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Device-guided breathing exercises in the treatment of hypertension – perceptions and effects

Authors:

Senada Pandic,

The Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Östra, Gothenburg; Institute of Health and Care Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Box 457, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, SE
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Inger Ekman,

The Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Östra, Gothenburg; Institute of Health and Care Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Box 457, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, SE
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Lennart Nord,

Department of General Practice, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, SE
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Karin I. Kjellgren

Institute of Health and Care Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Box 457, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, SE
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Abstract

Background: Behavioural and non-pharmacological treatments of hypertension suggest that relaxation and stress management can lower blood pressure (BP). There have been several studies showing that breathing exercises using various behavioural approaches, such as yoga, relaxation, biofeedback and transcendental meditation benefit hypertensive patients by decreasing their BP.

Methods: A randomized controlled pilot study was conducted over a period of 16 weeks, including 31 patients in the intervention-group using Resperate. A control group of 22 patients only listened to music (CD) and used no other therapeutic device. The exercises were accomplished over 15 minutes, three times a week in both groups. Patients (n = 18) from both groups were interviewed about their perceptions of the treatment.

Results: After 16 weeks, the systolic blood pressure decreased –3.9 mmHg (p = 0.105) in the Resperate group and –16.8 mmHg (p = 0.000) in the CD group. The diastolic blood pressure decreased in the Resperate group –1.5 mmHg (p = 0.000) and in the CD group –4.1 mmHg (p = 0.000). The breathing frequency was lowered in the Resperate group –2.4/min (p = 0.000) and in the CD group –1.2/min (p = 0.232) after 16 weeks. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups. Patients generally were satisfied with the use of devices and seemed to perceive the treatment as a chance to influence their own health.

Conclusions: The use of device guided breathing exercises (Resperate) indicated an antihypertensive effect but only listening to relaxing music also decreased blood pressure.

How to Cite: Pandic S, Ekman I, Nord L, Kjellgren KI. Device-guided breathing exercises in the treatment of hypertension – perceptions and effects. Global Heart. 2008;3(3):163–9. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cvdpc.2008.06.001
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Published on 01 Sep 2008.

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