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My memories of the Benson-Henry institute for mind-body medicine

An Editorial to this article was published on 30 March 2023

Commentary letter

It is my great honor to introduce the review article [1] entitled “Mind-body medicine: A modern bio-psycho-social model 45 years after Engel” by Gregory Fricchione, MD, director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine and the Chester Pierce Division of Global Psychiatry, co-director of the McCance Center for Brain Health in the Department of Neurology at Mass General Hospital, and the Mind Body Medicine Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. I also feel deeply saddened because Herbert Benson, MD, the director emeritus of the institute, passed away in 2022 before the publication of this article.

During the early years of my career at the institute, between 1998 and 2001, Dr. Benson was the founding director and consistently supported me by saying that “I am always on your side.” Dr. Fricchione was the research director in those days, and instructed me on how to write medical papers. We conducted a database study of outpatients participating in the medical symptom reduction program of the institute and reported the treatment effects of the program [2, 3]. At the farewell party, before my departure from Boston in the spring of 2001, Dr. Benson encouraged me to become an ambassador for the Mind-Body Medical Institute in Japan.

In 2021, I asked Drs. Benson and Fricchione to write a commentary letter in response to our editorial, [4] but Dr. Benson was already sick and bedridden. However, Dr. Frichhione remained in contact with me and completed this extraordinary review paper in 2023. The paper summarizes Engels’s previous works and proposes future research [1]. Based on Dr. Benson’s work, several models of stress managements have been integrated into mind-body medicine. Dr. Fricchione’s insights also provide useful guidance for the advancement of bio-psycho-social medicine.

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The data and materials were based on previously published information.


  1. Fricchione G. Mind Body Medicine: A modern bio-psycho-social model forty-five years after Engel. BioPsychoSocial Medicine, in print.

  2. Nakao M, Fricchione G, Myers P, Zuttermeister PC, Baim M, Mandle CL, Medich C, Wells-Federman CL, Arcari PM, Ennis M, Barsky AJ, Benson H. Anxiety is a good indicator for somatic symptom reduction through a behavioral medicine intervention in a mind/body medicine clinic. Psychother Psychosom. 2001;70:50–7.

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  3. Nakao M, Myers P, Fricchione G, Zuttermeister PC, Barsky AJ, Benson H. Somatization and symptom reduction through a behavioral medicine intervention in a mind/body medicine clinic. Behav Med. 2001;26:169–76.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Nakao M, Komaki G, Yoshiuchi K, Deter HC, Fukudo S. Biopsychosocial medicine research trends: connecting clinical medicine, psychology, and public health. Biopsychosoc Med. 2020;14:30.

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Correspondence to Mutsuhiro Nakao.

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Nakao, M. My memories of the Benson-Henry institute for mind-body medicine. BioPsychoSocial Med 17, 13 (2023).

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