Dr. Herbert Benson is the Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Instituite for Mind Body Medicine, at the Massachussets General Hospital and is the Mind Body Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In this video he describes the relaxation response, which is a counter balance to the fight or flight response that may occur within every human being.
Herbert Benson coined the relaxation response in the mid 70’s. In his book, Timeless Healing, he explains that the relaxation response is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response, which we all have experience. Instead of increasing our blood flow and pumping adrenaline through our bodies, the relaxation response helps the human body calm down and repair itself, lowering stress levels and making us feel better all around.
Herbert says that this is a natural facet of our human bodies but somehow in the busy bustle of modern life in the west we have lost touch with the ability to do so.
The basic method that Herbet offers for activating the relaxation response is to focus on one word and repeat it to oneself, anything from a religious phrase or a secular word. By aiming to ignore the inner dialogue of ones mind you can release your body from its day-to-day stresses and that this act is very beneficial to our bodies. Herbert, who studied at Harvard University, went on to be a huge proponent of the Transcendental Meditation group; and his relaxation response a valuable tool.