Context. So far, red giant oscillations have been studied from radial velocity and/or light curve variations, which reveal frequencies of the oscillation modes. To characterise radial and non-radial oscillations, line profile variations are a valuable diagnostic. Here we present for the first time a line profile analysis of pulsating red giants, taking into account the small line profile variations and the predicted short damping and re-excitation times. We do so by modelling the time variations in the cross correlation profiles in terms of oscillation theory.