Read the text carefully. Then imagine that you are a patient of Shubentsov – describe your experience of visiting him and using his method.

Celebs Go Mad to Stop Smoking

When it comes to kicking the habit, smokers can go cold turkey, wear a nicotine patch, or undergo hypnosis. But there is another alternative: They can go mad.

For a mere $65 and a quick jaunt to Brookline, Mass., Yefim The Mad Russian Shubentsov will erase a lifetime of deeply rooted bad habits, phobias, and cravings in a matter of seconds.

Yefim’s unusual practice has drawn worldwide attention, including some big names in the entertainment world.

Musician Billy Joel credits Yefim for ending his 27-year smoking habit. Joel, who had tried to give up smoking for years, read about Yefim in the paper. ‘He is intense and convincing,’ says Joel, who says he has not picked up a cigarette since leaving Yefim’s office.

Actress Drew Barrymore also credits Yefim with ending her smoking habit. ‘It’s so cool. I’ve gone three months now. I went to the Mad Russian and whatever it is that he does — it works.’

Friends star Courtney Cox-Arquette and husband David Arquette also made the pilgrimage to Boston.

‘They never tried to quit before, because Courtney really liked to smoke, but knew it was bad for her,’ says Whitney Smith, Arquette’s assistant. ‘They knew they’d both have to do it together because it is hard for one person in a relationship to quit. So, whatever it is this guy did it worked, because to date they are two years smoke-free.’

Yefim thinks celebrities are drawn to him because of his success rate, as he has helped over a hundred thousand people to date, and because he keeps their clandestine visits hush-hush.

‘I keep their secret and don’t talk about my patients, famous or not. They feel comfortable and trust me,’ says Yefim, who authored Cure Your Cravings: The Revolutionary Programme Used by Thousands to Conquer Compulsions. ‘For instance, when Billy Joel came to me. I did not know who the hell he was. I did not talk about him ever, until I got his permission.’

When a celebrity does wish to keep a low profile, Yefim will offer a private session. While Billy Joel and the Arquettes participated in his group session, Barrymore opted not to.

‘She didn’t want to be in a group because she was embarrassed,’ says Yefim, who did not accept payment from Barrymore. ‘She is a nice actress and I got pleasure watching her movies, so why not? I can afford it.’

But what is Yefim’s secret?

‘It’s purely a physical process,’ claims the 61-year-old Moscow native. ‘Normally you are not supposed to have pain and inflammation and we are not born with a desire to smoke, overeat or crave chocolate. The desire is formed after we try it. The energy I give corrects the body to go back to the way it was intended to be originally.’

The energy Yefim speaks of is a pseudo-science called bioenergetics, a healing life force that circulates within all living things. While this may sound like a science fiction fantasy, Yefim emphasises there’s nothing mystical about his methods.

According to Yefim, we all have this power within us; we just don’t know how to use it. Without actually touching you, he says he’s able to physically manipulate this invisible energy field that surrounds every person’s body. He says he transforms the energy in the brain back to its original form, the way it existed before a person began their given addiction.

Why The Mad Russian?

And how did The Mad Russian, whose smoking cessation seminars are completely booked through August, acquire this moniker?

‘Once, in my office, came this lady with a balloon of oxygen connected with her nose and she said, “I have one lung. The other was removed because of cancer. My remaining lung has emphysema and I smoke 2 ½ packs of cigarettes a day and if I don’t have a cigarette at least every three hours I feel I’d lose my mind. What do you think about that?”‘

‘I said to her, “My dear, you cannot lose what you do not have.” She screamed, “You are mad!” But she quit and is still alive. She still doesn’t like me. She told everyone that I’m the Mad Russian.’

Ask his celebrity admirers, and they’ll tell you there’s a method to Yefim’s madness.