In Memoriam: Herbert Benson, MD
By Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD
ARPF mourns the loss of esteemed pioneer, Herbert Benson, MD (April 24, 1935 – February 3, 2022), a Medical Doctor, Cardiologist, and Founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
One of the first Western physicians to bring spirituality and healing into medicine, he led the field with research into the efficacy of Mind-Body Medicine to counteract the harmful effects of stress.
Throughout his 40+ year career, Dr. Benson worked to build awareness of Mind-Body Medicine, to validate it through research, and bridge the gap between Western and Eastern medical practices.
Specifically, through his research, he found that meditation slowed breathing, reduced metabolism, heart rate, and brain activity. Dr. Benson labeled these changes the “relaxation response” and wrote a book by the same name. The Relaxation Response is still a milestone for anyone wanting to learn about the basics of Meditation.
On a personal note, I met Dr. Benson in 1984 when I took his basic and advanced training in Mind/Body Medicine at Harvard. He was an early mentor and supported my evolution in the medical profession. He was also a speaker at two medical conferences I organized:
1- In 1985 Behavioral and Attitudinal Forces in Clinical Medicine at Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, NM, and
2- In 1990 Advances in Pain Management: Patient, Practice and Practitioner at UofA in Phoenix, AZ.
Our sincerest condolences to his wife and family.