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Ep 148 The Spiritual & Psychological Benefits of Sauna & Thermic Bathing with John Pederson

Conversation with John Pederson about the physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits of sauna and thermic bathing.

 

Topics of Discussion:

-Emerging research and popularity in sauna

-Cultural significance and key principles for thermic bathing

-Science behind the body’s response to contrast therapy

 

John Pederson is a wellness operations consultant and programming director based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He began his work helping communities create and sustain innovative public health initiatives as a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia, where he co-founded the country’s first student-run radio station. Post fellowship John joined Seed Savers Exchange where he managed communications for the company’s multimillion dollar seed bank and food security operation. In 2011, he accepted a role as Community Manager for CoCo co-working space in Minneapolis, MN where he launched the 612 Sauna Society—a community-owned sauna start-up featured in Forbes and CNN for inspiring a revival of thermic bathing culture in North America.

He co-founded Stokeyard Outfitters in 2017 where he popularized his unique Thermaculture™ experiences at Hewing Hotel,  the Great Northern Sauna Village, and now The Yard, the first year-round Thermaculture venue in the country, which he launched in the fall of 2023 in partnership with Superior Sauna & Steam where John now serves as the Director of Customer Engagement.

 

Find @thermaculture on Instagram!

For events and experiences:

www.thermaculture.events (for events and experience)

For products:

www.superiorsaunas.com (for products)

 

Thank you to our sponsors Human Powered Health, The Minnesota Institute of Ayurveda and Harvest Health & Wellbeing that make this episode possible

 

Well Connected Twin Cities is connecting you with local health and wellness professionals in your community. Discover what’s possible by surfing the directory, taking a class, or attending the next event.

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Transcript

Ep 148 The Spiritual & Psychological Benefits of Sauna & Thermic Bathing with John Pederson

[00:00:00] Cynthia: You are listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I’m your host, Cynthia Shockley, and I’m here to learn alongside you through meaningful conversations with health and wellness practitioners. This is your time to experience some mindset shifts, learn practical tips, and get excited about what is possible.

[00:00:22] We want you to own the power of choice in your personal well being journey. Let’s discover what’s possible right here in our Twin Cities community.

[00:00:33] Hello, in this episode, I speak with John Pederson of Superior Sauna and Steam about not only the physical benefits of sauna and thermal bathing, but the spiritual and psychological benefits. John shares some of the history and cultural significance of what he calls thermoculture. It was really a new mindset for me to think of thermal bathing as something ancient that existed since recorded human history.

[00:00:59] There is something intuitive and deeply resonant here. That has surely played a role in the rising popularity of sauna, cold plunging, and overall thermal bathing. John Pederson is a wellness operations consultant and programming director based in Minneapolis. He began his work helping communities create and sustain innovative public health initiatives as a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia, where he co founded the country’s first student run radio station.

[00:01:27] Post fellowship, John joined Seed Savers Exchange, where he managed communications for the company’s multi million dollar seed bank and food security operation. In 2011, he accepted a role as community manager for Coco Co Working Space in Minneapolis, where he launched the 612 Sauna Society, a community owned sauna startup, featured in Forbes and CNN for inspiring a revival of thermic bathing culture in North America.

[00:01:54] And He co founded Stoke Yard Outfitters in 2017, where he popularized his unique thermoculture experiences at Hewing Hotel, the Great Northern Sauna Village, and now The Yard, the first year round thermoculture venue in the country, which he launched in the fall of 2023 in partnership with Superior Sauna and Steam, where he now serves as Director of Customer Engagement.

[00:02:19] Thank you to our sponsors, Human Powered Health, the Minnesota Institute of Ayurveda, and Harvest Health and Wellbeing that make this episode possible.

[00:02:29] And here we are with John Pederson Superior Sauna and Steam. How are you doing today, John?

[00:02:37] John: I’m doing well. Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

[00:02:41] Cynthia: Yeah, I’m excited that you’re here because I know we had our initial conversation just to get to know each other and talk about what you’re passionate about.

[00:02:50] And I remember I was so excited for, Just a different take on what sauna is and the benefits and the concept of thermic bathing and thermoculture. I just feel like I learned so much in our pre conversation and now I’m excited to dive in a little deeper today.

