Dr. Herbert Benson is the Director Emeritus of the Massachusetts General Hospital Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine and Mind Body Medicine Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Benson has been a pioneer in Mind Body Medicine. Through his research he has created the basic two-part Benson-Henry Protocol. When working with patients using this protocol he has found that, “Sometimes, this mind body healing protocol works so well that drugs or other medical interventions are unnecessary. Other times, a combination treatment may be best: a mind body approach plus drugs or surgery.”
This two-part protocol includes the following:
- Phase 1: Relaxation Response Trigger
- Phase 2: Visualization
This week I will discuss phase one of the Benson-Henry Protocol and next week provide details on phase 2.
As Benson writes in his great book, The Relaxation Revolution,
“Your objective in Phase One is to create the distinctive physiological and genetic conditioning associated with the relaxation response. These include such anti-stress changes as a healthier metabolism, lower blood pressure, slower heart and breathing rates, an overall calming of the brain, and a sense of relaxation and well-being. When these changes occur, you can assume that the beneficial changes in gene expression are also taking place.”
The eight steps in phase one, which they have used at Harvard Medical School, and proven scientifically, include the following:
1. Pick a word, phrase, image or short pray with neutral or positive connotation
2. Find a quiet location to sit comfortably
3. Close your eyes
4. Progressively relax all your muscles
5. Breath slowly and naturally repeating silently the word or phrase you choose during your entire exhale breath
6. Assume a passive attitude. If other thoughts come into your mind or you feel pain in your body, simply acknowledge it and refocus on the word or phrase
7. Continue this exercise for 12 to 15 minutes
8. Practice this technique at least once a day, preferably just before breakfast or just before dinner
This week take a short 12- 15 minutes for your health each day and try out this technique.
More to come next week with phase 2 – Visualization!
Wishing you success in all aspects of life,
Founder & President
Smart Health, Wellness, & Performance, Inc.