Sauna Talk is a show about the authentic sauna experience. Recorded (often) on the sauna bench, we talk with interesting guests about sauna including such aspects as building sauna, enjoying sauna, and health and wellness benefits to sauna. The rising sauna tide is lifting many boats and we look forward to some left turns that we hope to keep listeners on and off the more enjoyable and less trampled authentic sauna trail.
John Richter: Chest Freezer Cold Plunge Writer, Promoter, Evangelist
Hi John, welcome to saunatimes. I thought I’d start by having you share how and when you first got started with the WHM and cold water exposure.
Most of my life I’ve had a terrible relationship to the cold. I hated cold water and if it dropped below 60F I would bundle up like I was preparing for an Arctic adventure. In 2013, when a friend let me know about a Wim Hof workshop that was being held in Austin, all I saw was a picture of Wim sitting in a barrel of ice and though “No way!! Why would I pay money to go sit in ice water?!” My resistance was strong enough, however, that it made me curious, and I signed up. Those first two ice baths with Wim that weekend were miserable, but life-changing.
The big issue with living in central Texas – a sub-tropical climate – is that cold water is not readily available. It wasn’t until 3 years later after experiencing two years of brutal insomnia that I found the amazing benefits of a regular cold water practice. After spending thousands of dollars on various insomnia treatments from many different kinds of approaches and modalities – none of which provided any lasting benefit – a friend who is a Wim Hof Method instructor suggested that I try cold water immersion before bed.
I bought a hundred pound of ice, filled up my bathtub, and got the best night’s sleep I’d had in two years. I did that three more times before realizing that hauling ice was going to get expensive and take a lot of time. That’s what motivated me to look into other ways to get cold water.
What did your early cold plunge set up look like? My cold plunge has been through a number of evolutions through the years. The very first thing I did after ice baths was buy a Whirlpool 15 cubic foot chest freezer and fill it with water. That was great until three days later I opened it up and discovered a few rivers of rust pouring out of the seams.
The ice chest freezer for cold plunge, why is it such a “winner” for DIY cold plunge enthusiasts? People love DIY for a few different reasons. For many who don’t have the budget to buy a commercially made cold plunge, the DIY route is financially motivated. A basic setup with a used chest freezer can be created for less than a few hundred dollars. Even a very well equipped high-end chest freezer setup can cost less – in some cases *way* less, than half of the commercially made models.
Let’s talk about your Chest Freezer Cold Plunge book, how did that come about? After having a number of problems and issues with my chest freezer cold plunge experiments and finally getting it dialed in, I wanted to start a group where we could talk about various issues and brainstorm ideas. It only took a month or two before I noticed many people asking the same basic questions. So I wrote a FAQ. That expanded pretty quickly to 13 pages, and I still felt like it wasn’t detailed enough, so I decided to write a book. Editor’s note: Link to John’s book is here.
You have helped many others adapt their chest freezer for cold plunge, including the starting of your Facebook group. How did that start and how is that going? When I started learning about converting a chest freezer into a cold plunge, there were maybe 30,000 people in the Wim Hof Method Facebook group, but only a few posts about chest freezers. And most of those posts were “Hey I did this!” but lacking “How I did this.” The posts were also hard to keep track of and follow with all of the other content being posted.
I had a sense that a separate group to discuss making a cold plunge from a chest freezer would be helpful. I asked one of the Wim Hof group admins if he would be OK with me starting a separate group. He said yes, and let me post a couple of messages about it. It grew from there.
“Contrast therapy” is a big thing. Please comment on sauna AND cold plunge, as peanut butter and jelly, or 1+1=3? I love hot tubs and saunas. As I mentioned, I hated the cold for most of my
Sauna Talk: Daryl Lamppa, Third Generation Sauna Stove Builder
I’m pleased to present my second Sauna Talk podcast interview with Daryl Lamppa. Who is Daryl Lamppa? A third generation sauna stove builder, born and bread in Tower, Minnesota. 100% Finn, and married to a Finn, Cheryl. After marriage, as a young man, Daryl and his father in law built their newlywed house, and milled lumber for the build from Norway pines on their property. Daryl and Cheryl have lived in this house their entire lives. She a former schoolteacher in town, and he a welder of the Vapor Fire wood burning home furnace and Kuuma wood burning sauna stove. I am pretty sure that Daryl is one of the leading living experts in wood burning technology. And I will put money on it, that nobody alive has spent more time researching and analyzing wood burning technology than Daryl Lamppa.
