that spiritual purification through rebirthing is the key to natural divinity.
The documentary also looks at the home of Orr's Rebirth International: Walton, New York. Walton is the quintessential American small town, and the presence of the Rebirthers has caused quite a stir in an otherwise traditional setting. Some townsfolk have found their way to the front door of Orr's Inspiration University. The majority of the town, however, led by the community's religious leaders, view the group as a dangerous cult, threatening the underpinnings of this beautiful town. Both sides share their views in this provocative documentary.