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A Recipe for the Russian Venik

Posted: February 1, 2008, from the February 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Interested in bringing a touch of Russia to your skin care treatments? With its simple ingredients and easy-to-replicate recipe, the traditional venik is a great addition to any menu.
      Used to warm up the body, a venik is a bundle of fragrantly leafy birch, oak, or other variety of twigs that clean the skin by flogging, stoking, lashing and rubbing, causing the body’s temperature to increase. Able to be done on all parts of the body, spa-goers often enter a steam room for a few minutes after the service, then cool off with and ice cold shower or pool plunge.

To make your own venik, follow these steps:
1. Select an assortment of aromatically rich young twigs—in addition to birch and oak, eucalyptus, fir, lime tree or nettle can also be used—and then arrange them into a bunch.
2. Remove the leaves from the bottom of the stems, and tie a rope around the stems several times to hold the bunch tightly together.
3. Finish the venik off by tying a knot at the bottom and cutting the bottoms of the stems to ensure evenness and the removal of any sharp edges.
4. Enjoy with a combination of massage, sauna time and shower or pool offerings.

      And to learn more about spa customs and clients in Russia, read International Trends: From Russia With Love by Stella Yfantidis, which appeared in the February 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.