The People's Perspective on Medicine

795 Relaxation Response

The connections between the mind and the body have long seemed the province of fringe practices. But there is increasing scientific evidence that psychological and mental factors have a profound impact on physiological functions. We discuss this research with one of the country’s most prominent investigators into the mind/body connection, Dr. Herbert Benson.
Guests: Herbert Benson, MD, is Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI), and Mind/Body Medical Institute Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. His books include The Relaxation Response and The Relaxation Revolution.

Daniel Hoch, MD, PhD, is Director of Digital Initiatives at the Benson Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine. He is a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The photo is of Dr. Hoch.
Dr. Hoch helped found, a collection of over 200 separate online support groups for individuals with neurologic disease. He is a member of a group formed by the late Dr. Tom Ferguson to promote participatory healthcare, and a founding member of the Society of Participatory Medicine and its fledgling publication, the Journal of Participatory Medicine.
The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. Podcasts can be downloaded for free for six weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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    Tai chi & yoga have been called ‘moving meditation’. Some people call walking a meditation. You can find Mindfulness lessons on YouTube- especially good are those from John Kabat-Zinn. Many parks & recreation depts. have low cost exercise classes.

    Hmmm… It’s a novel approach to my second semester at law school, but I’ll give it a go.

    I needed to hear more so that I could tell if I wanted to purchase the cd

    I enjoyed your program and was interested in finding more information about the relaxation response. Unfortunately, the website link you provided doesn’t work.
    Any suggestions on how to access more info from Dr. Benson would be appreciated.

    I have suffered from some kind of nervous stomach since before I was a toddler, now that I’m a senior its gotten even worse . I’m working with a Gastroenteroligist with little results. I have been researching meditation and Buddhist concepts and feel that if I can maintain the motivation to pursue this I will find some peace and relief from my gut problems. I would like to able to be more supportive of my family and children / grandchildren and not always suffering with anxiety and stomach problems while perhaps be able to find more enjoyment in my remaining years .

    The website offered above — — does not work. I even tried Googling the site and entering it from the link found that way, but got this message:
    Directory Listing Denied
    This Virtual Directory does not allow contents to be listed.
    Do you have another source for the information contained in the site?

    “Health News” at the beginning of this program mentioned a study showing that thyroid meds taken at night may be better than the usual “first thing in the morning” routine. I’d like to read the study; please give more info.

    Excellent show. Everyone should hear this. Thank you.

    Adding this to my daily routine will be my goal for 2011. Really enjoyed it.

    Since a stroke Sep 2009 and a silent stroke in May 2010 problems with fatigue and balance persist. A recent sleep study and followup study showed normal states for about half the sleep time and then into slow sleep (delta) for the remainder of the night. Since the late 70s I practiced meditation. The Dr’s have no explanation for the N4 state sleep and continued fatigue. There haven’t been any suggestions other than trying a CPAP. Too early to tell if CPAP is helping. No one seems interested otherwise.

    Having had migraine headaches since a toddler, I welcomed the opportunity in 1975 or 76, to join a study at the VA hospital in Milwaukee to evaluate the effect of deep relaxation on migraine. I went weekly for 10 or 12 sessions to the VA, and sat for half an hour in a dark isolation room in a reclining chair wearing earphones and strategically placed electrodes.
    My instruction was to reduce the white noise coming through the earphones. I soon mastered that skill and thoroughly enjoyed shutting out the chaos for even so brief a time. Once after a session, I was in the market when a young man approached and asked, “Do you meditate?” I said no and explained where I had been. He was very interested and said, “It is obvious in your eyes, your face, your whole demeanor. Don’t ever lose that skill.”
    I have followed his advice. I still do not meditate though I think I should, but deep relaxation has been a boon to me both physically and mentally. Actually that understates the case. The value is inestimable.
    If the VA psychologist ever finished his study and published it, I never heard about it. Mores the pity. It is gratifying to know that so much brilliant work is being in this regard.

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^