People with high blood pressure are sometimes advised to reduce stress and breathe slowly from the diaphragm. To help people learn how to slow their breathing there is an FDA-approved medical device called RESPeRATE. It offers biofeedback on breath frequency through a set of headphones and gradually slows respirations below 10 per minute.
A new study from the Netherlands randomized more than 40 people with hypertension and type 2 diabetes. The volunteers listened to the RESPeRATE device or to a visually identical machine that paced people’s respirations to 14 breaths a minute. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial there was no difference between the groups after 8 weeks. The authors concluded that there was no benefit from this biofeedback device and that its use for helping to control hypertension should be reevaluated.
There is much more information on other nondrug approaches to easing hypertension in our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.