Sauna Talk

Sauna Talk is a show about the authentic sauna experience. Recorded (often) on the sauna bench, we talk with interesting guests about sauna including such aspects as building sauna, enjoying sauna, and health and wellness benefits to sauna. The rising sauna tide is lifting many boats and we look forward to some left turns that we hope to keep listeners on and off the more enjoyable and less trampled authentic sauna trail. Sauna Talk: Let's explore the sauna journey together. Thanks for listening !
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Jan 15, 2018

“When you go out of the heat an into the extreme cool, and back from the extreme cool and into the hot, there is something that happens inside your body that is just so satisfying” – Vladimir von Tsurikov.

Sauna Talk is pleased to welcome Vladimir von Tsurikov. Director of The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA) in Minneapolis, MN.

Vladimir has brought with him a passion for the advancement of Russian Art and Culture, and a strong record of international collaboration.  Over the last ten years he co-organized and co-curated several exhibitions with Russian institutions in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.  Vladimir has published numerous articles and presented dozens of lectures both in the U.S. and Russia. In addition to releasing two research volumes, he has edited five volumes of a scholarly series Readings in Russian Religious Culture and continues to serve on a number of editorial boards. Vladimir also serves on the boards of the Russian Historical Society in the U.S. and the Russian Nobility Association in America. Vladimir received his Ph.D. in Russian History from the Moscow Theological Academy in 2011, and an M.A. in Russian language and literature in 2000 from Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT.

Our interview took place in the sauna at the Hewing Hotel, downtown, Minneapolis, MN.  The Hewing Hotel’s top floor set up features a brand new rooftop sauna.  A very generously sized hot room space with transom windows overlooking the downtown skyline.  We have easy access steps outside the hot room to the outdoor rooftop patio, where there is also a hot tub and fresh air chill out zone.  The Hewing Hotel rooftop also offers separate Men’s and Women’s facilities, each equipped with showers, bathrooms, lockers.  We also have a Nordic vibe spacious bar and patio area, offering signature drinks from local vendors including Tattersall Distilling, a micro distillery based down the elevator and a short bike ride away.

John Pederson made this event happen.  You may know of John as founder of the 612 Sauna Society, the first cooperatively owned sauna organization in the United States.  John is also partner of Sauna Society Builders, which is the organization hired by the Hewing Hotel to host community and cultural gatherings.

And this is what we did on a recent Friday night in Minneapolis.  As others were swilling down their beer and cocktails at the neighboring bars and restaurants in Minneapolis, we were a group of folks enjoying a healthy sauna experience while learning more from Vladimir about the parallels of sauna, Finnish sauna, and Russian banya.

In this episode of sauna talk, you will get an understanding of Vladimir von Tsurikov’s deep love and appreciation of the banya experience.  How banya is a social and community gathering place as much as it is a wonderful wellness practice enjoyed by many ethnic communities in Russia and neighboring areas.

This episode will be especially interesting for those of us who enjoy learning about the authentic sauna experience as it relates to its offshoots and parallels with other cultures, in this case, specifically, the Russian banya.

Dec 5, 2017

“You bring 100 people together and they are all strangers, but in the sauna, you open up because your body is opening up.  And then your mind follows.”

“Heat and cold are our great teachers.”

-Wim Hof (The “Iceman)

Wim Hof, A Fest, November 2017

I started Saunatimes about 10 years ago, with a vague yet committed intent to share the goodness of authentic sauna with others.

I started Sauna Talk podcast a year or so ago.  At that time, I created an “intention” to host three specific guests to Sauna Talk.  I’m very pleased to share with you one of these three guests.  My vision was to be able to bring you this guest to Sauna Talk and here he is.

Welcome Wim Hof to Sauna Talk

Wim is Dutch.  He was born in 1958.  He is nicknamed “the ice man” and here’s why:

Wim Hof holds 26 world records, including a world record for longest ice bath.  Wim describes his ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures as being able to “turn his own thermostat up” through breathing exercises.

In February 2009 Wim Hof reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts within two days.  He completed a full marathon above the Arctic Circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F). Dressed in nothing but shorts, Wim Hof finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes.

In 2011, Wim Hof broke the ice endurance record twice, in Inzell in February and in New York City in November, setting a new Guinness World Record by sitting in an ice bath for 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 42 seconds. In September, Wim Hof ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert in Africa without water, under the supervision of Dr. Thijs Eijsvogels.

Attending a conference with Wim Hof

I was super excited to be chosen to attend A-Fest in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  This was an invitation only conference put on by Mindvalley, a learning experience company that publishes ideas and teachings by the best authors in personal growth, health and fitness, spirituality, productivity, mindfulness and more.  The theme for this gathering: enhanced state of consciousness.  Wim Hof was one of the top speakers for this conference.   The Wim Hof Method hits this theme square on the head.  The 350+ of us in attendance were demographically aligned for the Wim Hof Method.  There were health practitioners, yoga instructors, traditional and non traditional doctors, and a bunch of successful tech entrepreneurs looking to find deeper meaning.  Most all of us had an understanding of the Wim Hof Method.  And Wim was in his element.  A-Fest is part TED Talk with insightful presentations and part Burning Man with awesome parties.

Locking down a free spirit

At the conference, I was out of my element for the first couple days. I was focused on trying to lock down Wim for Sauna Talk – responsibility before privilege, as my 6th grade teacher drilled into me, so it was hard for me to be “in the moment” for the presentations or the parties.  I had my podcast recording equipment with me, was trying to be respectful to Wim, while trying to work in a time for this Sauna Talk interview. It was important for me to have him understand what Saunatimes is all about, which is the appreciation of the authentic sauna experience.  Like the Wim Hof Method, we know that sauna is good for us.  I believed it important for Wim to know that I’ve been actively doing the Wim Hof Method for over two years.  I was focused on getting his take on my instinct that his breathing method and cold water therapy are in step with sauna.  My hunch was that Wim Hof understands and enjoys sauna.

We sauna enthusiasts love the cold plunge.  The Wim Hof Method incorporates deep breathing and taking control of our autonomic nervous system is in parallel to sauna.  Sauna and Wim Hof Method are related.  Cousins.

Back to Montego Bay, Jamaica: Thankfully, I found a moment to introduce myself to Wim.  It was after our dinner party, night one, on the beach: I spotted Wim at the party.  “Be cool” I kept telling myself.  Wim was in shorts and T shirt, no shoes.  My kind of guy.  I reached out my hand.  I tried to be both friendly and yet with a purpose.  We talked and connected as I hoped we would. We talked about clinical studies, taking his work to the next level.  I talked about my interest in clinical studies with sauna, taking sauna to the next level.  Wim agreed to Sauna Talk.

At some point in our conversation, I mentioned to Wim that his technique, the Wim Hof Method and sauna go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Wim got a big smile with that.  We created a bond from that.  I was most pleased.

Meeting Wim Hof, cocktail in hand.

Tracking down a free spirit like Wim Hof is not easy

From my side of things, we had a great first encounter that first night. Barefoot on the beach. He said to me: “I’ll do your Sauna Talk.”  A great first step, but when I asked?  “5 O’clock tomorrow.  On the beach.”  Then Wim drifts off. Will he remember? I watch him moving on to others. I notice that Wim Hof has only one button.  He is “on” all the time.  Barefoot and carefree, but i rightfully sense that he is locked down and committed to what he knows.  His mission.

I meet Wim’s son Enham.  He is yin to Wim’s yang.  Enham is in his mid 30s.   Enham is Wim’s business manager.  I quickly realize that one of Enham’s roles is to keep guys like me in check.  Enham reveals to me the business operation: “Wim works for me.”  And you’ll hear more about this during our Sauna Talk.  Safe to say, there is nothing like family when it comes to being a “business manager.”

So 5 pm the next day comes and goes.  Heavy afternoon rain puts a hick up on any chance of connecting with Wim Hof for our Sauna Talk.  I’m left empty once again.  The party that night is off site, up into the jungle in Jamaica, at a Rastafarian village.  3-400 of us, but Wim is easy to spot:  completely unpretentious, in front of the stage, deep into free form dancing, and even deeper into the mud from rain earlier in the evening.  It’s hard to lock down a free spirit.

The next morning Wim is on stage, he is presenting his story: the Wim Hof Method.

Deep breathing and “rewriting the history books.” Basically how we can take control of our bodies through our minds.  As humans, we have become soft.  Air conditioning everywhere, and losing touch with our connection to “hard nature.”  He is making bold claims but Wim is backing it up with clinical studies that are showing how this can be done.  There is the famous study from the University of Amsterdam, that dispels the myth that Wim is a “freak of nature.”  In this study, a control group is injected with a bacteria and the other group, after 4 days of training with Wim, were ALL able to ward off the fever, nausea, and sickness from the bacteria.  Breathing.  Can it be this simple?

The audience hangs on every word.  After his presentation, I track Wim down leaving the conference hall.  Enham is whisking him away.  “We need to go do photos.”  They head down the hallway to their suite, leaving me hanging once again.  I’m starting to think that this Sauna Talk may not happen.  I’m bummed out.

There is some good news in that Enham and I are connected via text, and after about half an hour of me feeling empty, he responds.  I read: “now may be a good time for the interview.  On the beach is probably a good spot.”  Wow!  I jump up and head down the hall. I see Enham and a couple photographers, followed by Wim.  Enham doesn’t see me walking the other way, but Wim spots me and gets wide eyed.  He calls me to him with a silent wave.   He grabs my arm and whispers in my ear: “let’s go Sauna Talk.”  I feel a huge wave of relief.  We turn the opposite way.  Wim turns to look over his shoulder, like a kid.  We are ditching his manager, his son.

