Join a published author on a journey through the history of Japanese bathing as we experience the Japanese bath in its many forms. We’ll gain insight into a culture that sees cleanliness as a way to godliness and we’ll understand why the Japanese passion for bathing is legendary.
In this lecture, we will travel to Japan as we will learn about Japanese baths in their many forms, from serene natural onsen (hot springs), to ancient sweat bathing forms such as the kama-buro (kiln bath), the mushi-buro (steam bath), and the kara-buro (cave bath). We will also examine a recent trend, the national obsession with the Finnish sauna. By the end, participants will gain insight into why the Japanese see cleanliness as a way to godliness.
March 4, 2021
Great Bathing Cultures of the World: The Finnish Sauna with Mikkel Aaland
Studying how locals bathe opens a window into a culture’s soul and reveals attitudes toward wellness, community, and nature. Modern Americans largely embrace the efficient and solitary shower but for other cultures around the world, bathing is a social event steeped in history and often accompanied by ancient rituals and traditional customs.
In this lecture, we will travel to the far north, to Finland, to the home of the Finnish sauna. Here we will find a simple wood structure, often fired by wood, heating and cleaning bodies from the inside out. Finns hold dearly to the belief in the healing power of their bath and it is said there are more saunas in Finland than cars.
Hamam is a beautifully printed, new quarterly magazine celebrating the art and culture of bathing. I am honored to be a contributor to the first three issues. You can subscribe to the magazine here.
Interview with fireman Nick Holderbaum
Recently I spent some quality time talking sweat with fireman Nick Holderbaum. Nick is a huge advocate for building saunas into every firehouse, not only as a way to help detoxify firemen after exposure to unwanted chemicals but as a way to acclimatize them to extreme heat. I love Nick’s passion and his mission.
Sweat, The Illustrated History and Description of the Finnish Sauna, Russian Bania, Islamic Hammam, Japanese Mushi-Buro, Mexican Temescal, and American Indian & Eskimo Sweatlodge by Mikkel Aaland is now available for the first time in ebook format.