An empty stretch of train track.
Many believe Indonesian train track therapy cures diabetes. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Le Melody/Flickr)

Many who suffer from the physical afflictions brought on by genetics, time or the environment will bet on the efficacy of miracle cures when medical science fails. Such is the case with many residents of Jakarta, Indonesia, reports the Associated Press. Scores of people stretch their bodies across electrified rails, claiming that such “train track therapy” involving electric fields combats diabetes and related ailments.

Railroading faith, conducting quackery

On any given day outside Indonesia’s capital city, people ignore posted warning signs not to lie down across train tracks. Despite arguments from medical experts that such pseudo-medical treatments have no curative aspect, believers like 50-year-old diabetes patient Sri Mulyati continue to place themselves in harm’s way. She believes the medical community has failed her, and the only option left is electric therapy.

“I’ll keep doing this until I’m completely cured,” Mulyati told the AP, as her body twitched with the electrical current.

Touch the stone, eat the dung

Scientists and social psychologists believe that a lack of sufficient medical funding and governmental instability have hurled many people into the arms of less-than-reputable mystic medical treatments, from touching magic stones to eating dung from sacred cows. Such is the case in Indonesia and other impoverished Asian nations, where hundreds of thousands flock to pseudo-medical cures and other traveling medicine shows.

Marius Widjajarta, chair of the Indonesian Health Consumers Empowerment Foundation, concurs with many medical experts in pointing out that no evidence exists that lying on electrified rails has any positive medical effect. Yet Mulyati claims that doing so has helped her high blood pressure and cholesterol more than any doctor she’s seen.

Train track therapy devotees face fine, imprisonment

Even though police and the local railroad company have posted many warning signs noting that attempted train track therapy can result in three months in prison and an $1,800 fine, Mulyati and others continue to return to the tracks at their discretion. The fact that no arrests or deaths have occurred as a result of the Indonesian rail therapy has only served to encourage the faithful.

“What else can I do?” asked 50-year-old stroke victim Hadi Winoto. “I want to be cured, so I have to come back.”

Electrical fields may actually worsen diabetes

While there is no consensus in the medical community, there are indications that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) may actually promote diabetes and related illnesses. The Dirty Electricity Blog notes that a patient’s hypoglycemic awareness (feeling that blood sugar is dropping) is dulled by the presence of intense EMFs/dirty electricity.

Indonesian train track therapy


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