6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An interesting insight into what was revolutionary in 1975,
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This review is from: The Relaxation Response (Paperback)
This book is interesting as an insight into what was considered revolutionary in 1975 (ie. the health benefits of stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system). It is however somewhat dated, as science and common understanding on this subject has since moved on. For example, the book analyses the link between stress and high blood pressure, but it doesn't mention the other ways in which the nervous system, the circulatory system and the respiratory system inter-relate. There are even a few claims which have more recently been disproved (such as the part discussing cholesterol and diet).
There is much more to the book than plain science, however. For example, Chapter 4 lists various 1970s "alternatives" to meditation devised by contemporary physicians and neurologists. And Chapter 5 provides a background to the subject of meditation in a historical, religious and geographical context.
I especially enjoyed reading the "Forward" (later written in 2000) where Bensen discusses his career and personal experiences from the 1960s onwards, including the initial resistance he faced from contemporary academics who were reluctant to find links between physical health and relaxation/meditation.