A well respected world authority on acute shyness and social anxiety has developing a new technique which he is convinced will alleviate the problems of sufferers. His solution -one so unusual that it has caused a few ripples in the academic pool so to speak- is to have his patients loudly and continuously break wind during church services.
"It may sound odd, but farting in church is a liberating experience for the very shy." says Olaf Pirlo the Scandanavian inventor of the technique jokingly referred to as wind assisted therapy by his colleagues at the Oslo institute for Anxiety management.
The technique involves the patient eating a large breakfast of up to six tins of baked beans, roast parsnips and other windy vegetables several hours before a church service.
"My patients are naturally scared at first but usually quickly get into the swing of things and so far we've had 100 per cent sucess rate- even with the most unpromising individuals."
One hundred per cent success may sound too good to be true but Pirlo backs up his claim with hard statistical analysis which is hard to deny.
Pirlo says he developed his ideas during a particularly boring homily at his local curch.
"It was so dull that my mind wandered off -I started to imagine what would liven things up, so I did a sort of thought experiment. I started to think of the effect that a loud fart would have on the congregation, but the real lightbulb moment was when I realised the potential farter. You know the feeling when its building up inside of you and you know its going to come out and it be at an embarrassing moment. You are praying to heaven that is will be a silent but deadly one that you can quickly walk away from and not a noisy one that will draw attention to itself."
"Then I thought, what would be a better way for someone to overcome fear and embarrassment then to have them break wind noisily an intentionally in perhaps the most embarrassing place of all -a church."
"You could say I'm the Albert Einstein of flatulence."
By Johann Rasberry, science correspondent 01/04/08