[00:03:09] John: Me too, thanks for having me. I don’t haven’t I’ve been so busy creating these experiences over the last, many years and I haven’t spoken much about it and I love doing so on the bench, but it’s wonderful to have a larger platform here.

[00:03:24] Cynthia: Yeah I’m excited because I think this is a concept and just a mindset about Thermic bathing and sauna that could really ramp people up to that next level of well being if they move into it with that intention. I know that sauna itself has become more popular recently. It seems to have blown up in the last decade in particular due to just the spreading of awareness of the physiological health benefits.

[00:03:52] So before we dive into it. some more of the spiritual and psychological benefits. I’m curious if you can just first share some of the highlights when it comes to the emerging research around the physical benefits of sauna.

[00:04:05] John: Yeah. Yeah. It has been the, the health benefits that have really fueled the massive increase in interest over the last, I’d say over the last, five to seven years, especially during COVID when people were really looking for ways to be healthy at home.

[00:04:22] And we saw the increased interest in things like, Peloton and different, different backyard wellness, both spaces and exercise. So the backyard, the batting confluence with the increased popularity of sauna as a, it’s referenced so regularly now on the main health podcast, the Joe Rogans, the Tim Ferris is Huberman and the health benefits that are related to, shortened recovery time, decreased inflammation the circulatory benefits and the long term cardiovascular benefits.

[00:04:57] Those are the benefits , that are science backed at this point, there’s a lot of, and we’ll get into the richness and the depth of the health benefits, both physiologically, spiritually, socially but the ones that have really caught America’s interest, of course, are the health benefits and the ones that can, make workouts much, you can do more workouts, decreased inflammation.

[00:05:20] When you’re injured, the ability to circulate blood throughout the body, Is that’s the long-term cardiovascular benefits. When the body’s trying to respond to increased intensity of the hot and the cold, it tries to adjust its temperature by circulating blood throughout the body by trying to distribute oxygen.

[00:05:39] So it’s that increased circulation, but you’re just sitting there, of course, in the sauna. So unlike a workout where you’re doing a lot and you’re creating that circulation here. It’s actually, your thermoregulatory system that’s getting to work trying to bring your body back into homeostasis.

[00:05:55] So the circulation increases and that’s why you see, I think the main study that a lot of people reference, of course, is the Mayo study that was done a few years ago that showed not just the increased. Health benefits of regular sauna, but the really interesting thing about that study was they found the more you.

[00:06:13] Used a sauna or a thermic bathing practice like sauna, the better. So the more regularly you could do it, just the increased overall cardiovascular health that they saw in their survey respondents, which is really, really fascinating, especially as somebody who’s, looking at and creating ways to do this daily for this really, to become a really regular part of people’s life, because it’s fun and it’s, it’s a great thing to do socially.

[00:06:41] You feel better in your body and in your mind and in your community. And it’s, so it’s no surprise that the science is backing, is backing this all up. But it does give us a way to look at these. Practices in a new way. And one that’s, we can just talk about benefits. We can talk about we can talk about some of the science that makes this relevant to our life, regardless of whether you’re coming into it with a certain, ethnic if you’re Nordic or if you’re a Russian and the Banya tradition, there’s all these kind of like ethnic versions of the dish sweat lodge, Hamam in the Middle East.

[00:07:17] Japanese onsen but they all share, they all are sharing they’re serving up the same benefits just in ways that are more digestible or if you will, to different communities and different cultures.

[00:07:31] Cynthia: Yeah. Oh, and yes, the, there is the physiological benefits, the cardiovascular health, but you touched on some of the cultural importance and how it’s permeated through the generations.

[00:07:46] And so I, and that was something that really stood out to me when we were talking previously was just this concept that just like. Ayurveda, yoga, shamanism, these ways of healing and being that have lasted thousands of years, there’s something culturally significant in why it was transferred and passed down.

[00:08:10] And when I saw Sana in that light, I was like, Oh, that’s really cool. So can you speak a little more to. How long sauna has been around and why it’s been kept alive in all of these cultures.

[00:08:24] John: Yeah, absolutely. Sauna or sauna as the, it’s pronounced in Finnish sauna is the Finnish thermic bathing tradition.

