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.

[JAMA Internal Medicine, July 22, 2013]

 There is much more information on other nondrug approaches to easing hypertension in our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.

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  1. M

    I believe in double blind studies & have hired experts to do clinical work for my Pharma Co. This device may have merit but individually, it didn’t work for me and usage was for duration of six months. Sugar beet are vegetable & leaf should not be discarded. Leaf & stem can be used to steam cook & add spice to your liking. Yes, it will reduce BP. Dietabic should only used leafy part due high content of sugar. Yes, I am aware sugar will raise BP. I never would suggest to any one to use sugar to lower BP. Elimination of sugar can reduce BP, cancer & lots of other diseases. I must mention personally I walk 30 minutes for 2 miles & supplement it with Yoga.

  2. Karen

    I have been using Resperate for five years and it has been very helpful in lowering my blood pressure. At each session you place headphones on your ears and a breathing monitor on your chest. The small machine then begins to count the number of breaths per minute you are taking and then gradually through a series of tones or if you chose tones and musical notes lowers your breathing downward over the course of 15 minutes.
    To achieve results you have to work over time to achieving 10 breaths or lower per minute. It is almost like meditative breathing. The machine prompts you with verbal comments if you need correction in breathing technique especially if you hold your breath instead of gradually exhaling. This study is actually the only one that I have seen that has not found the machine to be very good at lowering blood pressure.

  3. DS

    The Resperate works for me. However my breathing starts at less than 10 respirations per minute and if I had to try to keep up with 14 breaths per minute I would probably pass out.
    If there was no difference between the groups in this study, does that mean there was no difference in BP for any of them from either method? Also I wonder how long each session was in the study.
    My Resperate machine works best for me at a longer session than the pre-set time. Perhaps just relaxing helps. I no longer need to take my Diovan, and if I were a patient who was just advised to start down the pharmaceutical path, I’d ask to try the Resperate first.
    I am wondering if this study was perhaps funded by a drug company. Results of studies are often affected by who is paying for the study.

  4. Joan

    interested in more info on this. have the machine and it didn’t seem to help during the few weeks I tried it.

  5. Barbara

    What is “sugar beet?” If it is sugar, I don’t see how sugar can lower blood pressure, if anything sugar might raise blood pressure. I avoid sugar.
    I use proper breathing throughout the day and avoid stressing out to successfully lower my blood pressure and as a result cut my blood pressure medicine, losartin, an angiotension receptor blocker, in half and hope to go off losartin entirely.
    Losartin has been found to increase lung cancer. I prefer using proper breathing to getting lung cancer from pills. My cardiologist approves of my decision and I keep a blood pressure daily record for him. He knows all blood pressure meds have unwanted side effects. He takes an angiotension receptor blocker and now he has cancer. I took Cozaar and then losartin for years and I got cancer too. I don’t know if this drug caused the cancer, but I feel strongly I should not be taking it.
    People’s Pharmacy response: We don’t know what the previous commentor is referring to, but sugar beets are a type of vegetable. Although they are grown primarily as a source of sugar, they presumably also contain the other nutrients that beets are known for. Research has shown that daily beet juice can lower blood pressure.
    I do not take any other drugs except Synthroid.

  6. M

    I have used the device & it is bogus in my views. I have successfully switched to treat with sugar beet AM/PM.

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