We turn the corner and we are free.

Finally, I’ve got Wim Hof for Sauna Talk

We head out to the beach area and find ourselves a quiet area, far from the beach goers, far from everyone, including far away from his son Enham!  We settle in and I flip on the microphone and make double sure the recording is working.. and then we dive into this episode of Sauna Talk.

Sauna Talk Podcast with Wim Hof


The Iceman – Wim Hof – drinking out of nICE mug, a glass made entirely out of ice.
Nov 16, 2017

In this episode of Sauna Talk, we get a behind the scenes view of Wisdom Woods, Spooner Wisconsin from Managing Partner Nate Focht.

“Sitting on the sauna bench, everything that comes out of your mind is pure.”

– Nate Focht, Managing Partner, Wisdom Woods.

Ever wondered what a $100,000 sauna looks like?  Well, how about we add another zero to that number and double it.  That’s what we experience while taking a sauna at Wisdom Woods.  The hot room is symmetric and generously sized 12’x12.’  Thankfully, we made the ceiling 7′ such that the wood burning stove can do its job heating the sauna to good temperatures.

Wisdom Woods sauna hot room

Transom windows to the South and West plus a full glass door give the hot room a light airy, spacious feel.  The “money seat” is in the middle of the West wall, whereupon the sauna bather can gaze through the full glass door, past the full size exterior window in the hallway straight out to the lake: a wide view .  This treatment is example of how we welcome the outside in at the Wisdom Woods spa.  Nature is everywhere.  Nature wins at Wisdom Woods.

The awesomeness of this sauna experience starts to reveal itself once we leave the hot room and make our way down to the sandy beach for a cool lake plunge.  The small lake rarely has boaters.  It is crystal clear: deep and cool.

Heading into cool waters after sauna round at Wisdom Woods

As we gaze back up to the spa, our endorphins start firing and we feel like kids at a playground.  Should we go inside the spa for a drink?  Should we hang out on the deck and relax?

Wisdom Woods Spa after cold plunge


Where should we sit?  The generous deck spreads all the way around the spa building at Wisdom Woods.   Hanging out at the front area, we settle in and look out over the lake.

We can find ourselves walking to the back side of the spa and gazing out over the extensive wetlands, another vista of beauty to reflect upon.

Nate takes us on a virtual tour of Wisdom Woods.  60 acres of trails, adjacent to hundreds more on County land.  Hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, skeet shooting are just a few of the more popular activities at Wisdom Woods.  With an emphasis on wellness and sustainability, guests to Wisdom Woods stumble upon interesting features scattered about the property.  On this episode, we learn about the organic community garden, the bee hives, the new brewery, and the solar panels that provide energy back to the community.

Nate is a Modarem:  A Modern Day Renaissance Man.  He is a nurse in town, a father, a white water kayaker, a canoe guides man, a Hot Shot fireman.  He’s jumped out of planes and he can stitch a cut hand.  Nate is the kind of guy you want with you while hiking a remote trail.

Please welcome Nate Focht to Sauna Talk.

Jul 30, 2017

“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

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.

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!”.

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 Peterson 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 Peterson 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.

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


Dec 4, 2016

Imaging checking out from your day job to hit the road with a mobile sauna.

Imagine being able to:

  • Share the appreciation of sauna with others.
  • Take a sauna when you want to.
  • See the country.

This is the journey native Finn's Risto Sivula and Jouko Sipala will be undertaking soon to help celebrate the centennial year of Finland's independence.  Risto and Jouko are well suited for this duty, and we get to hear why in this episode of Sauna Talk.

Jouko (left) and Risto chilling out between rounds during our Sauna Talk podcast

Folks will be able to experience Finnish Culture and Finnish Achievements along the tour:

Preliminary schedule for traveling sauna tour.


Here is the latest draft schedule:
January 13-14 Minneapolis, MN
January 23-24 Finland, MN *
February 8 Kansas City, MO*
February 10-12 Dallas, TX
Feb 24-26 Houston, TX
Feb 28 Albuquerque, NM*
March 1 Phoenix, AZ*
March [ ] Los Angeles, CA *
March 28-29 San Francisco, CA
April [ ] Portland, OR *
April [ ] Astoria, OR *
April 21-23 Seattle, WA*
May/June/July Minnesota – TBD
May 19-21 Chicago, IL
May 30-31 Eagle, WI *
June 1 Cedarburg, WI*
June 2-3 Milwaukee, WI*
June 23-25 Houghton/Hancock, UP MI
August 11-13 Wixom, MI
August 15 Buffalo, NY *
August 18-20 Leominster, MA
September 30 New York, NY
October [ ] Raleigh, NC
October 14 Atlanta, GA
November 18 Lake Worth, FL
December 2 - 6 Washington D.C.

