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Sweating, swimming, and sermons with an 82 year old Lutheran pastor and his wife

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“If you haven’t experienced the sauna, you have to do it, because it is a wonderful cleansing, spiritual way of life.”

-Paster Dave Pearson

The Scandinavian couple right at home on the sauna bench.

We hadn’t yet tossed water on the sauna rocks, when I asked him the question:

“So, doing the math, as a Lutheran paster for over 40 years, that’s about 2,000 sermons.”

“that’s about right.”

“Have you ever mentioned sauna in one of your sermons?”

“Well, I’m sure I have mentioned sauna in a few of my sermons.  But I will say this: I have composed many of my sermons in the sauna.  There are a lot of “aha” moments that come from the sauna, just from the conversation that is generated here or just personal meditation.”

“I think as a minister, that’s where the spirit dimension of it (sauna) comes in.  We have such a significant responsibility, spiritually, to protect and to preserve and to use our bodies to the maximum extent that we possibly can.”

This is Sauna Talk

I had the great pleasure recently to be sitting on the sauna bench with Paster Dave Pearson and his wife Judy.

Dave and Judy enjoy their sauna ritual pretty much every afternoon along the shores of Isle of Pines on Lake Vermilion in Northern Minnesota.  The setting is idyllic, and familiar to many.  Their wood burning sauna is nestled amongst birch and old growth red and white pines.

Dave and Judy Pearson (note sauna in background)

A small window in the hot room faces the lake.  A picture perfect scene out to the glistening water that captures Nature with a capital N.  The late afternoon sun enters through the small window, casting light on the sauna rocks, highlighting the soul and essence of the heat, inviting the sauna bather: “yes, toss water right here!”.

Sauna buckets of water, ready for deployment on sauna rocks

Outside the deep red clad sauna building, it’s just a few steps down to a landing, then a right turn out onto the dock, where a ladder is set up on the end, welcoming the sauna bather into the cool clean water.

Like an Irish couple sitting in front of their Guinness at their favorite pub, Dave and Judy look right at home on their sauna bench.

Paster Pearson is all Scandinavian. Thick white hair, solid blue eyes, and an in shape lanky physique.  Strong boned and muscled, you can just picture him in his favorite flannel work shirt chopping firewood on a late fall afternoon (as the sauna stove heats up for their afternoon sauna).  Sure enough, when asked: “yes, I cut my own firewood, we enjoy the ritual.”

In this episode of Sauna Talk, we try to get down to the essence of the health and wellness benefits to the authentic sauna experience.  What’s important is that we get a context of sauna being more than a hot room.  We discuss the wood burning aspect to authentic sauna, the connection with our soul and with nature.  And the affirmation of the physical benefits to sauna, as explained in The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, which Paster Pearson had just read that afternoon, and bookmarked in anticipation of our visit.

As Paster Pearson reads the excerpt from the book, I am taken by his strength of voice and being.

Navigating his own confrontation with cancer, I am thinking about all the people and families he surely has guided through their own health experiences.  And now Paster Pearson and his wife are dealing with their own journey.  No chemotherapy or chemicals, but a healthy diet and lifestyle with plenty more saunas and cool lake plunges down their path.

Sauna with the Pearsons

Please join me in welcoming Dave and Judy Pearson to Sauna Talk.

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