8 May 2023
For Immediate Release
This year’s Sauna Löylynhenki Award, also known as the Spirit of the Sauna Award, has been presented to the International Sauna Association’s Sauna Aid initiative. The award will be presented at a public ceremony on Thursday 8 June 2023 in Helsinki, Finland.
“Sauna Aid has effectively coordinated a global campaign to bring the healing benefits of saunas to the war-stricken nation of Ukraine, as well as provided trauma training to bath attendants who are assisting displaced Ukrainians”, says Hannu Saintula, president of the Finnish Sauna Society. “Sauna Aid plans to expand their humanitarian mission to address other disasters, both man-made and natural, such as the recent Turkish/Syrian earthquake. We commend Sauna Aid for their exceptional and inspirational efforts and extend our best wishes to them in their noble pursuit.”
The Löylynhenki Award
The Finnish Sauna Society annually grants the Löylynhenki Award to an individual or a community for promoting Finnish sauna culture. Löylynhenki translates literally to “The spirit of the sauna.” These awards have been given since 1988. The Society’s Executive Committee selects the winner from among the members’ nominations.
About Sauna Aid
Sauna Aid, founded in 2022, is a multi-country initiative sponsored by the International Sauna Association. Its mission is to provide portable sauna facilities and supportive services to people affected by natural and man-made disasters.
The inspiration for Sauna Aid came from a 2011 effort by the Japanese Sauna Spa Association. During the Fukushima tsunami and nuclear plant accident, the Japanese Sauna Society maintained a tent sauna for five weeks, utilizing it for the decontamination and cleansing of over a thousand local residents.
Mikkel Aaland, Sauna Aid’s principal organizer, expressed gratitude for the prestigious award from the Finnish Sauna Society, saying, “On behalf of Sauna Aid, we are honored to receive this special recognition. We hope that this award will draw attention to the efforts of numerous individuals around the world who selflessly donated their time and resources to ensure Sauna Aid’s success. Sauna Aid exemplifies how the healing power of saunas can be harnessed to help those in need.”
Sauna Aid would like to acknowledge a few of the people and organizations who contributed early to the initiative’s success: Risto Elomaa, Jussi Niemela, Mika Meskanen, Wendy Liu, Rimas Kavaliauskas, Birute Masiliauskienė, Jana Nitschke, Kim P. Pedersen, Piotr Koper, Kimmo Helistö, Kimmo Raito, Kari Laukkarinen, Eero Kilpi, Tommi Ullgren, Glenn Auerbach, Mikko Fritze, Hans Hägglund, Lasse Eriksen, Lukas Kubica, Maksym Bondarenko, Olga Zmievskaya, Don Genders, Kay Asbjørn Schjørlien, Olena Telenyk, Heonsok Kim, Martijn Vanhoorelbeke and the Therme Group, Pixxla Sauna, Archimedes Banya, Actinar and Redd Barna (Save the Children).
A more complete list of current contributors is found at www.sauna-aid.com.
Participating Sauna Aid organizations:
Lithuanian Bath Academy, British Sauna Society, Finnish Sauna Society, Polish Sauna Society, German Sauna Association, Japan Sauna and Spa Association, Norwegian Sauna Society, Danish Sauna Association, Finnish Embassy in Poland, North American Sauna Society, Swedish Sauna Academy, New Zealand Sauna Society, The Australian Sweat Bathing Association, Finnland- Institut Berlin, and the Austrian Sauna Society.
About the Finnish Sauna Society (FSS)
Suomen saunaseura ry (‘the Finnish Sauna Society’) is a non-profit organization founded in 1937. It safeguards traditional, polite bathing traditions, which are based on respecting other people’s right to bathe in peace. The Society safeguards sauna culture and aims to continue the development of the Finnish sauna and promote research connected to it. The Society also distributes information about the Finnish sauna and sauna bathing on global forums. These days, the Society has roughly 4,400 members, who enjoy the saunas and take part in the Society’s other activities.
About The International Sauna Associa0on (ISA)
The International Sauna Association (ISA) is a non-profit association of over 20 national sauna societies. The ISA was founded in 1958. Its goal is publicizing the sauna and promoting its use
on a global scale by rallying supporters of sauna activities in different countries as well as promoting the scientific studies of the history, sociology, and medical benefits of the sauna.
For more information contact:
Karoliina Saarnikko, Finnish Sauna Society. firstname.lastname@example.org
Risto Elomaa, President International Sauna Association email@example.com
Mikkel Aaland, author/host, Perfect Sweat documentary series firstname.lastname@example.org