Up until now we have concentrated on using the relaxation response to improve the quality of our lives, to help us come to terms with anxiety, or to get away from tension. And so we have seen how relaxation helps us to sleep better, stops us from turning to the misery of drug addictions – to tranquillizers as well as to alcohol and nicotine – and helps us to cope with the common problems of living.
Dr Herbert Benson, who has done so much to popularize the relaxation response and show ways of obtaining its benefits, talks about the stress-induced diseases as being ‘diseases with no symptoms. This is true to some extent. Ideally, if we build the relaxation response into our lives early enough we may sometimes stop diseases at the stage when they have no symptoms.
For those who have the cardiac symptoms of the stress-related diseases, or at least have been diagnosed as sufferers, the following guide will prove helpful.