“I call it a sauna head-your ego disappears”: How Britain got hooked on heat | Health and Welfare

MeIt’s a chilly morning in Walpole Bay, Kent. I have a waist deep in the sea. I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I waved and sprinted on the beach. – The wooden sauna sits on a huge rusty wheel. Modeled after a Victorian bather, this free community sauna is the baby of Dom Bridges, the founder of local skin care brand Haeckels. “I don’t see it as an elitist pastime,” he tells me. “It’s important to provide a healthy space to get together and build a community while focusing on our mental and psychological health. It’s something you have to pay for. I can’t. “

The locals agree. Volunteer Rosalind Nelson, who opens every Sunday, said: Up. “One user, Carroll, says she has had breast cancer twice and that it helped her recover. Another local Tindara said,” It only clears your mind completely. ” That’s it. ”

Although modern sauna culture is considered Scandinavian, it is actually an ancient English practice, with the oldest archaeological evidence found near Stonehenge, and the Bronze Age sauna in Westray, Orkney. However, in the UK, saunas are often considered a nap add-on to resorts and leisure centers.

Now it’s changing. In the last two years, “at least 50’new wave’UK saunas are already in operation or under construction, and there are more saunas at various stages of the plan,” said the founder of the British Sauna Association. I am. Mika Mescanen. At this summer’s festival, a wellness area with a sauna was set up, and writer Caitlin Moran called the sauna a “new pub.”

Sauna life photography feature by George Collie to be performed on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Saltwater Sauna-Sandbanks Beach, Pool (featuring guests)
Sauna life photography feature by George Collie to be performed on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Saltwater Sauna-Sandbanks Beach, Pool (Feature Sam Glyn Jones, Co-Founder)
Sauna life photography feature by George Collie to be performed on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Saltwater Sauna-Sandbanks Beach, Pool (featuring guests)

  • Top left and top: Saltwater Sauna, Sandbanks Beach, Pool. Top right: Sam Glyn-Jones, co-founder of Saltwater Sauna.

“This is a big move,” says Olly Davey, founder of Heartwood Saunas. His construction studio has a fee. “There aren’t many beaches around the UK where something isn’t planned.”


WWhenever you start talking to enthusiasts, one sauna keeps appearing in the conversation: Beach Box, Brighton. I travel there to meet Liz Watson. Liz Watson is considered to be the “mother” of the new sauna movement. “It only makes us very happy,” she says. “Everyone walks away with a smile.” Watson launched the beach box as a pop-up in 2018, which is part of Brighton Fringe’s Finnish season. “People loved it. It was full.”

Sauna life photography feature by George Collie to be performed on Saturday, June 18, 2022.Beach Box Spa-Banjo Groyne in Brighton

We are sitting on her Finnish high pine bench löyly (Finnish for steam rising from the stove) A sauna with a snug felt ceiling and a stove filled with volcanic rocks. All the timber used is locally sourced from Sussex estates, and the entire excursion is a DIY attraction. Watson bought three horsebox trailers (2m x 3m) on eBay and a local builder turned them into a sauna. “But you can use anything,” she says, “from old caravans to huts and buses.”

The heat is mild but intense. “A long stay in the sauna is a cardiovascular training. Heat penetrates deep into the tissue, heat shock proteins are released, and endorphins are released. It really reset my life.”


ABeldeen Beach is home to the country’s first mobile sauna called Haar (“sea fog”). “Scandinavia has always been a big part of our lives and affects almost everything,” says owner Calum Scott. “My main job is an elementary school teacher. A side project, Sauna, helps me switch off.”

His sauna was also remodeled from a former carriage with a larch cladding look. “It’s locally sourced, but the trailer roof is painted in British Racing Green.” Scott decided to keep costs as low as possible and began construction at night and weekends in a nearby stable. I worked 7 days a week for months with the help of my family.

Sauna life photography feature by George Collie to be performed on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Hæckels Community Sauna-Walpole Bay in Margate
Sauna life photography feature by George Collie to be performed on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Seaside Sauna House-Seatown, Bridport (Feature Sarah, Owner (Right))

  • Above: Heckels Community Sauna, Walpole Bay, Margate, Kent.Above: Seaside Sauna House, Bridport, Dorset

Inside is a wood-burning stove made in Estonia. The space is adorned with local Scott Pine. Eucalyptus leaves are hung on the wall. Scott wanted to make sure it was portable. “It’s 2 meters x 5 meters, less than 1.5 tons, so anyone can tow it. I wanted a sauna to explore the snowy mountains and coastal towns as well as the beach.”

Six months after opening, I have already traveled to Scotland. Currently, it will move from Aberdeen Beach to Cairngorms National Park and will remain until November. “I especially love the social side,” he says. “It’s a safe space where you can meet friends in a relaxed atmosphere.”


Me End my trip at the Hackney Wick Community Sauna in London. This is a once abandoned place behind a municipal bathhouse in the 1930s. Co-founder Victoria Maddox says it’s “genuine, affordable, and comprehensive,” while sweating in a large 12-person sauna. “Originally made by a German company for top-class horses in show jumping,” she says. “But they didn’t like it,” she says. All trees and windows were reclaimed and the sauna was rebuilt on a trailer.

They are keen to reach out to the diverse people of Hackney. “We recently asked a community swimming group to get off,” says co-founder and anesthesiologist Oguguo Igwe. “I haven’t seen so many blacks and Asians in the sauna, and I was looking around, and I … this is great.”

Do not use. For Saturday MAG June 18, 2022. There is no usage other than that date.Community Sauna Bath Hackney Wick From Left: Victoria Maddox, Gabriel Reason, Rob Dumas, Oggu Oigwe

  • Hackney Wick Community Sauna Team in London (from left) Victoria Maddox, Gabriel Reason, Rob Dumas, Oggu Oigwe.Photo: Christian Sinibaldi / Guardian

A brand new sauna has just arrived and the team wants me to try it. A small space heated to a ferocious 90 ° C, we are dripping instantly. Maddox wears a hat that “traps a layer of cold air between his head and heat.” “It helps to regulate the temperature better,” says Maddox. But still, this is another level of heat. “We call it a’sauna head’,” she says shiningly. “It puts you in a little meditative state, you lose your edge, your ego melts. Time disappears.” Then dive into a converted whiskey barrel filled with ice water.

Hackney Wick Sauna Signpost

How about a building permit? In Folkestone, sculptor Tim Sumisen is discussing with the council to set up a steampunk sauna on Mermaid Beach. “I’ve been proposing since last July,” he admits in a chat the next day. “Everything takes time, but it happens.”

With its unquestionable advantage, this is a movement with its own vitality. “You feel like you’re on vacation, and you feel the space in your heart,” says Watson of Brighton Box. “Sweating has its own release that calms my brain’s thoughts. It’s like sitting in a pub, freeing you and you’ll have the nicest chat.” The sauna feels like an equal playground. You can meet people from different backgrounds that you wouldn’t necessarily meet in other ways. Or, as Mika Mescanen of society summarized, “The communal sauna brings social cohesion and reassures the restless mind.”

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