On November 11, 2022 Sauna Aid, a multicountry initiative sponsored by the International Sauna Association (ISA), and Pixxla Sauna successfully delivered a movable container sauna to Chop, Ukraine near the border of Slovakia and Hungary. The container sauna, complete with a wood burning stove, was delivered to appreciative Ukrainian border guards after a 500-kilometer drive from Bratislava, Slovakia. According to Kharkiv city council member, Maksym Bondarenko, who coordinated the delivery along with Sauna Aid and Pixxla, the container sauna will be transported further east, where it will be most appreciated by war-weary Ukrainians.
The container sauna is Sauna Aid’s second movable sauna delivered to the war-torn country. A specially designed tent sauna, also with a wood burning stove, has been in use in the Kharkiv area since September.
The sauna container was donated to Sauna Aid and Ukraine by Lukas Kubica owner of Pixxla Sauna, who along with Sauna Aid volunteer Mikkel Aaland hauled the container by car through eastern Slovakia to Ukraine. According to Aaland, “There were many hurdles to overcome, including the long drive, the border crossing and the incredible amount of red tape, but we were really lucky and things went relatively smoothly. The Ukrainians met us at the border and provided a police escort for our valuable cargo as we continued to our final destination. I wish everyone could have personally seen the looks of happiness and appreciation we got from the Ukrainians we worked with.”
The sauna, or laznia/banya, as it is known among Ukrainians, is an important part of everyday life for many and provides a means of hygiene, stress relief, socialization, psychological comfort, and social identity. It is not considered a luxury, nor is it only about cleanliness. It is a social event that brings together the young and the old, the rich and the poor and promotes peace and a common sense of humanity. Some Ukrainians call the banya their “second mother”.
Providing sauna support during disasters is not new to the ISA. During the 2011 Fukushima tsunami and nuclear plant accident, ISA and the Japanese Sauna Society maintained a tent sauna for five weeks and used it for decontamination and cleaning of over a thousand locals.
Basic therapeutic skills for sauna professionals
Sauna Aid, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Bath Academy, has created and distributed for free a healing toolkit for bathmasters to help approach trauma, loss and suffering. The kit is available via sauna-aid.com.
As well as providing Sauna Aid, the ISA is offering Ukrainian and Russian officials
a suitable location and sauna to meet and work out a peaceful settlement. Sauna diplomacy was used famously during the Cold War when Finnish President Kekkonen hosted Soviet and Western leaders to a secret sauna just outside Helsinki to sweat and discuss the future of the world while comforted by the relaxing heat and steam of the sauna.
About The International Sauna Association (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.
About Pixxla Sauna
Pixxla Sauna was established in late 2020 in Slovakia by Lukas Kubica, who quit his day job to follow his passion for sauna. Pixxla starts with standard sized shipping and storage containers that are retrofitted with wood-lined saunas. The saunas are self-contained and do not need connections to water, electricity, or waste and are therefore energy self-sufficient. Saunas are heated using a certified wood-burning stove, manufactured by the Finnish manufacturer NARVI.
As well as building saunas, Pixxla maintains eight container saunas (with more to come) across Slovakia near lakes and streams. Building on his experience at Airbnb, Kubica created a self- service component to Pixxla. These remote saunas are “rented” to clients via the internet for 150 minutes. Before each reservation, saunas are checked and pre-heated by an employee, who inspects the sauna, equips it with clean laundry, and heats it up to an operating temperature. Also, after each customer, the sauna is cleaned, disinfected, and ready for further use. The sauna is accessible to clients 24/7.
contact: Lukas Kubica
For more information contact:
Risto Elomaa, President International Sauna Association firstname.lastname@example.org
Mikkel Aaland, author/host, Perfect Sweat documentary series email@example.com
Mika Meskanen, Chairman of the British Sauna Society firstname.lastname@example.org