Friday, July 27, 2012

British soccer team learns relaxation response


TRAINING TECHNIQUE: Deisroth-Kim leads the group during the relaxation
response training.


“Breathe in confidence and strength and let that fill you. As you breathe out, let go of any uncertainty or doubt.”

That's what Molly Deisroth-Kim, CES, MS, clinical exercise physiologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine (BHI) at the MGH, told members of the Liverpool Football Club during a relaxation response training exercise at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. The exercise was part of a July 17 session BHI gave the British soccer team while they were in town during a stop on their North American tour.

“Eliciting the relaxation response is a process in which you empty your mind of everyday concerns, focus on your breathing and repeat to yourself a calming word, phrase, prayer or activity,” says Herbert Benson, MD, director emeritus of BHI. “By using the relaxation response, we can begin to control our physical and emotional reactions to stress.

Red Sox owner John Henry – who is also the principal owner of the Liverpool Football Club – and his wife Linda are long-time champions of BHI and thought the players would benefit from learning about the relaxation response.

“It is particularly useful for athletes, because there is a lot of stress in every game. We teach people how to use that to their advantage, how they can bring themselves back to the moment,” Deisroth-Kim explains. “If you didn’t make that goal yesterday, it doesn’t matter. This moment is all that matters. Athletes who can regularly elicit the relaxation response and visualize success often find they spend more of their playing time ‘in the zone,’ so to speak. By being in the moment they can unleash their natural abilities and practiced skills.”

For more information on the relaxation response and other programs offered by BHI, call 617-643-6090 or visit

Read more articles from the 07/27/12 Hotline issue.


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