The Usefulness of he Relaxation Response in the Therapy of Headache

Herbert Benson, M.D., Helen P Klemchuck, A.B., John R Grapham, M.D.
Headache, the Journal of Head and Face Pain
Volume 14(1),p. 49-52

PHYSIOLOGIC CHANGES consistent with the decreased sympathetic nervous system activity are present during the practice of a relaxation technique, Transcendental Meditation. The changes consist of decreased oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide elimination, respiratory rate and minute ventilation. Arterial blood lactate decreases markedly. Arterial blood pH and base excess decrease slightly. There are no changes in arterial blood pressure, in respiratory quotient, nor in rectal temperature. Skin resistance increases considerably while muscle blood flow increases to a much lesser extent. The electroencephalogram reveals increases relative intensity of slow alpha waves and occasional theta-wave activity. These changes are believe to represent activation of an integrated hypothalamic response recently called the “relaxation response” which is he counterpart of the emergency reaction of Cannon.

Practitioners of Transcendental Meditation reported marked relief of long-term headache symptoms, which they attributed to the practice of meditation, Therefore, a prospective investigation was designed to test the hypothesis that the regular elicitation of the relaxation response through Transcendental Meditation had therapeutic usefulness in headache.

Related Listings
The mind/body program for infertility: A new be...
Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., Machelle M. Seibel, M.D., Herbert Benson, M.D.
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 […]
Somatization and symptom reduction through a be...
Mutsuhiro Nakao, MD, MPH, Patricia Myers, Gregory Fricchione, MD, Patricia C. Zuttermeister, MA, Arthur J. Barsky, MD, Herbert Benson, MD
Behavioral Medicine
The authors assessed data from 1,148 outpatients in a 10-week medical symptom reduction program to determine the effectiveness of a behavioral medicine intervention among somatizing patients. The program included instruction in the relaxation response, cognitive restructuring, nutrition, and exercise. Before and after the intervention, the patients were evaluated on the Symptom Checklist-90 Revised (SCL-90R), the Medical Symptom Checklist, and the Stress Perception Scale. They were di […]
Relaxation Response and Resiliency Training and...
James E. Stahl, Michelle L. Dossett, A. Scott LaJoie, John W. Denninger, Darshan H. Mehta, Roberta Goldman, Gregory L. Fricchione, Herbert Benson
Background Poor psychological and physical resilience in response to stress drives a great deal of health care utilization. Mind-body interventions can reduce stress and build resiliency. The rationale for this study is therefore to estimate the effect of mind-body interventions on healthcare utilization. Objective Estimate the effect of mind body training, specifically, the Relaxation Response Resiliency Program (3RP) on healthcare utilization. Design Retrospective controlled […]