News / Europe

Russia Boasts More Faith Healers Than Real Physicians

A Russian healer at work (file photo)
A Russian healer at work (file photo)

A new Russian study has found that only about 44 percent of Russians actually went to the doctor last year.  But what is more interesting than that is when people from the former Soviet Union finally do seek help, they usually avail themselves of alternative medicine.  

Meet Marina Belorysova, a college-educated 20-something English teacher working at a primary school here in Moscow.  Her feelings on what doctors do are not exactly what an American might see as mainstream.

"They give advices, but most of them are about herbs," said Belorysova. "Most of them use these ladies who cast spells for different sicknesses.  They know a lot of recipes of how to use herbs and so on.  Those who grew up in the village it’s very popular there.  My mom still uses this kind of medicine, like a healing cuff with herbs." 

Western medicine less popular than herbs, spells and crystal balls

Herbs and spells?  That may sound like something out of Harry Potter.  But not here.  According to the latest government statistics, about 300,000 Muscovites went to alternative healers last year.  Overall, Russia has 800,000 of them - more than the number of official doctors.

Daria Minerova is a clairvoyant healer.  Her Moscow office is full of crystal balls, lava lamps, white owls and candles.  She says she is often called upon by “regular” doctors to either cast or clear spells for patients.

She says they ask me for a consultation when they have a difficult case - for example, when the diagnosis and treatment are correct, but they still can’t cure a patient.

School teacher Belorysova says it’s pretty common among Russians to try western medicine, then go for the alternative.

"I have a friend she has a baby, a daughter of three," she said. "When the baby was one, the baby she had some kind of disease.  And of course they could treat it with medicine - with pills or something - but they said you have to go to a lady who can cast a spell on it and it will go away.  And it did."

Many Russians afraid of Western medicine

Now one might think people are seeking out alternative healers because they are cheaper, but health care in Russia is basically free.  It is just not very good.

Belorysova says many people are afraid of western medicine in Russia.

"Medicine is very poor in Russia," said Belorysova. "It is very bad.  At least they know when they use alternative medicine nothing really bad will happen.  When they go for a surgery, they don’t know whether they will live or not.  If they do alternative medicine, that maybe it won’t help, but nothing bad will happen."

Dr. Malkina, who prefers not to use her first name, works at the European Medical Center, a private clinic here in Moscow.  She is a certified neurologist but has integrated alternative medicine into her treatment methods at the clinic.  Dr. Malkina agrees with Belorysova that many Russians do not like to take risks when it comes to their health.

"Russian people like because it is very safe and very comfortable for people," said Malkina. "The crystal is very clean and make very big and powerful energy.  It heals people and gives people energy.  Gives people a better feeling."

Russians are not just flocking to alternative therapies in person - some are turning to the Internet, radio and television.

Diamond Indigo is a popular healer on Women’s Club TV here in Russia.  Here, he is trying to help a female patient who called in complaining of various medical problems.

He tells the woman that she has darkness, an "entity" inside her in the form of a gnome, as he puts it.  He says he can get rid of it, then asks her if she feels anything.  She responds that she feels a slight coldness.  Another healer says that is good, that the energy is working, that the "entity" is gone and replaced with clean, cosmic energy.  

In light of the interest in these healers, officials are starting to act.  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has admitted that the country’s health care system is a mess.  He has pledged, among other things, to fix outdated equipment and increase supplies.

In the meantime, the government has become increasingly concerned that Russians are being taken for a ride when it comes to alternative healers.  

Last year, parliament approved the first reading of a bill that would prohibit users of supernatural powers to promote their services in mass media. These “mystical advertisements,” as they are called, include solicitations from witches, magicians, psychics, fortune tellers and faith healers.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid