Herbert Benson's research while affiliated with University of California, Davis and other places

Publications (152)

Article
The role of excessive or persistent stress as a major contributor to morbidity and mortality is well recognized. Meditation and other mind–body practices are increasingly popular for their perceived physical and mental health benefits and stress relief.
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Objective: Mind-body practices that elicit the relaxation response (RR) have been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure (BP) in essential hypertension (HTN) and may be an adjunct to antihypertensive drug therapy. However, the molecular mechanisms by which the RR reduces BP remain undefined. Design: Genomic determinants associated with responsive...
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In response to the challenge of military traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder, the US military developed a wide range of holistic care modalities at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, from 2001 to 2017, guided by civilian expert consultation via the Epidaurus Project. These projects spanned a ran...
Conference Paper
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Background: High expectations about acupuncture might contribute to larger treatment effects (Prady et al., 2015). However, problems in the assessment are well known: 1) floor or ceiling effects lower variance; 2) expectation measures include general beliefs about complementary medicine; 3) construct validity of expectation measures remains unclear...
Article
Objective: This pilot, randomized clinical trial investigates the effectiveness of tai chi as the primary treatment for Chinese Americans with major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods: 67 Chinese Americans with DSM-IV MDD and no treatment for depression were recruited between March 2012 and April 2013 and randomized (1:1:1) into a tai chi interv...
Article
10051 Background: Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) are asymptomatic clonal precursors to multiple myeloma, a hematological malignancy. Because observation is currently the standard of care, a diagnosis of MGUS or SMM can be associated with stress and worry about progression. We evaluate...
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The Competing Interests statement is incorrect. The correct Competing Interests statement is: The following authors hold or have held positions at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, which is paid by patients and their insurers for running the SMART-3RP and related relaxation/mindfulness clinical pro...
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The purpose of this systematic review was to identify and assess evidence related to the efficacy of meditative movement (MM) on sleep quality. We conducted a comprehensive review of relevant studies drawn from English and Chinese databases. Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting outcomes of the effects of MM (tai chi, qi gong, and yoga...
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Background: Poor psychological and physical resilience in response to stress drives a great deal of health care utilization. Mind-body interventions can reduce stress and build resiliency. The rationale for this study is therefore to estimate the effect of mind-body interventions on healthcare utilization. Objective: Estimate the effect of mind...
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Introduction Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can profoundly affect quality of life and are influenced by stress and resiliency. The impact of mind-body interventions (MBIs) on IBS and IBD patients has not previously been examined. Methods Nineteen IBS and 29 IBD patients were enrolled in a 9-week relaxation res...
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Background: Mindfulness-based therapies are being used in a wide range of common chronic conditions in both treatment and prevention despite lack of consensus about their effectiveness in different patient categories. Objective: To systematically review the evidence of effectiveness MBSR and MBCT in different patient categories. Methods: A sys...
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Context: Recent data suggest that severe stress during the adolescent period is becoming a problem of epidemic proportions. Elicitation of the relaxation response (RR) has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety, reducing stress, and increasing positive health behaviors. Objective: The research team's objective was to assess the impact of...
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The objective of this pilot study was to examine the effects of a brief, 6-week, 1.5-hour mind-body intervention for depression (MBID) in patients being treated for depression in 2 community health centers. The MBID taught techniques such as meditation that elicit the relaxation response (RR) in combination with additional resiliency-enhancing comp...
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Background: This study examined the feasibility, safety and efficacy of an 8-week Relaxation Response (RR)-based group. Methods: Twenty-two depressed Chinese American immigrants were recruited. Outcomes measures were response and remission rates, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Clinical Global Impressions Scale, Quality of Life Enjoyme...
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Context: The prevalence of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise, with an estimated 350 million people affected. Populations with lower socioeconomic status are at higher risk for mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Community health centers (CHCs) often have wait lists for individual counseling. Group m...
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Tai chi, also called taiji or tai chi chuan, is a form of mind-body exercise that originated from China. It combines Chinese martial arts and meditative movements that promote balance and healing of the mind and body, involving a series of slowly performed, dance-like postures that flow into one another. As it comprises mental concentration, physic...
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Objectives: This is an open-pilot study to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of a pain-specific version of an established mind–body medicine program, the Relaxation Response [RR] Resiliency Program [R3P], in patients with chronic temporomandibular disorder [TMD]. Methods: Male and female with at least a six-month history of pain...
