Daily Relaxation Response Breaks in a Working Population I. Effects on Self-reported Measures of Health, Performance, and Well-being

Authors
Ruanne K. Peters, Herbert Benson, Douglas Porter
Publication
Am. J. Public Health
67:946-953
Abstract

An experiment conducted at the corporate offices of a manufacturing firm investigated the effects of daily relaxation breaks on five self-reported measures of health, performance, and well-being. For 12 weeks, 126 volunteers filled out daily records and reported bi-weekly for additional measurements. After four weeks of baseline monitoring, they were divided randomly into three groups: Group A was taught a technique for producing the relaxation response; Group B was instructed to sit quiety; Group C received no instructions. Groups A and B were asked to take two 15-minute relaxation breaks daily. After an eight-week experimental period, the greatest mean improvements on every index occurred in Group A; the least improvements occurred in Group C; Group B was intermediate. Differences between the mean changes in Groups A vs C reached statistical significance (p < 0.05) on four of the five indices: Symptoms, Illness Days, Performance, and Sociability-Satisfaction. Improvements on the Happiness-Unhappiness Index were not significantly different among the three groups. The relationship between amount of change and rate of practicing the relaxation response was different for the different indices. While less than three practice periods per week produced little change on any index, two daily sessions appeared to be more practice than was necessary for many individuals to achieve positive changes. Somatic symptoms and performance responded with less practice of the relaxation response than did behavioral symptoms and measures of well-being.

Related Listings
The mind/body program for infertility: A new be...
Authors
Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., Machelle M. Seibel, M.D., Herbert Benson, M.D.
Journal
Fertility and Sterility
·
There is increasing evidence that a behavioral treatment approach might be efficacious in the treatment of the emotional aspects of infertility and may lead to increased conception rates. The first 54 women to complete a behavioral treatment program based on the elicitation of the relaxation response showed statistically significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and fatigue as well as increases in vigor. In addition, 34% of these women became pregnant within 6 months of completing […]
Decreased Blood-Pressure in Pharmacologically T...
Authors
Herbert Benson, Barbara R Marzetta, Bernard A Rosner, Helen M Klemchuk
Journal
The Lancet
·
A wakeful hypometabolic state may be induced by simple, non-cultic mental techniques or by traditional meditational practices. The hypometabolic state seems to represent an integrated hypothalamic response ("relaxation response") which is consistent with a state of decreased sympathetic-nervous-system activity. A prospective investigation was designed to test whether regular elicitation of the relaxation response might lower blood-pressures in hypertensive patients who were maintained […]
The Evaluation of a Mind/Body Intervention to R...
Authors
Gloria R. Decko, MD, Keli M. Ballinger, MS, Michael Hoyt, MA, CHES, Marilyn Wilcher, Jefrey Dusek, PhD, Patricia Myers, Beth Greenberg, MA, David S. Rosenthal, MD, Herbert Benson, MD
Journal
Journal of American College Health
The authors examined the effect of a 6-week mind/body intervention on college students' psychological distress, anxiety, and perception of stress. One hundred twenty-eight students were randomly assigned to an experimental group (n = 63) or a waitlist control group (n = 65). The experimental group received 6 90-minute group-training sessions in the relaxation response and cognitive behavioral skills. The Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the […]