Dr. Rhea Zimmerman with Dr. Herbert Benson
I recently had the honor of meeting Dr. Herbert Benson at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Mass General Hospital. The warm welcome that I experienced was exemplary of a man who has based his professional career on the elicitation of the relaxation response and the benefits that this can induce in the public in general. He had a very welcoming, and relaxing, demeanor. I felt at once accepted as a practitioner as well as human being.
I am inspired by Dr. Benson. This man paved the way, in the 70’s, for the “mind/body” movement within medicine. As a cardiologist this had to have taken immense courage. The work that he has correlated: clinical facts regarding the application of the “relaxation response” along with cognitive retraining is like reviewing a series of studies proving what yoga teachers and many eastern practitioners have been espousing for thousands of years.
In my opinion, we live in an exciting time where research is proving to us the relationship of our mind, emotions, body and, ultimately, our spirituality. Dr. Benson’s commitment to providing studies that give us the scientific certainty that many need in the healing power of our minds and bodies is immense. In large part due to Dr. Benson, we are now have the research that proves to us that:
We can change the genes that express in our bodies.
Up-regulation and down-regulation of gene expression has now been proven using the relaxation response. Studies have also been done linking exercise and nutrition with a positive change in gene expression.
We can boost our immune systems with positive thinking and relaxation.
We have the science that shows us the relationship of our immune system to our capacity to create a positive perception of life.
Our brains regenerate and rewire: we can create new realities for ourselves in emotion and health.
Neuroplasticity is now a fact. Every day we have the capacity to grow our brains in a new direction. (This research is distinct from Dr. Benson’s, yet it is a poignant aspect of what we now know about our bodies).
We can slow our bodies aging process through systematic elicitation of the relaxation response.
With relaxation response oxidative stress and apoptosis is slowed. The brain also response positively demonstrating an increase in cognition within persons age 70 and over.
We can do these things ACCORDING TO OUR OWN PREFERENCE. We are not bound to any one religion or spiritual idea.
With Dr. Benson’s research he has shown that you can elicit the relaxation response in your own way, as long as you change the mental pattern. This means you can use mantra, prayer, counting, breathe, visualization, etc. You are free to choose what works for you. He has researched the process behind these techniques. You do not have to change religion or spiritual ideas in order to get the benefits.
In essence? We have a powerful relationship and freedom within our lives and health: and we are only on the frontier of discovering how deep this relationship can go.
I am so thankful that Dr. Benson took the time to meet with me. He is truly a treasure and I look forward to staying “tuned in” to the studies that continue to emerge from the BHI. The research we have of this kind, the more faith we can continue to grow in our own healing capacities, and, to know what simple protocols we can use to do this.
Part of being a chiropractor is having deep knowing that the power within the body is the healing force. I assist people to connect to this power/free it up to heal through Zone Healing Chiropractic. Now I am also happy to be able to coach clients of Blossom and Breathe Love on how to elicit the relaxation response as a daily ritual that is a powerful component of mind body healing. I am also thrilled to have discovered how this can be done using the CD that I created, Breathe Love.
Are you interested in reading more of Dr. Benson’s work? You can link to actual studies here.
Or purchase his book “Relaxation Revolution“!
Dr. Benson discussing his book and relaxation response:
Interested to know how to use Breathe Love to elicit the relaxation response? Check out my website here and follow the “why, how, and get it” to get started: breathelovecd.com (in the works!).