BreathingHigh Blood Pressure

Device-guided paced breathing to lower blood pressure

Dr. William Elliott who is professor of preventive medicine and internal medicine and pharmacology at Rush Medical College in Chicago believes, “Device-guided paced breathing may offer an effective, simple, and new nonpharmacological option for treating high blood pressure [BP].”

Here’s a summary of clinical studies using the RESPeRATE device.

All listed results are significantly better than placebo.

Journal of Human Hypertension, 2001

  • Reduced systolic BP, diastolic BP, and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) by 15, 10 and 12 mm Hg, respectively
  • Benefits lasted 6 months after treatment stopped

Journal of Human Hypertension, 2001 (a second study)

  • 33 adults with uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Home-measured BP was lowered by 5/3 mm Hg
  • 10 of 18 (56%) were defined as responders

American Journal of Hypertension, 2004

  • Reduced home BP by 5/3 mm Hg

Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 2004

  • Greater decreases in systolic BP for those who spent more than 180 minutes over 8 weeks in slow breathing training (-15 vs. -7 mm Hg)

American Journal of Hypertension, 2003

  • Home BP was lowered by 6/3 mm Hg without side effects
  • 82% were responders

The bottom line?

  • Systolic blood pressure (the higher number) can be lowered by 5 to 15 mm Hg.
  • Benefit is possible in patients with “uncontrolled” high blood pressure.
  • Those who spend more time learning the technique achieve better results.
  • The benefits remain after the training ends.

Compared to other nonpharmacological treatments, device-guided paced breathing works pretty well as a complement to pharmacological therapy.

  • Salt restriction: -2-8 mm Hg
  • Weight loss: -5-20 mm Hg/10 kg (22lb) weight loss
  • Exercise: -4-9 mm Hg
  • Moderate alcohol consumption: -2-4 mm Hg

4/6/07 12:57 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.