Assembly of Traditional Bathing 2023

Dec 3, 2023

Remember last year when we met at the Assembly of Traditional Bathing has taken place in Kaunas on 28-30?

Which revealed the rich tapestry of bathing traditions across cultures? It’s fascinating to think about how these rituals have evolved. Bathing isn’t just about cleaning up anymore; it’s about connecting, healing, and recreation. In our ever-evolving world, the lines between these age-old traditions blur, giving birth to fresh perspectives and practices.

Your enthusiasm and the growing popularity of modern saunas speak volumes. We’ve witnessed exciting transitions in how we perceive and practice sauna rituals, haven’t we?

This year, we’re gearing up for an even deeper exploration. There’s so much more to discuss, learn, and share! We aim to further celebrate the diversity of sauna traditions, while ensuring that the heart of each unique practice beats strong. And here’s a little sneak peek: expect even more professional insights and dynamic discussions.


1. Traditional bathing technolologies: whisking, construction, microclimate,

2. Warming up body and soul: traditional bathing in modern world

3. Safeguarding practices: transmission and exchange of traditions in the modern world 


Friday, December 1

17:00-18:00 Arrival, settling in, snacks
18:00-18:45 “My sauna path”: Getting to know each other, introductions
18:45-19:00 Preparation for sauna
19:00-22:30 Evening of getting to know the Lithuanian pirtis (closed event for foreign guests and PMK members)
22:30-23:00 Night snacks
23:00-00:30 Screening of the film “The Steam of Life / Miesten vuoro” (2010, Finland) 

Saturday, December 2

8:00-9:00 Breakfast

9:00-9:30 Registration of participants

9:30-9:40 Opening of the Assembly
9:40-10:00 Commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Lithuanian Bath Academy, film
10:00-11:00 Rita Balkutė (Lithuania) “Pirtis – the oldest healing space”
11:00-11:45 Laura Foon (Finland) “Akan väki – significance of women in finnish saunaheritage”

11:45-12:00 Tea break

12:00-12:30 Shirley Fitzpatrick (Ireland) “Awakening of the Irish Sweathouse Tradition”
12:30-13:00 Birutė Masiliauskienė (Lithuania) “Searching for balance: exploring a holistic view of bathing traditions”

13:00-13:45 Lunch break. Informal communication

13:45-14:30 Rimas Kavaliauskas (Lithuania) “Non verbal communication in pirtis
14:30-15:00 Vytautas Michelkevicius (Lithuania) “Images of Traditional Bath in Visual Anthropology and Cinema”
15:00-16:45 Lucjan Morawski and Natalia Xymena Ambroziak (Poland) „Trauma release and altered states of consciousness in steam bath practice“ 

16:45-17:15 Discussions, questions, answers
17:15-18:00 Informal communication, snacks, preparation for sauna

18:00-22:00 Sauna

22:00-00:00 Night snacks. Screening of the film “The Shvitz” (1993, USA). Informal communication. 

Sunday, December 3*

8:30-10:00 Breakfast, luggage packing
10:00-11:30 Discussion of the assembly results
11:30-12:00 Photos, farewell 

*We’ll offer a few post-assembly events (such as masterclasses, excursions etc.), which are optionlan and not included into program and price os the Assembly. 

Tasks of the Traditional Bathing Assembly

  1. Delve deeper into the techniques and nuances of traditional steam bathing.
  2. Examine the advancements and innovations in thermal bathing over the past years.
  3. Exchange and disseminate the insights of bath masters.
  4. Foster bath diplomacy, bridging cultural divides and promoting mutual understanding.

Forms of Assembly work

Similar to last year, we will host personal introductions, group discussions, presentations, and practical demonstrations in the traditional steam bath (pirtis, sauna, etc.).


For guests from abroad who are interested in the Lithuanian pirtis traditions, we offered introductory trainings in English.

Accomodation & food

Participants were granted the accomodation in a shared sleeping room with shared showers and toilets. Accomodation also included breakfast.
Photos of the facilities are on the Broliu mene pirtis page.

We see this event as gathering of friends and “the sauna family”, so, we promisse simple family-style local food. Vegetarian an vegan options will be available, but if you have some special needs or requirements, please, let us know!


You can take a flight to Kaunas (~20 km from the place of the conference) or Vilnius (~90 km).  We’ll help you with transfer, if needed.

Presented by

Presenters and presentations

The Assembly’s programme will include both presentations and debates, and we are coordinating some of the topics with the speakers, so the programme is constantly being adjusted. We currently have the following speakers and topics for discussion.

Laura Fon (Finland) „Akan väki – significance of women in finnish saunaheritage“ women sauna tradition in Finland.

The Finnish sauna is world-famous, but even Finns themselves may not be familiar with the entire spectrum of their sauna tradition. The sauna cultural heritage leans on Baltic Finnish mythology, where the sauna is considered the womb of the primal mother, a sacred space between worlds. From this sacred space, one is reborn, refreshed, and restored. In the area of the Finnish peninsula, at a time when churches and hospitals were not yet in every village, the sauna served as a center for care, healing, and ritual work. Women played key roles as pilers of saunastove, sauna heaters, and saunahealers. This presentation explores the intangible cultural heritage of the Finnish sauna from a female perspective, considering both mythology and practical aspects.

Vytautas Michelkevicius (Lithuania) „Images of Traditional Bath in Visual Anthropology and Cinema

These artists do a great job disseminating traditional bath culture but at the same time they make public sensitive activities of private bathing. We have a saying “what happens in sauna, stays in sauna”. Based on your personal experiences, let’s discuss the ethics and aesthetics of representing traditional bath and sauna in the art and visual anthropology. Where does the artistic freedom ends and private life starts? When private sauna can become public spectacle? How can we share knowledge about practicing traditional activities to wider audiences? Artists and directors in these contexts are experiencing the same issues as anthropologists going to expeditions to indigenous tribes and challenged by learning vs. saving the tradition.

In the evening before the discussion we can collective watch Shvitz or Steam of Life. During discussion we can see excerpts of the movies.

Rita Balkutė (Lithuania) „Pirtis – the oldest healing space“. Lithuanian healing in pirtis traditions.

Lucjan Morawski and Natalia Xymena Ambroziak (Poland) „Trauma release and altered states of consciousness in steam bath practice

Exploring the fusion of modern bodywork and bath traditions.

Rimas Kavaliauskas (Lithuania) „Non verbal communication in pirtis“. Further developmen and practical applications of general whisking theory.

Birutė Masiliauskienė (Lithuania) „In search of balance: spreading bathing traditions in today’s world“ .

Who can participate

The Assembly welcomes:

  • National representatives showcasing their unique sauna cultures.
  • Enthusiasts on their journey to discovering their perfect sauna.
  • Trendsetters shaping the modern sauna world.


30€. This has to be paid via our online registration link that you wil find on your „activity zone“ – requires login to Bath academy web page,

Early birds“ can use the discount code EARLYGOOD that gives you 50% discount. The code is valid until December 2 for the first 10 viewers.


New users register directly on this page. Existing users (our students and readers) will find their registration form on their „Activity zone“. In the case you have lost your passw – please reset it clicking „remind“ in the registration window.


It is very simple – you connect to our web page and then on the event page you will find embeded video.

More over – you will get access also to the 1st International Assembly of traditional bathing  materials.

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