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UPDATE: Most important is whether you are willing to put in the effort required to make this work...
on 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.
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.)