Practicing relaxation techniques that reliably and predictably elicit your body's relaxation response, which diminishes the harmful effects of excess allostatic load, offers beneficial effects that include:
- Immediate benefits -- which occur as you focus upon a repetitive word, phrase, breath or action -- include lowered blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen consumption (which means that your metabolic rate drops).
- Long-term benefits -- which occur after practicing for at least a month -- persist even when a person is not practicing the relaxation response, and appear to be due to an alteration of the body's response to epinephrine (the stress hormone made by the adrenal gland). The regular elicitation of the relaxation response can result in a reduction in anxiety/depression and improvement in your ability to cope with stress.
- Spiritual benefits include a sense of increased spirituality. Harvard research has confirmed that people who elicited the relaxation response experienced the close presence of a higher power, force, energy or perception of God.