Harvard Heart Letter

Can deep, slow breathing lower blood pressure?

Long, slow breaths may help dampen nerve activity that governs your blood pressure.

Image: Thinkstock

A device called RESPeRATE may help, but questions remain.

Take a long, deep breath and let it out slowly. Keep that up for a few minutes and the nerve activity that controls your "fight-or-flight" response may slow down, causing your blood vessels to relax and widen. That's the presumed mechanism behind RESPeRATE, a blood pressure–lowering device approved by the FDA more than a dozen years ago.

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