If you lived in the U.S.S.R. and developed, say, high blood
pressure, early signs of ulcers, a touch of arthritis, or a
persistent cough, your doctor would probably give you a
prescription for a 28-day ''rest cure." Then, your
polyclinic or your employer would make arrangements for a
free—or extremely inexpensive—visit to a health
spa (one of that nation's hundreds) that specializes in
your particular ailment.
You might, for example, spend a month in the lovely old
town of Pyatigorsk (nestled in the foothills of the
Caucasus) where the Czars and their nobles "took the
waters." Or perhaps you'd end up in the Black Sea
resort of Sukhumi, with warm evenings spent sipping iced
coffee with ice cream on the crowded, friendly, palm-strewn
promenade. Or you could find yourself in one of the
palatial spas nestled among the magnolia, mimosa, and
cypress trees in popular, sophisticated Sochi.
According to your problem, you would be assigned a
combination of "natural" cures: These might include
exercise, dance, singing, breathing, walking, swimming,
inhalation, electric, light, and/or heat therapies; mud
or mineral baths; a special diet; health herbs; and, almost
inevitably, a precise number of cups of
a certain mineral water to consume each day.
Does it do any good? The patients think so, and as one
doctor expressed it: "We wouldn't spend all this time and
money if the system didn't work! "
Our Readers in Russia
A marvelously diverse group of MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers (alike only
in their independency, adventurousness, stamina, and good
cheer) recently returned home after spending over three
exciting weeks exploring some of these very health spas, as
well as the metropolises of Moscow and Leningrad,
exotic Samarkand, the Zone of Health in the
Caspian Sea town of Baku, and the outrageously
hospitable village of Tbilisi in Soviet Georgia. (A couple
from California even celebrated their Georgian-style
wedding in nearby Talavi, where the feasting, dancing,
and toasting lasted almost eight hours! )
And the herbalists who came along on the tour were so
impressed with some of the 4,500 species of plant life
found in the awesome, soaring Caucasian mountains (there
are over 550 wild medicinal plants native to this region!)
that "Herbs and Herbal Medicine" will be the theme of our next tour to the U.S.S.R. in May of 1980. Which will, once again, be arranged in cooperation with the
Citizen Exchange Corps.
Furthermore, our next spring's trip won't be
confined to the Caucasus! We'll also travel to
Alma-Ata (near the China border), which is one of the most
beautiful cities in the Soviet Union. Then we'll visit
nearby Issyk-kul, where—years ago—an earthquake
nearly emptied a gigantic lake and left rich soil in
which plants such as peonies and delphiniums grow three
times as big as they do anywhere else on Earth!
Next we'll explore the Irkutsk area in Siberia, lands in
which a person could (in season) live (well!) off the wild
foods that grow in profusion in the beautiful forests
surrounding Lake Baikal, the largest body of fresh water
in the world.
The trip will last 21 days and will cost approximately
$2,000 (subject to confirmation). If you'd like to add some
exotic plants to your herb collection or simply gain more
knowledge about the subject, a $100 deposit (which we'll
cheerfully refund up to six weeks before departure) will
hold you a place.
More Travel Plans
MOTHER EARTH NEWS has other travel plans for 1980, too. For example,
would you like to check out the "years-ahead-of-us-all"
solar energy developments in Israel? Or—come next
fall—find out about food and energy production in the
People's Republic of China? If so, let us hear from you!