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Balanced Health and Fitness

A Review of RESPeRATE Biofeedback Device

Upon learning that my blood pressure was “borderline,” I immediately started looking for natural ways to get it back down.  Since I believe in a holistic approach to health issues, bringing my blood pressure down artificially through medication was out of the question.

There had to be a way to reduce my blood pressure naturally.  It turns out there is.  It’s a biofeedback device called the RESPeRATE that helps you lower your blood pressure through “therapeutic” or deep breathing.  According to their literature, it’s “the first medical device clinically proven to lower blood pressure.”

WARNING: if you are currently under treatment for high blood pressure, make sure to talk to your doctor before making ANY changes to your treatment program, including using devices such as this one.


So what exactly is a “biofeedback” device?  A biofeedback device is a device containing some sort of sensor that displays (or feeds back) the biological response you’re trying to regulate.  For example, if you’re trying to learn how to relax and lower your heart beat, you can wear a heartbeat monitor in order to see what kind of progress you’re making.  The heartbeat monitor measures your biological response (your heartbeat) and feeds that information back to you so you can take the appropriate action.

Similarly, the RESPeRATE device is designed to help you learn how to lower your blood pressure through structured, therapeutic deep breathing – the same type of deep breathing practiced in meditation and yoga (needless to say, if you already practice meditation or yoga, then this device is probably not for you).

This type of deep breathing causes the muscles surrounding the small blood vessels in your body to relax allowing the blood vessels to slightly dilate.  Blood is allowed to flow more freely lowering your blood pressure.  The effect is small but these effects accumulate over time so the more you use the device, the better results you get.

The goal is to spend at least 10 minutes each session doing “therapeutic breathing”  – breathing slowly, deeply, and naturally at a rate of less than 10 breaths per minute.  The RESPeRATE device helps get you there and tracks your progress as well.

What It Does

Using the RESPeRATE device requires that you sit comfortably, put on a set of headphones and position a sensor across your chest via an elastic strap.  When started, the device begins to play specially designed music through the headsets that helps to pace your breathing (play clip for an example) while at the same time, the chest sensor monitors your breathing rate, which then shows up on the display.

The display also contains a person with an arrow pointing in when you’re supposed to be breathing in, and pointing out when you’re supposed to be breathing out (see picture at right).  Cute, but no big deal, right? Well, here’s the really neat part.

The microprocessor-controlled device determines your current breathing rate and then adjusts the pace of the music so that it’s a little bit lower than your actual breathing rate.  The result is that you naturally start breathing a little slower as you follow the music.

Once you reach the lower rate, the device lowers the pace yet again, and continues doing so until your breathing reaches a stable rate.  If your breath speeds up for any reason, the music also speeds up until it matches your breathing rate — and then it begins to slow down again leading your breathing rate back down with it.  This is what they mean by “pacing” and it’s what makes RESPeRATE so unique.  It’s like having someone right there gently leading you forward.

How It Works

The RESPeRATE comes with a control/display unit, a set of headphones (or ear buds, depending on the model you purchase), and a sensor that attaches to your chest through the use of an elastic band.  The control unit is battery operated and requires 4 AA batteries.

To use it, place the sensor across your chest by adjusting the elastic strap so that it’s either on your upper chest, or slightly above your abdomen.  The sensor measures the movement of your chest as you breathe in and out so the best place for it is going to depend on whether you’re a “chest breather” or an “abdominal breather.”

Next, put on the headphones and turn on the control unit.  That’s it.  The control unit will go through a “breathing recognition phase” where it confirms that it’s properly sensing your breathing rate.  Once it’s determined that it can read your breathing rate (ie: the sensor is properly placed), the music begins to play.

The special music has two distinct “guiding” tones, a high tone indicating when you should inhale and a low tone indicating when you should exhale.  There are also voice prompts (which can be turned off) to guide you as well.  You can hear an example of this by playing the audio clip that’s part of this review.

Your goal for each session is to spend at least 10 minutes in the “therapeutic breathing zone” of 10 breaths per minute or less.  The control unit will automatically track the amount of time you spend in the therapeutic zone.

The unit’s “Performance Statistics” mode can also tell you how many minutes you spent in the therapeutic zone during the last session, during the last 7 days, as well as the average value over the past 60 days.  It will also track your beginning breathing rate as well as your final breathing rate making it easy to see your progress.

The control unit is battery operated (uses 4 AA batteries) and made of plastic.  The controls are easy to understand and use.  The RESPeRATE device is compact and very portable making it a perfect item to take with you anywhere you go.

