There’s a new way to beat your addiction, but it hurts, a lot. Psychologists at a Siberian drug clinic are using corporal punishment to help drug, alcohol and even $ex addicts get their lives back. The bizarre treatment involves lashing patients’ buttocks with sticks and canes.
“We cane the patients on the buttocks with a clear and definite medical purpose – it is not some warped sado-masochistic activity,” Professor Marina Chukhrova told The Siberian Times. Apparently, there are some sound scientific principles behind these beatings. Chukhrova and fellow practitioner Dr German Pilipenko claim addicts suffer from a lack of endorphins, known as the “happiness hormones”, and the excruciating pain stimulates their brains to release endorphins into the body, making them feel better about themselves without having to use any other stimulants. “The caning counteracts a lack of enthusiasm for life which is often behind addictions, suicidal tendencies and psychosomatic disorders,” Pilipenko says. He admits their technique gets a lot of skepticism from fellow doctors, but insists the pain acts as an injection against stress.
The Siberian Times reporters had a chance to observe a couple of caning sessions involving a drug user and an alcoholic. Young Natasha was introduced to drugs by a boyfriend who was since killed by the habit, and says the controversial treatment saved her life. She receives 60 lashes per session. “With each lash I scream and grip tight to the end of the surgical table. It’s a stinging pain, real agony, and my whole body jolts. Often I cry, and the doctor sometimes asks what I am feeling, and if I am ok,” she says. “My body gets really hot and my palm starts sweating. It’s really unpleasant – but after each session, I can see that it works. In fact, it’s the only thing that has worked for me. The pain helps me understand the dangers I have caused to myself, how I was simply killing myself.”
41-year-old Yuri was so stressed out by work that he developed a serious vodka-drinking habit. Alcoholics get between 30 and 60 strokes, but he felt every one of them. ”The first strike was sickening. I screamed, and swore like a drunk sailor,” he said. “Somehow I got through all 30 lashes. The next day I got up with a stinging backside but no desire at all to touch the vodka in the fridge. The bottle has stayed there now for a year.” But although it helped cure his addiction, the treatment caused other serious problems for Yuri. “She [his girlfriend] suspected me of all sorts of weird things, from a secret affair to visiting the local dominatrix. I told her the truth – and when I explained it all she said she was proud of me for taking such a risky step to cure myself,” he told the press.
Chukhrova and Pilipenko, as well as their patients claim the treatment works when all else fails, but other mainstream doctors say the beating can be replaced with other known endorphin production stimulants like exercise, acupuncture, massage therapy or eating chocolate. The Siberian practitioners insist that the pain “acts like a warning so that the individual doesn’t let offence, annoyance, anger, laziness, desolation or hopelessness get in his way of going towards the next achievement,” adding that they only use flexible willow branches that don’t break or cause bleeding, and they only strike the buttocks area. One other very important thing worth mentioning is that these lashing sessions are only used in the final stages of a long treatment that involves a lot of counseling and even detox.
The Siberian clinic gets patients from all over Russia and has received inquiries about appointments from as far as the United States.