Desperate Indonesians risk lives for railway "track therapy"
Indonesians lie on electric rails at Rawa Buaya station in Cengkareng on July 23, 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The dangerous 'electric current therapy' has gained popularity over the last month as locals believe it holds health benefits, preventing illness. The area is trafficked by locomotives and their carriages with station staff having to patrol the area and remove people for their own safety, though the station appears to be chosen over others as trains pass less frequently than at other stations, allowing people to lie on the racks for extended periods. (Getty Images)
August 5th, 2011
11:30 AM ET

Desperate Indonesians risk lives for railway "track therapy"

Editor's Note: The following piece comes from Global Post, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and odd.

And you thought the U.S. health system was in a mess.

Imagine living in a country where hospitals and doctors are so bad you would actually prefer to lie on a train track in the hope the electrical current will cure your ills.

That's the reality in Indonesia, a Southeast Asian archipelago where about 110 million people, or just under half the population, live on or under $2 a day.

"Track therapy" involves lying perpendicular to the steel tracks with one's head and feet forming the circuit, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported.

"If your body aches, have it cured here. Try it, it doesn’t hurt," 67-year-old Kusmiati told reporters, ignoring railway workers' announcements to stay off the tracks.

"If so, then how come someone managed to heal his stroke here?" asked another woman lying alongside Kusmiati.

Staff at Rawa Buaya train station in west Jakarta were not amused. "Go cook for your husband, dress up before he comes home. This doesn’t cure anything; this is dangerous for your heart," said one, to no avail.

Diabetes sufferer Sri, 50, said she had tried "proper medication" with no results.

"I have wasted all my money ... Now I prefer coming here, because it is free. If they want us to stop, they should pay more attention to poor people like us," she said.

A doctor told The Post the "therapy" had no scientific backing. In addition to the danger of being hit by a passing train, "track therapy" gave electric shocks that could damage vital organs including the heart and brain, he said.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. MUA

    Love those Indonesian! If u feel better, why not!

    August 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  2. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The is the new GOP health care plan for our elderly and sick.

    August 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      You're right! If those elderly and sick got hit and run over by a train, then good riddance!

      August 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Reply
      • MUA

        Trains in Indonesia are humanly slow. No woarry!

        August 6, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  3. George F. Howden

    The electric railways in Indonesia are all 1500 V overhead wire systems. The DC current may be discharged to ground through the wheels when a train passes by, but there would be no current at all between the tracks. The doctors are as nutty as the patients. Don't try this in your local subway.

    August 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Reply

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