It’s the Bank Holiday weekend and the weather is scorchio! Perfect time to hit the beach........so who would have thought I’d actually end up in a converted horsebox next to the i360?! Now I have seen many strange things on Brighton beach, but this is something else.
Mark my words, the authentic Finnish sauna will be the next big health craze to sweep the UK.
The Brighton Fringe 2018 is celebrating the centenary of Finland’s independence by showcasing all things Finnish, and there is nothing more Finnish than the sauna. After all, there are five million people and more than three million saunas in Finland. Finland was also recently named the happiest country in the world by the UN. A coincidence? I don’t think so.
WARMTH:Pop-up Sauna is a traditional, Finnish wood-fired sauna built in a timber-lined horsebox. It is run by two Brightonians: sauna expert Katie Bracher and wellbeing entrepreneur Liz Watson. Neither of them have any connection to Finland, but both want to promote the health benefits and social aspects of the Finnish sauna culture. So there I was, dressed in my swimsuit, ready to hit the sweat box. However, the number one sauna rule is never to wear a swimsuit! When I addressed this anomaly, Katie explained the public nudity concerns..... hang on, this is Brighton! Everything else however, was surprisingly authentic. Katie told us about the history and cultural heritage of the sauna as delicious clouds of moist steam called ‘löyly’ cocooned us each time she threw water on the hot stones.
The temperature was just right, the humidity perfect and the atmosphere respectable, yet social. They even had birch whisks available to discreetly beat yourself or your fellow sauna-goers with to intensify the pleasure. The pop-up sauna was fairly busy already in the early afternoon, and I was fortunate enough to share my sauna experience with cultured sea-swimming enthusiasts. They became instant sauna fans and swore to promote it to all the local sea swimming clubs. I haven’t taken a dip in the Brighton sea for years but, after the sauna, crispy seawater was pure bliss.
I had just three concerns: the first was wearing a swimsuit. The second was the lack of proper washing facilities. You’re supposed to leave the sauna feeling squeaky clean down to the last pore, yet there was just a few buckets of fresh water and the public shower was too far away, so it's probably not the best idea to visit on a big night out. And last, but not least, the stove was Estonian - really? Still, WARMTH: Pop-up Sauna costs less than your average yoga session so, if euphoria is what you’re after, it is well worth a visit. Mark my words, the authentic Finnish sauna will be the next big health craze to sweep the UK.