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Wellbeing by the lakes

“This land.. has a magical quality that’s impossible to describe.. the birdsong, the hypnotic quality of the river, the air quality, the silence, the spirit + sculpture..whatever it is.. it’s mesmerising.. and it feels like home.”

— Guest 2021


Yoga in the Garden

Verve Festival


16 & 17 SEPTEMBER 2023

Group Stretching


No man is better associated with temperature extremes than the Dutch “Iceman” Wim Hoff.  He earned his nickname by not only breaking world records for prolonged cold exposure (swimming under ice, barefoot marathon running over snow and ice) but nearly single-handedly making cold exposure popular. 

“The Wim Hof Method” has become a bona-fide movement in the world of biohacking and his name is everywhere these days. He has been the subject of a bestselling book as well as a Vice documentary. This is a man who climbed Mount Everest in only shorts and shoes (coming just shy of the peak due to a foot injury).  He also managed to climb Kilimanjaro in two days while in similar attire.

So what does Wim Hof credit his health and mental endurance to? Wim Hof believes that enduring the cold is a benefit to our bodies and can help us deal with disease such as MS, arthritis, and other ills. His method involves a combination of meditation, breathing exercises, and ice therapy. 

So you may be asking yourself, does the Iceman like the heat? It turns out he is a big fan.


“Heat and cold are our great teachers.”- Wim Hof


Wim Hoff granted an exclusive interview to Sauna Times to talk about sauna which can be listened to here.  He had a plethora of opinions on sauna use as well as how it can be used to complement cold exposure.

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Image by Bryce Evans

Andrew Huberman sauna protocols for health and performance

First things first: hydrate before and after using the sauna.

You should be drinking 16 ounces of water for every 10 minutes you spend in the sauna. Just do it, you'll feel much better. Now, without further ado, here are Andrew Huberman's outlined sauna protocols, segmented by health goals:
  1. Protocol for Cardiovascular Health:

  • Heat sauna to 80-100°C (176-212°F) - actual temperature depends on personal heat tolerance

  • Stay in sauna for 5-20 minutes per session

  • Repeat sauna use 2-3x per week, or as often as 7x per week

  • More frequent use appears to be better for cardiovascular health


  1. Protocol for General Health:

  • Heat sauna to 80-100°C (176-212°F)

  • Use sauna for a total of 1 hour per week, split into 2-3 sessions

  • Use sauna for improved mood, stress management, and enhancement of the body’s hormetic response pathways


  1. Protocol for Growth Hormone Release:

  • Heat sauna to 80-100°C (176-212°F)

  • Use sauna infrequently (once per week or less)

  • Use multiple sessions of 30 minutes each with cool down periods in between

  • Use the sauna in a semi-fasted state (having not ingested food for 2 to 3 hours prior)


