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mikkel Aaland

Sauna Talk: Mikkel Aaland, author of the iconic book “Sweat” and the mascot for sauna enthusiasts everywhere

mikkel AalandWhat’s your favorite sweat bath?  “The one I just took, and the one I’m going to take next.”  Into sweat bathing and all the variations underneath.

Defining what a sweat bath is:  Some kind of a chamber where the air is heated, purpose is to induce sweat for bathing.

A Finnish style sauna as part of the neighborhood swimming complex at a public space in San Francisco.  North Beach Pool.  It helps create neighborhood and community.  Interacting in a positive, life affirming way.

Getting the (neighborhood) block into the sauna instead of the best sauna on the block.

Lived and travelled extensively.  Prague, Washington DC, Norway, San Francisco.

Sweat in the ’70s.  An exciting time for counter cultural views of the world.  Renewed interest in bathing.  Hot Tubs, sweat lodges, saunas.  Wet Magazine.  The tragic tale:  AIDS epidemic.  Shut down public bathing almost overnight.  Mini dark ages of public bathing culture.

Today: we are back into the renaissance.  Mikkel had started receiving calls from all over.  A whole gamut of people wanting to create their own sweat facilities.  People are doing what they’re talking about.  Today is the most exciting time in bathing and sweat bathing he can ever imagine.

Temascal and Sauna: centuries old traditions, developed separately, thousands of years ago.

The epiphany for the book Sweat:  At the Finnish Sauna Society in Helsinki.  A worldwide phenomenon.  Initially they were dots wanting to be connected.  Sweat bathing is as natural to humans as the baking of bread and the fermenting of grape.

Cultures create their own type of sweat bath.  But no sweat bathing culture around the equator.  You just go outside and you can sweat.

Sweat creates an altered consciousness state:  You go someplace else outside of your normal everyday life.  You are altering yourself.  A basic human need.

The Dolphin Club:  Sauna and swim in the San Francisco Bay.  Sauna Talk.

Different saunas have different rhythms and rituals.

Spending time in the hot room:  He stays until he gets a good sweat.  He’s learned to listen to his body.  It’s not tied to a timer.  It’s really important to get tuned into your body.

The Sweat Summit.  Greg Moga made it happen.  Gathering folks to San Francisco to Mikhail Brodsky, founder and visionary for Archimedes Banya

Put the BTUs into the banya.  Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, and a great restaurant/cafe with Russian style foods and beers.

Brings people together that normally don’t get together, in that very healthy way.

Minneapolis:  Credit to the Sweat Summit, but Minneapolis has an emerging group of folks who are bringing forth the concept of sauna in the public realm.  612 Sauna Society.

North American culture was missing this.  What is it about North American culture that misses.  We’re getting closer to flipping the switch towards a time when there can be a public sauna in every block everywhere. Urban sauna revival.  Yoga, brew pubs.  A plan that makes sense economically, that can be applied in a wide scale.

Mobile sauna akin to food trucks.

Silicon Valley mobile sauna society.  A bunch of Finns.  Mikkel is the mascot.

Infrared light bulb closets.  “I just don’t get it.”

There are so many bad saunas in America.  We need to make it known that these are not good saunas and we need to change that.

$50,000 to sponsor Sweat Summit 2.0.  Who’s in?

The best part of a sauna session?  A collection of small moments that all add up to something wonderful.

Water on the rocks is something that is so important, yet so many people are scared of doing that.

No lecturing in the sauna.  Try to be diplomatic afterwards, but sauna is your own experience.  No ringing out your swimsuit onto the sauna rocks!  Not being preachy, yet understanding good sauna ethic.

Read more about Mikkel Aaland here.

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Music: Dave Simonet, Midnight on the Interstate

Sponsor: nICE mug: your favorite beverage in a glass made entirely out of ice.

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