Email is

twitter: @travelingsauna


I invite you to listen in with Risto and Jouko

There are about 650,000 Finns living in United States, a good chuck living in Minnesota and UP Michigan.  We all want to celebrate Finnish Independence, and bringing people together.  The route has something to do with where the Finnish ambassador will be traveling.  A big shout out to Keith and Mark Raisanen from Tylo/Helo North America, who are building the traveling sauna.  100 Saunas is the goal: 50 saunas for Risto and 50 sauna for Jouko.  Saunatimes is going to help make these 100 saunas happen.  Sauna Talk is conceptual thinking.  You slow down.

Sauna is your time and the way you want to have it.

We respect the solitude of sauna, but Sauna Talk is the ambassador of conversation.  North East Minnesota, home of the Kuuma Stove and good Loyly.  Bringing sauna rocks from Finland.  But you can't use just any rocks for sauna rocks.  Replace your sauna rocks every 5-10 years?  Take a shower before sauna round one?  Yes, it can be a little uncomfortable if your skin is dry, but there are no rules here.

The garden hose shower, simple is better.

What should we use to christen the sauna?  Champagne may not be appropriate. Does anybody have any ideas?  What should the traveling sauna be named?  We'd love to get your thoughts.  The community of authentic sauna enthusiasts are most welcome to come experience the traveling sauna.  Finnish Sauna Society, International Sauna Society, Finnish Embassy in Washington are all supporting the traveling sauna project.

There are more saunas in Finland than there are cars.  The wood burning sauna stove is sustainable.  It is the real sauna.  The atmosphere, the feel, the connection to nature.  And the heat is softer and warmer.  Not as "hard" heat as what comes out of the electric sauna stove.  There is a dream team for social media connectivity to learn about where the traveling sauna will be, and when.  For those wanting to experience the traveling sauna, it's best to reach out to the local Finnish groups in each town and community, who are coordinating the traveling sauna in their respective areas.

Life in United States vs. Europe.

  • Driving - Minneapolis/St. Paul spans 40-50 miles.  Lots of driving.  Cities are more concentrated in Europe.
  • Health Care, Education, Retirement - you worry about these things in the United States.  Percolating all the time in the back of your head.  Extra pressure.
  • Being naked in sauna is a European thing.  American saunas are usually experienced while wearing a bathing suit.

Who would you like to take a sauna with?  How about Urho Kekkonen or Donald Trump.  An opportunity for sitting down and take it easy for awhile.

Favorite part of the sauna session?  The first Loyly.  The flow or not being rushed.  The feeling of humming and mellow.

What is most misunderstood about sauna?  Sauna is how you want to do it.   It's up to you how you want to experience it.  It's all ok.

If you could take a mobile sauna anywhere, where would you choose?  Antartica!  300 degree f. difference in temp.  How about the bottom of the Grand Canyon?  Why not?  And sauna and a lake belong together. Bring the sauna to state parks.   Sauna makes nature pop.



Nov 25, 2016


Have you ever sat on the sauna bench with someone who has created a product that hundreds of millions of people have experienced?

During this episode of Sauna Talk, you will be able to get into the head and mind of serial entrepreneur Scott Olson. Thanks to extended sauna rounds on the bench, we will get deep into Scott’s mindset at the time when inline skating was just an idea. We will learn about what it took to turn a vision into a prototype, then into trial, and finally into a product that you either own or have experienced many times. Polyurethane wheels hold an edge, able to push off, like on ice.

The story of Rollerblade is fascinating. What is equally fascinating is Scott Olson’s approach to creative thinking: how to turn ideas into marketable products. These tips can apply to inventors, dreamers, or just anyone looking for a more creative approach to their day.  We will learn more about Scott’s fitness based products.

Skyride: monorail fitness machine. Scott’s first sale is on a Carnival Cruise Ship.

  • “The older I get, the more I am against noise.”
  • The innovation process: It’s important to be able to turn it off.
  • There is no written plan to make something successful. The entrepreneurial gods sometimes respond.
  • Other sports of interest:  Ice sailing, fat bikes. Row bikes.

You have to have a lot of confidence to walk into a bar wearing a sarong.

Overlying all of this is Scott’s appreciation of his place in the world. On the sauna bench, the true nature of someone’s character reveals itself. Scott presents no ego. He is a fun guy who is humble, open to input from others, and exhibits a philosophy and joy of life that I hope you appreciate as much as I do.

