Here’s one for the anything but humble department. “So enough about me, what do you think about me?”
Turning Point: Sauna puts him in improved mental state, connects him to others
In the mid-1980s, Glenn Auerbach of Minneapolis was in his 20s, hitchhiking through Scandinavia with a buddy. The summer had been cold and rainy. One day, a Swedish couple in a small village put them up for a few days. The wife ushered them to a vacant apartment above the husband’s dental office. She showed Auberbach and his friend where they could take a sauna – marking the beginning of a ritual and devotion that continues to this day.
“We looked like a couple of cold, wet rats, shivering in the rain. We thought we’d died and gone to heaven. This changed me.
“Before this, I had zero experience with sauna. I grew up in upstate New York. I grew up shoveling snow with cold feet.
“Soon after, my friend and I helped build a house on an island outside Stockholm. We’d knock off work at 7 at night. We’d hop in a boat, then cruise over to a friend’s uncle’s island. We’d fire up the sauna.
“Traveling through Scandanavia, I got exposed to wood-burning saunas, electric saunas.
“I moved to Minnesota after my time in Scandanavia with the express interest in buying a cabin on a lake. I moved here in 1988. I met my wife, Julie, the first week I moved to Minnesota. She loves lakes.”
“Sauna is the complete package. It puts you in a different mental state. When you’re on scaffolding working through rain and cold, you can persevere because you know what awaits at the end of the day. You can get through the day.
“There’s also the connectivity. Through this sauna experience, I got to know the people in a way you never would. There are no external stimuli. You’re in a focused area. There are no distractions. It’s sort of akin to sports. When you engage in tennis or a sport with someone else, you have a common bond.”Recently, my 12-year-old son and I took a sauna. I got an update (from him) in ways I wouldn’t normally. We’re both in there, sharing this bond.
“There are few rules. When you’re hot, you go out. When you’re cold, you go in.
“There is a magic of three rounds (of sauna). A round consists of going into the hot room, experiencing sweat, tossing water on the sauna rocks (loyly).
“When you’re too hot, you go out. Ideally, you jump in a cold lake. I have a shower in my back yard.
“The pores of your skin open. Your muscles go through expansion and contraction. It’s a very therapeutic process. It helps mentally, too, and spiritually. You can work out problems or relax.
“Our climate (in Minnesota) is perfect for sauna. My son and I are big fans. When it’s a cold, crappy day, we think, ‘What a great day for sauna.’
“When there is a snowstorm, there’s a magic that happens. I’ll cross-country ski and then have a sauna. (After the sauna), you just make snow angels. There’s nothing better.
“When I have my buddies over, we’ll sauna from 9 p.m. to midnight. We find an unrushed sauna session can fill three hours. When you shorten it, you scrape the surface of the true value.
“We’re such a drive-through society and want to reap benefits in the quickest, most condensed way possible. We find that the sauna experience is not meant for that.
“I used to have three saunas. I used to have a mobile sauna that I recently sold. I have a sauna in my back yard. I also have a sauna at my cabin in northern Minnesota. I run a website, Saunatimes.com.
“I usually do sauna three times a week. Friday happy-hour sauna is a great way to start the weekend.
“I work for Nestle. I am in sales. My territory is the Upper Midwest. When I travel, I get antsy (if I can’t do a sauna).
“The moment I stepped into the sauna the first time, it just felt right. Each time I go in, it feels right. It’s like a reminder. It’s like meeting up with a good friend again.”