By Sergei Vlasov
Photo by E. Ettinger
to live without diseases? Generation after generation dreams about
it. But even now, despite the tremendous medical achievements, we
have to bitterly admit, that humanity doesn’t have less disease.
We will not discus serious illnesses – let’s
take a common cold. According to statistics, more than half of all
sickness falls into this category.
There are many various ways to stay healthy, but the best among them
is the tempering-conditioning. Unfortunately the effect of cold on
a human being has not been studied enough. However, the therapeutic
properties of icy water were known millenniums ago. Many doctors still
successfully practice this folk medicine today. For example, in the
city hospital No.1 of Kaluga (Russia), the cold is used in treatment
of neuroses and bronchial asthma. At the Kirov Sanatorium in Yalta,
winter swimming is helping to treat hypertension and neurasthenia.
I.P. Pavlov explained the therapeutic influence of
cold on an organism as a “shock treatment of the nerve cells”
– a sudden affect on the nervous system. Still, there are many
unanswered questions about the influence of cold on a human being.
This is why, in our opinion, the experiment of Porfiry
Korneevich Ivanov, is so valuable. This citizen of the Voroshilovgrad’s
region, has been testing himself for almost 50 years. He has so adapted
himself to cold that he can spend many hours outside only in shorts
and barefoot on snow!
He will be 85 years old and during his a half a century
of being a friend to frost, he has never caught cold and was never
sick with respiratory disease and flu. Before he began training himself,
he was as sick as anybody else…
I found out about Porfiry Korneevich from the writer
V.G. Cherkassov, a zealous follower of the simple system of superior
health, created by Ivanov. And he is not alone: just in Moscow I know
more than several dozen engineers, doctors, scientists who became
followers of Ivanov. Following the example of “The Teacher”
(as everybody call him), they run barefoot on snow, forgot about disease;
though in the past they were frequently sick, now they thank the fate
that brought them to Porfiry Korneevich.
Before visiting him in Verhny Kondryuchy village,
where he now lives, I read about him in the book “The Reserves
of Our Organism” written by two doctors: N. Agadjanyan and A.
“In any frost he walks barefoot on the snow…and without
feeling any cold”.
It sounded strange – doesn’t he really feel cold? This
was the first question I asked Porfiry Korneevich.
- I am not feeling cold?! – He exclaimed –
I feel it, even more than you. Only you are afraid of it I am not.
I made a friend of the eternal human enemy.
- And you indeed are not getting sick?
- Why not? I am sick all the time: I am sick from the thought that
I am capable, but prohibited to give my experience to people.
- Some say you believe in God.
- It's not absolutely true. I believed until I realized that God remains
not in the sky, but on Earth in people who are able to be victorious
This unusual man has a very interesting life. Born in a poor family,
he became a coal-miner, like his father. He descended into the mine
for the first time at age 15. He did variety of jobs there. In 1917
he was drafted by the Army.
- I didn’t make it to the Army – The Czar was overthrown.
However, I participated as a partisan; derailed enemy trains, once
burned the English airplane, for which the commanders rewarded me.
After the war, I restored mines in Donbas, participated in the collective
farms movement, and managed forestry.
Now, as he is approaching
his ninth decade, he is impressive with the boldness of his reasoning.
He was always this way – daring, courageous, thoughtful. Once,
when he was in Caucasus and stood on the top of a high cliff, a thought
came to him: “Why do people live such that while they are young
the first half of their life is spent in well being, and then they
reach maturity, and it seems that they should live a productive life,
it is not happening – diseases jump on them, making them unfit,
forcing them to think not of the business for which they came to Earth,
but about themselves. Disease makes a man an egotist. Don’t
all human sorrows happen from the inability to conquer powerlessness?
No matter how much you bundle up – it doesn’t save you
from disease. Why not do the opposite –not hide from Nature,
but walk towards it, become close to it and merge with it?”
And Porfiry Korneevich decided to prove first to
himself that “the unkind forces of Nature” (his expression)
are possible to tame and use for benefit. He began to walk without
clothes during frost, at first for a few seconds, then up to a half
of a minute. Increasing it more and more, he was able to walk outside
during snowstorm, wearing only shorts, and spend hours out in a field
during strong winds and cold. He was returning home covered in snow
and ice, the steam was rising from him, and people around him were
perplexed whether he would be in bed with cold (or maybe with something
more serious) tomorrow.
But this is all in the past. Now, having retired,
Ivanov is set on the idea of transmitting his unique (unique indeed!)
experience of tempering - conditioning to the people and scientists.
