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What is The Relaxation Response?

The Relaxation Response is a book about meditation that was written by Herbert Benson and Miriam Z. Klipper in 1975. The book went on to become a bestseller, and is frequently recommended by clinical psychologists as a valuable self-help title for their patients.

relaxationBenson is a Harvard Physician, and he believes that the book can help people to understand Transcendental Meditation and the health benefits that it provides, which include several physiological and psychological benefits, such as reducing blood pressure.

Benson recalls that some people from the Transcendental Meditation movement visited his medical school in the 1960′s, and asked to have their claims about meditation tested. Benson went on to become a supporter of the movement, and in his book he describes the steps required to activate a part of the brain known as the parasympathetic nervous system and bring about the stress-reducing benefits of meditation.

Why Meditation Matters

The relaxation response helps to calm the mind and body, reducing blood pressure and boosting the immune system. Stress is a huge cause of visits to healthcare providers, and can aggravate conditions such as hypertension, insomnia, migraines, back pain, IBS, stroke risk, and heart disease. There are even some links between stress and cancer. By eliciting the relaxation response, you can improve your health and your overall feeling of well being.

Learning From a Book

While the Relaxation Response book is more than 30 years old now, it has been re-published many times, and it comes highly recommended by healthcare providers. Some people find that it is difficult to learn from a book, but the relaxation response is far more than just a collection of suggestions about breathing and “emptying your mind”. It teaches a complete technique that takes just a few seconds to complete, and that can be repeated on demand. If you find yourself feeling tense or stressed, then you can practice the technique no matter where you are, and keep your mind sharp and focused.

The latest edition of the book includes a lot of information about the effects of stress on the body, but has had some of the details about how to implement the relaxation technique removed. Readers who can find the original edition of the book may prefer to choose that one to get the most benefit out of learning the techniques. However, both editions are incredibly valuable and will help you to learn how to calm your mind and improve your health and well being.