RESPeRATE may help with blood pressure through deep, slow breaths – but does deep breathing lower blood pressure?
More than a dozen years ago, the FDA approved a device called RESPeRATE which is meant to decrease blood pressure. It works by slowing down the nerve activity of your “fight or flight response” through deep breaths and dilating blood vessels.
RESPeRATE helps direct and monitor your breathing. Moreover, the American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that it’s a reasonable option when it comes to non-drug ways to control blood pressure.
How RESPeRATE Works
You can buy the device online and without a prescription from anywhere between $100 and $300. RESPeRATE is a portable device with earbuds and an elastic belt you place on your chest for detecting breathing patterns.
It guides you to slower breathing through musical tones, taking short breaths in and longer ones out. As it gradually prolongs the exhalation tone, RESPeRATE helps slow your breathing to about 10 breaths per minute.
Furthermore, the manufacturer recommends using it 15 minutes per day, 3 to 4 days per week.
Evidence Behind RESPeRATE
According to Dr. Randall Zusman, the evidence supporting RESPeRATE may not be sufficient. Zusman is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Division of Hypertension at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Most of the studies to support RESPeRATE are short, don’t have very many participants, and aren’t carefully controlled,” he says. Likewise, some Dutch researchers share similar views and want the AHA to rethink their statement due to a lack of rigorous research.
Instead of buying expensive devices, people should focus on daily habits like exercise, healthy diets, and avoiding dangerous habits. However, Zusman suggests that deep breathing techniques may be helpful if medicine and other solutions are not working.
Deep Breathing Techniques
“I encourage my patients to try non-drug treatments to lower blood pressure, especially those who can’t tolerate medications,” Zusman says. If you want to try deep breathing as a way to lower blood pressure, you don’t need to buy an external device.
Dr. Herbert Benson, the director emeritus of the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, suggests using “the relaxation response.” It is a technique that naturally helps slow down breathing and reduce stress.
Simply sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, relax your muscles, and silently repeat a sound of your choosing. The sound can be a word, sound, phrase, or even a short prayer.
As you focus, you may experience stray thoughts interfering. When this happens, let them come and go and continue repeating the sound of your choosing. To get the maximum benefits, practice it twice a day for 10 to 20 minutes.
The AHA suggests that RESPeRATE, a device that helps with deep breathing, may help lower blood pressure levels. However, other health experts may disagree with the take and suggest healthy habits like exercise and a well-balanced diet.
Even so, doing deep breathing techniques at home on your own may be worth a try if other measures are not working. Consider taking circulation supplements like HeartBeet Complete along with your deep breathing practices for an extra boost,