Health & Wellbeing

RESPeRATE aims to let users breathe their way to lower blood pressure

RESPeRATE aims to let users br...
RESPeRATE is a device that is designed to lower blood pressure by getting its users to breathe slower
RESPeRATE is a device that is designed to lower blood pressure by getting its users to breathe slower
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The RESPeRATE computer control unit
The RESPeRATE computer control unit
The RESPeRATE computer control unit
The RESPeRATE computer control unit
RESPeRATE is a device that is designed to lower blood pressure by getting its users to breathe slower
RESPeRATE is a device that is designed to lower blood pressure by getting its users to breathe slower
View gallery - 3 images

People suffering from hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) are typically advised to switch to a healthier diet, get more exercise and lose weight, plus they are often put on a combination of several medications. As of today, UK residents are now also able to get a prescription for what is definitely a different type of treatment - a system known as RESPeRATE. It monitors the patient's breathing and uses sound to guide them into taking longer, slower breaths, thus relaxing their bodies. According to its makers, multiple clinical trials have shown that it causes significant, lasting reductions in blood pressure.

RESPeRATE consists of two parts - a strap-mounted breathing sensor, and a small headphone-equipped computerized control unit.

The sensor is placed around the patient's upper abdomen, where it monitors inhalations and exhalations in real time. The system converts these into two different tones, which are played back through the headphones. Patients start by breathing in time with these tones, which represent their current rate of respiration. Gradually, however, the system lengthens the duration of the exhalation tone. It does so until the patient has reached a "therapeutic zone" of less than ten breaths per minute.

Reportedly, after several minutes of this slow, deep breathing, "the muscles surrounding the small blood vessels in the body relax, blood flows more freely, and blood pressure gradually starts to lower." When used for 15 minutes a day, at least four times a week, the device is said to significantly lower the user's blood pressure, and keep it down even when they're breathing normally.

Needless to say, claims made regarding any type of therapeutic device should be treated with a dose of skepticism. That said, the UK's National Health Service has decided that based on ten clinical studies and other data, the thing is legit. Brits can now get the device by prescription, or pay GBP200 (US$317) and buy it direct.

Given that RESPeRATE has already been available without prescription for a few years, we would definitely be interested in receiving comments from any readers who have tried it.

The following video provides more information on how it's used.

View gallery - 3 images
Carlos Grados
So this will train you to meditate. This sounds like it will do more than lower blood pressure. It could help reduce stress as well and help the user relax. This device will also make the user more aware of their body and how to control it- a win win situation.
Walt Stawicki
sillyme! I passed th$300 pus and the Rx and found this out by observing my inner workings as a youth. proof that introspection is useless i guess. Hope he does not sue me for patent infration if i continue to share this ancient yogic tecnique!!!
This is designed to help one synchronize their breathing with their natural heart rate variability. I get more feedback from the $140 StressEraser, personally, which adds the benefit of seeing the heart rate variations graphically on its little monitor. You can clearly see the rate slow down during exhalations and accelerate during inhalations. By putting more emphasis on exhalation, we stimulate the parasympathetic nerve more than the sympathetic nerve, resulting in net relaxation of all autonomous functions, not just our minds.
It\'s also fascinating to see the heart rate deviate as soon as our thoughts start to wander, hence the importance of clearning our mind (by counting for example).
That said, kudos to the UK for recognizing cardiac coherence relaxation as a valid technique for reducing stress and stress-induced blood pressure!
Note that the emWave device also targets the same principle as the RESPeRATE and StressEraser. The only distinction is that the emWave and StressEraser specifically target cardiac coherence (6 breaths per minute, the Mayer waves) which is speculated to have longer lasting effects than other rates of breathing based meditation.
Craig Taylor
I was about to buy a sphygmamometer that I think I need. Tell me, is it really helpful to use that medical device or is it better to use a sphygmamometer as a blood pressure device checker?