Nov 12, 2016
Dan Baruch has spent most his life researching and developing methods for health, vitality and performance.  After working with people in-person for over 10 years in nutrition, training, bodywork and other disciplines, he began work on a holistic program for absolute beginners to advanced athletics.  This work now exists through an Online Education platform.
BARUCHealth is a growing organization changing the way people think about health.  BARUCHEALTH provides health based education in Nutrition, Movement, Self-Therapy and Meditation.  The programs create a positive total health experience.  BARUCHealth's mission is to inspire and enable people to practice the most effective and natural ways of achieving greater health, vitality and performance.  BARUCHealth thrives on helping people successfully become superior versions of themselves and transforming students into teachers and one day activists.
Dan was born and raised in Plymouth Minnesota and continues to reside in the twin cities.  When Dan is not working on BARUCHealth programs he is developing websites for others via, playing his guitars or in the sauna.  Dan is married and he and his wife hope to have their "backyard retreat" up and running this summer at their new home.  All are welcome!
Oct 26, 2016

As Saunatimes expands into the realm of public sweat bathing, there is no better place to start the journey than in Chicago at Chicago Sweatlodge.  This is a well thought out facility offering an authentic banya experience via two hot rooms:  the wet sauna and the dry sauna.

The stoves are top notch.  5,000 pounds of rocks in each.  Matter of fact, in summer, Chicago Sweatlodge switches out the rocks once a year.  It takes four days for the rocks to cool down, and even then gloves are needed to take out the old rocks.  Imagine the sweat the workers get switching out the rocks at Chicago Sweatlodge.

We experience dense heat at Chicago Sweatlodge.

Bill Trotter and I have a great visit and I am pleased to bring you this episode of Sauna Talk.

Sep 22, 2016

In this episode of Sauna Talk, we get to hear why six of the 612 Sauna Society Steering Committee members believe in the sauna experience so deeply.

In Minneapolis, MN, there is a 2,000 member strong sauna community, called the 612 Sauna Society.  For the past couple years, folks have signed up and gathered for sauna sessions in a mobile sauna.  The mobile sauna was hauled around to "residencies."  While the sauna was parked in public places like brew pub parking lots, frozen urban lakeside shorelines, and along the sidewalk of a downtown city street, our king Sauna Meister JP would organize time slots for 612 Sauna Society participants to partake in their own sauna experiences.  Often this involved taking a sauna with folks they didn't know.

People were very receptive to this concept, especially during the frosty cold months December through March.

Now, something more magical and substantial is underway.  The 612 Sauna Society Cooperative.

The 612 Sauna Society is looking for folks to pledge as founding members, volunteer their time to help promote the fundraising campaign, and evangelize with Twittering, shouting and sharing the good vibrations.


In this episode of Sauna Talk, we meet six people who dig sauna.  In this episode we learn about how the rising sauna tide is lifting many boats in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.

Sep 3, 2016

Terry is a career handyman and caretaker.

His territory is the islands of Lake Vermilion, Tower, Minnesota.  Terry was brought to Pine Island in diapers.  He endured small stretches of time away from Lake Vermilion, with his family living in Hawaii for a few years and a career with the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth.

Yet, primarily, Terry has spent his life on the lake.  He has been an invaluable help to many dozens of Lake Vermilion cabin owners.  His skills as a handyman and builder are infinite.  He has hands in 40-50 different cabin projects.  He manages 40-50 cabins, which includes such tricky annual work as docks in and out, water systems shut down and opened up, plus the myriad of things that come up from roof leaks, to bees nests, to, well, you name it.

If you’ve had anything weird go wrong at your home, chances are Terry has encountered exactly this, and many times over

Terry, just like myself, has built about a dozen saunas himself.  I’ve learned some tricks from him, and i’d like to think he’s learned a few tricks from me too.  We have spent many sauna rounds on the bench discussing building nuances.  It’s a testament to his passion to the trades, as well as his continued interest in learning and expanding his knowledge base.

One of Terry’s favorite lines is: “what one man can do, another can do”, from the movie “The Edge”.   The movie is about a wealthy businessman, played by Anthony Hopkins, who with his son in law, played by Alec Baldwin, get into a harrowing chase down by a grizzly bear after their single engine airplane has to make an emergency landing in the wilderness..

But Terry isn’t worried about bears on Pine Island.

The expression for him is about not being daunted by problems that come up with projects.  And sometimes these projects are overwhelming for the specialists who had initially been called in.  After the “pros” shake their head no and get boated back to the public landing, most often Terry comes in and fixes the problem.  I’ve seen this first hand.

One of my lines is “getting the right tools and materials to the job site is half the job.”  This is hard to dispute for island work, which Terry does most of.  Sure you could argue that cutting the grass is only 30% about having gas in your lawnmower, blade sharpened, and the right shoes on, but when i’m building a deck, for example, I know that having all the right tools and materials on site is half the battle, and the least fun.

