Benefits of Mind-Body Relaxation

Tension damages virtually every organ in your body. It directly or indirectly contributes to most diseases. In this section you will learn about the remarkable connection between tension and disease, and how mind-body relaxation treats and prevents disease by helping your body help itself.

Tension causes premature aging of DNA. A study at the University of California at San Francisco showed that mothers who are under high stress have more damage to their DNA than mothers under low stress.[1]

Mind-body relaxation reduces the risk of heart disease by 30 percent, and reduces deaths due to heart disease by 23 percent. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the developed world. Mind-body relaxation techniques significantly reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and the risk of fatal heart attacks according to a study in the British Medical Journal.[2] The results were confirmed in a study in the American Journal of Cardiology, which also showed that relaxation increases life expectancy.[3]

Mind-body relaxation reverses hardening of the arteries. Not only does mind-body relaxation reduce the risk of heart disease, it actually reverses hardening of the arteries according to a study published in the American Heart Association Journal, Stroke.[4]

Mind-body relaxation reduces the risk of a depression recurrence by 50 percent. Approximately 10-30 percent of people will suffer at least one episode of depression in their life. Once a person has had an episode of depression, they have a 50 percent chance of having another episode. Relaxation techniques in conjunction with medication reduce the risk of recurrence of depression significantly more than medication alone.[5]

Mind-body relaxation is effective in treating and preventing substance abuse. Approximately 10 percent of people suffer from drug and alcohol addiction, which makes addiction more common than diabetes. Numerous studies have shown that relaxation provides long-term improvements in self-esteem and psychological health, and significantly reduces the risk of substance abuse.[6]

Mind-body relaxation helps treat anxiety and panic attacks. A study at the University of Massachusetts showed that patients who suffered from generalized anxiety or panic disorder felt significantly better after learning relaxation techniques, and continued to use those techniques over the long-term.[7]

Relaxation can strengthen your immune system. One study showed that after just eight weeks of learning how to relax, participants had a stronger immune system.[8]

Relaxation relieves chronic pain, and relieves chronic lower-back pain. After a ten-week mind-body relaxation course many patients needed less pain medication. After fifteen months, not only did they suffer less pain, but because they suffered less pain they also suffered less from depression and anxiety.[9]

Relaxation reduces the symptoms of fibromyalgia. In one study 51 percent of the patients experienced moderate to marked improvement in their fibromyalgia symptoms. That is virtually unheard of in most treatments of fibromyalgia.[10] (Reference: Mind-Body Relaxation)

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[1] E.S. Epel, E.H. Blackburn, J. Lin, F.S. Dhabhar, N.E. Adler, J.D. Morrow, and R.M. Cawthon. "Accelerated telomere shortening in response to life stress," Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2004 Dec 7;101(49):17312–15.
[2] C. Patel, M.G. Marmot, D.J. Terry, M. Carruthers, B. Hunt, and M. Patel. "Trial of relaxation in reducing coronary risk: four year follow up," Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985 Apr 13; 290(6475):1103–6.
[3] R.H. Schneider, C.N. Alexander, F. Staggers, M. Rainforth, J.W. Salerno, A. Hartz, S. Arndt, V.A. Barnes, and S.I. Nidich. "Long-term effects of stress reduction on mortality in persons >/=55 years of age with systemic hypertension," Am J Cardiol 2005 May 1;95(9):1060–64.
[4] A. Castillo-Richmond, R.H. Schneider, C.N. Alexander, R. Cook, H. Myers, S. Nidich, C. Haney, M. Rainforth, and J. Salerno. "Effects of Stress Reduction on Carotid Atherosclerosis in Hypertensive African Americans," Stroke 2000 Mar; 31(3):568–73.
[5] S.H. Ma and J.D. Teasdale. "Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: replication and exploration of differential relapse prevention effects," J Consult Clin Psychol 2004 Feb; 72(1):31–40.
[6] P. Gelderloos, K.G. Walton, D.W. Orme-Johnson, and C.N. Alexander. "Effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program in preventing and treating substance misuse: a review," Int J Addict 1991 Mar; 26(3):293-325.
[7] J. Kabat-Zinn, A.O. Massion, J. Kristeller, L.G. Peterson, K.E. Fletcher, L. Pbert, W.R. Lenderking, and S.F. Santorelli. "Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders," Am J Psychiatry 1992 Jul;149(7):936–43.
[8] R.J. Davidson, J. Kabat-Zinn, J. Schumacher, M. Rosenkranz, D. Muller, S.F. Santorelli, F. Urbanowski, A. Harrington, K. Bonus, and J.F. Sheridan. "Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation," Psychosom Med 2003 Jul–Aug; 65(4):564–70.
[9] W.E. Mehling, K.A. Hamel, M. Acree, N. Byl, and F.M. Hecht. "Randomized, controlled trial of breath therapy for patients with chronic low-back pain," Altern Ther Health Med 2005 Jul–Aug; 11(4):44–52.
[10] K.H. Kaplan, D.L. Goldenberg, and M. Galvin-Nadeau. "The impact of a meditation-based stress reduction program on fibromyalgia," Gen Hosp Psychiatry 1993 Sep; 15(5):284–89.

Last Modified: March 21, 2018

Information included: Mind-body relaxation is effective in treating and preventing substance abuse. Learn the consequences and effects of chronic stress and tension. Tension causes premature aging of DNA. Mind-body relaxation reduces the risk of heart disease. Discover how meditation and mindful relaxation can relieve stress effects and stress symptoms. Mind-body relaxation reverses hardening of the arteries. Learn about stress management and mindful meditation techniques. Mind-body relaxation reduces the risk of a depression recurrence. Learn how to meditate in addition to guided meditation and a stress reduction plan. Mind-body relaxation helps treat anxiety and panic attacks. Learn about relieving stress and tension. For a more information refer to the book, I Want to Change My Life by Dr. Steven M. Melemis.