Dr. Benson is an American medical doctor, cardiologist, and founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is a professor of mind/body medicine at Harvard Medical School and director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a founding trustee of The American Institute of Stress. He has contributed more than 190 scientific publications and 12 books.
Started in 1998, Benson became the leader of the so-called “Great Prayer Experiment”, or technically the “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP)”. The result published in 2006 concluded that intercessory prayer has no beneficial effect on patients with coronary artery bypass graft surgery. He, however, still believes that prayer has positive health benefits
Benson coined relaxation response (and wrote a book by the same title) as a scientific term for meditation, and he used it to describe the ability of the body to stimulate relaxation of muscle and organs.