Sauna News

Saunamaster Antanas Bagdonas – Healthy body, healthy mind.

  • Hello, Mr. Antanas, how are you doing these days?

Great! The virus disrupted all summer plans, but in general would like to know from where I can “get” more time.

  • How do you introduce yourself?

Saunamaster Antanas from “Saulėja” SPA or Kaunas, who spread the sauna culture and presents sauna accessories, like a variety of whisks (e.g. large fan for spreading the steam, ‘working whisks’ with which procedures are performed), natural sauna scents from trees (e.g. birch, oak, bird cherry, fir or linden with lime blossoms), grasses (e.g. wormwood, tortoiseshell or mint). Of course, my “exotic” willow tree sticks vibro massage is very interesting for everyone.

  • What hobbies and works fill up your time?

Sauna is my work and hobby in one. I have loved to travel since my youth. For 18 years, every summer I was climbing mountains. Now I mostly travel in Lithuania, where my companions are not only friends, but also children and grandchildren. Intensively practicing walking, kayaking and orienteering. I take part in competitions and even won first place in my age group in the Lithuanian Orienteering Championship.

  • What is sauna for you?

Probably a way of life. Both body and soul recover in sauna. Also this year, the “Tradition of Visiting the Lithuanian Saunas” is even included in the Compendium of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is the result of more than a decade of work by professional sauna masters which is an opportunity to show the kind of sauna used by our ancestors.

  • Sauna master work requires a lot of physical endurance. Have you ever had thoughts about choosing another area?

In the past all my work was engineering, so it means that I had already chosen my other area. I have been working as a sauna master for more than 10 years. When I am asked if it is not difficult to work, I always answer “while I am young – I work, and I see how it will be later!”, even though I am already retired. While working I learned how to protect myself, despite the fact that I always need to use extra supplements (potassium, magnesium).

  • Can it be stated that sauna is your “world”? How did it come into your life?

Sauna is my “world”? Well, I wouldn’t say so. This is just one of my hobbies. When a hobby becomes a job, it means I don’t work, I enjoy it. I discovered the sauna during my student days when I was studying at Kaunas University of Technology. However, these were not so healthy saunas, because they were overheated, and beer was often consumed there. After some time I understood that I was doing something wrong, so started to study, to search for more information. Also, I met my first teacher, famous Latvian sauna master Ziedonis Karklinš (his book about the sauna is also published in Lithuanian). 

  • So it means you are very familiar with latvian sauna culture? Are there any similarities with a Lithuanian sauna?

Ooo, the relations with Latvia are the best. I have been going to the main sauna festivals in Latvia for more than 10 years. In 2013, I even received the “Sauna master of the Year” nomination. I am a mediator between us and Latvian sauna masters. Latvian Sauna and Spa Association even appointed me as its representative in Lithuania. Our sauna culture is very close and there are many similarities, for example the Lithuanian name “Pirtis” and Latvian name “Pirts” proves it. Often in the west we even present as “Baltic sauna culture”. Eventually in Lithuania, more attention is given to the quality of procedures, and in Latvia more attention is concentrated to spiritual things (rituals, Baltic signs).

  • Do exist a sauna greeting ritual?

When entering the sauna for the first time, I ask all my clients to greet the spirit of the Sauna and bow. The doors of the ancient baths were low not only that the steam would not escape, but that visitors were forced to bow when they arrived. And then there is the “First Steam” ritual, during which each participant “loads” the water with their wishes, and that water is poured on the stones accompanied by the words “Let it be so”.

  • Is there an etiquette or rules for sauna masters?

Of course, there are sauna rules and etiquette. Cognitive sauna programs I always start with the words “There is no nation that invented sauna, but each nation has its own sauna traditions.”

  • Please share an interesting sauna story or occurrence?

Once, during a sauna festival in Palanga, I said to the girls of the Finnish embassy: “No matter how bad sauna master I can be, but I am still better than the best Finn”. They laughed and said that the Finnish ambassador in Lithuania also admits that Lithuanian sauna masters are very good specialists, but Finns are the best sauna builders.

  • What inspires you and where do you get new knowledge from?

I am getting inspired by the happy faces of customers, the respect and fellowship of sauna masters friends. I have completed a 2 year course at the Sauna Academy where I gathered a lot of knowledge. By now I continue learning from my friends and foreign sauna masters. I already started to share my experiences in giving training, so this inspires me a lot too.

Since I first saw this massage, or better to say I heard it, and after I experienced it on my body, no other thoughts on how I want to learn it myself have arisen. I could call myself a disseminator of this method, because the founder in Lithuania is my friend Vismantas Skernevičius. He adapted the willow tree sticks of our lands to this massage.

  • Where does willow tree sticks (vibro) massage come from?

It is an Asian massage. That it is only one country “invention” cannot be said, because many nations have used vibrations to cleanse their body and soul.

  • Willow sticks massage is quite loud. Is it true that people anyway fall asleep during the session?

Happens that people fall asleep, but mostly I get a comment: “I don’t want to get up, I could continue lying down and lying down.

  • Is it possible to make massage sticks by yourself?

Definitely yes. Although, remembering how I tied those wicks a decade ago, it makes me smile.

  • Which material do you use?

Sticks that I use are the same to tie the brooms or the ones from which are made baskets and wicker furniture.

Oh, no. I just applied what has long been known but forgotten. As a child, I collected chestnut blossoms for my mother, from which she made drinks for the treatment of joints and veins. I have tried various scrubs, e.g. oak deep, or raspberry bones (yes, yes, and such), but I stayed with chestnut flour. After scrubbing, the body becomes like velvet (I often heard that from my customers).

  • What are the benefits and effects of the chestnut scrub procedure for the body?

The therapeutic effects of chestnut are most commonly used in venous and arterial problems. Due to the activated state of the venous vascular and lymphatic system, chestnut helps to improve the well-being of the whole body. Well, and of course, old skin is scrubbed from a well-soaked body. Such a procedure is very necessary before going to rest by the sea or lake. Then the tan will be more beautiful, and there will be no problems with peeling skin.

  • Tips on how to make scrub yourself?

After assembly, it must be finely chopped, well dried and ground. I grind the chestnuts in a mill, after which I definitely sift them and only then use them. If you use a coffee grinder be careful, because it’s very easy to break the blade. 

  • What are the biggest benefits and effects of sauna for a person?

I think it improves immunity. And the body itself becomes much cleaner and more beautiful, removes slag and toxins.

  • Your recommendation how to start liking or even fall in love with sauna?

To fall in love with sauna, you need to go to the “right” sauna, which is not very hot, a lot of moisture, comfortable bunks, where a professional sauna master performs procedures. After such “acquaintances” with the sauna, I often heard that people rediscover saunas.

  • What is the basic rule of self-care?

Don’t be lazy and find time for yourself. I often force myself to run 4-5 km, although sometimes I am lazy.

  • Can you share your motto with us?

As a saunamaster: – “To return faith in sauna”. In life: – “I don’t allow myself to get old.”

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* Willow tree sticks (vibro) massage procedure stimulates the lymphatic system, releases toxins, and helps the other organs in your body work harmoniously. The light vibrational movements help the blood circulation and has a calming effect on the mind and releases endorphins in the body. Willow tree brush is perfect self-massage tool. It become most effective if done at least four times a week.

More information and orders here: Willow tree sticks (vibro) massage brush

** Chestnut scrub procedure helps to prevent venous and arterial problems, skin rejuvenation, improves the well-being of the whole body. For full body massage one person needs a quantity of two tablespoons chestnut scrub.

More information and orders here: +4915207861192, +37067589223, info@saunahuete.de

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