[00:08:32] And many cultures around the world have thermic bathing traditions that are just as old and, to those communities, they’re Just as significant. They have Russia, then Banya, they have Banya in Russia Hamam in Middle East, Sweat Lodge here in North America, Temescal in Central America.

[00:08:52] And what are some Japanese onsen culture? And these are. These are very, we have the oldest archaeological evidence we have of thermic bathing is actually Temescal in, in Central America. And that goes back to as old as we have archae, archaeology, and as old as we have liter evidence of literature, we have evidence of thermic bathing being a part of these cultures.

[00:09:17] Of course, it’s a very significant, still, part of of Nordic culture. It’s the same, it’s same as true with Banya, Suet Lodge. Here in America, we adopted the word sauna and now you use it rather ubiquitously, to refer to any getting hot. And cooling down. However it is the word sauna is specific to that tradition.

[00:09:44] This was when the light bulb came on for me, when I realized that this has been something that different cultures have taken upon themselves to figure out, oh, how can we get the most physical, mental, social benefit of this physiology of this fire and ice experience?

[00:10:03] How can we translate that to maximum benefit in our time and our place and our environment? What materials are we going to use? How is the space going to be Managed, is there a ritual with it? Is there singing, that was, that’s an integral part of the Native American sweat lodge experience.

[00:10:21] There’s a, the rituals that are part of that fire and ice really unlocks the potential for that community. Same is true with Nordic sauna, the format, the style of the architecture of the space, the way you sit next to each other, looking forward not in a circle, singing songs to each other.

[00:10:39] It’s significant to that culture and it unlocks the potential of, there it’s it’s just as important of a spiritual experience, but they’re a different, they’re a different culture that feels comfortable and feels relaxed. Through different different style of practice and why is it important to feel relaxed and to feel comfortable?

[00:11:00] It not just sounds like how you want to, how you want to be, but specifically to get back to the health benefits. And this is something that all the different thermic bathing traditions that I’ve studied that I’ve ever heard of and have studied extensively. They have in common is that they create rituals and spaces that enable people to experience the intensity.

[00:11:21] Of the hot and the cold and do and by staying in their parasympathetic response in the parasympathetic nervous system where you’re responding, you have a chance to respond to the heat with more of a circulatory breath based response. This is really interesting because it’s starts to deprogram your conditioned response, your that sympathetic fight or flight kind of automatic response.

[00:11:45] You have to intensity, not just a temperature. But in general, you practice regular exposure contrast therapy, you start to develop a little bit of poise.

[00:11:57] Before you respond to that intensity. And I think that’s one of the, to now, to get into kind of the deeper level, there’s these very real, and now the science is coming out, proving all the health benefits, longer longevity, better for muscle recovery, long term cardiovascular health over so many different indicators.

[00:12:17] And now the next level and the level that this is where things really got interesting for me and where I really got hooked because I came into it at a time of my life when I was existential. I was younger version of myself and really looking for meaning in my life.

[00:12:29] I came out of the startup world. I was reading these books about amazing people who did, important things for their societies. And I was even trying to identify what that even could look like for me. A lot of people do meaningful work all the time, but I was not seeing an obvious path.

[00:12:45] And when I realized that sauna thermic bathing in North America for modern urban societies it really hadn’t been translated yet. It really hadn’t been, done as thoughtfully and, you can go to places and experience the way they do it.

[00:13:02] In other cultures it’s like going to an ethnic restaurant. But what I was interested in was more of translating that fundamental work that I saw these other cultures doing into their communities. And I became rather obsessed with that project and that led me to my first project, which was collaborating with two amazing architects, Molly Reichert and Andrea Johnson on the little box sauna, which was the first public mobile sauna project.

[00:13:29] And this is, this was over a decade ago. Before before anybody had seen a mobile sauna out in a public park, that was the first one. And that led to the 612 Sauna Society, the nation’s first sauna cooperative, which was, Absolutely founded in this spirit of investigating. How do you create a modern thermic bathing tradition in urban North America?

[00:13:54] That was at the heart of turning that into a cooperative and continues to be the foundation and the inspiration of my my works and starting my own company, Stokeyard Outfitters, which merged with Superior Sauna and Steam. Last year. And now I produce thermoculture experiences, which is my.

