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I found some interesting advice on the Aviation Health Institute website which was one of the sources for further information concerning medical contraindications to air travel (September 20). It specifically recommends transcendental meditation (TM) as a technique to tackle fear of flying.

GPs are regularly in situations to give advice on ways how to relieve stress. It needs to be said that TM is not recommendable since it is a commercial product and lacks scientific evidence that it is in any way more efficient than any other technique.

A quick research on Medline underlines this. Interestingly, some of the publications in favour of TM call it Transcendental Mediation, which I suspect is not a misprint but a way to make it sound more medical rather than spiritual.

There have been concerns that TM is strongly connected to esoteric beliefs, which could have adverse effects on individuals using it (see critical website of an ex-teacher of TM: www.suggestibility.org).

Dr Tillmann Jacobi

York

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