Relaxation-response techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and prayer, could reduce the need for health care services by 43 percent, according to a study at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) that looked at participants in a relaxation-response-focused training program.

Previous studies have shown that eliciting the relaxation response - a physiologic state of deep rest - not only relieves stress and anxiety, but also affects physiologic factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen consumption.

The paper's authors noted 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). ...[Continue reading on Harvard Gazette]