The text focuses on the theme of health care and amateur treatment in the extreme conditions of increased radiation after the explosion of the nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant. It reconstructs the plight of the population from the accounts of residents living near the Chernobyl power plant, some of whom resettled in the Czech Republic, and analyses the relationship of the new state of affairs for folk healing. The text shows the logic of the adaptation mechanisms of the group of people to the new circumstances and their mobilization of the cognitive potential in the conditions in which professional aid and biomedicine, which they commonly used, failed. Besides the traditional practices of folk treatment, innovations based on scraps of information gathered from the mass media, reading, knowledge of a healthy lifestyle, the application of extreme medical cures devised by doctors through experimentation, assert themselves under extreme conditions. Other than the information on the application of specifi c methods and procedures, the text shows the process of how ‘human wisdom’ on health and disease is formed and adapts to a new, in this case extreme, situation. In an individualized, complex society, these ideas are distinctly private, fl exible and situational.