A 2015 study done by Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)’s Institute for Technology Assessment and the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) reveals how mind-body medicine could cut health care costs:
Evoking the relaxation response or a physiologic state of deep rest, helps alleviate stress and anxiety, while also affecting heart rate and blood pressure […] The study also found that practitioners primarily benefitted from neurologic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal ailments.
Researchers came to the conclusion that practitioners of yoga/ meditation/ prayer spent significantly lower than non-practitioners, on medical services and these practices help curb the need for general healthcare services by almost 50 percent according to researchers.
Harvard Gazette story on the study reports that stress-related illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, are the third-highest causes of health expenditures in the United States after heart disease and cancer (which also are affected by stress).
Harvard Health Blog contributor, Ann MacDonald, explains the “relaxation response”:
Herbert Benson, founder and director emeritus of BHI, is the Mind Body Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He first described and authored The Relaxation Response over 40 years ago.