Look- Health: I Beat My Fear of Flying; Susan Lee Finds out How to Overcome Crippling Phobias

Article excerpt

THERE are few people who would not admit to an anxious flutter of the stomach as they step onto an aircraft.

After all, travelling in a lump of metal at 30,000 feet isn't usually conducive to a feeling of calm.

But for 52-year-oldSimon Henry from Crosby, a fear of flying became an issue which dominated his life.

As a director of a firm which imports timber he was required to fly up to three dozen times a year -and he'dhate it every time.

Now, though, thanks to a technique which has its origins in thousand-year-oldChinese therapies,he can not only sit comfortably in his airline seat -he's even managed to conquer long-haulflights.

``On a scale of one to ten -ten being unable to physically get on the aircraft -I was at number nine before I tried `tapping','' reveals Simon.

``Now,I'ma two or a three. I still `tap'if I'mfeeling anxious about flying -and I admit it might look a bit bizarre -but it works for me.''

Those who teach the `tapping' method argue that the body is full of energy lines. Just like a busy underground network there are busy `junctions' which can get clogged with negative energy or emotions.

It is by `tapping' these junctions -there are around 13 around the whole of the body -that these feelings can be released.

But the methodology of how it works is of less interest to Simon than the fact that it just does.

``I'venever been keen on flying but it got worse after airlines banned smoking in 1997. I'ma regular flier, too,mainly into Europe.

``I'dbe very anxious the night before,feeling sick and suffering terribly with an upset tummy.

``Once on the aircraft I'dnever leave my seat and I'd spend the flight sweating and gripping the seatbelt. It was awful.''

Ironically,Simon enjoys fairground white knuckle rides.

``But that only lasts a few minutes -flights last much longer. I suppose my fear centred around dropping out of the sky.

``People would tell me that if we crashed I'dnever feel a thing but that was no comfort. And it never helped if I was told to `pull myself together'.I just couldn't.''

He found it impossible to read, sleep or watch a film.

``I just couldn't focus on anything other than how I was feeling.''

The crunch came when Simon's partner booked a holiday of a lifetime in the Caribbean. …