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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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.
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 US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid