International Assembly of Traditional Bath
Date: 2022-10-28, 17:00
Organizer : Lithuanian Bath Academy
The International Assembly of Traditional Bathing has taken place in Kaunas on 28-30 October 2022. It attracted representatives of sauna organisations and enthusiasts from around the world.
The eventhas been ofganized by Lithuanian Bath Academy and the International Bath Academy.
Purification of the body, physical and emotional ritual cleansing, is a natural part of human civilisation, and virtually all cultures have some form of washing or bathing tradition. However, in a changing world, the nature and place of these traditions in people's lives is also inevitably changing: the hygienic function of bathing is disappearing, its social, recreational and health-promoting role is increasing, the rapid dissemination of information and international contacts are blurring the cultural boundaries that existed before, and new forms of bathing and new ideas are emerging.
This is encouraging for old sauna enthusiasts, who have largely been responsible for the boom in popularity of the modern sauna, but it also creates a challenge to get to grips with the variety of new sauna traditions, practices, rituals and techniques. We therefore think it is time to discuss the place of tradition in today's world, to take stock of the diversity of sauna traditions and to discuss ways in which we can continue and nurture these traditions, while preserving their uniqueness and enriching each other.
Tasks of the Traditional Sauna Assembly
- To define the concepts of traditional sauna and sauna tradition
- To review the general trends in the development of sauna in the last decade
- To learn about the best practices of modern bathing in different countries
- Discuss the challenges of reconstructing and adapting old bathing techniques to the present
- To present contemporary developments in traditional bath education and communication
- To realise the idea of bath diplomacy between different cultures
Forms of Assembly work
We had personal introductions, common discussions, presentations and practical demonstrations in the hot steam pirtis (sauna). We also had individual whisking sessions in the separate mobile sauna. Two presentations were online via our online seminar platform.
Participants had an aditional sightseeing and cultural programme. XIV century bathing at the archeological site of Kernavė. The language of the Assembly was English.
Presenters and their themes
Milda Valančiauskienė .(Lituania)
„Safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage“
Ian Anderson (USA)
Pavel Sladek (Czechia)
Inipi sweat lodge practices and my becoming a group bath master.
Garrett Conover .(USA)
The presentation starts with a few images of my personal introduction into sauna culture, and then introduces the basics of the tradition. This is followed by a couple of images that reflect some of the people interviewed in doing the book. The remainder follows up with a more general view of traditions that arrived in North America with imigrants bringing bath culture with them, and how those influences add flavor to the current celebration of sauna in America and Canada.
Mika Meskanen (GB)
It was interesting presentation about schmeissing and its practice in the UK based on some very unique interview notes from conversations wit He unfortunately passed away last year, so I feel that I need to make this knowledge available to more people.
Birute Masiliauskiene (Lituania)
„Warming up the Soul“
In modern world old bathing traditions get a new mission of emotional hygiene. Research, based on the Sauna Aid project of emotional help to the refugees of Ukrainian war, proved a positive and long lasting effect on the emotional state. Bathmaster is the most important factor, working with the clients in emotional crisis situations, no matter what bathing tradition it belongs.
Yosuke Higuchi (Japan)
Yousuke introduced culture and whisking activities in Japan with some materials.
Rimas Kavaliauskas (Lituania)
Presentation about technical aspects of good Lithuanian pirtis.
Katie Bracher (UK)
The success of traditional bathing development in Great Britain.
Wendy Liu (GB)
Sauna yoga - the combination of two UNESCO intangible heritage traditions.
Hanna Aro-Heinilä (Finland)
Over the internet presentation about the most egzotic but nevertheless traditional sauna treatment - blood letting.
Seiju Takayama (Japan)
Over the internet live presentation about latest experience of the traditional Lithuanian whisking introduction in Japan.
18:00 Greeting the first steam. Egidijus Zukauskas and Laura Foon.
18:30 Evolution of whisking. Giedrius Gervys
19:00 Sauna Yoga. Wendy Liu.
19:30 . Bathing and emotions. Birutė Masiliauskienė.
20:00 Glimpse of connection. Pavel Sladek.
20:30 Gentle procedure. Rimas Kavaliauskas.
21:00 Katie & Co. British round
For guests from abroad who are interested in the Lithuanian pirtis traditions, we offered introductory trainings in English: read more.
Participants were granted the accomodation in a shared sleeping room with shared showers and toilets. Accomodation also included breakfast.
Photos of the facilities are on the Broliu mene pirtis page.
Lithuanian Bath Academy and International Bath Academy
Assembly is friendly supported by Directorate of the Kernave Cultural Reserve. More about our trip to Kernavė - read more.