Article
This pilot study evaluated the effectiveness of a comprehensive mind body intervention for weight loss in overweight and obesity and the maintenance of weight loss at 6-month follow-up. Thirty-one overweight and obese employees (Body Mass Index (BMI) 28.6-47.9kg/m(2)) from a large corporation participated in a 20-week comprehensive mind body interv...
Data
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Temporal genomic expression patterns during one session of RR elicitation. Genes that were differentially expressed either across or within groups comparisons at different time point were used as seed sets of genes for Self-Organizing Map (SOM) analysis. These differentially expressed genes were partitioned to 18 separate maps according to Pearson...
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Interactive network and focus hubs of genes depicting acute Progressive (Progressive II) Downregulation patterns. The interactive network and focus hub identification analysis was performed on genes from 15 Progressively Downregulated (Progressive I) pathways linked to mRNA processing and immune response. The focus gene hubs were identified using t...
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FeNO levels during one session of RR elicitation. (PDF)
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Gene—ontology enrichment analysis of progressive and long—term expression patterns. (PDF)
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Supporting Information (PDF)
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Interactive Network of progressively (Progressive II) upregulated genes. The network was generated from genes of 27 progressively upregulated pathways (Progressive I) related to energy production, metabolism, growth factors and glucose regulation. The interaction information about the genes was obtained from public interaction databases or the comm...
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Top focus gene hubs identified from Interactive networks of significantly affected Long-term Downregulated pathways. The figure represents the top 20 focus genes identified from complex interactive networks generated from pathways with Long-term Downregulated patterns. The focus gene hubs were identified and ranked using the bottleneck algorithm fo...
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Correlation analysis of NO levels and Selected 10 pathways affected progressively or only in long term manner by RR (Bold). The correlation analysis was performed both by comparing FeNO and gene expression levels at particular time point (e.g. T0, T1, T2) as well as changes in gene expression and FeNO levels within a group. The significance of the...
Data
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Schematic view of temporal relaxation response study design and analysis plans. The transcriptome profiling was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected immediately prior to (T0), immediately after (T1) and 15 minutes after (T2) listening to a 20-minute Education CD by the Novices (N1) or a 20-minute RR CD by the Short term...
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Interactive network and focus hubs of genes depicting Longterm Upregulation patterns. A) Interactive network, B) Top 20 focus genes. The interactive network and focus hub identification analysis was performed on genes from 14 Long-term Upregulated pathways linked to DNA stability, recombination and repair. In the network each node represents a gene...
Article
: To determine the factors that may predict music-induced relaxation in friends and family of patients in the emergency department. : It remains unclear to date which demographic and experiential factors predict the effectiveness of music-induced relaxation. Furthermore, in-hospital stressors for friends and family of patients rather than patients...
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The relaxation response (RR) is the counterpart of the stress response. Millennia-old practices evoking the RR include meditation, yoga and repetitive prayer. Although RR elicitation is an effective therapeutic intervention that counteracts the adverse clinical effects of stress in disorders including hypertension, anxiety, insomnia and aging, the...
Article
Background: Chronic daily stress has significant physical, emotional, and financial implications; levels of stress are increasing in the US. Dr. Benson highlighted how the mind and body function together in one's experience of the stress response and proposed the existence of the relaxation response (RR). Objective: The current paper describes t...
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Introduction. The effect of Qigong on psychological well-being is relatively unknown. This study systematically reviewed the effects of Qigong on anxiety, depression, and psychological well-being. Methods. Using fifteen studies published between 2001 and 2011, a systematic review was carried out and meta-analyses were performed on studies with appr...
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Background. This pilot study examined the feasibility and efficacy of providing Qigong treatment in a health center to Chinese Americans with major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods. Fourteen Chinese Americans with MDD were enrolled, and they received a 12-week Qigong intervention. The key outcome measurement was the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale...
Article
This entry includes the following topics: meditation and the relaxation response; the physiology of stress; historical references to practices that include components of the relaxation response; steps in eliciting the relaxation response; medical benefits of the relaxation response. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study examined the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of using tai chi for treating major depressive disorder. Thirty-nine Chinese Americans with major depressive disorder were randomized into a 12-wk tai chi intervention or a waitlisted control group in a 2:1 ratio. The key outcome measurement was the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depressi...
