Rosemary Ferguson and the Russian banya

Jan 28, 2019, 08:00 AM

Former model turned nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson shares her wellbeing secrets as she gives a Russian banya a fair crack of the whip.

This week Suzanne is side-by-side with a model in a swimsuit! Rosemary Ferguson walked the runway for designers from Galliano to McQueen but ultimately give it all up for her first love – health and wellbeing. She went back to collage and qualified as a nutritionist and naturopath, and now runs a clinic in Harley Street while also writing as a journalist and author. However, while she is open to the more unusual things in life, she may be tested to her limit by the treatment Suzanne has in store for us today: a banya, one of Russia’s oldest traditions, at the South Kensington Club in London.
Unlike a standard sauna, where the air is hot and dry with no more than 5 to 10 % humidity, banyas have a much higher humidity – around 60 to 70%. Traditional black banyas have an open-flame stone stove in the centre to create the heat (the ultimate winter warmer), but heat is only one part of the experience. The other indispensable ingredient of a banya treatment is the venik: a bunch of thin birch or oak branches which are used to whip you to increase circulation and soften skin. After the heat and the birching, the final act of the banya is a plunge into Russian winter – the ice bath! It’s going to be quite a ride!
Start the year with some new experiences: close your eyes and plunge into a world of wellness. Bathing is a primal ritual, but it’s never been more relevant. The conversation starts here.

This podcast series will be 6 episodes long launching Jan 14th and guests include Liz Earle, Melissa Hemsley, Ward Thomas and three more surprise guests.
Bathe: The Podcast was created and produced in-house by Bonnier Books UK to celebrate the publication of Suzanne Duckett’s new book Bathe
Recorded on location in the Russian banya at The South Kensington Club in London
Freelance producer and editor Lisa Mainwaring (LiMa Mic Media)
Executive Producer and Senior Marketing Manager Clarissa Pabi
Publicity Manager Francesca Pearce
Comms Director Lisa Hoare
Head of Audio Jon Watt