Frequently Asked Questions
What is Freespira?
Freespira consists of a small handheld sensor and a custom program (App) that is displayed on a tablet. The App guides you through the defined breathing protocol that you perform at-home. Freespira is not for use DURING a panic attack, rather it is used twice daily for four weeks to teach you to breathe in a more normal pattern. You will learn to adjust your CO2 levels and breathing rate to normalize your breathing pattern with the goal of preventing future panic attacks. The Freespira treatment has been demonstrated in clinical studies to help patients return to a normal breathing pattern and Freespira is proven to reduce or eliminate panic symptoms in most people.
Freespira has been cleared by FDA and available commercially since 2014. The treatment is available for patients 18 years and older.
How does it work?
Freespira measures your breathing rate and the level of exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2) in your breath through a small nasal cannula and a handheld sensor. (You breathe through your nose and your exhaled air is sampled and measured by the sensor). The cannula is only used for sampling your exhaled air. Your breathing rate and CO2 are calculated by the sensor and displayed on a tablet with the pre-loaded Freespira App containing the breathing protocol. The Freespira App provides instructions throughout the 17-minute session, guiding you in adjusting your breathing pattern to improve your CO2 level and breathing rate.
Following authorization, you start by working with a Freespira trained provider who will teach you how to use the system; then you take it home and use it for two 17-minute sessions each day for four consecutive weeks. Your provider will review your breathing information either online or in person during your 4-week treatment. After your treatment is completed, you return the system in its original packaging using a pre-paid return mailing label.
Is it covered by insurance?
Palo Alto Health Sciences, Inc., the maker of Freespira, is working closely with insurance companies and health systems to obtain insurance coverage for this new ground-breaking treatment. Currently, Freespira qualifies for payment from Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Speak to your Healthcare Provider directly about insurance coverage for your therapy sessions.
Freespira is currently being evaluated by Anthem at Aurora Health System (Milwaukee, WI) and Highmark Health at Allegheny Health Network (Pittsburgh, PA), so if you are in these areas, please contact Customer Care to see if Freespira may be covered for you.
Do I need to see a therapist?
A licensed healthcare provider, such as a physician, therapist, nurse or social worker will authorize you to receive Freespira by emailing an Authorization Form to Freespira’s Customer Care team. A Freespira provider will then train you on how to use the system. If you prefer to do your consultation and progress tracking via video and/or phone, known as “tele-therapy,” contact Customer Care to find out if this option is available in your area.
How does Tele Therapy work?
Because Freespira is an easy to use, at-home treatment, healthcare providers can train you via online video conferencing. The treatment is the same as if you were sitting at the healthcare provider’s office. Check with your provider or Customer Care to learn if tele-therapy is an option.
How long will it take?
The Freespira treatment consists of two 17-minute sessions a day for 4 weeks. Some people start seeing a reduction in their panic symptoms in as little as 2 weeks; Clinical studies have shown that for the majority of patients results last for at least one year after treatment is completed.
How long has Freespira been around?
Initial clinical research began in 2000 and Freespira was cleared by the FDA in 2013. It has already been adopted in many locations throughout the US. To find a Freespira-trained provider in your area, contact us.
What are the clinical results?
While results vary from person to person, most patients report a significant reduction in panic symptoms, many in the first few weeks. In a recent clinical study of this treatment, 71% of patients were panic attack free and 85% had panic symptom reduction immediately post-treatment (week 5).
Even though the patients in the study did not use Freespira beyond the one month treatment, 79% of patients did not have panic attacks at 12 months post-treatment and 82% had a reduction in the severity of their panic symptoms. The majority of patients at 12 months post-treatment still were not worried or anxious about having another panic attack or modifying their lifestyle to avoid another panic attack.