[00:14:11] My signature contribution to the thermic bathing world. And it’s inspired by this, more of this global really respect for individual traditions and then really taking seriously lighthearted and serious it’s work. You can’t just, you have to lead and. Try as hard as you can, but it leaves a lot of room for whimsy and magic as well.

[00:14:31] But this work of how do you translate the magic of fire? Nice into modern urban North America in the year 2024. And yeah that’s what I’m up to.

[00:14:41] Cynthia: Yeah. I think that’s amazing. And so you’ve been able to practice this for the last decade or so, being able to bring some of that thermoculture and what that can look like, can you share what are some of the elements of thermoculture that you feel like you’ve been able to implement or you’ve been really intentional about in the experiences that you facilitate?

[00:15:08] John: Yeah, thermoculture experiences which we host now at a few venues in town, the Humane Hotel where we’ve been since the hotel opened, our new venue, The Yard which is at the Superior Sauna Showroom in Kingfield, and our experiences they’re not all the same, however, they share some fundamental kind of principles, and these are principles that again I can trace them back to What are the other traditions I’ve studied?

[00:15:37] But one thing that’s important is people feeling really comfortable in the space like I said before, and, feeling like the it’s their own backyard. A little bit. And again, there’s physiological benefits to that. I’m staying in that parasympathetic nervous system. So hosting is really important to us.

[00:15:53] The hospitality is extremely important to us. People feeling it’s like when you’re being invited over, this is, it goes back to the Nordic tradition. A lot of it’s been invited to someone’s house and it’s very personal. So we try to really, take care of our guests and we try to, make sure that it’s a personal experience when you’re there.

[00:16:09] And another signature experience or signature of it is this is less traditional, but music I find our spaces are social and the experience is social, which is one of the unique things that’s not common in all of the traditions, but thermoculture experiences, it’s a social experience.

[00:16:28] So you’re not there, you don’t have to talk to other people, but it’s a shared space and. It’s a space where sometimes you go and, sometimes you’re chatty with the person on the bench next to you, sometimes not, and you’re just sitting next to people and, you’re in your own experience, but you’re around other people.

[00:16:45] And that’s an interesting and, I think, a healing way to be. To be in community these days to where it’s there’s something between kind of a super intentional, I gazing new age super intentional one on one interpersonal experience and being isolated. The sauna can be somewhere in the middle where you’re you’re around people you feel oh, I can relate to these people.

[00:17:06] I don’t feel like it right now, but. Maybe something in your heart to just feel part of the society in a subtle way. Music and, curated playlists that are both Relaxed, but also they have some energy.

[00:17:17] I can’t say it’s one specific genre, but there’s a specific kind of energetic we’re going for in the playlist. Something like the sauna experience or the physiology in the sauna. It’s energizing, but it’s, a best experience in a very relaxed way too.

[00:17:32] It’s like the, you just let the energy flow. Flow through you. So we helped try to make the music match that. And also just like a place that’s a social environment helps too with the ambience of people being able to either be in their own space or in discussions.

[00:17:48] Music’s not too loud, so you can talk. However, if you’re just in there with, one or two other people, it’s also not awkwardly quiet. Yeah, so those are a few of the signatures. And then also we really produce things seasonally too. We create a season and this is something I’ve done for a decade with different projects, but looking at it as, who’s on board these days.

[00:18:08] What’s the most excellent experience we can think of? Maybe it’s something that’s not sustainable forever, but it’s like what we’re working with right now. And wouldn’t that be amazing? We’re not trying to share in a thermoculture experience.

[00:18:21] We’re not trying to share how they do it somewhere else. What we’re trying to do is hit the same high note of the reason that these cultures have been doing this forever. Is they’re trying to get it right. They’re trying to do what Grandma and Grandpa did, which was have an experience that was so joyful, so wonderful, so connected where you left feeling better than you thought you remembered possible, and you can’t wait to do it again next weekend.

[00:18:48] And we’re trying to hit that same note. And it takes something different every week. Every time we do an opening, so we’re trying to constantly learn what we want to keep in the basket for the season, what maybe, what maybe we’re going to leave behind, but we see it very much as something we’re constantly needing to produce and evolve and again, always.

