The Relaxation Response
Dr. Herbert Benson
Learn a natural and effective way to counter the effects of stress
Sometimes life can seem hectic, stressful and anxiety producing. These feelings are often even more common during the busy holiday season. Stress can create the fight or flight response in our body. The fight or flight response occurs naturally when we feel overextended, pressured, rushed or threatened in anyway. It is a healthy natural response designed to alert and protect us from bodily harm. However, the fight or flight response can be harmful to us when it is activated frequently or develops into a chronic state of being. When high levels of stress hormones are released in the body it can contribute to stress related medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, GI dysfunction and adrenal fatigue. The Relaxation Response is a helpful way to counter the effects of stress and the fight or flight response.
What is the Relaxation Response?
Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist, professor, and founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, coined the term “Relaxation Response”. He helped demystify meditation in modern western society and bring it into the mainstream.
The Relaxation Response is the opposite of the fight or flight response. It signals the brain to release chemicals that help your muscles and organs slow down and increases blood flow back to the brain. It helps to bring the body back to a pre-stress level, a physical state of deep relaxation.
Dr. Benson’s studies in the 1960’s and 1970’s showed that mediation or deep relaxation promotes better health, especially in individuals with hypertension. People who mediate regularly can experience lower stress levels, improved sleep, increased energy levels and feelings of wellbeing. People also may reduce their blood pressure levels and resting heart rate.
Research also has shown that the Relaxation Response can help health problems that are caused or exacerbated by chronic stress such as fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal difficulties, hypertension, insomnia, and anxiety disorders.
There are many ways to elicit the Relaxation Response including breathing techniques, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, acupuncture, massage, yoga, tai chi and prayer. Simply removing yourself from everyday thought and by choosing a word, sound, phrase, or your breath to focus on, is a healing method of relaxation.
One of the most important and rewarding things we can do for ourselves is to learn deep relaxation and spend time each day quieting our minds and bodies to create inner peace and improved health.
RemedyNow providers are trained and qualified to help you experience deep relaxation and healing through our Integrative Wellness Services of yoga, acupuncture, massage, and mindfulness. www.RemedyNow.net
We are happy to talk with you about how to counter the effects of stress and improve peace and harmony in 2017. When we help ourselves we also help those around us. To get started today, try the following exercise. We’d love to hear about your experience!
- Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
- Choose a word that helps you feel relaxed. (Rest, peace, ocean, God).
- Close your eyes and feel the weight of your body relax.
- Become aware of your breath and notice the breath going in and out of your nose or belly.
- Place a relaxed focused attention on the breath going in and out.
- As you breath out, say your word silently to yourself.
- When you are aware that your mind has wander, kindly bring your focus back to your calming word and your breath.
- Continue this process for 10-20 minutes. If you choose, practice twice daily.
Enjoy new possibilities of relaxation and peace.
To read more about stress and the effects on your body, Click HERE