FOR MIND BODY MEDICINE AT MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL

For Mind Body Medicine
at Massachusetts General Hospital

Mind Body Medicine
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Mind Body Medicine
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5 Yoga Poses for Better Sleep

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This is why we should all start breathing

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Desperate for Respite

It’s noon on a dreary winter Friday at the BensonHenry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Mass. General Hospital. Cars spray pedestrians with filthy slush. Sirens squeal, horns screech, people jostle one another on the narrow sidewalks without bothering to look up. But peace and enlightenment may be at hand. I’m perched on a chair in the office of Dr. Herbert Benson, a twinkly eyed cardiologist who exudes pure beatitude and who has agreed to walk me through the basics of meditation. Benson, 79, is director emeritus of the institute that bears his name. He is the sultan of destressing, a pioneer in mind-body medicine and one of the first physicians to link stress with physical health.

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Disease Linked to Childhood Stress

According to a new Harvard study that followed 6,700 Britons from age 7 to 45, lifelong distress takes more of a health toll than being stressed in either childhood or adulthood. But if you have to endure distress during just one period, childhood is a more vulnerable time. Childhood distress may be particularly important because that’s when people are learning how to control their emotions, said Ashley Winning, a postdoctoral research fellow and social epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, who was the first author on the study.

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