What is the "Relaxation Response"?
This outer 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]

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 and naturally.

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 minutes.

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 technique.


Keep a daily log of your relaxation practice.

Relaxation Journal

Time of Day________
Biodot color at:
Beginning of Session______
End of Session______



Type of Relaxation Skill Practiced___________

1. Herbert Benson, The Relaxation Response, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1977, p.114

Email: rbrehm@msn.com  Copyright 1998  [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.

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