First time I met Daryl Lamppa Over thirty years, recently moved to the area. Interested in building my first sauna, to replicate the awesome experience I had rebuilding a cottage on the Baltic Archipelago. Birch and Flounder, peel and boil potatoes.
Walked into his shop, did all is own welding back then. I got into into sauna building in large part part because of the Kuuma stove. Thanks to the Kuuma I was able to finally experience the quality of heat that I knew so well from my time on the Baltic.
Fast forward to our second Sauna Talk podcast interview.
Meeting up with Daryl Lamppa There I was in my fishing boat, heading for my visit with my friend and wood burning sauna devotee Daryl Lamppa. About midway across Big Bay, the irony of the moment hit me. Here in the Northland of Minnesota, it has been an unseasonably hot and dry summer. Forest fires in Canada and super warm calm weather had created a gloomy hazy hot atmosphere for my boat ride. The smell of smoke was strong., and here I was, heading to meet one of the world’s premier experts on clean burning wood.
As I tied up to Daryl’s dock, I couldn’t help but take notice of his custom dock frame. Nobody builds a dock like this, I thought. The welds were uniform and clean. The dock frame design was criss crossed and laid out perfectly spaced. This was a hand made dock of shiny stainless steel. The dock could have been five years old or 55 years old. Nobody builds docks like this. Well nobody except Daryl Lamppa.
Daryl’s sauna and homestead Daryl greets me from his back door, and we head over to his sauna. Part of the purpose of my visit is to develop a plan for fixing up the Lamppa homestead sauna. The Cobbler’s kid’s shoes syndrome is in full effect as the sauna is a neglected relic from the 1930s, maybe earlier. Toys for the grandkids are stored in the cool down room. “This was the sauna for the resort that used to be here that was part of this land when we bought it.” We talk through our plan on how to remove the old hand built beast of a stove, and what to do about the original wall paneling and benches. “We can take apart the benches and just flip over the boards. Maybe sand them a bit.”
We turn our attention to his house. I’m pretty sure it’s the house he and his wife Cheryl moved into when they were married. Daryl and his father in law built the house, by hand, using lumber milled from the trees taken from the property. And we are talking big Norways and White Pine. Daryl is all Finnish. All matter of fact. Simple short sentences that tell a story. “He was a tree cutter. We took down these trees ourselves. We had lumber milled from these big trees. It was a lot of work.”
Next I’m drawn to his woodpile, two woodpiles, actually. One neat stack left and right, guarding his driveway. Each pile is stacked perfectly. “That’s 5 cords each. We heat our house all winter with 5 cords. Pointing to the left: “I’ll bring all this down to the basement in the fall. And this over here, well, i just stacked this pile a few weeks ago. These are for next winter.”
“Birch is the best.” He tells me, and of course, I’m nodding in agreement. “I w
Sauna Talk: Lassi A. Liikkanen
Today on Sauna Talk, we’re pleased to welcome Lassi A. Liikkanen, author of “The Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design”. The book is just now being released, end of April 2021.
We start our conversation in a good place, with Lassi’s early beginnings of sauna (before he could walk). And we transition into the definition of sauna, which for listeners new to sauna, is a great place for understanding.
We layout what is a sauna from a design perspective. For example, the sauna heater is usually visible, and a center point of the sauna.
We talk about how in this time of remote work, many are using their home saunas as offices. There is usually a sauna in most apartments in Finland, and traditionally, saunas in apartments and homes are one room usually operated as primary function, just a couple hours a few times a week. The rest of the time it is sitting still. They have natural bench systems, ideal for sitting and home offices.
The small integrated sauna. In apartments. Nothing under 30 square feet. We discuss the 50 square foot sauna, either 7×7 or 8×6 as a “good size” for most use case. During our Sauna Talk: Lassi A. Liikkanen, author of “The Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design”, divides his book into four sections. He calls it:
The Four-Leaf Clover Model of Great Sauna Design:
2. air quality
3. interior design
4. culture & company
The Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design
The unified definition of sauna. It would be great if those things that aren’t sauna could be called something different than sauna, to help clear up misconceptions about the practice as well as the reported health benefits.
