We are currently building the research section of our website. We plan to develop a comprehensive overview of existing sauna research.
In the meantime, see below for a general overview. If you have specific questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the deal.
Sauna is a global phenomenon, especially when considered in all its variations (see here). All regular users of sauna will testify that it makes you feel good. That’s why they are regular users.
But remarkably, there is very little English-language research into the health effects of sauna. If you look hard enough, you can find a few hundred scattered studies in online medical databases, but they are generally disconnected and not part of an explicit academic field. You will occasionally see online summary articles that list the health benefits of sauna, and sometimes they are even referenced. But in almost all cases, the studies they cite are small-scale, they have not been replicated, and the demographic range is limited.
When we update our main pages, we’ll provide a fuller summary of what existing research says about the health effects of sauna, including some recent exciting research out of Finland – the first on a mass scale.
It is important to stress that much more research exists in places such as Finland, Germany, Russia, and some Eastern European states. However, to date the vast majority of this literature has not been digitized, and instead sits in physical archives. Even the one-time journal of the International Sauna Association, Sauna-Archiv, which ran in various formats from 1958-1996, is not available online, and is available in very few libraries.
An exception is the online database of the Deutscher Sauna-Bund (German Sauna Association), available at www.saunaliteratur.de. The site is only available in German, there is no central index, and only a portion of the items are downloadable – but it is a vital building block for future digitization, and includes much of the Sauna-Archiv catalogue. The Sauna-Bund has recently declared its intention to expand and enhance this archive, which is an exciting development. For now, English users can get a basic sense of the site using online translation apps.
So although it may seem like a lot of research has been done, we still need a lot more. It is hard to make strong claims in funding applications or in discussions with government when so little research is available at the level of global medical standards (i.e. robust, randomized, and replicated).
And we haven’t even mentioned historical research, or cultural research, or social research, or the topics of design, technology, construction, and architecture. Here too the research in these domains could be categorized as scattered and largely undigitized, and it is even less abundant than health research.
ASBA wants to bring all of these loose ends together. We want to create a new global community of enquiry that is focused around sauna research, spanning from health science, to history & culture, to technology & design.
As such, we are taking the initiative to create a full-scale, English-language academic journal called The International Journal of Sauna Studies (IJSS for short). The IJSS is projected to launch in 2018. More details will be available shortly.
These aims have been captured in a recent academic publication (see below). The article makes a pitch for Sauna Studies as an academic field. It’s quite long, but freely available for anyone who wishes to read it.
We will update this section of our website in ongoing fashion. Stay tuned.
Tsonis, J. “Sauna Studies as an Academic Field: A New Agenda for International Research.”
Literature & Aesthetics 26 (2016): 41-82.
The article is open access, and therefore free.
As all research should be.
The International Journal of Sauna Studies is a new academic journal being launched by ASBA.
It will be 100% open access, so that all studies are available to the public.
More information will be available soon.
The IJSS will be its own entity with an independent editorial board;
ASBA will provide baseline financial and infrastructural support.
The IJSS is currently managed by two primary editors who are trying to get the journal off the ground:
Dr Jack Tsonis (Western Sydney University)
Dr Jari Laukkanen (University of Eastern Finland)
For any questions, email email@example.com