Sauna Aid: Helping those helping Ukrainian refugees in the US

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Sauna Aid, in cooperation with Sauna Times and Overland Saunas of Oregon, has announced a program to provide select Ukrainian churches in Minneapolis and Chicago with wood burning tent saunas.

For many of us, Ukraine may seem like a million miles away. But in many places here in the US, we have Ukrainian churches, where wonderful, kind hearted staff and volunteers are helping our brothers and sisters in war torn Ukraine. We want to offer sauna to those helping Ukrainian refugees in the US.

– Glenn Auerbach, SaunaTimes

Sauna Tent deployment

Providing a tent sauna solution for Ukrainian churches makes sense. Tent saunas, like those offered by Overland Saunas, can be packed up and transported easily. Tents assemble quickly. Most use wood burning stoves which are light, and heat up fast. With a cage that can hold about 100 pounds of sauna rocks, tent saunas can offer a great sweat for sauna bathers within a small footprint.

Overland Sauna tent deployed in nature

Sauna and Ukraine

The sauna, or laznia/banya, as it is known among Ukrainians, is an important part of everyday life and provides a means of hygiene, stress relief, socialization, psychological comfort, and social identity. It is not considered a luxury, nor is it only about cleanliness. It is a social event that brings together the young and the old, the rich and the poor and promotes peace and a common sense of humanity. Ukrainians call the banya their “second mother”.  

Sauna Aid

Sauna Aid is a multi country initiative, sponsored by the International Sauna Association (ISA), to provide movable sauna facilities and supportive services to people facing natural and man-made disasters. 

During the 2011 Fukushima tsunami and nuclear plant accident, ISA and the Japanese Sauna Society maintained a tent sauna for five weeks and used it for decontamination and cleaning of over a thousand locals. 

According to Mikkel Aaland, a Sauna Aid organizer, a specially designed Sauna Aid tent sauna is now operable at a temporary army camp near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.  War-weary soldiers are using it on a daily basis to help recuperate and relax. “The military is delighted!”, exclaims Maksym Bondarenko, a Kharkiv city council member, who along with Olga Zmievskaya of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, helped facilitate the transfer of the tent sauna on its circuitous routed from Finland to Poland, to its final destination.  

The tent was designed and built in Finland to rugged Finnish military specifications where tent saunas have been deployed by Finnish troops during world wars and regional conflicts. The special tent uses an efficient wood burning stove and accommodates up to 20 bathers, making the cost of bathing one person the same as the cost of bathing many.

Sauna Aid sauna tent built with rugged Finnish military specifications

Sauna Aid, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Bath Academy is also sponsoring free sauna sessions for Ukrainian fleeing their war-torn country. A free, on-line program to help educate bath attendants to the special needs of refugees suffering from trauma has also been developed by Sauna Aid and the Bath Academy.  

Sweating it out on the bench thanks to Sauna Aid and the Lithuanian Bath Academy

Sauna Aid education and Aid programs

Other Sauna Aid programs are in the works, including coordinating services between commercial bathhouses and people in need and coming up with other portable sauna solutions. 

Sauna aid sauna tent

Everything Sauna Aid does takes money 

Sauna Aid needs your help. Please donate! 

Sauna Aid is accepting monetary donations and equipment as well as recruiting volunteers to help staff the saunas. Here’s how you can help:

Donate money, go to: https://sauna-aid.com

Volunteer your time as a bath attendant or to provide movable saunas or sauna accessories, sign up here: https://sauna-aid.com

Follow Sauna Aid on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saunaaid

For more information contact:

Risto Elomaa, President International Sauna Association, sauna@kolumbus.fi

Mikkel Aaland, author/host, Perfect Sweat documentary series, mikkel.aaland@gmail.com

Glenn Auerbach, founder SaunaTimes, glenn@saunatimes.com

Sauna Aid logo
https://sauna-aid.com

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