Many TMSers have posted asking how to practice meditation for relaxation. I have been finding the Relaxation Response technique to be very helpful in quieting the mind which helps heal the body. It isn't easy for most people to sit quietly with their eyes closed for 20 minutes, so it could be started with 5, then 10, then 15. Eyes closed, no music. Just let your mind think of a word such as "One " which has no real meaning or association. Follow the technique below and see how fast you calm. It is similar to Transcendental Meditation but unlike that popular technique is not religious and costs nothing. Herbert Benson, M.D. documented benefits experienced through traditional forms of Christian and Jewish prayer. Benson published his “Relaxation Response” method of stress reduction without the mysticism associated with TM. Short structured rest periods provide health benefits. Herbert Benson, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School and founder of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine 824 Boylston St. Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-2508 Phone: (617) 991-0102 Toll free: (866) 509-0732 MBMI@CareGroup.Harvard.edu On some measurements The Relaxation Response and Transcendental Meditation appear to be similar. However, TM is taught in a methodical way by certified instructors who charge $1,000 to make sure the student gets the maximum benefits, with check-ups for life. TM may be a cult or religion. There are no such instructors for the free RR and no follow up program. Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response The following is the technique reprinted with permission from Dr. Herbert Benson's book The Relaxation Response pages 162-163 1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position. 2. Close your eyes. 3. Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed. 4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word, "one"*, silently to yourself. For example, breathe in ... out, "one",- in .. out, "one", etc. Breathe easily and naturally. 5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes. 6. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating "one." With practice, the response should come with little effort. Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with the elicitation of the Relaxation Response. * It is better to use a soothing, mellifluous sound, preferably with no meaning. or association, to avoid stimulation of unnecessary thoughts - a mantra.