Aromatherapy in the Sauna? Join us @ the Hewing Hotel for Thermaculture Thursday

Recently I was invited to talk all things aromatherapy at one of my favorite spots in Minneapolis while participating in one of my revered healing activities – the Sauna. 

Let me back up.  If you’re from Minnesota, you know how unpredictable the weather can be.  It was just this past April and I was celebrating another birthday.  It was still cold in Minneapolis and after a long grueling winter, all I wanted to was to feel warm.  A friend of mine suggested a spa night at one of my favorite hangouts in Minneapolis, The Hewing Hotel.  She insisted we sign up for their “Thermaculture Thursday,” a weekly Sauna event lead by local Sauna Meister, John Pederson, of Stokeyard Outfitters.   I was excited to spend my birthday here, as I fell in love with the Hewing a few years ago when I first passed through over the holidays to find the most beautiful Christmas tree standing tall in their cozy lobby.  I do have a thing for trees, especially conifers like Spruce.  And sitting in hot wooded boxes to detox?  Uhm, yes.  

I'll tell you a little about the Hewing, which is situated in the heart of the North Loop on Washington Ave.  The building was constructed in 1897, during the lumber mill boom.  Some of the original logs, which at the time of construction were fresh off the Mississippi River, are still visible in the building. 

“Hewing Hotel is uniquely tied to the rich history of Minneapolis and reflective of the most progressive neighborhood in town. The historic building has been refined, but not stripped of its former life as a farm implement warehouse. Exposed timber and brick, tall ceilings and original industrial elements mix with high-end interiors to create an original and inviting experience.”  

Hewing Hotel Website

As a person that values history and origins, health and wellness - this place is a haven for me.  Their restaurant, Tubilee, serves up deliciously fresh, locally sourced food, and their bartenders mix up natural drinks with clean ingredients.  There is an awesome vibe that includes a rooftop lounge and patio and a sauna and spa pool that allow us to warm our bones all year-round while gazing over the Minneapolis skyline.  Good food, drink, and all things wellness in a cozy environment with like-minded folk are some of my favorite things in life, and hence, the Hewing is one of my favorite places to hang.  I'm not alone.  People from all walks of life gravitate to this gem which makes it a wonderful place for anyone to land.  Did I mention they are dog friendly, too?  This place is Heaven, I tell you.

The energy here is as Nordic as the tradition of sauna itself, which traces its roots back to 7000 BC Finland.  It is such an integral part of Finnish culture there is one sauna per two people in the country and most families have a sauna in their home.  The benefits of sauna are mental, physical and spiritual as these hot houses were historically used for everything from healing rituals, meditation and prayer to living, eating and even giving birth in!  In this cold climate the sauna became a warm place for community to come together as well.  

The Finnish have their own sauna traditions which include batting themselves with Birch branches to increase circulation and relax the muscles.  After a hot session they will subsequently cool down in a body of water or by laying in the snow, then repeating the cycle a few times more.  The benefits range from soothing and aiding recovery of sore muscles, flushing out toxins, increasing mental stamina, maintaining healthy skin, relieving stress and fighting illness.  I was also amazed to come across this study that Sauna bathing is directly associated with reduced heart disease!

What does all this have to do with Aromatherapy? That night, in true Minnesota fashion, mother nature had her way.  A horrible snowstorm blew in and took over the whole city (again).   We didn’t let that stop us but the event was cancelled and we were not lead through the traditional Nordic experience by our dear Sauna Meister.  We were still able to use all the Hewing amenities so we indulged.  Dinner at Tubilee was fab and the night cleared up.   We set foot to expore the city and upon our return it was time to warm up. 

As I entered the sauna, I reached for my oils and began a warm journey into aromatic bliss.  This was not the first time, and definitely not the last.  And of course, I shared.  Over time I have developed my own sauna rituals as the combination of a little heat with essential oils is a tried and true method to enhance the benefits of aromatherapy.  There is so much to gain by fusing these healing modalities together, it’s not a wonder we see Eucalyptus at spas and fitness centers and that the aromatic Birch is a part of traditional Sauna.  I favor the body, mind and soul experience of the two together, as for me the sauna is a time to go within, but also the detoxification, hair and skin nourishment from my own aromatic rituals.

We knew we missed the full experience but kindly, the Sauna Meister reached out to apologize.   This lead to a conversation which evolved into an invitation to Co-Host a Thermaculture event with JP.  This will be my first time sauna-ing with a real Sauna Meister and my first time giving a planned talk about aromatherapy in a bathing suit in 180+ degrees!  

Please join me if you’re local or passing through on August 1, 2019.  It will be informal, fun and educational.  Come for the experience, stay for the spa, food, drink and most importantly a chance to connect all night  while overlooking our beautiful city! 

SIGN UP @ Stokeyard's Website

And, if you're staying the night 


I hope to see you there!


P.S.  I don’t want to spoil the event but if you can’t make it, stay tuned for an update on my aromatic rituals in the Sauna which will be featured our next newsletter!

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