Last modified by Iris Spruit on 2024/05/07 13:09


Respiration can be measured in various ways, but is usually measured with a respiration belt strapped around the abdomen or chest. The belt has a transducer, which measures the change in thoracic or abdominal circumference.

Availability, support and advice

For availability of respiration equipment within your group, contact your lab coordinator. Respiration equipment from BIOPAC (BN-RSPEC) can also be borrowed from SOLO through the Helpdesk (reservations tile) or by contacting SOLO labsupport.


Below, a general protocol for measuring respiration is described. Note that an adequate training is required before working with physiological data acquisition equipment and collecting such data from participants. If you are uncertain about the procedure, please contact your supervisor or lab coordinator



Respiration can be measured with the BIOPAC RSPEC-R (wireless) module.


The RSPEC-R uses a respiration transducer (BN-RESP-XDCR) with a belt (RXSTRAP-RSP). The RSPEC-R transmitter can be attached to a BioNomadix velcro strap with size 137 cm (BN-STRAP-137), which can be tied around the waist of the participant. 


For SSH researchers, supplies can be picked up at SOLO 1B11 in PdlC or 2.5.01 in Sylvius, see lab supplies for more info.

  • Respiration equipment (see Setup)
  • Gloves
  • Incidin OxyWipe

Respiration belt placement

Always wear disposable gloves (see gloves protocol) when you place the respiration belt. After use, remove the gloves and dispose of them.

See the BIOPAC instructions for a more detailed explanation and pictures or the BIOPAC webinar.

The respiration belt (BN-RESP-XDCR) should be properly attached to the transducer. Make sure both ends of the belt run through the side buckles of the transducer so that the transducer can properly measure the change in circumference. 

Place the belt on the participant:

  • Put on disposable gloves.
  • Ask the participant whether he/she breathes primarily with the abdomen or chest and place the belt accordingly.
  • Have the participant exhale completely, then tighten the belt around the abdomen or the chest. The belt should not be loose when the participant has exhaled completely. The belt can be placed over a shirt.
  • Fix the strap with the RSPEC-R transmitter around the participant's waist and attach the respiration transducer to the transmitter. Ensure the strap is placed between the  transmitter and the skin, so that the transmitter does not come into contact with the skin.

Important when using BIOPAC leads: When using the BioNomadix wireless modules and the leads need to be attached to or detached from the transmitter unit, you should use the plastic squeezable connector and refrain from pulling on the leads. Do not knot or twist the leads, as it may damage them.

Cleaning up

  • Put on disposable gloves.
  • Disconnect the respiration transducer from the transmitter.
  • Remove the respiration belt and the strap with the RSPEC-R transmitter.
  • The straps can be washed if necessary (use multiple straps to allow for drying), please contact when straps need to be washed.

Tips & Tricks

  • The participant must move and talk as little as possible to prevent artefacts in the data.
  • The participant must be comfortable and sit in a natural posture with both feet on the floor. 
  • Check the respiration signal before starting actual data collection. 
  • When the data looks irregular or shows flat lines, check that the strap is placed properly. When flat lines occur when the participant exhales, it is possible that the strap is too loose. 
  • See the BIOPAC instructions for examples of noise in the respiration signal.

More information


Tags: Physiology
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