What can you tell me about Resperate? Does it really help lower blood pressure?

Answers from Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.

Resperate is a portable electronic device that promotes slow, deep breathing. Resperate is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. It's available without a prescription. Resperate uses chest sensors to measure your breathing, and then a computerized unit creates a melody for you to use to synchronize your breathing. The melody is supposed to help you slow your breathing with long exhalations.

Although studies on Resperate are ongoing, it appears Resperate can help lower your blood pressure in the short term. Researchers are still investigating whether using Resperate over the long term can create lasting effects on lowering your blood pressure.

Resperate is intended to be used at least 15 minutes a day, three to four days a week. Within a few weeks, the deep-breathing exercises can help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure — the top and bottom numbers in a blood pressure reading. You need to keep doing the breathing exercises to maintain the blood pressure lowering benefits.

If you're considering using Resperate, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to tell you if breathing exercises may be helpful in lowering your blood pressure.

Jan. 27, 2011