In Sauna Veritas – ”In sauna there is the truth”

The sauna culture is flourishing around the world, and thrives even in Swedish Lapland. svenska Bastuakademin, the swedish sauna academy, was inaugurated in 1988 with the opening of Kulturbastun, the Culture sauna, at the open air historical museum in Jukkasjärvi, a stone’s throw from ICEHOTEL.

The man behind the initiative is Pär Granlund. He tells us how it all started: “We were a few enthusiasts, relaxing and philosophizing in the sauna. among us was Yngve Bergqvist, founder of ICEHOTEL. Together we drew up the guidelines and the Swedish Sauna Academy was thereby founded. It was a rather profound feeling having this occur in just Kulturbastun, which was formerly a small inn where, among others, the founder of Kiruna himself, Hjalmar Lundbohm, used to dine in grandeur with such prominent friends as Prince Eugene of Sweden and the celebrated swedish artist Albert Engström.” Pär continues, “a sauna bath is a meeting of the four elements: earth, fire, air and the pure water. In the sauna we are all alike, sharing this lifestyle and philosophy combined with health and mental well-being.”

So how does one go about to really enjoy genuine sauna bath? Pär Granlund is happy to guide us in this noble art: “The most important aspects are to take it easy and make sure you have plenty of time. The sauna is no place to be in a hurry. You start of course by taking off all your clothes and going into the warming sauna completely nude. You simply sit there and feel how your body slowly heats up. Not until you really begin to sweat is it time to throw the first scoop of water over the hot stones. The rule of thumb when bathing together is: the last one in decides when it is time to throw water on the stones.”

You show consideration to your fellow sauna bathers. Extreme temperatures are one of the things that are not recommended: “That’s true. no one should have to leave because someone else is firing up too high. a sauna bath is meant to last a long time. You sit there for about 5-10 minutes, go out to shower and cool off, before repeating the process again. It is also essential to replenish fluids on the inside as well, preferably with cold, fresh water. after the sauna bath, you all get together, clean and utterly relaxed, and share a really good meal and something to drink. This is my ultimate recipe for a perfect day”, Pär concludes.