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Ice swimming embraced by people of happiest country in the world

"It's going to make you feel so good!"
Katja Pantzar hears her friend call out encouragingly as she stands on a wooden dock in central Helsinki on a cold, dark and snowy winter evening. It's 14 F (-10 C), but all Pantzar is wearing is a swimsuit, a wool hat and borrowed neoprene gloves and booties. She's been told she's about to take a step toward curing all her problems, from aches and pains to feeling down.

Pantzar is about to take the plunge -- a dip into water that is warmer than the air but still just 38 F (about 3 C) and ice-covered. While this might seem like a daredevil stunt or a crazy bet to North Americans and many others around the world, ice swimming, or winter swimming, is not an out-of-the-ordinary sight even here in the capital city's center

Instead, jumping into a hole cut in the ice of the sea or a lake during winter is an everyday activity in Finland -- one that's performed with gusto.

Read the complete article @CNN