The British Sauna Society
The sauna is a form of sweat bath that has a rich history ranging back thousands of years. In its most basic form a sauna is a room steamed up by pouring water on fire-hot stones. It is this interaction of all classical elements of nature: water, earth, air and fire – that makes the sauna a wonderful place for the body, mind and spirit.
Having started as a survival technique of ancient hunter-gatherers, the sauna has evolved through times like the civilisation itself. Bathing in sauna has kept rural farmers and urban workers fresh and clean alike. In Finland, where the word sauna comes from, it's been such an intrinsic part of life that mothers customarily gave birth to their babies in saunas all the way into 1950's. It was the warmest and cleanest room in the household after all.
Saunas can also be communal spaces where friends, family or complete strangers meet and discover that bathing is conducive to relaxation and a good conversation. By leaving all baggage at the door, and bringing in only respect, tolerance and good manners towards fellow bathers, the sauna also becomes a temple of peace, accord and equality.
In the British Isles sauna culture was strong all the way from Celtic and Roman times throughout the middle ages into the 17th century, but eventually it was slowly corrupted and faded into obscurity – up until a slow revival hatched towards the end of the millennium. It’s time to pick up the pieces again.
The British Sauna Society aims to reconnect us with the island’s past, the best sauna traditions worldwide and help develop a vibrant, living sauna culture in the United Kingdom.
Josée-Ann Cloutier, Martin Dowland, Nicklas de León Persson, Mika Meskanen (chair), Onni Niemelä, Andrew Paterson
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