Herbert Benson, M.D. (born 1935), is an American cardiologist and founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He graduated from Wesleyan University and Harvard Medical School.
Benson is Mind Body Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI)at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 scientific publications and 11 books. More than five million copies of his books have been printed in many languages.
Benson is a pioneer in mind/body medicine, one of the first Western physicians to bring spirituality and healing into medicine. In his 35+ year career, he has defined the relaxation response and continues to lead teaching and research into its efficacy in counteracting the harmful effects of stress. The recipient of numerous national and international awards, Dr. Benson lectures widely about mind/body medicine and the BHI's work. His expertise is frequently sought by national and international news media, and he appears in scores of newspapers, magazines, and television programs each year. Dr. Benson's research extends from the laboratory to the clinic to Asian field expeditions. His work serves as a bridge between medicine and religion, East and West, mind and body, and belief and science.
Benson participated in a dialogue that was held at Harvard in March 1991, as part of a conversation between scientists and Buddhists initiated by 14th Dalaï Lama, organized by the Mind and Life Institute. Book Review: MindScience.
Mind body medicine
Benson has pioneered mind-body research, focusing on stress and the relaxation response in medicine. In his research, the mind and body are one system, in which meditation can play a significant role in reducing stress responses. He continues to pioneer medical research into bodymind questions.
- The Relaxation Response, 1975. ISBN 978-0-688-02955-5
- The Mind/Body Effect: How behavioral medicine can show you the way to better health , 1979. ISBN 978-0-671-24143-8
- Beyond the Relaxation Response, 1984
- Your Maximum Mind, 1987
- 'Contributor - 'MindScience: An East-West Dialogue Daniel Goleman and Robert A. F. Thurman Editors, Wisdom Publications, 1991. ISBN 978-0-86171-066-9
- The Wellness Book, 1992
- Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief, 1996. ISBN 978-0-7881-5775-2
- The Relaxation Response - Updated and Expanded (25th Anniversary Edition), 2000
- The Breakout Principle, 2003
- Mind Over Menopause, 2004
- Mind Your Heart, 2004. ISBN 978-0-7432-3702-4
- The Harvard Medical School Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure, 2006. ISBN 978-0-07-144801-7
- Relaxation Revolution, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4391-4865-5
- Benson, Herbert. 1976. Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response. RelaxationResponse.org. From The Relaxation Response. HarperTorch.
- Herbert Benson et al., "Body temperature changes during the practice of g Tum-mo yoga" in Nature 295 (21. Januar 1982), http://lib.semi.ac.cn:8080/tsh/dzzy/wsqk/Nature/295-234.pdf
- Benson, Herbert. 1998. Staying Healthy in a Stressful World. PBS Body & Soul with Gail Harris. PBS Online: Beacon Productions.
- Carey, Benedict. 2006. Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer. Mar 31. New York Times
- Kiesling, Stephen, and T. George Harris. 1989. The prayer war - Herbert Benson's research on health benefits of prayer. Oct. Psychology Today.
- The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
- Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response
- Spirituality emerges as point of debate in mind-body movement
- Inner Calm: Benson explains relaxation techniques on Humankind public radio
- The Herbert Benson Papers can be found at The Center for the History of Medicine at the Countway Library, Harvard Medical School.
- "Meditation changes temperatures" – An article on the Harvard study about Meditation controlling body temperatures.