A hot water bath is all that one craves for when winter chill grips us.But what children in Siberia are being subjected to is totally opposite of it. Ice baths in freezing temperatures.
According to Daily Mail, this icy bath is a part of their curriculum. Young children are made to strip down to their underwear. Then they are taken outside, walking on snow covered ground with no protective clothes. Then they douse a bucket of ice water onto themselves!
And no, it isn't like the once-viral Ice Bucket challenge that was popular a few years ago. At the school state kindergarten number 317, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, children do their icy baths because it is believed to stop infections and keep them healthy. In Siberia, kindergarten is known as Sibiryachok or Little Siberian.
But don't worry, people aren't that cruel. The children are first taken to a hot sauna. Then they go for the ice bath only if the temperature outside is above -25oC. Oksana Kabotko, a 45-year-old swimming coach and pre-school teacher, said the parents give their permission for the cold shower. It is not forced on the kids. She argues that due to these cold showers, there are fewer off days in school in a year.
She also said that these showers have many positive effects on the kids. "The children who do have the ice showers are also more sensible, balanced and optimistic. They are better organised," she added. Since they need to do the icy shower every morning, it requires extreme will power which the teacher said was a positive quality. She again emphasised no kid is forced to do any of this.
The kids are trained to brace the cold in every way possible. They are coached with very specific breathing exercises to help when the cold gets too strong. Lyubov Daniltsova, a teacher for the school, said there are facts to establish what they are doing is right. Doctors there have confirmed that children who do this icy dousing regularly are less prone to fall ill during flu season.