"The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress... and the opposite of the fight or flight response."

Herbert Benson, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
and founder of the
Mind Body Medical Institute

824 Boylston St.
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-2508

Phone: (617) 991-0102  Toll free: (866) 509-0732

Courses for Medical Professionals
Prescribing meditation - not just medication

How to Elicit the Relaxation Response, Step by Step

Herbert Benson, M.D.  Harvard Medical School

The crimson book that is a national best seller

Oxygen consumption decreases during meditation
without preparatory hyperventilation or other activity
indicating a low demand for oxygen during deep rest

First published study on meditation by Dr. Benson:
and Dr. Robert Keith Wallace in 1971,
"A wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state"
in the American Journal of Physiology

Dr. Herbert Benson and Dr. Robert Keith Wallace
Reduced Drug and Alcohol Use
Benson, H.; Wallace, R., et al.  Decreased drug abuse with Transcendental Meditation: A study of 1,862 subjects. In Drug Abuse: Proceedings of the International Conference, ed. Chris J. D. Zarafonetis, pp. 369-376. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger, 1972.

Dr. Benson's research in to meditation
began with the Transcendental Meditation
technique, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. 

But he is maintaining a neutral, objective position,
not aligning with any particular meditation organization. 

Research indicates that TM, which has a particular way of
being taught, is more effective in producing consistent results.

For more information on TM in particular,

Highlights of videos you can order from MBMI:

Seminar at Morristown General Hospital

How to Teach the Relaxation Response

Harvard Medical School Department of Continuing Education
Clinical Training in Mind/Body Medicine
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October 28 - November 1, 2002 Course Participants and Staff

Herbert Benson, M.D., is the founding President of the Mind/Body Medical Institute; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; and Chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

A graduate of Wesleyan University and the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Benson is the author or co-author of more than 170 scientific publications and seven books:

More than four million copies of his books have been printed in many languages.

Dr. Benson is a pioneer in mind/body medicine, as well as in bringing spirituality and healing into medicine. Through his 35+ year career, he defined the relaxation response and continues to lead teaching and research into its efficacy in counteracting the harmful effects of stress. The recipient of numerous national and international awards, Dr. Benson lectures widely about mind/body medicine and the M/BMI's work. His expertise is frequently sought by national and international news media, and he appears in scores of newspapers, magazines, and television programs each year.

Dr. Benson's research extends from the laboratory to the clinic and to Asian field expeditions. His work serves as a bridge between medicine and religion, East and West, mind and body, and belief and science.

Scientific Research on Relaxation Response / Meditation
Click for Dr. Benson's Cirriculum Vitae and 99 publications

Wallace Robert K, Benson Herbert, Wilson AF. A wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state. American Journal of Physiology 1971;221:795-9.

Benson Herbert, Wallace Robert K. Decreased drug abuse with Transcendental Meditation: A study of 1,861 subjects. In: Zarafonetis CJD, ed. Drug Abuse - Proceedings of the International Conference. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger, 1972:369-76.

Wallace Robert K, Benson Herbert. The physiology of meditation. Scientific American 1972;226:84-90.

Dr. Benson has been a pioneer with intestinal fortitude,
studying the physiological changes during meditation
techniques since 1968 as a professor at Harvard
helping them become acceptable topics of study.

Dr. Benson and Dr. Robert K. Wallace published first study,
"A wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state"
in the American Journal of Physiology, 1971

Oxygen consumption decreased during meditation

Carbon Dioxide output decreased during meditation

Rate of breathing decreased during meditation

Cellular ventilation decreased during meditation

PO2, or oxygen concentration in the blood
remained constant, even increasing slightly
Blood lactate levels, an indicator of stress, decreased during meditation

Oxygen consumption was deeper than during sleep

Effects of Medicine



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Graduate ('61) and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard

Click to order
The Relaxation Response
from article on how to meditate

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Harvard Medical School Pathology Network

MBMI/Harvard Medical School Trainings

Foundations and Organizations Recommending the Relaxation Response

Dr. Benson speaks before Congress, November 1997

Article in Harvard Focus

Google search: Relaxation Response