Desperate, Sick Indonesians Turn to Railroad 'Therapy'

Rumored to cure everything from paralysis to high-blood pressure
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 2, 2011 9:46 AM CDT
In this July 26, 2011 photo, a man lies on a railway track for an electricity therapy in Rawa Buaya, Jakarta, Indonesia.   (Achmad Ibrahim)
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(Newser) – Ignoring the red-and-white danger sign, Sri Mulyati walks slowly to the train tracks outside Indonesia's bustling capital, lies down, and stretches her body across the rails. Like the nearly dozen others lined up along the track, the 50-year-old diabetes patient has given up on doctors and can't afford expensive medicines. It's not a suicide attempt, but rather a pseudo-medical electric shock treatment from the current running through the rails. She began the dangerous treatment after hearing of an ethnic Chinese man who was partially paralyzed by a stroke. He went to the tracks to kill himself; instead, he found himself cured.

"I'll keep doing this until I'm completely cured," said Mulyati, twitching as an oncoming passenger train sends an extra rush of current racing through her body. Medical experts say there is no evidence that lying on the rails does any good, and authorities are cracking down with threats of fines and jail time. But Mulyati insists it provides more relief for her high-blood pressure, insomnia, and high cholesterol than any doctor. "They told us not to do it anymore, but what else can I do," says a stroke victim who has trouble walking. "I want to be cured, so I have to come back."

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