An updated health handbook outlines techniques of concentration designed to reduce physiological stress and presents scientific data indicating the effectiveness of similar systems of relaxation. Reprint.
Read This Classic , Learn to Meditate, Alter Your Life
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 16 years ago
This is an absolutely priceless treatise on certain forms of meditation and their benefits. Dr. Benson demystifies meditation as an occult religious ritual and highlights all the scientifically researched practical benefits of starting and maintaining this wonderful practice. You will never purchase and read a more valuable introduction and tutorial on the subject! If you are reading this review you were meant to purchase and use this book. Just do it!
Stress Relief and Indigo Dreams
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 17 years ago
This is an excellent book for anyone that wants to understand how stress works and how it hurts the body. Based on fact and research it is presented in an easy to read format. You can turn to any page and get something out of it that will make sense to you. I particularly liked the way Dr. Benson takes the mysticism out of meditation and shows scientifically how breathing, visualizing, muscular relaxation and positive statements will help your nervous system, circulatory system, respiratory system and immune system. This book has been around for 30 years and it's information is still powerful. I also implemented Indigo Dreams:Adult Relaxation into my stress management routine. The Relaxation Response offered me the facts I needed to get me started and Indigo Dreams taught me how to do all four of the techniques Dr. Benson recommends. Both are highly recommended if you are looking for relaxation.
Excellent for laypersons and practitioners alike
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 17 years ago
Whether you are a mental or physical health practitioner or simply a person looking to explore relaxation techniques, this is an excellent book. Background information is provided, as well as an in depth look at how this works, why it works, and what effect it has on the body. For practitioners, this book is a must read and I highly recommend that you request of your patients the reading of this book. Top quality work.
My blood pressure is much lower after reading this book.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
I found this book to be extremely helpful. I've suffered from an anxiety disorder and its related symptoms, such as hypertension, for almost ten years now. Ever since I became aware of what anxiety was and started reading up on it, about five years ago, I had heard about Dr. Benson's classic book on the subject, but I never got around to reading it until now. I'm glad I finally did.I had always heard that incorporating some form of meditation into one's daily routine would do wonders for calming the various symptoms of anxiety. For the last five years, I've tried over and over again, unsuccessfully, to sit quietly and do nothing. But it's extremely hard to make any mind sit still for long, and maybe especially an anxious one.THE RELAXATION RESPONSE is written in such a clear and no-nonsense way, and it's so easy to follow, that it's got me to do what I had come to believe was the impossible: to sit quietly for ten minutes every morning with a relatively empty mind. Herbert Benson is a Harvard cardiologist who pioneered the research into stress-related causes for diseased such as hypertension. Always weary of having his research seen as nothing more than new age fluffery, Dr. Benson made sure to prove his results by rigidly adhering to the scientific method.Dr. Benson's results show that there is a capacity inherent in all human beings to invoke a "relaxation response" that can counter the effects of the "flight or flight response" which is at the root of many modern stress-related illnesses.By learning to invoke the "relaxation response" once or twice a day for just ten minutes at a sitting, one can effectively lower high blood pressure, and gain more tranquility in their emotional life.This book is easy to read, and it really works. I read it over the summer, and was able to start meditating successfully almost instantly. My main problem I found out was that I tended to meditate while lying down and so I would just fall asleep. I always found the idea of sitting stiffly so counter to relaxation, that I was never able to attempt to meditate that way. But Dr. Benson's book helped me to see that one doesn't need to meditate for long periods of time, so I found it easy enough to sit cross-legged with my eyes closed and my hands on my knees for five minutes at a stretch. (I then slowly worked it up a minute at a time to ten minutes, which is the recommended length).I simply count my breaths up to four and start over again. That way if thoughts intrude on my stillness, I know it, because I lose track of my counting, so I just start counting again.Meditation is still not the easiest practice, but this book has helped me make it part of my daily activities, and for that I'm extremely grateful. I had a doctor's appointment about a month after starting my new mediatation habitat, and for the first time in almost a decade, my blood pressure was normal.I highly recommend this book to anyone suffering from any effects of anxiety, or anyone who wo
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
This is worth the money to own -- it's so, so worth it... I did another review once for a somewhat similar book -- "The Quiet Mind," by White Eagle. That is a more explicitly "spiritual" book than this one, full of little aphoristic sayings that often refer to God, or "the light"... I still like that book, but I wanted to speak up in favor of this approach to having a quiet mind, also. "The Relaxation Response" is really quite short and to-the-point, and has a fundamentally Western, rational, scientific feel to it. The end goal is very similar to White Eagle's book, however. Herbert Benson helps us to know the value of taking just ten or fifteen minutes each day to breathe, to say your private mantra over and over, and to simply Be... I think a lot of people out there have some pretty flaky mental associations with the word "mantra." People immediately think of the Beatles saying "heavy, man" and binging in a huge way on LSD-laced mandarin oranges, or some similar image. Benson shows that meditation need not be like this. A mantra could be basically any simple, calming phrase -- anything that doesn't provoke fitful spasms of hysterical laughter is probably fine. One example of a poor choice of a mantra would be "get... get... get... out... out... out..." like hockey mask-wearing Jason in the "Friday the Thirteenth" movies. A better one might be something calming, such as "decaf for me, please... decaf for me, please... decaf for me, please..." or, better still, the name of a beloved childhood pet. That's what I use, the name of the dog we owned when I was a kid, and it works for me. You can use a pleasant-sounding nonsense word if you want, also. Furthermore, it isn't necessary to be given a mantra in a personalized, ritualistic fashion by a personal guru, like many TM practioners used to advocate in the 70s. It's okay to pick your own, whatever works for you, a lot of those gurus were just a bunch of frauds.This book is worth owning, for the further calming effect of being able to view the author's helpfully compiled graphs, and his discussions of the experimental sessions that led to his understanding of the essence of meditation. What he is basically going to tell you to do, however, is simply to take a few minutes a day to sit comfortably, breathe in and out, chant quietly, and try to let your mind empty itself out. Emptying the mind of extraneous thoughts is not meant to feel like wringing water out of a wet washcloth, either -- it should feel like leaving the washcloth hanging loosely over a clothesline, and letting the water, the thoughts, drip to the ground below of their own, unhurried accord, for just fifteen tranquil minutes a day. I wish I had discovered this book years ago. Two mellow thumbs up -- check this one out.
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