The relaxation response: psychophysiologic aspects and clinical applications

Int J Psychiatry Med. 1975;6(1-2):87-98. doi: 10.2190/376W-E4MT-QM6Q-H0UM.


It is hypothesized that situations requiring continous behavioral adjustment activate an integrated, hypothalamic response, the emergency reaction. The frequent elicitation of the physiologic changes associated with the emergency reaction has been implicated in the development of diseases such as hypertension. Prevention and treatment of these diseases may be through the use of the relaxation response, an integrated hypothalamic response whose physiologic changes appear to be the counterpart of the emergency reaction. This article describes the basic elements of techniques which elicit the relaxation response and discusses the results of clinical investigations which employ the relaxation response as a therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Headache / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / therapy*
  • Relaxation Therapy* / methods*
  • Respiration
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy