News and Articles

These three articles were written by Neil in 2004 and are included here to give readers and guests further insight into foundational thoughts behind the establishment of Hidden Springs Retreat and Guest House.


'The family that bathes together stays together'

Finns pronounce 'sauna' like 'soun-a', as in the word 'sound'. You might catch us doing this too. However we usually simply say 'bath house'. This is one of the first buildings we erected here and it was for years our only way to bathe 'indoors'. But it is bathing in its finest form.* Skin pores get much cleaner.

On bath night the women traditionally go first, men go later. There are towels and wash cloths if you haven't come with them. If you haven't come with a bathing suit, well, that's the way we bathe!

If things have been done sufficiently before you enter, the fire should be hot (the thermometer will read between 60 and 90C), the water jacket should have hot water in it and there should be cold water in pail(s) in the change room. After changing in the outer room bring a cold water pail in with you. You can make up pans of washing water by mixing pail water and hot water from the spigot off of the water tank. Please be careful around the stove and the hot water that comes out of the tap!

Once you have your pan and wash cloth, find a bench that suits your temperature range and soak up the heat. If you are prone to heat stroke be careful not to overheat yourself. You may want to find the soap, the back brush or the switch. From time to time you may want a drink of water. Use the dippers but do not return any water to the pail. You may want to splash some water on the rocks. The only prohibition with this is what you can handle when the steam hits you!

When taking a break in the outer room remember to shut the door or the remaining bathers will usually yell at you. Cool off either in the change room or on the porch. Certain bathers have been known to find a snow bank in winter or even run to the pond in summer.

Relax and enjoy your time. Unlike a 'sweat lodge' we do not believe there is anything mystical about a common bath experience. Rather, we have found that the unique atmosphere of unguarded camaraderie and refreshment lends itself effortlessly to times of intimate sharing, honesty and prayer.

It is courteous when done to empty your pan down the drain that is visible on the bathhouse floor. Wring out your face cloth and leave it to dry on the bench. If you are the last one bathing, please drain the hot water tank into a pail and pour it down the drain. Leftover cold water likewise. Lights out.

*Read the Valmet booklet for bathing instructions from a Finn source.


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