Whisking in UK
UK sauna culture is currently limited, most saunas are badly built - poorly ventilated and steam is banned. Therefore, in the UK - most people have had experiences that are very unpleasant relating to the sauna. There is a general lack of knowledge and fear for most - so education and conversion of people to the ‘way of the steam’ is a big project.
Mika Meskanen (founder of the British Sauna Society) looks out of the window at the Southbank Centre ‘pop-up’ Finnish Sauna Experience. Katie was ‘Sauna Major’ at the event - giving in-sauna talks and demonstrations to guests. This was the moment where I realised the potential of creating a business from the concept. 2017/18
Mika, who had attended whisking training with Rimas, shares his knowledge at another ‘pop-up’ sauna project, WARMTH sauna is a horse box sauna built by Bethany Wells, an art project, funded by The Arts Council - it was originally conceived as a performance space. 2017
Mari shares her ‘beat to the balance project in Scotland 2016
British Sauna Society meet-up in London 2018. The social sauna experience becomes clear...
I met Liz Watson and we borrowed Bethanys WARMTH sauna to bring an ‘Authentic Finnish Sauna Experience’ to Brighton Fringe Arts festival. May 2018
We quickly gained a reputation as the ‘ladies who hit you with leaves’
Mika and Katie (co-founders of British Sauna Society) present on their vision for the UK sauna culture, June 2018 at the International Sauna Congress in Tornio, Sweden.
We then launched our business in Brighton - on a temporary Beachside location. All our site has been built using repurposed materials.
Our sauna build from packing crates. The design attempts to incorporate high benches like the Finnish, a wide whisking bench for the pirtis and enough space for an Aufguss!!
All built using recycled materials, even the stove is from an Olympic pop-up spa project!
We invite Birute to come and share her knowledge with us. She visits 3 times in the first year and each visit gets more attention from our growing customer base.
We bring the Lithuanian Pirtis to Brighton Fringe festival. 2019
Rimas visits too and we discuss ways to collaborate and bring whisking training to the UK.
The British Sauna Society visit for the festival and 100 new people are introduced to the whisking experience.
We promote whisking to our 2500 social media followers, the event gains national press.
Birute returns for the first UK Pirtis training course.
Many new and exciting opportunities are open for the UK sauna culture now.
Some challenges are in ensuring that quality is kept high where possible, although this could be where the British Sauna Society steps in.
We are a densely populated country with few forests (especially in the South East) so collecting whisk materials could be a problem too.
However the doors are open, people are interested and the lack of existing culture gives us the opportunity to create something new for the UK audience. It’s an exciting time!
vicepresident of British Sauna Society