Application of travelling wave MR to human body imaging is restricted by the limited peak power of the available RF amplifiers. Nevertheless, travelling wave MR advantages like a large field of view excitation and distant location of transmit elements would be desirable for whole body MRI. In this work, improvement of the efficiency of travelling wave MR is demonstrated. High permittivity dielectric lining placed next to the scanner bore wall effectively reduces attenuation of the travelling wave in the longitudinal direction and at the same time directs the radial power flow toward the load. First, this is shown with an analytical model of a metallic cylindrical waveguide with the dielectric lining next to the wall and loaded with a cylindrical phantom. Simulations and experiments also reveal an increase of efficiency in the center of the bore for travelling wave MR with a dielectric lining. Phantom experiments show up to a 2-fold gain in with the dielectric lining. This corresponds to a 4-fold increase in power efficiency of travelling wave MR. In vivo experiments demonstrate an 8-fold signal-to-noise ratio gain with the dielectric lining. Overall, it is shown that dielectric lining is a constructive method to improve efficacy of travelling wave MR. Magn Reson Med 70:885–894, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.