Tuesday, 6 March 2012


    A man in 'ushanka'  (Russian fur cap with ear flaps) standing barefoot in the middle of Moscow snowdrift. Slipper nearby. What could it be? 

    Conditioning to the cold  was very popular in Soviet Union. Cold water plunges in a common backyard were often. A man, wearing swimming trunks and slippers with a tin-pan full of ice-cold water in the middle of winter was not a non-sense. Naked toddlers, jumping into ice-hole together with their young parents seemed normal. All of those facts were parts of a big conditioning to the cold movement.

   Pediatrics believed that kids, grown with some short therapeutic periods of an extremely cold temperatures of water and air become stronger. They even used to organize winter plunges for 4-5 year olds in kindergaden. Nowadays Russians are less obsessed with those theories. Still  we jump to snowdrifts (as our Finnish neighbors) and ice-holes after the sauna and gave a second life to a traditional Epiphany ice-hole swimming. 


  1. I feel cold just thinking about it.

    1. Bella, haven't you tried? Do you have saunas and jump into a snowdrift in winter?

    2. It is only the last three years we have had snow here in England again which lasts. Before that it was only the odd winter and it was so noteworthy it made the news.

      I don't have a sauna and there is no way I would heat myself up just to jump into the ice. I know occasionally it is good for the system but it could also bring on a heart-attack in someone not used to it (me).

      It is weird you should mention this when you did as my daughter who is studying history for her A-levels was just saying the other day how in WWII it was the Russians were noted for their tolerance to cold. I think the Germans used this to their advantage in the camps. (Sorry to put a downer on it). We will think happy thoughts now.

    3. Bella, oh, you made me laugh saying saunas are for heating up before jumping into the ice :)) You need to try it (in summer, to down your prejudice and make it all more comfortable). LOL Sorry... :) Russian banya is not just for extreme pleasures. People, who came to the city from village like my step-father use to go there every week, even having a bathroom in a flat. Here a bit more about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banya_(sauna).
      I asked you about banya because for Russian it seems strange to have so hard climate as yours, to live in countryside and not to have banya :) Banyas help to deeply warm your body during the windy and cold season, to make one's health better.

    4. A picture for you :)