Great Bathing Cultures of the World: The Finnish Sauna with Mikkel Aaland

Great Bathing Cultures of the World: The Finnish Sauna with Mikkel Aaland


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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.

Led by Mikkel Aaland, the author of the celebrated book, Sweat, The Illustrated History and Description of the Finnish Sauna, Russian Bania, Islamic Hammam, Japanese Mushi-Buro, Mexican Temescal, and American Indian & Eskimo Sweatlodge and the host of the documentary series, Perfect Sweat. Participants will not only gain insight into the Finnish culture but will also learn more about a bath that has been medically proven to offer healing benefits for everyone.

Mikkel Aaland is a professional photographer and the author of 12 best selling books on digital photography. His non-technical books include, "County Fair Portraits,” (for which he made an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman) “Sweat” (an illustrated tour of international bathing customs, culminating a three-year project), "The Sword of Heaven," "Pilgrimage to Kailash" and a recently published memoir, "The River in My Backyard.” He is the host of the documentary series Perfect Sweat, currently in post-production. Aaland, along with his wife and two daughters, is based in San Francisco and Telemark, Norway.

Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
80%
(4)
20%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.
For the love of bathing

While I was unable to participate in real time I still found exceptional value in this talk. Aaland’s love of the bath and enthusiasm for the subject matter made for a pleasant and intellectually engaging experience, even in a rewatch. I appreciate that he pointed us toward lots of very interesting little rabbit holes so we could research even more on our own if we wanted. I have a whole new book list going! At first I was surprised to find a Context Conversation about what seemed like a fairly niche interest, but this foray into great bathing cultures of the world reminds me I am not alone in my love of bathing!

E
E.G.
Bathing Culture

Mikkel is an enthusiastic and knowledgable guide. It was fascinating to learn about sweat bathing around the world. HIs knowledge is vast and his good nature even greater. What an eclectic subject with a fascinating guide

L
L.H.
Excellent conversation

This was a terrific mix of history, travelogue and personal anecdote. Not simply about Finnish saunas, Mikkel spoke about the culture of sauna and bathing as well as the structure of various types of saunas/sweat lodges/temescals. Highly recommended.

H
H.
Can't wait to go!

Finland is the only country in Scandinavia I've not visited but after listening to this lecture I am so ready to go. Great combination of talking and photographs.

L
L.H.
The Finnish Sauna

This is a really interesting topic and Mikkel Aaland clearly knows his stuff! There was lots of great info, but I would have liked a slightly 'tighter' format and a more detailed treatment of each area covered. Nevertheless, an interesting and entertaining presentation.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
80%
(4)
20%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.
For the love of bathing

While I was unable to participate in real time I still found exceptional value in this talk. Aaland’s love of the bath and enthusiasm for the subject matter made for a pleasant and intellectually engaging experience, even in a rewatch. I appreciate that he pointed us toward lots of very interesting little rabbit holes so we could research even more on our own if we wanted. I have a whole new book list going! At first I was surprised to find a Context Conversation about what seemed like a fairly niche interest, but this foray into great bathing cultures of the world reminds me I am not alone in my love of bathing!

E
E.G.
Bathing Culture

Mikkel is an enthusiastic and knowledgable guide. It was fascinating to learn about sweat bathing around the world. HIs knowledge is vast and his good nature even greater. What an eclectic subject with a fascinating guide

L
L.H.
Excellent conversation

This was a terrific mix of history, travelogue and personal anecdote. Not simply about Finnish saunas, Mikkel spoke about the culture of sauna and bathing as well as the structure of various types of saunas/sweat lodges/temescals. Highly recommended.

H
H.
Can't wait to go!

Finland is the only country in Scandinavia I've not visited but after listening to this lecture I am so ready to go. Great combination of talking and photographs.

L
L.H.
The Finnish Sauna

This is a really interesting topic and Mikkel Aaland clearly knows his stuff! There was lots of great info, but I would have liked a slightly 'tighter' format and a more detailed treatment of each area covered. Nevertheless, an interesting and entertaining presentation.