(Once Alexander watched a TV plot,
which was based on a story that someplace in
Siberia alcoholism could be completely cured by
means of flogging. Since then, he had a burning
desire to over come his weakness.
As the “ME” has learned, such Novosibirsk
researchers as clinical psychologist Herman
Pilipenko, and narcologist Marina Chukhrova, PhD
(Med), are studying the flogging therapy, or -
to put it academically – the method of algetic
exposure. We made a telephone call to the
“Trans” psychotherapy center, where the above
researchers work, and made an appointment for
our patient with the experts from the “Trans”.
Alexander got to our editorial
office right in time of departure. He wasn’t
scared. He was even smiling, though was really
nervous, which was quite in a dither about his
own decision to be flagellated.
The closer we drove to the Novosibirsk region,
the more the mood of our protégé changed. He
stopped chatting, and got more nervous. “My legs
are trembling, - he says, - but don’t worry, I
haven’t changed my mind. As I have told you, I
will cross the Rubicon. It’s my last chance.” He
sometimes clenched his head with his hands, his
facial muscles trembling.
He stopped en route to have a smoke.
“You have nothing to worry about. I won’t escape.”
– Alexander stilled my suspicions. “How will I
be back to Barnaul?”
At entry to the Novosibirsk psychotherapy center,
- A quotation from the “Master and Margarita”
dawned upon me. When Joshua came to Pontius
Pilate, he asked: “Will you let me go?”…
Psychologist Herman Pilipenko and narcologist
Marina Chukhrova saw Alexander to a small room.
There were two chairs and a couch in it.
Mr. Frolov came to a psycotherapeutical talk.
That was a torrent of questions put in rather an
abrupt manner: How long have you drunk? How much
can you drink at a time? Have you ever been
haunted? What is your normal dose of alcohol
- What do you do in the morning, when you must
go to work, if you drank much alcohol the
- I simply have an acetyl salicylic acid pill,
and then – have a long walk.
- Have you planned your life in the future,
where there is no place for drinking?
- Not yet.
- Why not? If you want to quit drinking, it
means that an enormous layer of your ordinary
routine will disappear…Now, if you’re bored, you
may have a drink; if you remember your wife and
that makes you feel depressed, you may have one
more drink. Or, when you think about your
problems at work, you drink again. And what will
you do there? What will you be doing, when you
give up drinking?
- I might cut out patterns in thin sheets of
wood with a fret-saw, or embroider patterns…
And so on, and so forth…
Before the procedure
started, Alexander signed a document, proving his
consent to that procedure.
- Please put off your clothes and stay in shorts.
Would you lie face down and stretch your arms along
Alexander follows all the instructions. Herman
Pilipenko takes the twigs, which are the withes of
various thicknesses. First, doc checks the pain
threshold to determine the strength he will be able
to flagellate his patient.
Then, the procedure starts. Herman is simply cutting
the air with his withes not touching the patient’s
body. The patient reaction is immediate – he
contracts, his muscles twitching.
- As you see, I haven’t even touched you yet, and
you’re reacting. That negative pendency impedes your
life progress, - Herman says, - relax your muscles.
Pain is a symptom of life, but not the one of death.
If you feel pain, it means you are living. Pain
disappears in some 5 – 10 seconds. I do know it.
Before applying this method to my patients, I have
tried it myself.
- And not once, - narcologist Marina Chukhrova
confirms the said above, - Herman was once
flagellated by Anna Fler, who is a folk healer. By
the way, she lives here, in Altai. I was terrified
to look at this procedure. But Herman didn’t even
cry out. Actually, that woman has got really
interesting methods of treatment. She heals
alcoholism the following way. First, she sort of
“buries” a patient in manure. She completely
surrounds the patient’s body with manure, and puts
some thatch onto his head to let the person have at
least a little air to breathe in. Then, she reads
some prayers, and only after that starts
flagellating. We asked her to share her experience
with us, because different techniques should be
compared for scientific purposes.
Flogging alternates with the psycotherapeutical talk.
Herman changes thin withes for the thicker ones. One
of the withes he uses breaks off after the contact
Alexander’s back. First, the blows were light enough,
but every next blow was harder than the previous one.
The blows are being taken to the whole body, i.e. to
the back, legs, and buttocks. Alexander groans from
time to time.
- What do you feel after the blows? – doctor asks.
- I feel some warmth all over my body… And I don’t
actually understand what’s happening.
Herman makes every effort to snatch at every
possible emotion of his patient. Alexander winces
after the next blow.
- What have you thought right now? – Herman asks him.
- I want to live not blushing with shame…
- You sure will. – Herman keeps up that lofty
conversation, cutting the air with his withes.
Flogging therapeutic procedure has lasted for over
an hour for Alexander. And correspondent marks on
his back witness that.
Alexander was in high mood all the way back home. He
got more energetic, less reserved, and less nervous.
All way back home to Barnaul he was reading Vladimir
Vysotsky’s poetry by heart for the journalist. He
was also telling the stories of the fiction written
by Ilf and Petrov in his own words. He was telling
me biographies of such Russian novelists as
Dostoevski, Tolstoy, and Lermontov… He was even
Herman Pilipenko told us Alexander would “stay on”
for at least one week, though for complete recovery
he would certainly need 3 – 4 more alike procedures.
In a week.
Alexander came to our office in a week. Since our
last meeting he hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol.
- I don’t give a damn about that now, - he says, -
as I’m not interested in it at all now. Frankly
speaking, I don’t actually remember our way back
from Novosibirsk. I remember our way to Novosibirsk,
I remember how doctors were treating me. They are
really high-rank experts, as they have succeeded to
make me uncover for 20 minutes only. I felt as if I
were a little boy… I burst into laughter, when
Herman told me: “Now I will cause pain to you for
the last time, and you will be free.” That was kind
of a hysterical laughter. I thought to myself: ”Keep
on flogging me! I am as steady as a rock.”)