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Mobile sauna business brings the heat to you

During the pandemic Richard and Karen Gadbois started a mobile sauna rental business they say to help people destress.

SACO, Maine — Living through the pandemic has taught folks a lot. People have learned well that they can get just about anything delivered to their homes. One couple from Maine is bringing the heat right to people's doorstep. 

"We want to spread the sauna love," Richard Gadbois of Driftless Sauna said. 

Years ago, the Gadbois were introduced to traditional wood-fired sauna from friends and had been dreaming about building their own ever since. Finally, in 2021, they pulled the trigger. But they took their dream one step further and decided to make a sauna to share with others. 

 

"It starts with the heat, so you have to have a good heat source," Richard Gadbois said as he threw another log in this wood-stove and gave NEWS CENTER Maine a quick tour around his mobile sauna. 

The interior of his sauna, lined with cedar, is small but comfortable, fitting three to four people. The Gadbois rent their mobile sauna unit all over Maine and to parts of New Hampshire for $350 for a day to $1000 for a whole week. 

The Gadbois both hold down full-time jobs, and their sauna business is as much to share as it so they can use it when it's not rented. 

"You step into the sauna. It's 180 to 200 degrees, and it brings you to the present moment because the heat is so intense. Your thoughts kind of melt away a little bit. It gives you time to destress, relax," Richard Gadbois said. 

He and his wife, Karen Gadbois, use the sauna a couple of times a week and use a bucket filled with water outside the sauna for their cooldowns. They say they are both sleeping better and feeling less stressed. 

When they were thinking about building a mobile sauna, the Gadbois reached out to the retired Maine guide who has written the book on saunas ... literally! 

"Its fire, stone, water, and wood. It's the elemental connection to yourself, to the world we occupy, to everything," Garrett Conover, who wrote "Sauna Magic" in 2019 after working on the book for over a decade, said.  

Conover fell down a sauna rabbit hole, studying the sweat-bathing culture that proceeds modern-day by thousands of years and even shows up even in warm places after making his sweat lodge years ago. 

"Sauna Magic" highlights the traditional sauna practice, history, construction, and wellness benefits of the sauna. But after talking to Conover for only a few minutes, it's clear to see he is borderline sauna-obsessed. 

"When you experience it, and you resonate with it, you can't believe that that level of well-being euphoria is legal. It feels so good," he said.  

During COVID, many people started to focus on home-grown wellness, and Conover believes that is why more people are currently interested in saunas and exposing the body to extreme hot and cold, as popularized by wellness experts like Wim Hof, also known as the Iceman. 

But whether someone is ready to build their own, wants to learn more about the wellness aspects, or wants one delivered to their door, according to the Gadbois and Conover, one can't go wrong with sauna. 

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