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What is a guided sauna session? 'Aufguss? Out Goose? What's that?'

When I lived in Denmark, my days would be packed. I was studying at university and enjoying a vibrant social life. On a Tuesday evening at 7pm, I would race from a dinner with friends to a guided sauna ('Sauna Guss' as they would call it in Danish, pronounced something like 'goose'), before going for some late night partner acro.

Sitting in the sauna with 10-15 other people, music playing from a phone sitting in an insulated icecream container, someone would pour water on the rocks and wave around a towel (in a precise and powerful manner). First, to evenly distribute the heat in the sauna, to be folllowed by pouring a small bowl of water with several drops of essential oil on the rocks. With eyes closed and perched on the edge of the bench just close to the fireplace, a wave of orange and basil scented heat would almost kncok me over, the hot embrace making me feel like I was about to topple off the edge of the universe. They liked to run the sauna hot and it was the heat that would make you feel like you were stoned wobbling your way home on your bicycle. 

Several years later when I moved back to New Zealand and was shaken by the lack of hot, quality saunas and decided to build one for myself and the public, I was nervous to introduce the guided sauna guss sessions. I knew how good they were and many friends in Europe wouldn't even go to the sauna if it wasn't guided. I thought New Zealander's would think it was silly. I was embarrased. A few timid guided sessions later and people couldn't get enough! It was the talk of the town and the sauna sessions were boooking out a week in advance. Who wouldn't want to be bathed in a warm wave of air with a fragrance that reminds you of floating in a medow of flowers while music gentley luls your worries away?

And so the guided sessions had arrived to New Zealand. Starting off with two sessions per week, consisting of three 12-15 mintues rounds,  a different essential oils every 3-5 minutes, followed by a 5-7 minute break with a shower and an ice bath. A year and a half later and we have 10 guided sessions per week, 7 different hosts guiding and up to 150 bookings, New Zealander's might not actually think it's as silly as I worried.

After one year 4,500 spots had be booked, averaging 86 spots per week. That's not bad for the first year of a small business. Those are the kind of numbers that pay off your investment in the first year and make you wonder how else you can be involved in the sauna industry. 'Could I felt custom sauna hats?' Ponder to yourself at 3am on a Monday night. 

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