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VINE VOICEon March 30, 2005
...and if you need some motivation, factor in long-term medication cost into your buying decision.

BOTTOM LINE: Buy this ONLY if you are willing to put in both the time and the effort required to see results. That translates into roughly an hour a week for at least a month--for the buy/keep decision--and 45 minutes a week indefinitely. Also, keep the receipt in case you find it isn't right for you, for whatever reason.

Other reviewers have accurately pointed out that using this device is, in effect, meditation. That's true. I've used meditation CDs--including one specifically on meditation through breathing. They were helpful. But in my experience, none of them have been as easy and as foolproof to use as this device.

BACKSTORY:
My blood pressure gradually crept up over the years, and the diagnosis of "labile hypertension" changed to simply "hypertension." Saw this device online, and decided to give it a try. It has made the difference between starting medication and not having to take one. TWO YEARS LATER, I've maintained the gains and then some. As a resulted I still don't require meds for hypertension--a diagosis my MD has dropped.

Yes, this IS pricey. But so was the non-generic medication my cardiologist was considering. I have prescription drug coverage, but copayments quickly add up, especially for non-generic. (NOTE: Many of the newer meds are not yet available as generics.) So, I bought the Resperate, knowing I could try it and return it if I didn't like it and/or it didn't have the desired effect.

But overall, I do like it--a lot. And it has had a beneficial effect on my blood pressure. After less than two weeks using this, at my next MD visit I learned that my systolic blood pressure (top number) had dropped 14 points, the diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) had dropped 3 points. Two years later, I now average 110/70.

When the Resperate arrived, I was a little overwhelmed, so I asked a techie person to walk me through the set up. Turns out it was a LOT easier than I'd anticipated.

The basic premise is that blood pressure can be changed by breathing more slowly and deeply. This little machine actually "analyzes" your breathing pattern in the here and now. It first "senses" where you are using feedback from the sensor on an elastic belt, then gives you immediate feedback (initially through the screen, then through the melody) about how to slow your breathing, breath by breath. The default time for a training session is 15 minutes. The goal, however, is to accumulate 45 minutes of EFFECTIVE breath training per WEEK. (Effective is defined as breathing fewer than 10 times per minute.) The manual states that while your breathing will return to a higher rate, the positive mpact on your sympathetic nervous system carries over.

Scheduling the use of the Resperate into my routine as part of bedtime preparation has worked best for me. Initially I used it every night to help establish its use as a habit. Using the Resperate is relaxing; I also find I sleep more deeply on the nights I use it.

I did try the different "melodies"--there are five to choose from. I like three. (One of them I found irritating, another was so-so.)

NOTE FOR TECHIE TYPES: There is a statistics function that can provide detailed info, but if more than one person uses the device, the stats would be meaningless. Two years later, the manufacturer (Intercure) now offers a slightly more expensive version--called RESP@RATE Duo--which incorporates two separate memory functions for each of two users. However, as another reviewer noted, that won't work for clinics or group settings; there, tracking statistical results would stilll need to be done with paper records, or using an Excel worksheet.

A word of caution for those with pets, small children or grandchildren: Don't leave this out, with its tempting cords and elastic belt! The manufacturer suggests stuffing the cords and belt into the device. I found this tiresome, since the cords tended to tangle. However, the headphones do store well on the device itself. A gallon size freezer bag is easier to use. This will keep those tempting cords away from inquisitive pets. Or just put it back into the box or store it in the drawer of your bedside table. (OCD can purchase a travel/carry case from Intercure.)
1515 comments|931 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 23, 2005
I bought the RESPeRATE as a preventative to a slightly elevated BP reading in January. It did exactly what is was supposed to do - it decreased my PB significantly (13 pts) within a few weeks. But the other effect I noticed was a general feeling of well-being and increased positive outlook on life. There is considerable evidence now that mindfulness training has positive temporary and possibly permanent effects on brain function (see [...] Using the RESPeRATE seems to be having this effect for me as well. As a mental health professional, it is critical that my mind and body be in an optimal state so that my patients can achieve a similar state within themselves. Congratulations to InterCure for making such a terrific device.
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on March 2, 2005
I was on 6 different anti-hypertensive medications two months ago. My cardiologist saw no end in sight. At my wife's urging, I started acupuncture treatment, and my therapist recommended RESPeRATE. I have used it 15 minutes daily, and continued with the acupuncture. My blood pressure has since dropped 30 pts. and I am have been able to drop 2 of the drugs. I don't know if it works for everybody, but it certainly has for me, and I am happy to share this (entirely unsolicited) testimonial with others in the same boat.
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on April 25, 2006
My daughter Morgane, who is now 8 years old, has been suffering from delibitating migraines since infancy (yes, there is such a thing, unfortunately).

The symptoms are very impressive, she usually drops to the floor and starts vomiting within a few minutes. She cannot move or open her eyes. It makes her very anxious and we noticed that she hyperventilates when she thinks she is going to "get dizzy". We tried to make her breathe slowly and calm down, to no avail. Morgane's doctor told us that breathing slowly and practicing biofeedback were the best non-drug practices against migraines, and we try to avoid giving Morgane medication as she is so young. So I thought of using RESPeRATE as my Dad has high-blood pressure and I knew it worked on the breathing pattern.

Morgane immediately understood how to use the device, it was so easy and even fun for her. It relaxes her and gives her the strength to know she can do something about her migraines. Her breathing pattern has reduced considerably and so far, she has not had another migraine attack for about 6 months. She used to have them every two months.