And what about the scientists? They are not in a hurry…. Maybe
they don’t know about Ivanov?
“I tell people, - Porfiry
Korneevich says, - My dears, all your diseases are from your ignorance:
from warmth, good food and rest. Do not be afraid of cold: it mobilizes
(as they say now) the protective forces of your organism. Cold thrusts
into the body a hormone of health. Let everyone think what is more
important: the real thing or small enjoyments. For everything there
has to be personal victory. A human being must live by Victory; if
this would not happen – you would not be of much value. Why
get treatment [from a disease] if it is possible to not let a disease
into the body?!”
Marx has said that a civilized man must be able to
withstand Nature as the ancient men did it. Porfiry Ivanov is able
to withstand Nature. The basis for it is his system. He had been developing
it for almost a half of the century and has been strictly following
it for the same amount of time. The system is very simple at a glance
and consists of seven rules. Some of them seem to be irrelevant to
health. Judge for yourself.
1. Live with a constant desire to do good to people
and once done –forget about it and hurry to do more.
2. Try to do everything with pleasure and joy. Until you have mastered
the joyfulness of doing a job – consider that you don’t
know how to do it.
It seems that he doesn’t speak about health,
but really he speaks about the most important health – the health
of soul. It is impossible to cure the body without it. Here are his
3. Don’t drink wine or vodka.
4. Fast once a week. At other times try to eat less
meat, and eat less in general.
“Now people suffer from obesity, they eat twice more than their
nature requires. Excess food prevents clear thinking.”
5. Walk barefoot all year around on grass or snow,
at least for a few minutes a day.
6. Daily: morning and evening bathe in cold water.
The photo correspondent Edward Ettinger and I experimented with this.
At first, we declined it point-black. I was afraid to think about
it, moreover, I was suffering from a sore throat and cold. Only when
we saw how disappointed Porfiry Korneevich became (“And now
you don’t believe me…”), we decided to risk it –
for the sake of healing humanity.
But when he poured a bucket of icy-cold water on our heads and shoulders,
we realized what it means to have an unearthly experience! By the
way, after a half an hour my sickness was completely gone. We took
the cold-water procedures every day, but only at the end of the fifth
day of our visitation in the house of Porfiry Ivanovich did we begin
to get a taste for it. We do not appeal to anyone to immediately follow
our example. We are only telling the facts.
7. The last rule: Remain frequently with skin exposed to the air:
summer and winter. “Let the body breathe and receive warmth
from the cold.” Someone may think it is nonsense. But let’s
hear from one of a followers of Ivanov -- I. Khvoshevsky PhD,
a specialist in area of thermodynamics:
“As a result of his
unprecedented experience, P.K. Ivanov was able to show that under
cold conditions, the human organism begins to constantly produce inner
energy. It could not be ruled out, that it echoes the ingenious hypothesis
of Tsyolkovsky regarding gradual and free absorption of energy from
surrounding cold bodies. Indeed, we know very little about the human
being and his potential. Perhaps during unknown extreme situations
an organism shows new, unknown capabilities; right now we can only
guess about it. This is why the experiment that Porfiry Korneevich
Ivanov conducts on himself for over a half of a century is so important.
It is difficult to find a similar example of such perseverance…”
In the village, Ivanov has many followers. First
among them is his wife Valentina Leontievna. Some time ago she was
very ill, now, 70 years old, she considers herself perfectly healthy.
“I am afraid”, she says, “to miss
even one day in winter of going undressed out in the frost and pouring
on myself an icy water. What if disease would return, like it used
to 25 years ago.
Valentina Leontievna, like Porfiry Korneevich, eats
very little. Despite being very busy (like any other peasant woman),
she tires less than before she became a friend to the cold and began
fasting. It’s possible that the two factors are related to each
other – one helping to overcome the other.
Really, the mysteries of the human organism are endless!
On our way to the airport we stopped by the Regional
Party Center of Sverdlovsk-city to talk about Ivanov [with authorities].
The Secretary of the Regional Committee, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Kovaleva,
aren’t able to evaluate this unique man. We don’t have
the specialists for it here. And honestly speaking, we don’t
have the time. The region is big and complicated, with extraction
of coal being done. But if you would help to attract attention to
Ivanov with publicity, scientists…".
This is what we are trying to do here.*
* This article was reprinted and translated
from magazine “Ogonyek” No 8, 1982.
(Translated from the Russian by Marina