Stress-relieving methods run the gamut from such old standbys as nail biting to drinking Scotch to listening to whale-mating calls on CD.

But saying "Fred"?

Author David L. Mocknick of Philadelphia says that the name Fred – derived from Frederick, a German name that means "peace ruler" – has curative powers.

And he has developed a whole system described in his recent book, Who’s Fred, Ha!: Silly, but Fun Stress Relief (Clear Brook, $17.95).

Fredding begins when someone "baits" another person by getting him or her to say a word that rhymes with Fred.

When the target – a waitress in a diner who suggests bread when asked for an alternative to rolls, for example – falls into the trap, the Fredder calls out, "Bread! Fred! Who’s Fred, ha!"

It’s not science, admits Mocknick, 47.

"I’m no psychologist and I don’t have a medical back. But I’ve seen it work firsthand."

It’s no secret that Fredding is weird – Mocknick even advises against doing it on a first date. But he says the technique’s bizarreness is an asset.

But beware – fredding comes with side effects.

Fredders are subject to strange looks, allegations of insanity, and even, as Mocknick knows firsthand, restaurant eviction.

"One time the owner of a diner threw me out," he says. "But I was stress-free when he did it."

More here.