We explore the growth of pop-up and mobile saunas and how we can benefit from the renaissance of sweat culture
Saunas have been used in wellness rituals for thousands of years and take many forms. The global sauna market has recently been valued at £96 billion (€111 billion) by Mordor Intelligence and is expected to grow at 6% annually until 2028, showing a renewed interest in sweatbathing worldwide.
In the UK, pop-up or mobile saunas have been growing in popularity nationwide. The British Sauna Society has identified 56 of these businesses and since 2018 they have been doubling in number year on year. Located on beaches, in forests and a wide variety of natural outdoor locations, these are typically heated by electric or wood-fired stoves.
Sauna promotes good mental health
Gabrielle Reason, secretary of the British Sauna Society, believes there are great opportunities for spas in this trend, and has sound advice regarding how to engage your guests in sauna experiences.
“Learn about global bathing rituals,” says Reason. “Whether its exploring herbal infusions and full-body whisking (a bundle of leaves that brushes the skin) typical of Lithuanian pirtis, or the essential oils and whirling towels of aufguss.”
Sauna ceremonies can bring an element of theatre into the spa, with each visit feeling fresh and different. Aufguss rituals are growing in popularity in the UK, as evidenced by the UK Aufguss Championships this spring at Rudding Park.
“Explain the health benefits of sauna to your guests,” adds Reason. “A large-scale, decades-long study in Finland has found that frequent sauna bathers live longer and have lower incidences of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.”
Delivering an authentic sauna experience is another aspect that spas would do well to consider, as not only does this offer greater benefits to guests and prolong their enjoyment of your facilities, it encompasses other parts of your thermal suite, such as cold plunge pools and ice showers.
“One of the main things holding Britain’s sauna culture back is that for a long time, we’ve been unsure of how to use them,” explains Reason. “Authentic sauna experiences require a longer cycling process of thermal contrast.” www.britishsaunasociety.org.uk