The third philosophy of tackling projects is something I often see with how Terry operates.  Ryan Holiday, in The Obstacle is the Way, presents us with: “that which blocks our path creates a new path.”  Nowhere is this more exemplified than with completing projects.  I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve hit a stumbling block, only to realize that the obstacle was trying to tell me something: “there is a better way, you stubborn fool.”

  • Can’t find any finish nails?  Damn it.  Well, i’ll glue and screw it.  Turns out it was the right thing to do.
  • Hit my thumb with the hammer?  After a big swear word, turns out, grabbing my crow bar was the right tool after all.
  • Screw breaks off trying to undo the fitting for the dishwasher?  Well, replacing the fitting was the right thing to do because it was going to rust out, anyway.

Terry lives this kind of thing.  He practices a growth mindset.  Things are going to fuck up.  No question.  But what appears to be a problem or a set back usually turns out to be a path to a better solution.

This episode with Terry is part of the 218 Series of Sauna Talk.

We heard it with Daryl Lamppa, who spent countless hours in his garage learning about how wood burns, and tinkering with the design of his sauna stove.  And with Terry we see this same type of devotion to his trade.  A care and commitment to making something remarkable and making it right.  These kind of people impress the heck out of me, and we can all be more like this with our projects and in our lives.

Lastly, for those tackling their own sauna build or home project, i’d like to introduce you to WIT.  You can read here about how applying the Will, Information, and Time to your project, whatever it may be, will lessen the amount of money you will need to throw at your project, and will certainly maximize your satisfaction with the project.

So, Terry is one of my top mentors.  He’s saved my ass countless times at the lake.  I try not to bug him as he’s always going from one cabin to another, working hard everyday.  But when I see him, i’m always happy.  And we have a great time taking a sauna, too.

Need a fall project?  Now is a great time to install a freeze proof faucet for your backyard garden hose shower.  More here.

Aug 30, 2016

Jeff Hill has lived a few lives: A realtor and property developer for 30 years, mailman for 20 years, 20 years with the Tower fire department, and his latest venture is undertaking a Tiny House Village, USA concept for the Northland.

Jeff is well familiar with sauna culture.  Never lock your sauna, experience jumping through a hole in the ice, and try his low blood pressure cocktail for tossing onto sauna rocks.  I picked up Jeff at the mainland public access, and took him by boat to our island cabin in Northern Minnesota.  Jeff came prepared and spent the night at our "insta-cabin".

A good sauna session is about relaxing and having fun.  Jeff knows how to do both.  Often outspoken, always with a big heart, please welcome Jeff Hill to Sauna Talk.
Aug 19, 2016

It was a warm day in Northern Minnesota.  I hopped into my fishing boat and headed about 5 miles across Lake Vermilion into the river inlet to Tower, Minnesota.

Daryl Lamppa picked me up at the dock, and we drove in his pick up truck to his corporate headquarters, a few blocks off Main Street, Tower, Minnesota.

Daryl was pretty animated this day.  He was excited to Sauna Talk and shoot the breeze about a day in the life of running a business that has had his family name on the front his entire life.

We were able to relax and get into our conversation without distractions or feeling rushed.  Regarding the chemical principle’s of burning wood: “without temperature, none of the reactions go forward”.  And old school sauna stoves that fed from the outside were inefficient in many respects, including the heat from the front part of the stove, that was “wasted to the world.”  I had a great time asking Daryl questions for Sauna Talk:

One of the more special parts to this episode of Sauna Talk, was when Daryl told us about being reconnected to one of his Grandfather’s sauna stoves, at least 80 years old.  On the front, Daryl’s Grandfather welded in these words:

Daryl and I talked about many things, including:

  • What got you interested in how wood burns, and in making sauna stoves?
  • 35 years of tinkering with making a clean burning wood stove.
  • Tower, Minnesota.  February 4, 1996.  -60 f.
  • Daryl thinking “green” before there was the term green.
  • Lamppa Manufacturing:  selling direct to the customer, even before the internet.
  • The Kuuma Stove owners manual.  Hand drawn and hand written by Daryl Lamppa.

But back to his grandfather’s sauna stove.  This was a touching moment for me, to see Daryl’s Grandfather’s sauna stove sitting on the dock behind Daryl’s current masterpiece.  “If my Grandfather could see the stoves we are making today….”

You don’t have to love sauna to appreciate this episode of Sauna Talk.  This is a story about a man of passion and pride.  A story of a guy who grew up doing what his father and his Father’s Father enjoyed doing:  making sauna stoves for people to enjoy sauna: a centuries old tradition of health and wellness.

Aug 14, 2016


Maob, Utah.  The mobile sauna has received official dispensation, and has been trailered up to the summit shelf.

