Lower Blood Pressure with RESPeRATE 

(ABC News) — High blood pressure is often caused by constriction of the arteries, which makes it harder for blood to get through the circulatory system. This causes the heart to work harder, adding extra force to the blood.

One of the causes of artery constriction is psychological stress. David Schechter, M.D., Family Medicine physician in Beverly Hills, CA, explains that when the body senses a stressful or dangerous situation, our innate “flight or fight” response system kicks in. This leads to a rush of adrenaline, a hormone that causes the blood vessels to narrow, pulling more blood to the heart and lungs. When stress is prolonged, the arteries remain constricted, leading, in many cases, to high blood pressure.

Schechter says the standard treatment for high blood pressure is diet modification and exercise. But many people also need medications to bring down their blood pressure.

Biofeedback for Blood Pressure Control
Sometimes patients with borderline or lower levels of hypertension don’t want to take medications to control their blood pressure. Schechter says there may be another option for them, called RESPeRATE®.

RESPeRATE works on the principal of controlled, or paced, breathing (similar to that used in meditation). The device consists of a belt with a sensor, headphones and a small computerized control unit. The sensor belt is secured around the chest. While the person breathes normally, the sensor detects and measures the pace of inhalation and exhalation. Then, the control unit creates two distinct tones to match the breathing, one for inhalation and one for exhalation. The goal for the patient is to synchronize his/her breathing to the tones (heard through the headphones). Gradually, the control unit prolongs the exhalation time. This slows the breathing rate, eventually reaching a target rate of less than 10 breaths/minute. Ideally, the slowed breathing promotes de-stressing, which relaxes the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Watch the ABC news story of Dr. Schechter talking about RESPeRATE >>

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