Breathing-control lowers blood pressure

Abstract

We hypothesise that routinely applied short sessions of slow and regular breathing can lower blood pressure (BP). Using a new technology BIM (Breathe with Interactive Music), hypertensive patients were guided towards slow and regular breathing. The present study evaluates the efficacy of the BIM in lowering BP. We studied 33 patients (23M/10F), aged 25–75 years, with uncontrolled BP. Patients were randomised into either active treatment with the BIM (n = 18) or a control treatment with a Walkman (n = 15). Treatment at home included either musically-guided breathing exercises with the BIM or listening to quiet music played by a Walkman for 10 min daily for 8 weeks. BP and heart rate were measured both at the clinic and at home with an Omron IC BP monitor. Clinic BP levels were measured at baseline, and after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment. Home BP measurements were taken daily, morning and evening, throughout the study. The two groups were matched by initial BP, age, gender, body mass index and medication status. The BP change at the clinic was −7.5/−4.0 mm Hg in the active treatment group, vs −2.9/−1.5 mm Hg in the control group (P = 0.001 for systolic BP). Analysis of home-measured data showed an average BP change of −5.0/−2.7 mm Hg in the active treatment group and −1.2/+0.9 mm Hg in the control group. Ten out of 18 (56%) were defined as responders in the active treatment group but only two out of 14 (14%) in the control group (P = 0.02). Thus, breathing exercise guided by the BIM device for 10 min daily is an effective non-pharmacological modality to reduce BP.

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Correspondence to E Grossman.

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Grossman, E., Grossman, A., Schein, M. et al. Breathing-control lowers blood pressure. J Hum Hypertens 15, 263–269 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jhh.1001147

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Keywords

  • non-pharmacological treatment
  • regular breathing
  • music
  • blood pressure

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