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Mind-body medical approaches may ameliorate chronic disease. Stress reduction is particularly helpful, but face-to-face delivery systems cannot reach all those who might benefit. An online, 3-dimensional virtual world may be able to support the rich interpersonal interactions required of this approach. In this pilot study, we explore the feasibilit...
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Early enrichment (EE) programs provide a well-established approach to mitigate the deleterious effects of childhood adversity. To better understand the therapeutic features of EE, in the current study we compared the effect of two forms of nesting material on isolation reared (IR) rats. We found that both materials, absent of social and any other p...
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The study objectives were to develop and objectively assess the therapeutic effect of a novel movement-based complementary and alternative medicine approach for children with an autism-spectrum disorder (ASD). A within-subject analysis comparing pre- to post-treatment scores on two standard measures of childhood behavioral problems was used. SETTIN...
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The relaxation response (RR) is a physiological state that is the counterpart to the stress response. We investigate the psychological and biological effects, as well as the correlation between these two effects that are associated with short-term vs. long-term practice of techniques that elicit the RR ("RR practice"). The study comprised both a cr...
Conference Paper
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of behavioral therapy in the management of subjects with chronic orofacial pain, in comparison to an established medical management protocol. Methods: 26 subjects with at least a six-month history of refractory facial pain were recruited from the orofacial pain centers at MGH from 200...
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This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) examined the clinical effects of 2 complementary (CAM) therapies, relaxation response therapy (RRT) and Reiki therapy, in men being treated with external beam radiotherapy (EBRx) for prostate cancer. Study participants were randomly assigned to weekly RRT, Reiki therapy twice weekly, or wait-list control...
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The objective of this study was to describe possible changes in physical and psychologic symptoms among outpatients completing a 12-week mind-body medical symptom reduction program related to chronic medical conditions. The cornerstone of the program is elicitation of the relaxation response, and the curriculum also incorporates trainings on mind-b...
Article
PURPOSE: Although cardiac rehabilitation programs have been shown to decrease cardiovascular risk, morbidity, and mortality, few programs have integrated a balanced mind/body approach in which patients are taught the relaxation response and utilize cognitive behavior skills for stress management, along with diet and exercise. We examined the medica...
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Although the physiological and biochemical changes that occur during the acute stress response have been well-characterized, the contrasting changes that underlie the relaxation response evoked by various mind-body techniques are less understood. To help guide future mind-body research, we present a conceptual model that integrates patterns of chan...
Article
Although cardiac rehabilitation programs have been shown to decrease cardiovascular risk, morbidity, and mortality, few programs have integrated a balanced mind/body approach in which patients are taught the relaxation response and utilize cognitive behavior skills for stress management, along with diet and exercise. We examined the medical and psy...
Article
It is well established that pacemaker neurons in the brainstem provide automatic control of breathing for metabolic homeostasis and survival. During waking spontaneous breathing, cognitive and emotional demands can modulate the intrinsic brainstem respiratory rhythm. However the neural circuitry mediating this modulation is unknown. Studies of supr...
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Environmental enrichment (EE) fosters attachment behavior through its effect on brain oxytocin levels in the hippocampus and other brain regions, which in turn modulate the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA). Social isolation and other stressors negatively impact physical healing through their effect on the HPA. Therefore, we reasoned that: 1) provi...
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Although the literature on complementary therapy, including music, is vast, there are few studies conducted in a scientific fashion exploring physiologic mechanisms. This review summarizes recent evidence on the effects of music on the hypermetabolic response of critical illness. Music may restore some of the distorted homeostasis observed in ICU p...
Conference Paper
Objectives: Relaxation response (RR) practice has been found to improve spiritual quality of life in various patient populations including cardiac patients. In this study, we examined the relationship among RR, spirituality, weight loss, and medical and psychological outcomes of patients with coronary artery disease who participated in a mind-bod...
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Isolated systolic hypertension is common in the elderly, but decreasing systolic blood pressure (SBP) without lowering diastolic blood pressure (DBP) remains a therapeutic challenge. Although stress management training, in particular eliciting the relaxation response, reduces essential hypertension its efficacy in treating isolated systolic hyperte...
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Background: Mind-body practices that elicit the relaxation response (RR) have been used worldwide for millennia to prevent and treat disease. The RR is characterized by decreased oxygen consumption, increased exhaled nitric oxide, and reduced psychological distress. It is believed to be the counterpart of the stress response that exhibits a distin...