The Canyonlands National Park District Director is sitting on the sauna bench to our left.  His hat and uniform hang on a hook in the changing room, where a candle glows softly on the window sill.  The candlelight sheds enough glow for us to see a big smile on his face.  "I'm so glad you guys convinced me to do this!." You are sitting with us for a pre sunrise sauna and the director is telling us stories about the majestic park.  We hit a generous splash of water on the sauna rocks.  We take it all in.  Then we exit the hot room to this:

Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah. Photo: Justin Evidon



The air is crisp, below freezing, but your body is radiantly warm.  The endorphin rush buzzes, akin to the feeling after your favorite exercise.  You've heard stories and have untangled some wires in your head on the sauna bench and now it's time to let nature do it's magic.

Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah. Self timer photo: Justin Evidon

This is Sauna Talk with Justin Evidon.

We discuss his relatively recent deep immersion into authentic sauna in Minnesota, pulling from his Estonian genetics, time in Scandinavia, and work at the Wellness Center at the University of Minnesota.

We discuss the benefits of travel, health and wellness, millennials and consciousness away from our mobile devices.  We discuss the yeoman's work of JP and the 612 sauna society and the budding movement towards sauna in an urban environment.  Be it at a cabin sauna, an urban backyard sauna, or a mobile sauna, please welcome to Sauna Talk travel and lifestyle photographer Justin Evidon.

Jul 16, 2016

What'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 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 phenomena.  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'se 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.

Jun 13, 2016

Four of us spent a rainy early June afternoon enjoying a sauna session at my cabin.  We road tripped together to experience National Sauna Day in Embarrass, MN.  What better way to get right into nature, and all get on the same page than a great sauna session?

We start on the bench with Garrett Conover.

  • 1,200 miles from Maine to Northern Minnesota.
  • Cotton grass and tamarack sets my heart aflutter.
  • Sauna and nature.

Joined by John Pederson and Lee Sarkela.

  • Us 4 characters as long tail sauna enthusiasts.
  • Tracing the steps back to Pine Island as the island or origin for us being together.
  • 612 Sauna Society parables behind the scenes.  Gas fire going out, trailer jack breaking.
  • 2,100 visits to Little Box Sauna, 612 sauna society 2015/2016 this winter.  600 return visitors.

A lake plunge, then Round 2:

  • Sauna a Tick Removal Strategy after a hike.
  • The universal feel of water being tossed on sauna rocks.
  • Elements of sauna are basic:  a throwback to simplicity.  Stove, rocks, benches.
  • Wood burning sauna stoves:  loading from the outside, changing room, inside the hot room.
  • 612 Sauna Society: "a bunch of really cool people from different walks of life."
  • Building a community of people drawn to the steam.
  • Magnus Nillson Swedish celebrity chef joins JP in his backyard sauna.
  • Negotiating the deal:  The goat comes with.
  • Sauna is a great equalizer.  Egos get checked at the sauna door.

A nice community sauna in Minneapolis:  why doesn't it exist?

The exchange of giving and receiving.  A health club vs. backyard vs. public spaces.  The cooperative idea: changing the relationship between the people who are giving and the people who are receiving.  Making a resource available to other people in a sustainable way.

  • Chicago Sweatlodge.  Bill Trotter, top 10 sauna meister in North America.  High sensitivity to people.
  • JP's latest project the Mobile Sauna Cooperative.  Stokeyard Sauna.  Looking to have many owners to share the sauna experience.
  • Vermilion lakeshore and US Steel.  Payroll deduction to pay for the Sarkela Island cabin.
  • Sharing a family cabin with siblings, nieces and nephews.   All family are welcome.
  • Island life:  picking up folks from mainland.  It's a psychological and physical removal.  Separation from the busy life, to leave behind.
  • Getting through big water is about tacking.  Big ocean wave crossing with Garrett Conover in a lobster boat.  An offshore island in Maine.  Mile long and half mile wide.

Tasteful megga wealth.


  • tipping in a canoe in Quebec:  it's hypothermia season all year long.
  • Canoe paddling: better partnering with an amateur vs. fighting with someone who thinks they know what they're doing.
  • Rapids and waves.  Quartering waves.
  • Weather cocking:  Spin on the crest.  Not fighting for every element of control.

Round 3:

  • Jarmo Lehtola, Finnish Sauna Society.  A gift of Hukka Sauna stone.  "Tahvo is a sauna elf, that smiles happily, no matter how high the temperature gets"
  • I think of Jarmo and his gift every time I toss water on the sauna rocks.
  • That's the type of steam you can only get from a real sauna stove.  Not one burst, but a delay.  Sustained steam.
  • Most of the heat in a stick of firewood is contained within the smoke.  Gas emitted from burning wood.  An efficient burning stove will burn the smoke as energy.
  • Rapid fire questions with Lee.  A close family connection.
  • A backyard sauna makes the frown upside down.

The rain stopped.

