World Sauna Forum - Image Credit: Juho Juuruspolvi
Sauna News

A Peek into World Sauna Forum 2024

Jun 28, 2024

Finnmark recently journeyed to Jyväskylä, Finland for the sold-out World Sauna Forum 2024, held June 6th-7th. The hugely successful event provided a snapshot of the global sauna industry, with insights from industry leaders, researchers, and passionate entrepreneurs.  

The two days were filled with opportunities to trial saunas, sauna products, learn and network with people from around the world. Here’s a snapshot of what we did, heard and experienced with some key takeaways from the insightful panel discussions and speeches. 

World Sauna Forum 2024 was held in Jyväskylä, Finland

 World Sauna Forum 2024 was held in Jyväskylä, Finland. Image from Unsplash. 



Networking and Learning in the Finnish Lakeland

The first day opened at Jyväskylän Paviljonki with coffee and a warm welcome to World Sauna Forum from the hosts Carita Harju, an author and the founder of Sauna from Finland, and author & journalist Katja Pantzar who has written the book “The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu” (2018). Katja and Carita are also working on the book “The Power of Hot and Cold” which is coming out later this year.  

The morning continued with greetings from the City Mayor, Timo Koivisto, who was happy to welcome everyone to Finland and pleased about the event taking place in Jyväskylä instead of Tampere this year.  

Katja Pantzar and Carita Harju welcoming the guests

Carita Harju (left) and Katja Pantzar welcoming the guests. Their book "The Power of Hot and Cold" will be published later this year. Image by Juho Juuruspolvi.


Sauna Talks and Key Takeaways from the Industry  

The day continued with industry insights from sauna experts from around the world. The previous year’s Sauna Ambassador, Finnmark’s Jake Newport, opened the talks with the title “Then, now and what’s to come: a look at the Sauna industry in the UK.” Jake talked about his passion for Sauna and how it started, how it developed into Finnmark, and where we are looking to go next. 

Jake Newport talking about the sauna industry in the UK

Jake Newport talking about the sauna industry in the UK and the story of Finnmark. Image by Juho Juuruspolvi.


The rest of day one’s speeches and panel discussions provided more insight into the different areas of sauna and wellness, from the business perspective to sustainability and health:  


  • Sustainability in focus: Can luxury and sustainability go hand in hand? 3rd generation entrepreneur & CEO Anu Huotari from Hawkhill Resort spoke about sustainability and the wellness industry in her speech.


  • The little piece of Finland in Canada: This was the story of Vettä Nordic Spa, presented by the Founder Eric Härkönen. 


  • What Finns have always known: Jasper Pääkkönen, actor and entrepreneur spoke about Sauna as a key success factor for well-being. This was an inspiring talk to hear. It all began with Jasper standing on the empty plot of where Löyly is nowadays together with his now-business partner. Everyone was thinking how crazy he was to have such an idea, but the venue is now booming and has been listed on Time Magazine's "World's 100 Greatest Places." 


  • Science and Sweat: Postdoctoral fellow Earric Lee presented research on the health benefits of sauna bathing, highlighting the importance of temperature control and fertility. He focused on what the experimental evidence tell us about heat therapy and sauna bathing. 


  • The Power of Hot and Cold: An international panel with Alan Jalasjaa (Kivia Sauna), Ali Temme (Nordic Sauna), Dr. Lisa-Elen Meyering (Spa Dispatch & Finnmark Sauna), Matias Järnefelt (Harvia) and Mr. Sho Yoshinaga (Metos Inc.) discussed the growing trend of combining the heat of sauna with cold plunges for an optimal wellness experience. Dr. Lisa-Elen Meyering (Finnmark Sauna & Spa Dispatch) emphasized the need for education on creating effective and memorable thermal experiences with having fit for purpose facilities, amongst other points.  


Panel Discussion World Sauna Forum 2024

The panelists discussing the power of hot and cold. Image by Juho Juuruspolvi.



Market and Mingle at Sataman Viilu 

The event and evening programme continued at Sataman Viilu. This offered a chance to connect with suppliers and experience some of the latest sauna developments on the market, including mobile saunas to experience with fellow participants and event organisers. We had delicious local food and drinks, enjoyed the sunshine, terrace and of course tried the saunas.  


Day 2 at Sataman Viilu & Boat Trip for the "Narvi Night" at Savutuvan Apaja

In the morning of day 2, participants were treated to a full suite of different workshops, including one on Sauna Design, which featured our very own technical designer, Max Newport, who shared some of his insights on sauna trends and latest developments in the UK sauna industry.

After a refreshing lunch, the Finnmark team joined the rest of the World Sauna Forum attendees on a short boat ride to Savutuvan Apaja, just outside of Jyväsykylä city centre. 

Tent Sauna and Narvi

We got to see familiar faces, such as Narvi, and make new acquaintances. Photo by Juho Juuruspolvi. 


Nestled amongst the tranquility of the Finnish lakeside, everyone was able to try out a traditional Savusauna, which seemed to be an absolute highlight amongst many of  the attendees. Several mobile sauna trailers were parked outside the venue once more, including those from Lapelland and Narvi. The night was kicked off with everyone invited to indulge in delicious sauna snacks and able to experience "hot & cold" first hand. Many took refreshing dips in the lake and unwound in the luxurious outdoor hot tub setups by Finnish company Drop Design Spa.


Passing the Torch 

To round off the evening, THE sauna ladle and title of the new Sauna Ambassador was passed from Jake Newport to Alan Jalasjaa of Kivia Sauna (Canada). Congratulations to Alan! 

Overall, the event was hugely successful and provided valuable insights into the future of sauna and wellness, and more importantly a chance to connect with old and new acquaintances.


The New Sauna Ambassador Alan Jalasjaa

Jake Newport passing the sauna ladle to the new Sauna Ambassador, Alan Jalasjaa from Kivia, Canada. Photo by Juho Juuruspolvi. 


You can read more about the Sauna From Finland Network here

Images taken by Juho Juuruspolvi and provided to Sauna from Finland.