The Gift of Health: A Peek Inside Dr. Manny's Holiday Gift Bag

At this time of year, it's always fun to try to think up ideas for unique holiday gifts.

One of the categories that has been getting some attention lately are gifts with a health or fitness hook.

From gift baskets full of natural and organic gourmet health foods, to cutting edge gadgets, "healthy" gifts can be a very special way of expressing our love to the people we care about. But how to know which healthy gifts to give? Over the next few weeks, I'll be reviewing and rating the latest health gadgets and gizmos and making a list that health conscious shoppers should definitely be checking twice.

The first peek inside Dr. Manny's holiday gift bag reveals a device called Resperate. The purpose of this gadget is to lower blood pressure without medication. Talk about a timely gift for the holidays!

Hypertension affects millions of Americans and, if left untreated, can lead to stroke and significant heart disease. Typically, hypertension is treated with medications, diet and exercise, but sometimes those approaches are not enough.

For some, stress is one of the more challenging factors that contribute to high blood pressure. Dealing with stress is not easy, and many people struggle to find an effective way to control it. But for some folks, this new electronic device may be just be what the doctor ordered.

Resperate looks like a CD player but actually provides the user with biofeedback. It records your breathing cycle and then creates customized relaxing musical melodies. Resperate users use the rhythm of the music to control their own respiratory motions, reducing stress by slowing their inhalations and exhalations to the pace of the music.

Controlling respirations to 10 or less breaths per minute will help your body relax so that your blood vessels can expand and your blood pressure becomes more manageable. Studies have shown that doing these exercises 15 minutes several times a week could significantly lower your blood pressure in four to six weeks.

So if you are looking for a unique gift for a loved one who needs some help managing stress, Resperate may be the perfect "toy" for you.

Do you share your bed with a snorer? Next up in Dr. Manny's holiday gift bag, I will tell you which devices work best to help bring some quiet back to your night.

Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Additionally, Alvarez is Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.