The Simple Technique

The Simple technique for eliciting the Relaxation Response consists of the 8 steps shown below. Since this is probably the simplest technique for bringing about the Relaxation Response, it should take only a few minutes to learn the basics.
Before you begin regular practice, you should give some thought to step 1. Step 1 is where you choose a word or phrase, which this website calls your “relaxation agent”. You may only need to do step 1 one time, unless you want to change your word or phrase later.
After you have initially chosen your relaxation agent word or phrase, practicing this technique should become very simple and routine. Health benefits build up over time and usually do not depend on any feelings that you may have during the Relaxation Response.
We are not aware of any problems that people have had using open techniques for the Relaxation Response. However, it is good to be aware of problems that some people have had with some traditional practices. These problems are discussed in the precautions section. Also, please read our disclaimer before choosing to start any practice on your own.
  • 01. Choose your Relaxation Agent

    Choose a Relaxation Agent - a word or phrase that you feel comfortable with or the rhythm of your breath.

  • 02. Find a Quiet Place

    It is best to find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position. You may still be able to bring about the relaxation response when it is not quiet, but your relaxation may not be as deep.

  • 03. Close your Eyes

    Close your eyes and began to gently focus inward. Begin to breathe deeply, slowly, and naturally if you are not breathing that way already.

  • 04. Begin Focusing on Your Chosen Agent

    Breathe slowly and naturally. Begin repeating your relaxation agent word or phrase in your thoughts.

  • 05. Assume a Passive Attitude

    You may notice that other thoughts come to your mind besides your relaxation agent. When this happens, then gently and easily bring your mind back to repeating the relaxation agent word or phrase that you have chosen.

  • 06. Continue for 20 Minutes

    Twenty minutes is a suggested time to practice this protocol per sitting. This was the time used in the protocol for the first scientific studies on the Relaxation Response.

  • 07. Let Your Body Adapt Before Activity

    A common rule of thumb is to keep the eyes closed in the ratio of about 1 minute for every 10 minutes in which you were eliciting the Relaxation Response.

  • 08. Practice at Least Once Daily

    A regular practice brings the most health benefits. Many people practice twice a day for increased benefits.