Jun 7, 2016

It was a cold Minnesota winter's evening when we gathered in my backyard sauna.  We get started talking about the cold, sort out our beers for the night, talk about making nICE mugs, and Minnesota Wild apparel.

Please stay with us as we settle onto the sauna bench.

Though he grew up with sauna, Scott landed in Finland on his 20th birthday, and gets seasoned to sauna in the 'ole country.

As commercial Sales Manager Tylo/Helo, Cokato MN.Scott has seen his fair share of sauna:  "If you don't have a good sauna heater, you don't have a good sauna."

"I've walked away from sales because it wasn't done correctly."

A kick ass sauna:  It's the price of a car.  What's the big deal?

Rule of thumb:  At the lake, never lock your sauna building.  It's good karma to have a sauna ready in case someone runs into problems on the lake.

The 2' wide sauna door.

612 Sauna Society - bringing sauna to unexpected places.

The ultimate mobile sauna:  built on a trailer where the wheels can tuck up underneath, allowing the sauna to sit on grade.  Lightweight, pick it up and go.

Could sauna become as popular as Coldplay?  We tread down the infrared line of thinking.

Cleaning a sauna - The Sauna Clean from Finland.  Great product to add a dab to a bucket of warm water and clean your benches with a brush.  An old dry towel to wipe it clean.

The Bodhi Spa – Newport, RI

Links to Scott's company:

Finnleo Sauna.
Helo Sauna.
TyloHelo World Group.

Music Credit: Trampled by Turtles, Midnight on the Interstate

Apr 20, 2016

Music for the heat: Danny Sigelman reporting


one of Danny's originals, perhaps inspired by a midtempo tune in the sauna

Every genre has some slow jams. even the most aggressive music, be it The Clash, Hold Steady or Fela Kuti can turn their angst or knack for protest into a groove that goes well with clearing the mind. In the end, a center is met when the two are mixed, just like a hot and cold rinse.  With The Clash it’s easy to find a more traditional approach to groove, be it a reggae infused rave up; “Guns of Brixton“, “Straight to Hell”, their luscious cover of “Armagideon Time” or the R&B influence in “Jimmy Jazz”.

Ultimately The Hold Steady is a sound that bonds.  Reflections of High School, meeting friends and rocking out, or gallivanting about the celebration of something.  Sauna is a bonding thing too because there is a physical closure to the space you and your buddies are enjoying: the hot room.  Then you escape the heat by going outside, cooling down and feeling the expanse like the loud pressure Craig Finn and his crew powering up a club and bonding the masses.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti was mostly known for his politics and the company he kept.  His Shrine in Kalakutta, Nigeria not only was a gathering place for him and his brethren but also protection from the outside policies and dangers of the government they feared.  Electrifying the stage and the audience at his performances fueled an inner energy and outer confidence in communal and spiritual environment.  The slow groove of everyday Afrobeat compliments the ritual even in remote suburban environments where perhaps the trouble is not as fierce.

Essentially the rhythm of funk flavored African, the straight up American soul or the most technical approach to what moves sonically and has a beat.  The ever resourceful technical Dosh is an artist well suited for the sauna… check him out between or during rounds!

- See more at:

Apr 20, 2016

We are joined on the bench with Brian Peterson, acclaimed photographer.  Honored nine times as Minnesota Press Photographer of the Year, Peterson has covered major stories including; Russia before and after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Exxon Valdez oil spill,  the 1987 and 91 Minnesota Twins World Series victories, Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, Salt Lake City and Vancouver just to name a few.

Recently Peterson has focused his camera on environmental issues, including a six-month study of the pollution in the Minnesota River.  The yearlong feature called “Voices for the Land”, explored the issues surrounding land use and urban sprawl in the state.

On the bench, we discuss his latest book project “State of Wonders”.  A fabulous book illustrating the four corners of Minnesota during the four distinct seasons of the year.


Apr 20, 2016

I couldn't be happier to share this inaugural episode of Sauna Talk.  We are joined on the bench today with Tom Rolando.  Tom is best known as Chief Operating Officer for Wisdom Adhesives.

During this episode we Sauna Talk about topics including:

  • How to manage 2,000 customers in your Iphone.  "Get with it, get on with the task."
  • The Iron Range:  218 natural history and culture.  Sauna is what you did.
  • International Falls:  Frostbite Falls.
  • Pooner:  Tom's father and example of "Do what you love, and you'll be great at it."
  • Daryl Lamppa and the Kuuma Stove.
  • The magic of Lake Superior.  "The body of water is like non other."
  • Building the Lake Superior Sauna.  

Tom's sauna build was the foundation for the Saunatimes' Build your own sauna ebook.   Documenting and focusing on the complete process, start to Finnish, about building your own sauna.

As we talk about Tom's sauna build we uncover how we talking sauna building in phases: I built from the hot room out.  Everything was a feel.  A number of phases, always a work in progress.