I have purchased another device for my best friend, a long time migraine sufferer. The way I see it, it is such a painful condition that anything that helps without harm is a blessing.
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on June 27, 2005
After being in acute renal failure I was on 5 different anti-hypertensive meds to try and control my fluctuating BP, none of which was able to get it regulated. My doctor recommended trying the resperate and getting off the lotrel and using cozaar, which is renal friendly and has virtually no side effects. Within 4 weeks my systolic BP was in the 115 to 125 range instead of 165 to 185. I am so grateful for this machine. The musical tones make me feel as if I am in the company of angels, it is so relaxing. It has now been 8 weeks and my BP has been completely stable. It is FDA approved for use to lower BP. It works without any other changes in your normal routine. Update: August 2006, It has now been over a year of faithfully using the resperate. I did have to change from cozaar to atacand because of an elevated renin level but that was last Fall and my nephrologist is very pleased with the stability of my BP. Not only has this machine helped with my hypertension but I also get hardly any colds, which was always a problem for me. My doctor says it is because I am so relaxed using the resperate. I still highly recommend this product.
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on June 12, 2006
Purchased this machine for my wife (born 1949) who has high blood pressure (150+/90+ untreated) and Type-II diabetes. Had high hopes as this was not a drug-related therapy. But was vastly disappointed by lack of positive results. Yes, she enjoyed using it. But her blood pressure was not improved.

HERE IS MY ANALYSIS for your consideration. If your high plood pressure is caused by stress and the cares of life, RESPeRATE may work for you. But there is no mechanism by which it can address or cure arteriosclerosis. So, carefully analyze the cause of your high blood pressure before buying!
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on October 15, 2006
I purchased this device for a friend that had very high blood pressure that was out of control. At the time (4 months ago) he was taking 4 different pills twice a day and while the pills helped in lowering the blood pressure it was still way above what it needed to be and the readings weren't consistant.

After a month of usage his numbers started coming down, today 4 months after begining of usage he is down to half a pill a day, even his doctor who initially was a sceptic has become a beleiver and is recommending this to his patients. This device definetly works, I've read some of the negative reviews here and don't get it, its either they didn't use the device correctly as instructed or they are talking about another device completly. I have become an evangilist for this product and have one thing to say - If you have high blood pressure - GET THIS DEVICE, you won't be sorry, its a real way to get rid of all the medication you have been taking and a way to get your blood pressure down to where it should be naturally.
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on January 15, 2007
I have used the device for a little over 2 months now. You need to have patience, and not get frustrated/give up, because you won't see results overnight. My readings only started to improve recently. So, just stick with it. The instructions are easy to follow and straight forward. Having never done any relaxation techniques, I was a bit nervous with my first `session' as to what to expect. Nothing to worry about! The music does a nice job guiding your breathing to a slower rate, you hardly notice. And when done, there is nothing 'to come out of'. I am very much looking forward to my daily session. And: no side effects as with drugs!! It is definitely worth the money.
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on January 6, 2008
First of all let me start with the negative: I believe this product is over-priced, especially in order to reach the elderly and poor people. This is a product that can spread by word of mouth. You're not going to get everyone to buy this product at $300 and probably not for $200. I believe that other products like this will be out soon, because this product really works!
I was skeptical of this item and I told my doctor about it and he smirked at the product, another told me breathing really had nothing to do with my blood pressure. I am glad I didn't listen, but the price sort of held me back.

Pros: My average blood pressure was ranging from 150/81 to 160/90 on a regularly basis. I immediately saw a drop upon my first use. I was originally using the device 2-3 times a day, just to see if it worked. The second week of use my BP was averaging 140/90; Third week 133/85 and this week I have gotten readings below 120/80. I am going to the doctors this week and due a 5-day check from my doctor and after that schedule an appointment to discuss the item he smirked at earlier. Bottom line, I would strongly recommend buying this product. Buy it now if you can afford the price.

I think everyone with high BP should try this device, with the amount of money out there with the drug companies; this is a way for RESPERATE to come through the back door, but not at this price.
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on July 27, 2005
A sample of the RESPeRATE was given to the internal medicine practice where I worked at the time.

It DOES take "getting acquainted" to learn how to use this. You must actually read the manual to gather it's operation. Once you get oriented, it is pleasant-and effective-when one is RECEPTIVE to what the device is supposed to do. If an individual has issues with labored breathing for any reason, it will be a challenge to use (albeit a very soothing one). You are to breathe along with the preprogrammed music of your choosing (there are a handful of melodies), and the music gets slower and slower. The change of tempo is influenced by the feedback the belt around your waist gives the machine. You will be challenged to breathe REALLY deep and REALLY slow. I mean, like, master yoga practitioner slow!!! Challenging. Doable, but challenging. If you do it and keep with these exercises in breathing, you WILL be better for it. I want the reader to clearly understand that although this machine is very very soothing to use, it is not to be mistaken for a luxury item or a toy relative to addressing your health. It takes time-daily!-and receptivity to its relaxing powers to obtain tangible results. The RESPeRATE will teach you the good HABIT of healthy breathing while lowering your blood pressure if you actually use it.

Big expense, but you'll spend the same on a year of copays for your prescription drug. It qualifies as a reimbursable expenditure if you have a flexible spending account. If it's about the end of the year and you still have funds in your FSA, go for it!

Even if you don't have high blood pressure, it's excellent for relaxation right before bed, or just plain stress management. I would imagine that even children over the age of six or so would like using one.
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