[00:19:09] Very intentional learning from best practices of the cultures that have kept this alive. But in that spirit of stewardship, we see ourselves more as stewards of a living tradition than curating a a set kind of boutique finished product.

[00:19:25] Cynthia: Yeah, it sounds like it requires a lot of presence and following intuition, being able to trust the process as well.

[00:19:35] And I feel like in that, you’ve also been anchored to these pillars these values of what the thermoculture experience can be and strives to be. And so in that I’m hearing there’s this come as you are. This come as you are, and there’s a community here for you, whether it is that you want to engage socially or verbally, or if it’s just that you want to share energy and space.

[00:20:01] And so that’s really beautiful. I think that’s as a yoga teacher, that’s really aligned to like how I want my classes to feel where it’s just you can come as you are. And just know that this is that home base for you to come back to. And so to be able to listen to the needs of the present moment and the resources you have in the moment, it sounds like that’s helpful and being able to keep that excitement, keep that high note and keep people coming and getting excited.

[00:20:28] Advertisement: This podcast is made possible by the Minnesota Institute of Ayurveda. It is a local, woman owned, private, licensed career school that provides evidence based health and wellness training and certifications, integrating the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with conventional healthcare to make it incredibly accessible to our communities across the metro.

[00:20:51] Find out how an advanced Ayurvedic practitioner or health counselor certification might amplify your career opportunities. If you want to enhance your wellness practice skills or explore a new career, please contact the Minnesota Institute of Ayurveda. They are accepting applications for fall 2024.

[00:21:09] Learn more at www. mnayurveda. com.

[00:21:15] This podcast is supported in part by Human Powered Health, a human performance lab in Edina that combines best in class assessments, technology, and expert recommendations to help you achieve your health and performance goals. From running gait analysis to DEXA body composition scans, they offer assessments for all levels of wellness.

[00:21:37] Claim your free 15 minute virtual consultation by visiting get. wellconnectedtwincities. com slash HPH.

[00:21:48] Cynthia: So it’s really cool that you’ve been able to create that. And I also wonder. What is happening? Cause you touched on this, how, when we’re in something like a sauna, there’s a bit of that expansion in how we react and how we respond to that stressor of the heat or of the cold What is neurologically going on?

[00:22:18] And I know you’ve also touched on sympathetic, parasympathetic, but what, how is that interrupting that response to intensity in that moment? And I guess even how does like that community help support that transition?

[00:22:31] John: Yeah. The community supports it in the same way. Hear a lot about integration if you’re listening to talking to people who are doing different practices, a lot of psychedelics, they talk a lot about, the effectiveness of the integration really is, Basically determines how useful the experience is.

[00:22:50] A lot of people will have very experiences where they have an expansive view of their life and their situation. And are able to step outside of their problems and see a bigger picture. However, how much of that you’re, how much of the benefit of that perspective you get.

[00:23:05] In both of the psychedelic community and then also in different somatic healing practices, the integration of that expansive state change experience comes down to integration and that’s where the community, that’s where the space, the physical space is important, that’s where the hosting is important, that’s where the music’s important and I think that’s where the magic though is with these different thermic bathing traditions is they are 90 percent integration and context and community and about 10 percent state change, cause there’s a real state change in the sauna.

[00:23:40] When the blood starts flowing to the body to try to cool itself down, but you’re just. Sitting still and you’re relaxed. You’re calm. You’re not activated, physically the way that you’re used to being active. When you experience that level of circulation and the neuro chemicals start and this is very different. You’re just sitting, you’re calm. So you’re cultivating a different sense of a way of being present with a lot of activity in your body.

[00:24:08] And like I said, usually we translate that automatically into some kind of okay, I’m working out or I’m ready to fight or, something is happening. So here you’re being served a meal in a restaurant that you don’t recognize. It’s I’m used to this triggering, X, Y, and Z.

[00:24:24] I’m on the last leg of my workout. I’m about to get in an argument. I’m going to honk at somebody in traffic. There’s some things going on, but here, you’re like, oh, wait, what’s going on? It cultivates curiosity. It cultivates equanimity. It cultivates an observational state.

[00:24:45] Very much like meditation. The difference though, is your awareness is so much already pulled into your body because there’s so much going on that you’re in yourself in a very different way than you are when you’re just sitting in a room on a pillow.

[00:25:00] You’re in such a different. Physical state that paying attention and being in that observer mind. It requires something different of you. I think it’s much easier, frankly.

[00:25:10] My love and appreciation for the physiology of thermic bathing came out of a period of time when I was having insomnia and I couldn’t sleep and I was hosting the sauna gatherings in my, in a mobile sauna in my backyard. It was called the firehouse. It was part tiny house, part sauna, and I was just hosting these gatherings every night and I was having trouble sleeping and.

[00:25:33] What I would do is I’d come down to the, I had a loft up above the sauna. And if I couldn’t, when I couldn’t sleep, I just come down and sit in the sauna after the fire had gone out and the sauna would stay nice and toasty, between 105 and 110 degrees, like throughout the night.

[00:25:47] And just like slowly cool down. And I would just sit in there. Meditating, but really just sitting. And when you’re sitting in a temperature like that, just, I wouldn’t sleep, but I wasn’t up wrestling with my thoughts and I was just present in that, in the heat of that room.

[00:26:04] And it was really easy to just sit there and relax. And in the morning time, I didn’t feel like I’d gotten a good night’s sleep, but I also didn’t feel like I’d spent all night. Wrestling with, sleeping and I just felt fine. I felt calm and I thought, wow, this is really a, this state.

[00:26:20] It’s not as this plus sleep idea would be amazing. So and it is, but just experiencing just the just practicing just that basic physiology of what, calming your nervous system down completely. And it can really be an idle, like a, if you can practice that idle state and then employ it in more times in your life, places where you maybe could be activated and go into that sympathetic, adrenaline based response, a lot of times though, that’s not actually required.

[00:26:48] There are times when that’s required. You need that. We have that physiology for very important reasons, but. Especially increasingly in these, highly technological times, we’re not fighting saber toothed tigers anymore. Most, most of us aren’t in bodily danger day to day. That we just, we overuse the adrenaline based responses and we need to get more skillful in employing parasympathetic responses to situations sauna and different thermic bathing traditions is one of the ways that societies have I think cultivated that and made in doing so made space for other parts of their life that, that need tending to need attention. And I think that’s one of the things that people have thought, wow, we can’t live without this.

[00:27:30] It keeps coming up for humanity because we need this stuff. It feels great. It’s like healthy food. It’s like music, it’s good for us and it’s inviting us to organize our life and our societies and our culture.

[00:27:44] The fire and ice medicine, the sauna, the hammam, what happens there. We’re better off when we get in alignment with it, both physically, socially and culturally so this comes back to, yes, we produce seasons.

[00:27:59] So we produce a little season around it. Here’s how we’re going to go about it this season. And we just see all kinds of fun side effects of producing the best season of sauna we can dream of. So that’s the spirit of, the spirit of the thermoculture experience, trying to create that, trying to connect to that history of stewardship, trying to connect to this history of translation over transcribing an experience. Here’s how we do it where I’m from period notes. Here’s how we do it where I’m from because blah, blah, blah.

[00:28:31] Which means. And then there’s the invitation.

[00:28:35] Cynthia: And so it sounds , if you can go and just have an experience that’s already curated for you, like at Superior Sauna and Steam and, John’s got your back, I think that’s really amazing to have that already cultivated and thoughtfully planned for people who may be.

[00:28:54] Are it’s not accessible to them or they’re out not in the core of the Twin Cities. What might be a recommendation you have for someone who maybe has access to some kind of thermic bathing? And they want to taste, they want to start practicing in this way, making it more of this spiritual experience what would be your kind of guideline to help people ease into that practice even on their own?

[00:29:23] John: Yeah, it’s a great question. I think the first thing I would share is and encourage people to really develop a state of curiosity because unlike so many wellness practices and fads, this works and this has been working for forever for people because there’s a there.

[00:29:40] There’s a, there is an actual state change when you’re letting your body heat up fully finding a real edge, and that’s what the steam is there for the steam is to, could I, could it be a little hotter in here? I don’t know. Let’s see. Let’s put a little steam on, you dose it for yourself.

