Russian Massage & Twigging

Russian massage has a long history, having been used by medicine women along with herbal preparations for centuries. The first recorded form of manual therapy done by the ancient Slovaks (later called Russians) at a bania (sauna) was called "twigging." 

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This process of twigging, as some suggest, is nothing more than very deep friction. In fact, we do see a great amount of hyperemia in the skin due to both the twigging and the heat of the sauna.  This process was repeated several times during bathing (followed by rest), and concluded with the bather going for a dip in the snow or in a stream of running water. The severe amount of friction the bather received prevented the body from serious overcooling and helped them to adapt to the cold temperatures of Russian winters and strengthen their immune system. The bania still is in use today, and many Russians have their own outside saunas where they go to detoxify, usually once a week.

Watch as Somebody's Gotta Do It's Mike Rowe gets worked over on the massage table at Chicago Sweatlodge.