Research: ESCH and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 90


ESCH and colleagues, The Mid-Body Medical Institute, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA,, have reviewed (154 references) the therapeutic use of the relaxation response in stress-related diseases.


The work aimed at investigating a possible connection between the relaxation response (RR) and stress-related diseases, as well as possible common underlying molecular mechanisms and autoregulatory pathways.


Peer-reviewed articles only were analyzed.


The RR has been shown to be an appropriate therapeutic tool to counteract stress-related disease processes and certain health restrictions, particularly in immunological, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative disorders. Common underlying molecular mechanisms may exist. Particularly, constitutive or low-output nitric oxide (NO) production may be involved in a protective or ameliorating context, whereas inducible, high-output NO release may facilitate detrimental disease processes. In mild or early disease processes, there is still a high degree of dynamic balance, and the use of RR may be particularly relevant here by activating constitutive NO pathways.


RR techniques represent an important tool to be added to the therapeutic strategies for dealing with stress-related disease. They may also serve primary or secondary prevention. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the complex physiology underlying the RR and its effects on stress-related disease processes.


Esch T, Fricchione GL, Stefano GB. The therapeutic use of the relaxation response in stress-related diseases. Medical Sciences Monitor 9 (2): RA23-34, Feb 2003.

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