Sauna Talk: Eero Kipi, North American Sauna Society
Let’s welcome Eero Kipi to Sauna Talk! President of North American Sauna Society.
The time we are living is very exciting. More and more people are becoming interested in and aware of the authentic sauna practice. In this episode, we get an understanding from Eero about his upbringing with sauna. And this experience is most likely not much different from most all Finns. A country of “more saunas than cars” and a country where many start taking saunas before they are old enough to start walking.
Eero understands good sauna.
The North America Sauna Society was founded in 2004.
Sauna bathing is a very well regulated process with no regulation.
Sauna Talk: Sauna Sherpa Guides People Into The World Of The Finnish Sauna
Sauna Talk global series continues. Today we welcome Sauna Sherpa to Sauna Talk. His real name is Kimmo Raitio, but he’s known around many of the many saunas in Finland as Sauna Sherpa. He is a Sauna Sherpa guide to Finnish sauna.
Like many Finns, (all Finns?) Kimmo grew up with sauna. Like many Finns (all Finns?) Kimmo takes good heat seriously, and welcomes those interested in learning more about sauna with a clear and open mind and discussion. And this is what you will hear in this episode.
More and more tourists and business travelers were coming to Finland with a keen interest to experience the Finnish sauna. And so Kimmo began taking people around to different saunas in his homeland. This was how the concept of Sauna Sherpa came about. The global pandemic has put a hold on Sauna Sherpa, but the love for an appreciation of good sauna is still very much deep in his bones.
Sauna Sherpa guide to Finnish sauna In this episode, we hear interesting antidotes of the Finnish sauna. When asked about what makes a good sauna, Kimmo, answers in succinctly Finnish style (very few words).
Ventilation Heat Steam (humidity).We touch upon the nudity in sauna subject, and how it is in Finland, compared to Germany, Great Britain, and the United States. We discuss the rebound of the public sauna, as it is in Finland paralleling many parts of the World.
The connection between Japan and Finland.
Drinking beer, and the ethos of being healthy and happy with sauna.
Sauna Talk: Dr. Colin Zestcott Leading Research On Sauna Mental Health Studies
On this episode of Sauna Talk, we are able to visit with Dr. Zestcott about a current study under way regarding sauna mental health studies for the Sauna Research Institute. This is a survey based study analyzing the mental health benefits to sauna. The link to the sauna mental health studies work is here.
It’s particularly interesting to learn how Colin has a keen experience and understanding of what we know of as “good sauna.” The real sauna with good heat and proper cool downs which can include a range of coldness including a lake swim, cold plunge, snow angels, a bucket of water over ones’ head. Colin is reporting in from Duluth Minnesota where he teaches at the College of St. Scholastica, a place where a high of one degree above zero Fahrenheit is not uncommon.
research surrounding sauna mental health studies We learn about the budding tree of scientific mental health studies. How survey based work follows certain protocols. We discuss how sauna can potentially be applied to help people in areas such as anxiety and PTSD. We draw upon some work that has taken place with the Native American Sweatlodge and veterans. Much more can be done with global in broad ranging collaboration.
I’m doing my best to get the word out on this study as the more participants involved means more sound data to build upon for the study as well as next phase of research.
So, I hope you are able to respond to the request for participants for this study. The email address is email@example.com .
Please welcome to Sauna Talk Dr. Colin Zestcott.
Just love this podcast
Glenn is so amazing, this podcast is one of the most underrated and informative podcast out there.
Keep it up, Glenn!
Learning the magic of sauna
Putting the final touches of my sauna(built following Glenn’s ebook), enjoying the podcast and learning “how to sauna”. Thanks
Love the authentic passion and delivery
I’ve been living with an ever growing curiosity of Sauna. To date my experience is only with health club electric saunas. During my research of learning more about Sauna and which style I’d like to have at my home, I came across Saunatimes.com and subsequently Sauna Talk. Glenn’s genuine passion for Sauna is evident and infectious. The show is the right amount of polish. Lightly edited, good audio quality and great easy listening where you will always be learning more about Sauna. It’s like you are on the bench with Glenn and his guests. Love this show! Nice work Glenn from your neighbor in Bloomington MN!