A Simple Psychophysiologic Technique Which Elicits the Hypometabolic Changes of the Relaxation Response

John F Beary, Herbert Benson, Helen P Klemchuk
Psychosomatic Medicine
36(2):p 115-120

Oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and respiratory rate are significantly decreased during the practice of a new, easily-learned relaxation technique. The elements of the technique are a mental device to prevent distracting thoughts, a passive attitude, decreased muscle tonus, and a quiet environment which is as free of visual and auditory stimuli as possible. Sitting quietly with the eyes either open or closed failed to produce the same changes. These physiologic changes are consistent with an integrated hypothalamic response resulting in hypothesized decreased sympathetic activity. This response has recently been termed the “relaxation response.”

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