PRESS RELEASE  28.05.2018

The International Sauna Association ISA   is organizing the International Sauna Congresses every four years in different parts of the world in the countries where there are member associations.

This XVII  rights were  given after a tight competition between China and Sweden finally to Swedish Bastuakademie.

The organizing  group headed by the Chairman of Bastuakademie Mr. Göran Honkamaa started its work about a year ago. Just now we are in a situation where we can see that the work has been succesfull and we have an outstanding program. 

Besides Honkamaa the important part of the work has been done by Hans Hägglund, Svante Spolander and Roger Häggström with Bastuakademie.

ISA  and ISA President Risto Elomaa has also been part of the organizing group controlling that  everything is done according to the bylaws of ISA as well as the traditional practices.

Over 200 people from about 24 countries have a full program starting on Thursday  07.06.2018  with an exciting full day smoke sauna tour to Soukolojärvi.

Before the opening Get to Gether event, ISA is also having its Board and General meetings deciding e.g. the Board etc. for the next term of four years starting 2019.

The get together event is a meet and greet for all those delegates that have come to the premises with an option to taste some local food and  beer in the old Lapin Kulta brewery, Lappari which is today an important place for big events in Tornio.

On Friday the day is full of presentations in three different sessions in Park hotel Tornio. The full program is available on the  page

At the evening party grill food is served with the option to try several saunas at Kukkolaforsen. The event is important especially for Bastuakademie, because they have their 30 Year Anniversary. This means naturally that all the saunas in Kukkola are in full use also after the party. The estimate is that there are around 18 saunas available. 

On Saturday the day is further full of presentations and workshops. After these an important meeting of international journal of Sauna Studies IJSS will take place. The idea is to restart publishing sauna research and related papers in a journal like ISA and German Saunabund were  doing for many years in the form of International Sauna Archive. Our friends in Australia have been doing a lot of basic work for this and we hope that in the meeting we can find a group that is willing to go further.

After the official program there is again a party at Kukkolaforsen where this time the International Sauna Association is having its 60 Years Anniversary. After the three course dinner prepared and served in this famous restaurant, there is also music and other program.

All the 18  saunas will be open as long as there is interest in using them. Actually the slogan Midnight Sun Sauna means that we use them until morning. This time of the year we have Midnight Sun in that region, as well.

Once again ISA has succeeded in getting some of the key speakers in the sauna world  to present the latest material about many aspects of sauna and sauna culture. Such names as Jari Laukkanen, Mikkel Aaland, Lasse Viinikka, Mark Timmerman are on the list. We are sure that the presentations give many new aspects for the sauna and how to use it. The presentations cover the globe from Sydney to Seattle like the delegates. And as delegates we also see people from Pakistan and Kenya, which are not traditional sauna countries.

Japan delegation is a group of 20 people. Two of whom are also having presentations on Japanese sauna and sauna culture; The Japanese Sauna Ambassador Katsuki Tanaka as well as sauna entusiast and photographer Miki Tokairin both have been publishing books and articles about various sauna.

We introduce the delegates some aspects of the Interbad exhibition which is happening in 2018 in Stuttgart.

TyloHelo is talking about the history of sauna and especially sauna stoves when having their 100 Years Anniversary in 2018.

Saturday is the SAUNA DAY in Sweden as well as in several other countries. This is celebrated by announcing the SAUNA PEACE in several languages.

We have also succeeded in getting a group of whisking specialist from Lithuania to show their skills as well as give some oral presentations about whisking generally. This group, headed by Rimas Kavaliauskas, is there at Kukkolaforsen on Saturday afternoon and also on Sunday morning.

Another interesting group with their own mobile Banya, headed by Egor Andrejev, is showing also whisking and other treatments as well as giving oral presentations about banya culture also on Saturday afternoon in Kukkolaforsen. This is something we are really waiting for.

On top of all this, participants have a chance to participate in some of the sauna tours organized  specifically for the delegates. Even fishing in the Tornio river is possible and the timing should be perfect for salmon migration. The host of Kukkolaforsen, Svante Spolander, with his group knows everything about fishing and nature, further his wife will be making sure that the restaurant there is having excellent  and absolutely fresh local food available all the time.

One special aspect for many foreigners is the fact that the Congress is happening in two different countries and you will be crossing the boarder several times when moving from the hotel to congress and further to Kukkolaforsen. Tornio river has been the boarder between Finland and Sweden for over 200 years but the saunas are similar on both sides and there is even one common language still spoken. 

We hope that the visitors can bring some of that  sauna culture and nice experiences with them back when going home.


Risto Elomaa

The International Sauna Assoaciation      E-mail:

Vaskiniementie 10 , FIN-00200 Helsinki