How Effective Is It

But does the device really reduce blood pressure?  The RESPeRATE is FDA-approved and their website contains numerous medical studies as well as doctor and client testimonials that prove that the device does indeed work.  However, I’ve found that there’s a caveat that you need to know about before you run out and get one.

First of all, if you already meditate or do Yoga, then you are probably already getting the benefits of therapeutic breathing and getting a RESPeRATE won’t make much sense.  I was a little disappointed to find that my resting breathing rate starts out in the therapeutic zone (I usually start the session at around 7 BPM and end the session around 4 BPM).  Although the sessions are extremely relaxing (and I still continue to use it for that reason), I actually haven’t seen much impact on my blood pressure.  But that’s just me.

If you DON’T already meditate or do Yoga (which is probably most people), the device may be worth trying. I also suspect that the people who will benefit the most are those whos blood pressure is caused, at least in part, by nervousness, worry, stress, or tension.  Since this is a biofeedback device, there are no physical side-effects or chemical interactions you have to worry about.

WARNING: if you are currently under treatment for high blood pressure, make sure to talk to your doctor before making ANY changes to your treatment program, including using devices such as this one.

What It Costs

The RESPeRATE device comes in two models: the RESPeRATE and the RESPeRATE Ultra.  As far as I can tell, the only difference is that the Ultra is a little more compact.  Both work the same and have the same features.

The RESPeRATE device retails for $299.95 and the RESPeRATE Ultra for $349.99 and comes with a full 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Yeah, I know.  Ouch!  What makes it worse is that Medicare and most insurance programs do not cover the cost of the device.  However, the manufacturer occasionally offers rebates (they’re currently offering a $65 rebate until Dec 31, 2008) so make sure to check their website before purchasing.

So at this price, why would anyone want to buy one?  Well, for one, it’s documented to work.  Surely your good health is worth at least 300 bucks – at least that was my rationale for getting one (I purchased the basic model).

Note that there are other alternatives out there that can accomplish the same thing.  For example, you can sign up for a Yoga or meditation class (and spend $300 along the way). Another alternative is music CD’s with a “breathing track” such as the ones you can get from Breatheasy at ($67 plus SH).

However, only the RESPeRATE is FDA-cleared and has been clinically tested to work.  Also, only the RESPeRATE is microprocessor-controlled to adjust to your currently breathing rate and then to guide it lower.  It’s a true biofeedback device.

WARNING: if you are currently under treatment for high blood pressure, make sure to talk to your doctor before making ANY changes to your treatment program, including using devices such as this one.

Where To Get It

The RESPeRATE device is available direct from the manufacturer at as well as from major drugstores such as CVS and Walgreens (see the website for a complete list of outlets).

My Recommendation & Ratings

My recommendation is that if you suffer from high blood pressure, especially if it’s related to stress or tension, then you need to try this device (please see the multiple warnings about discussing this with your doctor if you’re already on a treatment program).  The device is fully guaranteed, it’s portable, constructed of quality materials, and it works.

I highly recommend giving it a try.  Here’s how I would rate it overall:


InterCure (the manufacturer of RESPeRATE) does not have an affiliate program so I am not making any money or getting any kind of compensation from this review.  I purchased the RESPeRATE basic model (at full retail) for my own use and have found it works as advertised.

Although it didn’t lower my blood pressure (I already had a low breathing rate because of my meditation practice and martial arts background) I still regularly use the device.

Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach andPersonal Fitness Trainer (NESTA)

P.S.  Be sure to get my latest Fitness Blueprint called “Little Things That Improve Your Health.”  This ebook is packed with loads of helpful information on how to build a better body and you can get it FREE – no email, no cookies, no catch.  Download and enjoy!

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Untitled Document .caption { font-family: Verdana, Helvetica neue, Arial, serif; font-size: 10px; font-weight: bold; font-style: italic; } ul.indent { list-style: inside disc; text-indent: 20px; } Introducing RESPeRATE Ultra, our smartest device ever. All the power of the original RESPeRATE in just half the size. Featuring a large, enhanced display, fewer buttons and simple menus, this

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  1. January 2010

    The new Costco ad has a coupon for the ultra machine, giving what looks like quite a hefty discount.

  2. Thanks for the tip Noni. I live in the Houston area and the only Costco here is located on the west end of town, about 60 miles from where I live.

    However, I’ve since made it a practice that any time I buy ANYTHING over the Internet, I do a Google search for that item with +”discount code” to see if there are any discount codes available (make sure to include the plus sign and the phrase discount code in quotes). More often than not, you can find discount codes that will save you anywhere from 10% to 20%.

    Saving money is always a good thing!


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