Regular slow-breathing exercise effects on blood pressure and breathing patterns at rest

J Hum Hypertens. 2010 Dec;24(12):807-13. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2010.18. Epub 2010 Mar 4.


Previous studies reported that a device-guided slow-breathing (DGB) exercise decreases resting blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive patients. This study investigated the effects of daily practice of DGB on (a) 24-h BP and breathing patterns in the natural environment, as well as (b) BP and breathing pattern during clinic rest. Altogether, 40 participants with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension were trained to decrease breathing rate through DGB or to passively attend to breathing (control, CTL) during daily 15-min sessions. The participants practiced their breathing exercise at home for 4 weeks. The DGB (but not the CTL) intervention decreased clinic resting BP, mid-day ambulatory systolic BP (in women only) and resting breathing rate, and increased resting tidal volume. However, 24-h BP level was not changed by DGB or CTL interventions, nor was overnight breathing pattern. These findings are consistent with the conclusion that a short-term, autonomic mechanism mediated the observed changes in resting BP, but provided no evidence that regular DGB affected factors involved in long-term BP regulation. Additional research will be needed to determine whether 24-h BP can be lowered by a more prolonged intervention.

Trial registration: NCT00328016.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prehypertension / physiopathology
  • Prehypertension / therapy*
  • Respiratory Rate*
  • Rest*
  • Tidal Volume
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data