[00:29:54] You’re not trying to win a world record or whatever, but it’s there to really breathe into that edge, be like, nope. Okay I’m about as hot as I can be and still be calm about it. Great. You go out, you cool down and you get cold. Sometimes the air is cooling up. Sometimes you just need a cold rinse.

[00:30:10] Sometimes you do a full plunge into an icy lake. But then you sit and you actually get cold and you. Basically repeat that same process on the cool down round. You let your body, not just your skin and not just the reprieve from the heat, but you actually do the full 180 and you let your body cool down to the point where it starts to cool and go in the other direction.

[00:30:34] Because then, and then you start breathing in that same parasympathetic fashion, not the short, shallow breaths, no deep breaths in through the nose, all through the mouth, it’s that basic Wim Hof style breathing, activating the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system. And that helps your body again, kick back into thermoregulation this time on the other side.

[00:30:57] So it’s trying to heat itself back up. And it’s doing that by, no, we need more blood circulating, everybody, we thought we were maxed out and you were on that one direction and you came out and you’re, rebooting that exact same system, but in response to cold and you can do that yourself anywhere where you’re, where you have access to a sauna and it doesn’t have to be The best sauna, but one where you understand the basic kind of the basics of contrast therapy and then really utilizing the cold, the cold is something and that has really the cold and the health benefits of the cold is really, sauna popularity over the last five years has really been riding on the coattails of this interest in cold exposure.

[00:31:46] And, people are really obsessed and for good reason, it’s, it feels immediately amazing the benefits to, to work out to somebody who’s, trying to really, who’s applying this themselves in a rigorous fashion. They’re going to notice it right away and much more, more quickly than someone who’s not, applying themselves in that way, but you don’t have to be a hardcore endurance athlete to notice the state change your body, but especially your mind, you notice a heightened sense of awareness, I would say, and everything that you went in the sauna and the cold plunge.

[00:32:18] Dealing with it’s still there. However, my experience of it is because of your presence in your body, your energy is so different. You do have, you’re relating to things in a slightly different way. So it’s just if you’re like designing something in your backyard, you’d be looking at it from the deck, trying to figure out where to put it and you just can’t decide.

[00:32:36] And then one day you decide that, climb the tree and look at the backyard from there and you’re like, Oh, I got some new ideas

[00:32:44] there’s a real, there’s something to investigate there and you don’t have to do it just like I experienced it. People’s bodies are different. And like I said, different cultures have stumbled into it in different ways and cultivated cultivated differently, but I think people just knowing that there’s really something to discover and something that, people have found worth.

[00:33:04] Sharing and worth creating these, really beautiful traditions and rituals around for thousands and thousands of years, I think that’s a great place to start with a real genuine sense of curiosity for, their own personal wellbeing. And then once you experience it,

[00:33:20] you want to share it. And then thinking about how do you share this with the people you, that mean the most to you? What would that look like? What would that look like? How did you come into it and how could you help somebody else have, their own version of that experience? I think that then leads to, a whole nother level of. Benefit.

[00:33:39] You know if you haven’t done it before you know the experience of sitting in a sauna that hitting that steam a nice steamy steamy room with essential oils and you step out into a cold misty night and it’s raining and you jump in a cool river and you just are like unlike all the other more complicated vacations, this has just been in my backyard.

[00:33:59] Possibly all this time and how have I never known about it? I think if you’re being honest about it There’s a baked in sense of gratitude that, wow, I didn’t even have to do that much.

[00:34:10] It’s like anything else. You can do it very fancy, but you can also do a very basic sauna and you get this experience.

[00:34:15] That’s so much more than what you don’t usually get value like that in things,

[00:34:20] Cynthia: yeah, I think it’s a lot to do with the intentionality, like you said, because you can have an asana experience where you’re distracted, you’re talking to your friend, you’re not really thinking about it.

[00:34:31] You’re like, Oh, 10 minutes up. I’m going to get out now. I see a lot of that. I feel like at the gym where people are just like in and out Oh, I know this is good for me. So I’m just gonna. Yeah. Pop in, pop out but to go into it, recognizing it as an opportunity to challenge your nervous system and find that balance as an opportunity to cultivate community and spiritual connection.

[00:34:53] I think that makes all the difference.

