That may look like a Walkman the man at right is using, but the Resperate doesn't pump out pulse-raising songs. It helps lower blood pressure by playing alternating tones to help relax a listener's breathing. A sensor strapped to a patient's chest monitors inhalations and exhalations. The device uses that data to adjust the intervals between the two tones -- one that prompts a user to breathe in and the other to breathe out. The goal: 10 breaths per minute.
A study in this month's Journal of Clinical Hypertension found that using the over-the-counter device for at least 15 minutes daily reduced systolic blood pressure (the force with which blood is pumped out of the heart) enough to lower some users' need for medication. The $299 device was developed by Intercure in Fort Lee, N.J., and approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002. It is available at www.resperate.com as well as at online pharmacies like www.cvs.com.
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-- Matt McMillen