What is the relaxation response?
One variant of a meditation technique has gained
popularity in the US since its description in the 1970s by Harvard
physician Herbert Benson. This technique, known as the relaxation
response, involves the repetition of a word of phrase while quietly
seated, 10-20 minutes per day. Designed to evoke the opposite
body reaction to the stress response (or "fight or flight"
reaction), this method carries no religious or spiritual overtones.
Its value has been documented in the reduction of blood pressure
and other bodily stress responses. Like other forms of meditation,
it can be learned on one's own, but time and practice are required
to elicit the desired relaxation state.