Stressed doctors turn to meditation

Stressed-out doctors are turning to meditation as a way of coping with the pressures of working in the health service.

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) says a one-day seminar this week, which aims to introduce the centuries-old relaxation technique to doctors, is booked out.

The workshop is presented by Laurence Freeman, a Benedictine monk and one of the world's leading exponents of meditation and mindfulness.

"Given the current pressures and stresses in the lives of clinicians, new sources of renewal of the healing arts are needed," says Fr Freeman, who has worked with the Dalai Lama and trained former President Mary McAleese in meditation. "Meditation is such a source, beginning at a personal, interior level that can be integrated into daily life as a simple, modest yet life-changing discipline."

Fr Freeman is in Dublin at the invitation of one of his former students, Dr Barry White, a haematologist at St James's Hospital, who says burnout is increasingly a problem in his profession.