Photo Credit: Her Finland

Need a Boost To Avoid the Winter Blues, Try a Finnish Sauna

A good sweat can help you with SAD

Two Comox Valley entrepreneurs have launched sauna business on VanIsle

Many people get SAD when the days get short and dreary. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a seasonal depression that makes you feel sluggish with low energy.

COVID has kyboshed the go-to cure for SAD, a trip south to the sun, leaving many people scrambling.

But two Comox Valley-linked businesses are banking people will be interested in another cure grounded in the traditions of two cultures–a good sweat in a sauna.

A pandemic may seem like a tough time to launch a commercial sauna business. But how about a wood-fired sauna on a trailer that can be delivered to your front yard for your own private spa experience?

That’s what Nomadic Sauna, a new business being launched by a Courtenay couple, is all about. No need to leave home; Nomadic brings the sauna to you.

For $125 per night and a two-night minimum rental, the Nomadic entrepreneurs will drop the sauna off at your place and pick it up after you’ve had your fill.

The barrel, Finnish-style sauna is designed and built by the Parksville-based custom woodshop One of a Kind using fragrant western red cedar. It fits four people comfortably and is heated by a small woodstove. It’s a wet sauna, meaning you can pour water over rocks on top of the stove for the full steam experience.

Try it – give Nomadic Sauna a call and have their mobile sauna delivered.

Even if you’re a newbie, make sure to pronounce sauna like a Finn–”sow-nuh,” not “saw-na.”

That matters because Finland is the undisputed global leader in sauna culture. Today, there are more than 3 million saunas in Finland. Most houses have built-in saunas. Finns consider it the poor man’s pharmacy. 

For Finns, it’s a regular cleansing ritual with lots of health benefits, including:

~ Improved circulation and mood

~ Regulated hormone levels

~ Boosts to the immune system

~ Reduced inflammation and muscle pain

~ Deep relaxation and decreased stress

~ Feelings of wellness~ Improved sleep

~ Balanced appetite

~ Eliminate toxins

~ Promotes weight loss

~ Cardiovascular improvement

The sweat lodge is vital to BC culture as well.

For Indigenous peoples, sweat lodges provide spiritual, cultural and wellness benefits. They’re where many First Nation people connect with their Creator and the four elements (water, air, fire, and earth). It helps them restore order and balance in life.  

In Finland, saunas are part of the national identity. In Helsinki, the capital, you can watch a hockey game live from the warmth of a private stadium sauna box. During the Cold War, Urho Kekkonen, Finland’s president for 26 years, negotiated with Soviet diplomats in the sauna at his official residence. They call it sauna diplomacy. That’s how seriously Finns take sauna’ing.

The Finns are among the happiest people on earth, so perhaps we could learn something from their rituals about health and wellness.

Another long-time Comox Valley entrepreneur, Marci Hotsenpiller, is also trying to bring a bit of Finnish style to VanIsle. She’s launched Ritual Nordic Spa, a new Finnish-style day spa in Victoria.

989 Johnson St #101, Victoria,

Ritual Nordic Spa offers traditional-style cedar and basswood saunas, infrared heat saunas, a eucalyptus-infused steam room, cold plunge pool, Nordic bucket showers, salt lounge, massage treatment options, in a clean and modern setting that is friendly, informal, unpretentious and safe.

So, if you want the whole, modern Finnish-style sauna experience – and you happen to be visiting Victoria – check out Ritual Nordic Spa. But book in advance as spots are filling up.

5.3 million Finns can’t be wrong, so book a sweat when the days get cold and the sun sets early.