4Chapter The Relaxation System: Theoretical Construct
We understand that there is darkness because we know light; we understand that there is light because we know darkness. Likewise, we know stress because we have experienced relaxation and vice versa. Hans Selye introduced us to the stress response and Herb Benson to the relaxation response, both of which, essentially, are epidemiological findings of various physiological responses to stressed or relaxed patient populations, respectively. The autonomic nervous system (ANS), our neural or electrical control center for stress and relaxation, has a sympathetic portion that responds to stress and a parasympathetic portion that is concerned with homeostasis or relaxation. The key is balance.