Winter swimming, i.e. swimming in ice-cold water, is a wonderful method not only of tempering the body, but also of increasing the energetic might of the organism.
Statistics holds that among those who practice winter swimming sickness rate decreases for cold-type diseases 60 times, and for other diseases — 30 times. As a therapeutic method, winter swimming can heal many diseases, including radiculitis, both high and low blood-pressure, pulmonary tuberculosis, pancreatic diabetes, chronic gastrointestinal diseases, inflammations in genitals, menstrual cycle abnormalities, dermatoses, and so on.
One should not begin to swim in cold water necessarily in autumn, as some people think: one may start right during the hardest frost, if one likes. But it is recommended to master fisrt the
psychic self-regulation techniques. In this case, winter swimming will directly contribute to strengthening one’s ability to preserve the subtlest psychic states. Coming out into the frost naked and submerging into ice-cold water can be not only an act of volition, but also a controlled experiment on oneself in order to maintain the subtlest states of consciousness in the conditionally adverse environment. It is beneficial to disidentify oneself from bodily sensations and to merely observe them from the depths of the
The organism responds to the cold shock with energetic stress, which may be colored with positive or negative emotions — depending on the mood, with which one set about winter swimming in the first place and one’s psychic self-regulation skills. The activity of the energy system of the organism increases and initiates an intensive heat generation process. The right mood and disidentification from bodily sensations allow one not to feel the coldness of the air and water even during a hard frost. After staying in ice-cold water, one also does not feel cold for some time; and if the frost is not too hard, one may even start to feel hot due to continuing process of intensive heat generation in the organism. But after 10-20 minutes, the resources of the organism get depleted, and one starts chilling and shivering. As one proceeds with training, the intensity of the latter sensations decreases. At such moments one may warm oneself by performing active movements, going indoors, or coming near a fire. These kinds of stress and depletion of the energy system of the organism train this system, increase its mobility and capacity.
One of the most eminent popularizers of cold tempering in Russia was Porfiriy Ivanov, who with his life example demonstrated the possibility of merging harmoniously with nature in all its manifestations. He walked barefooted even during sharp frost wearing only pants, swam in natural water reservoirs many times a day or douched himself with water from wells during winter, as well as slept in the snow without clothes.
Swimming in ice-cold water is undoubtedly the most effective tempering procedure; however, if there is no suitable water reservoir nearby, one can use other methods for tempering the body. One may, for example, run barefooted in the snow and, if there is the possibility, lay in the snow for a while without clothes. One may pour well-water on the body. As a last resort, one may lay in a bath-tub filled with cold water or pour it on the body from a bucket or basin.
But it should be kept in mind that water with temperature over 8 degrees centigrade (about 46°
Fahrenheit) does not induce the launch of the described energy processes in the organism and swimming in it is less effective, while it may even cause untrained individuals to catch cold.
Cold procedures can be performed both as a part of special training and every day in the morning or in the evening after work in order to relieve fatigue, as well as in all those cases when for various reasons one has lost inner harmony.
All cold procedures must be performed using psychic self-regulation methods and not merely through an act of volition. Attempts to increase their effect by creating sharp temperature contrasts also do not make too much sense.
In conclusion, the following point should be noted. Even without prior studying psychic self-regulation techniques, winter swimming saved many people of severe diseases that were considered terminal, including cancer. There are many well-known cases of quick healing of respiratory diseases in acute stage using this method. Enthusiasts of winter swimming accumulated certain experience of healing children, and this issue deserves a thorough in-depth study. But it is not a panacea (the cure of all disease). For example, in case of chronic diseases, which are accompanied with slightly increased body temperature, it does not always produce the positive effect. The organism apparently does not have the resources that could be activated by submerging the body into ice-cold water. Such patients should rather get hyperthermal (high temperature) bath treatment.
There may be no constraining to winter swimming, even for therapeutic purposes, since it is one’s being mentally ready that predetermines the effectiveness of this method to a large extent.