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[00:36:43] Cynthia: And so I appreciate that you provide experiences that allow people to tap into that intuition and that intention and to do that collectively in community. I think just adds this layer. Of importance and validation that is harder to achieve when you’re doing it on your own.

[00:37:01] But to see that other people are also in on this and they’re also, they’re, yeah. You’re sharing it. They’re all in .

[00:37:07] John: Yeah. Yeah. You’re sharing it. And again, it comes back to that at that level then you’re seeing that other people are getting it, and there’s a gratitude that comes along that I think is just as fundamental as the cardiovascular benefits because you’re like, yeah.

[00:37:20] Wow, look at how we’re all feeling right now. And you look around, you’re and you have that look of are you feeling this too? People are whether it’s explicit or unexplained, just on a good night, people just smiling.

[00:37:32] Yeah. Wow. And even as the one who’s producing the space, I know that It’s really the fun. It’s really the experience itself. It’s like it’s not unique not completely unique to not something that just I know just that my me and my team and superior saunas like that. We do it and no one else does it.

[00:37:53] It’s that, that note and that. That has been what people have been chasing for thousands and thousands of years and we get to share it and we get to learn from it.

[00:38:02] And, you’re just in that state of, pure well being and getting to also experience the gratitude and the joy of feeling that good, They don’t sell this anymore and they don’t, they really don’t and nobody can do it for you.

[00:38:16] But it is available. And I think that’s. What people are discovering more and more starting with the health benefits. It’s like anything else that’s really worth sharing. Again, music’s a great analogy.

[00:38:27] Yoga is a great analogy. People are going to keep discovering these layers of depth. And as someone who’s in the wellness field professionally yourself there’s so much hype and thermic bathing is it’s like yoga, and there’ll be a lot of hype with it. And there is in the yoga world, there’s a lot of, charlatans but at its fundamentals, it’s, you can get as much out of it as you want.

[00:38:51] And you can express yourself within that tradition, whether it’s, you love teaching, whether you’re a philosopher and just love, Studying and love to feel the fellowship of other, great minds who have deeply contemplated. What is it? What does it mean to live a good life? Yoga, you can go as deep as you want in so many different directions.

[00:39:11] Thermic bathing is very similar. It’s, it’s as old as yoga. It has a lot of the similar sort of physical, mental, social fronts to it that depending on your interests, depending on, what you want to do with it you can really make meaningful. And unlike yoga, it’s so new now, yoga is still new in North America, but thermic bathing is even newer.

[00:39:35] And there’s so much room for people to. Get involved and to express themselves there’s so much space, there’s so much need, it’s like coffee shops, which there could be places on every corner where, you know, everybody who drinks coffee, Coffee likes to, they should have a place in their neighborhood.

[00:39:53] Everybody who’s got a body and likes to feel good should have access to this, both in their backyard and and at the corner so they can do it in community.

[00:40:01] Cynthia: Yeah, that would be amazing to get to that point where it’s just it’s everywhere and it’s super accessible.

[00:40:08] And it seems like we’re, we’re heading in that direction, just recognizing how popular it is. And so I really appreciate again, John the experiences that you’re cultivating and just you being able to come on here and share some of that mindset around This is around sauna, around thermoculture, around thermic bathing, just all of it so that people can just expand the possibilities, because if this is something that’s accessible and hopefully in some way or form it is there’s a way to deepen the practice and make it more accessible.

[00:40:43] resonate, not just at the physiological level, but at the spiritual, the social, the cultural level. So I feel like that’s just a really cool opportunity that you’re inviting people into. So thank you so much for your time today and for everything that you’re doing out in the world.

[00:41:02] John: We’ll come down to the yard sometime this summer and we can continue the conversation on the bench.

[00:41:07] Cynthia: Yes, I will definitely do that, I appreciate that invitation, I’ll be there.

[00:41:13] John: Thanks so much.

[00:41:14] Cynthia: Thank you so much for listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. Did you learn something new? Did you feel that spark of hope and excitement for what is possible? Because so much is possible. Tell us about it in a review on Apple podcast. Not only would we absolutely love hearing from you, but these reviews help our ratings and help other curious minds like you find this resource.

[00:41:40] We are always better together. Thank you again, and see you next time.

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