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A New Translational Tool for Studying the Role of Breathing in Meditation

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of California, San Francisco Identifier:
First received: December 15, 2010
Last updated: October 24, 2016
Last verified: October 2016
A recent National Health Interview Survey reported that breathing exercises were the second most common complementary and alternative medicine practice in the United States, following only the use of "natural products." With such widespread interest in breathing exercises, alone or as a component of practices such as meditation, a need exists for research that examines not only its efficacy, but also investigates potential mechanisms of action. Indeed, a recent National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Meditation Workshop recommended research to clarify biological pathways by which meditation practices, including breathing exercises, can impact health. To explore mechanisms underlying the health effects of breathing exercises, new translational tools are needed that can measure breathing patterns in both the clinic and natural environment. The primary objective of the present proposal is the application of a new technology to the investigation of pathways by which breathing exercises can affect health. For this project, the health-related outcome measure to be studied is a major cardiovascular risk factor, blood pressure.

Condition Intervention
Hypertension Behavioral: Mindful Breathing (MB) Intervention Behavioral: Usual Care (UC) Control Condition

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Project Inspire: A New Translational Tool for Studying the Role of Breathing in Meditation

Further study details as provided by University of California, San Francisco:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Blood Pressure [ Time Frame: Up to Week 25 ]
    Measured using Ambulatory, 24-Hr BP monitor

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Clinic (resting) blood pressure [ Time Frame: Up to Week 25 ]

Estimated Enrollment: 128
Study Start Date: February 2011
Estimated Study Completion Date: September 2018
Estimated Primary Completion Date: September 2018 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Mindful Breathing (MB) Behavioral: Mindful Breathing (MB) Intervention
The MB intervention is based off of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Participants will be organized into cohorts of eight, and attend eight weekly MB sessions. Mindful breathing consists of closely "following the breath," throughout inhalation and exhalation, sustaining moment-to-moment awareness on the breathing process, and passively observing thoughts, affective states, perceptions and events, from a non-evaluative, non-judgmental perspective. As attention wanders to concerns, thoughts, events or ideas, the participants will be instructed to acknowledge and accept these without evaluation and return the focus of attention back to breathing. Participants in MB will have their breathing rate and PetCO2 monitored during the eight training sessions with individual ambulatory breathing monitors.
Usual Care (UC) Behavioral: Usual Care (UC) Control Condition
This control intervention is designed to account for the effects of nonspecific factors such as enrollment in a study to enhance health with the associated expectancy effects, staff attention, and measurement procedures including the monitoring of PetCO2 and BP, and completion of questionnaires. Participants who are randomly assigned to the Usual Care condition will receive care as usual for the management of their prehypertensive condition. UC participants will receive their usual care and have access to all Kaiser Permanente (KP) health education resources, such as KP's interactive healthcare guide, and online "Healthy Lifestyle Programs". We will assess the extent to which participants in both MB and UC used these resources.


Ages Eligible for Study:   50 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria

  • Mean 24-hr SBP: 130-139 mmHg
  • Female
  • > 50 years of age
  • Post menopausal, defined as greater than or equal to one year without a menstrual cycle.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI): 19-31
  • English speaking (Patients not able to read and speak English will be excluded as the behavioral group interventions are conducted in English)
  • Has a personal physician

Exclusion Criteria (Individuals will be filtered in the KP OSCA database according to the following ICD-9 codes):


  • 491.X chronic Bronchitis incl COPD
  • 492.X emphysema
  • 493.X asthma
  • 494-496; 500-519: all kinds of chronic pulmonary conditions


  • 404.9 chronic ischemic heart disease
  • 425.X cardiomyopathies
  • 428.X heart failure
  • 430-438 cerebrovascular diseases


  • 582-583 chronic glomerulonephritis
  • 584-588 renal failure


- 571.X chronic liver disease and cirrhosis Smoker: 305.1


  • 290-299 dementia/schizophrenia/ psychoses…
  • 303, 304 alcohol or drug dependence
  • 317-319 mental retardation


  • All blood pressure medications
  • All tranquilizers, benzodiazepins if prescribed regularly, e.g. every month
  • All narcotics if prescribed regularly, e.g. every month


- Plan to relocate residence outside recruitment area during the intervention or follow- period

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01264627

Sponsors and Collaborators
University of California, San Francisco
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: Margaret A Chesney, PhD University of California, San Francisco
  More Information

Responsible Party: University of California, San Francisco Identifier: NCT01264627     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 1R01AT005820 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: December 15, 2010
Last Updated: October 24, 2016

Keywords provided by University of California, San Francisco:
Blood pressure

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Respiratory Aspiration
Vascular Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Respiration Disorders
Respiratory Tract Diseases
Pathologic Processes processed this record on September 19, 2017