Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia Biofeedback Therapy for Asthma: A Report of 20 Unmedicated Pediatric Cases Using the Smetankin Method
- Cite this article as:
- Lehrer, P., Smetankin, A. & Potapova, T. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback (2000) 25: 193. doi:10.1023/A:1009506909815
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This multiple case study describes pulmonary function changes in 20 asthmatic children from 30 consecutive cases undergoing biofeedback training for increasing the amplitude of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). The Smetankin protocol was used, which, in addition to RSA biofeedback, includes instructions in relaxed abdominal pursed-lips breathing. Ten individuals were excluded, including 6 who had been taking asthma medication, 2 who developed viral infections during the treatment period, and 2 who dropped out prior to completing treatment. Patients each received 13 to 15 sessions of training. Asthma tended to be mild, with mean spirometric values close to normal levels. Nevertheless, significant improvements were noted in 2 spirometry measures taken during forced expiratory maneuvers from maximum vital capacity: FEV1 and FEF50. These preliminary uncontrolled data suggest that the Smetankin protocol warrants further evaluation as a nonpharmacological psychophysiological treatment for this condition, although these data could not definitively prove that the method is effective.