International wellness community celebrates global sauna culture at World Sauna Forum 2024

Jyväskylä, Finland, June 6, 2024 – The first day of the sold out World Sauna Forum 2024 kicked off to a full house listening to a series of top speakers from the international sauna community.

Keynote speaker Jasper Pääkkönen, Hollywood actor, environmentalist and sauna entrepreneur, credited the international community with helping Finns to realise the uniqueness of their rich cultural heritage.

“Finns have always treasured the sauna, but until recently we never fully understood that there’s something very special about it,” said Pääkkönen.

By way of example, he cited a 2010 country brand report by the Finnish government that only mentioned the word “sauna” twice.

Pääkkönen also acknowledged pioneers such as Finnish professor and cardiologist Jari A Laukkanen for his ground-breaking research into the health benefits of sauna bathing, which has helped to fuel interest in the authentic Finnish steambath around the world.

Pääkkönen is the owner and co-founder of one of Helsinki’s first design sauna complexes, Löyly, which is one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Greatest Places to Visit. He is also the co-founder of AITO sauna, which manufactures luxury saunas for the international market.

International sauna experts speaking at the first session of the sixth annual World Sauna Forum included Jake Newport, CEO of Finnmark Sauna UK; Annu Huotari, sustainability innovator and CEO of Hawkhill Cottage Resort in Finland; Eric Harkonen, founder of Vettä Nordic Spa in Canada; Earric Lee, postdoctoral fellow (currently in Canada) on scientific research regarding the health effects of sauna bathing; Sho Yoshinaga, CEO of Metos Japan; Matias Järnefelt, CEO of Harvia, a global sauna and spa market leader founded in Finland; Ali Temme, CFO of Nordic Sauna, US; Alan Jalasjaa, the Canadian creator and host of Kivia; and Lisa-Elen Meyering, managing director of Spa Dispatch, part of Finnmark UK.

World Sauna Forum is a global gathering of sauna enthusiasts and experiences created by Sauna from Finland, the Finnish sauna expertise association founded in 2010 which brings together companies, buyers and professionals.

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