THE RUSSIAN STEAM BATH
"Thanks for the hot steam bath, the bundle of birch rods, the cold spring."
Leaflet (author unknown)
--N.A. Nekrasov from "Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia?"
Thus did the classic Russian poet express the peopleís gratitude for the Russian steam bath which has an ancient history, having already been witnessed by Herodotus. For it is just purity of soul (orthodoxy with its fasts and purity of body; the steam bath with the Besom--bundle of leafy rods). That was allowed to create the genetic pool of the nation that built the oldest state in Europe--more than eleven centuries, and the largest in the world. Thus the Finns could not be evidently theirs. Orthodoxy and their century at the court of the French King, they set out saucers to crush lice and in Germany which had many centuries of contact with Russia, even in 1895 there were only 87 public bathhouses.
The constant regular use of the Russian steam bath promotes the heightening of the reactiveness of the organism "Acclimitisation" in a humid and hot climate which can be more easily endured, thanks to the good conditioning of the body for heat regulation and perspiration, the weakening and disappearance of inflammatory processes, the strengthening of the nervous and cardiovascular system, the rousing of mental and physical capacity for work.
After the steam bath, the circulation of blood is improved, as in respiration of the epidermis. A human being feels light, free, as it were rejuvenated. And indeed the process of rejuvenation of the organism is at work because the intense shedding of old protein layers creates the precondition for replacement by new protein formations, and that is one of the most efficient means of combating the aging of the organism. The skin becomes rosy, supple and elastic, wrinkles fade. This happens for the reason that the intensive removal of waste products from the organism occurs principally through the skin, the greater surface that allows this work to occur more efficiently than do the kidneys and other organs, which in its turn reduces its load. This is important to keep in mind in the event the function of all organs that regulate metabolism are stopped.
Just for that reason the steam bath is beneficial for sufferers from Rheumatism, back pain, ischias, gout, and other similar diseases including diabetes. It strengthens metabolism, eliminates sugar from the organism and normalizes weight. For breast-feeding mothers the steam bath tempers the organism, shapes the ability to endure sharp changes in temperature (i.e., the immunity against cold and infectious diseases). Positive emotions from exposure to the steam bath also strengthen the prophylactic powers of the organism. A mild to moderate massage given to the body will enhance the effects of the Russian steam bath.
The basic "instrument" in the Russian steam bath is the besom--the bundle of leafy rods that acts like a fan, kindling the heat and like a masseur giving the body a good workout. The beneficial use of Besoms is reinforced by the fact that their branches and leaves all are very rich in useful ethereal oils, bacterial substances that invigorate the body and kill the organisms that may cause many illnesses.
For that purpose, they must be used correctly, hence the proper use of the Besom means that one should vigorously apply powerful strokes to the body and kill the organisms that cause many illnesses. Hence the proper use of the Besom means that one should properly apply powerful strokes to the body, not grazing or stroking it lightly. However, this has nothing to do with flagellation, because the Besomís leafy rods are used in an atmosphere of overheated steam. (This difference comes out in the Russian saying, "there are many Besoms but no steam.")
During this procedure ethereal and bactericidal substances are emitted and applied to the body by the strokes of the Besom, therefore, all that impedes their contact (soap, other substances) should be excluded. The aforesaid shows the great advantage of the essentially activist Russian steam bath in comparison with the passive Finnish and Turkish baths. In the Russian steam bath the body is thoroughly exposed to the steam, massaged, and invigorated in the atmosphere of ethereal oils and bactericidal substances emanating from the Besoms that are forcefully applied to the body and inhaled by the lungs.
Combined Besoms made of bundles of branches of birch, oak, linden, needles of conifers, maple, currant, and juniper, Saint Johnís Wort, wormwood, oregano, stinging nettles and eucalyptus in varying combination possess manifold medicinal properties. Whoever loves strong heat on his body and is durable can use an oak Besom with massive and dense leaves. Aromatic and beneficial for the skin are the black currant Besoms. Juniper Besoms are beneficial in Rheumatic illnesses. Good medicinal massage is performed with Besoms of needles of conifers.
Very good Besoms are made of wormwood, and it is as well as eucalyptus, is added to compound brooms. Medicinal Besoms of stinging nettles improves the circulation of the blood. Taking a steam bath with such a Besom gives one a slight pleasant pricking sensation, the body becomes rosy colored. Stinging nettles, rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are used in the steam bath for back pain and Rheumatism. Sore spots treated with the Besom become reddish, sometimes covered with blisters, but as a result the circulation of the blood is improved and pain eliminated.
The bath tub and the shower ensure hygiene of the body, but are no match for the invigorating medical and tempering influence and the physical burdens to which the organism is subjected in the hot steam of the sweating shelf and in the change of heat into the coolness of a shower or lake.
It is no less important that the bath easily serves to remove nervous and physical tension, depression and the over-exertion that taxes the city dweller given the intense rhythm of modern life. The steam bath means for losing weight, with the correct regime, intense sweating lets one lose 1 to 3 pounds depending upon individual traits.
The Russian bath is very popular among sportsmen as it does away with the remnants of weariness, restores strength, increases the ability of the organism to endure great tension, protects the organism from over-training, increases strength and endurance, helps to heal traumas more quickly, maintains stable weight and Acclimitisation. The hygienic and medicinal significance of the Russian steam bath is evident hence it is not a luxury but a genuine necessity for restoration maintenance of good health.
Regular use of the bath with regular fasts and the use of adaptogens under the supervision of an honest and devoted physician ensures a thorough cleansing of the organism, which in turn means a healthy, full, and long life.
"The bath steams one and gives one health."
"He took a steam bath and was born again."
"The bath steams, the bath corrects, the bath mends everything."
"In the steam bath, the Besom is worth more than money."
NOTE: If any reader knows the author of the above treatise, please Contact Me and proper credit will be applied for and given.
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