What is the "Relaxation Response"?
meditation technique was developed by Herbert Benson at Harvard' Thorndike
Memorial Laboratory. The technique is often called the
Relaxation Response which is quite
simple, but requires some practice. Dr. Benson describes the practice of the" Relaxation
Response" technique as follows: 
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and
progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.
4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing.
As you breathe out, say the word, "ONE," silently to yourself. For
example breathe IN... OUT, "ONE; IN...OUT, "ONE", etc. Breathe easily
5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to
check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes,
at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few
6. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur
at its own pace. When distracting thought occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling on
them and return to repeating "ONE". With practice, the response should
come with little effort. Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two
hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seems to interfere with the
elicitation of the Relaxation Response.
Practice twice a day if you are not using the meditation
technique and keep a record of your practices t in your relaxation journal. Wear your
Biodot and check the color before and after the practice.
Indicate the time you practiced, the days, and how long. What did you notice? Was it easy
to do? Did it make you feel more relaxed? How did it compare with the breath counting
technique? Which did you like better and why? Do you feel less stress symptoms? This is a
simple technique but a very powerful one. You may wish to consult with your
instructor and or have him check your practice at the campus location o see if you
have done the practice correctly, and receive some suggestions to help you improve your
Keep a daily log of your
Time of Day________
Biodot color at:
Beginning of Session______
End of Session______
Type of Relaxation Skill Practiced___________
1. Herbert Benson,
Relaxation Response, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1977,
Copyright © 1998 [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.