You'll notice with these protocols that the ideal temperature of the sauna should  be at 176 degrees Fahrenheit and above. This is why Huberman recommends a traditional sauna over infrared. Having said that, he does clarify that traditional or infrared, a high temperature is what's important to reap the full benefits of deliberate heat exposure. Infrared saunas typically only range between 110-150 degrees. There are a few exceptions, like some infrared sauna blankets (such as our Solstice Low EMF model) reaching a max temperature of 176 degrees. 
Dr. Huberman recommends using specific breathing techniques as well to help regulate the stress response and improve relaxation. One technique he recommends is called "box breathing," which involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, exhaling for 4 seconds, and holding for 4 seconds. This technique can be used during sauna sessions and cold exposures to help regulate the body's stress response.
According to Dr. Huberman, box breathing can help to regulate the body's stress response by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's "rest and digest" response. When the body is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, which triggers the body's "fight or flight" response. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system through box breathing, the body can shift from a state of stress to a state of relaxation.
Huberman cites studies around traditional sauna use to support these protocols. Regular heat exposure has shown to benefit overall health, improve mood, adjust hormone levels, and enhance athletic performance and recovery (Laukkanen et al., 2018). But, as with any practice, safety considerations must be made. Heat exposure can be dangerous if temperatures are too high, and certain individuals, such as pregnant women and children younger than 16, should not sauna. However, there are several safe ways to access controlled heat exposure, including steam saunas, hot tubs, hot showers, or even a hybrid infrared and traditional sauna which combines a low EMF infrared option with traditional dry heat. 
One of the most significant benefits of sauna use is improved cardiovascular health. Participants who regularly used a sauna reduced their risk of cardiovascular events and stroke, according to the same study by Laukkanen. Furthermore, regular sauna use has been positively correlated with a reduction in all-cause mortality. Sauna use also triggers mechanisms in the body and brain similar to those engaged during physical exercise, which leads to increased heart rate, blood flow, and vasodilation (Laukkanen et al., 2018).
Saunas can also improve mood and stress response. Dynorphins and endorphins are released in the brain in response to heat, leading to a mild euphoria post-sauna. Heat exposure also triggers hormesis, a mild, tolerable stress that stimulates the body to positively adapt. Hormesis is crucial to enhancing the body's longevity pathways and heat-dependent molecular mechanisms, such as heat shock proteins, that monitor and repair protein structures within our cells (Schieber & Chandel, 2014).
Finally, the release of growth hormone can be stimulated through sauna use. Occasional use of specific sauna protocols, such as four 30-minute sessions with cool down periods in between, has been shown to dramatically boost the amount of growth hormone released, according to peer-reviewed research (Leppaluoto et al., 2006). However, this protocol should only be used once a week or less to avoid blunting the growth hormone-increasing effects.
Overall, deliberate heat exposure protocols have several benefits for health and performance. To gain these benefits safely and effectively, it's essential to follow recommended protocols and safety considerations. Additionally, it's essential to stay hydrated during and after sauna use to replenish the body's electrolytes lost through sweat.
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Image by HUUM

Writer Emma O’Kelly talks to the British Sauna Society about her new book, Sauna: The Power of Deep Heat.

There is a new wave of sauna culture spreading throughout the UK and beyond. Saunas are being built in unique settings providing tech-free spaces in which to gather, share stories and enjoy nature. The tradition has a rich history, filled with rituals that encourage us to soak up the mental and physical joys of deep heat.

Sauna highlights the benefits the sauna brings to body and mind, its connection to nature, its history and mythology and its compatibility with another great invigorator – cold water swimming.

Accompanied by stunning photography, it honours the old, embraces the new, and plunges headlong into the transformative power of steam.

Emma will present her work in a talk and Q&A for the British Sauna Society, hosted by Co-Founder and Chair Mika Meskanen.

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Image by HUUM

Sauna Talk

Today on the virtual sauna bench, we Sauna Talk with Jackie from Cedar Grove Saunas in Northern Maine. Jackie is just back from her sif week sauna pilgrimage to four countries in Northern Europe.

Jackie has built her own saunas, and is four years into hosting guests traveling far and wide to Cedar Grove Saunas. We are kindred spirits of good heat. We share an interest and passion towards the Latvian Pirtus tradition, spearheaded by Biruté and Rimus from the Lithuanian Bath Academy.

Are you interested in bringing plants and herbs into your sauna practice? Jackie helps us better understand this tradition.

Sauna in Nature is bigger than all of us. And thanks to Jackie, we get to hear her voice and values of how she is bringing this spirit forward.

After hearing about mobile saunas Jackie got the idea to start a business and build another sauna to bring to others. She set off in 2019 to convert a horse trailer into a sauna but it wasn’t easy or quick. Jackie’s high standard of quality, initial lack of carpentry skills, and the trailer’s unique challenges (such as all the rounded corners) conspired to extend the build beyond the limits of her patience. Suddenly she wondered whether other people would pay to use her backyard sauna. However, a spa was born.

BONUS: We begin this podcast with a few brief words from my sauna bench, last night. Friends and neighbors from age 8 to 84 share a couple thoughts to warm your sauna spirit.

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Image by Santtu Perkiö
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