The Relaxation Response

Authors
Herbert Benson, John F Beary, Mark P Carol
Publication
Psychiatry
Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 37-46
Abstract

In the Western world today, there is a growing interest in nonpharmacological, self-induced, altered states of consciousness because of their alleged benefits of better mental and physical health and improved ability to deal with tension and stress. During the experience of one of these states, individuals claim to have feelings of increased creativity, of infinity, and of immortality; they have an evangelistic sense of mission, and report that mental physical suffering vanish (Dean). Subjective and objective data exist which support the hypothesis that an integrated central nervous system reaction, the “relaxation response”, underlies this altered state of consciousness. Physicians should be knowledgeable of the physiologic changes and possible health benefits of the relaxation response.

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