True or false?

True or false?

Gadgets to replace BP medication?

Gadgets to replace BP medication?


For people looking to lower their blood pressure without the use of medication, a growing number of gadgets offer an alternative.

Among the most popular are those that employ biofeedback, a technique that trains people to control things like heart rate and muscle tension, typically to reduce stress.

Biofeedback devices for blood pressure frequently offer a Zen-like approach, using music and visual cues to guide users through breathing exercises.

Some experts say biofeedback techniques have a calming effect that might produce long-term benefits, though studies have shown mixed results and the devices can cost hundreds of dollars.

In a recent issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers put one of the more popular machines to the test. The device, called Resperate, uses tones and melodies to help users synchronize and slow their breathing.

In the study, the researchers randomly assigned 48 diabetic patients with hypertension to one of two groups. One used the device at least once a day for eight weeks, while the other was given a similar-looking sham device. Ultimately, the study did not find that the devices had any beneficial effect on blood pressure.

In another study, published last year in The Journal of Hypertension, a team at Oxford University evaluated results from eight previous trials and found evidence that short-term use of the Resperate device could reduce blood pressure. But they noted that five of the eight trials were sponsored or initiated by the manufacturer, and when those studies were excluded from their analysis, the researchers found no overall benefit from the machine.


Biofeedback devices that claim to help lower blood pressure probably have little long-term impact.