18th International Sauna Congress

Rekindling Awareness for Stuttgart's Mineral Springs

The 18th International Sauna Congress took place from 25.-27.10.2022 at the Landesmesse Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre: Why warmth, wellbeing and changes in the bathing culture of the spa city of Stuttgart feel so good

Where better to host the renowned 18th International Sauna Congress than in the spa city of Stuttgart? But how did its organisers manage to warm the hearts of its participants as well? With the special combination of flair, infrastructure, the clever use of synergies and the outstanding commitment of Stuttgart as a destination, in just two days they succeeded in forming a lively community of interested congress delegates from a wide diversity of backgrounds: 16 nations, professors, shamans and sauna infusion masters, united in their passion and conviction for the benefits that sauna bathing brings.

A sector that's always a hot tip

"The delegates from all over the world felt really at home here," was the organisers' unanimous verdict. The International Sauna Association (ISA) stages the Sauna Congress every four years, with a different national association responsible for the organisation each time. This year the German Sauna Association hosted the event for the fifth time and chose Stuttgart as the congress venue. Special bonus: the sauna experts convened at the same time as the "interbad 2022". Visitors therefore had the opportunity to link the knowledge from the congress presentations with its practical implementation through the trade fair exhibition with the world's largest range of offers from the sauna sector. What's more, everything was within easy walking distance, because travel, accommodation, congress and trade fair were all within a compact radius: the Messe Stuttgart scores with optimum transport accessibility and extremely short distances: "Direct links to the A8 motorway, the B27 trunk road, the airport, the S-Bahn suburban rail network, and in the near future also the long-distance and regional railway station currently under construction ensure that everything can be reached within minutes, leaving noticeably more time for the essentials," stresses Joachim Sauter, Director for Trade Fairs and Events at the Messe Stuttgart.

The essence of convening becomes tangible at Stuttgart's mineral springs

In combination with the tailor-made fringe programme, a concentrated working atmosphere focusing on current themes, and of electrified enthusiasm for the innovations of the sauna sector quickly evolved at the 18th International Sauna Congress. Together with the motivating and invigorating component of networking, the essence of every successful congress, ideas were successfully put forward for a way out of the (energy) crisis. The contentual range of the congress far exceeded the bounds of the wellness concept – according to long-term studies, sauna bathing is an important factor for maintaining a robust state of health into old age – and of innovative impulses for attracting new sauna fans. The focus was naturally on the in-depth study of the health-promoting effects of sauna bathing, elucidating, for example, how exactly heat sensation works. Another red-hot theme was how soaring energy costs can be offset, and the options that are available, ranging from the use of renewable energy sources to the multiple reutilisation of waste heat and the modification of sauna rooms. Trends such as the SILENT SPA or the use of real-time social media on special-interest platforms rounded off the enthusiastically received lecture topics.

Making contents convenient to access – facilitating concentration on the essentials

A further value-added feature is that congress participants can access not only the entire congress content both digitally and as moving images in the aftermath of the congress – whether texts, presentations or discussion results – but also supplementary bonus material. Those in attendance could thus devote their entire attention to the live event and their fellow participants. Relaxed congress visitors automatically experience more rewarding encounters. And these were undoubtedly the main focus, as Jennifer Jaekel from the German Sauna Association explicitly emphasised.

Fringe programme as the sparkling climax of Stuttgart's spa diversity

René Pier, a freelance interior designer specialising in bathing and sauna landscapes, with an office in Stuttgart's Lehenviertel and extensive background knowledge of Stuttgart's diverse spa tradition, was responsible for the half-day programme. And for the fringe event he had selected some special titbits from the spa city of Stuttgart to demonstrate the wide variety which the region has to offer on the theme. At stopping points such as "Hannibal" – the typical 1970s high-rise complex in Asemwald – and the F3 adventure pool in Fellbach, as well as the impressive spa park in Bad Cannstatt with its outdoor mineral water fountain, he illustrated the sparkling history of Stuttgart and its mineral baths, which can be traced back as far as the 14th century and includes former gems such as the Osmanic Baths in Büchsenstraße. His mission: "To rekindle awareness for Stuttgart's springs" thus became tangible. "Stuttgart's beneficial water heals ailments. Thanks to attractive concepts, an increasing number of young people are becoming interested. We therefore want the flow of cooperation between Stuttgart's mineral baths and the Stuttgart Convention Bureau for the wider promotion of the destination of Stuttgart in the context of "Water" to continue."

"Finding international friends through shared expertise"

Jennifer Jaekel, Project and Marketing Manager of the Deutsche Sauna-Bund e.V., sums up her experiences at the 18th International Sauna Congress, which, despite its demanding framework conditions and extremely heterogeneous group of delegates, was a profitable gathering for more than 200 participants from 16 countries:

Why did you decide on Stuttgart as a venue?

In addition to the long-term, always positive cooperation with the 'interbad' and the Landesmesse Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre, the close proximity to the motorway, the airport and the S-Bahn rail network made the decision to hold the 18th International Sauna Congress in Stuttgart an easy one."

Which success factors were important to you, and how were these fulfilled?

"Our main goal is to bring together the sauna specialist community and to discuss and propagate globally the latest findings and trends. Another essential element is meeting and getting to know the host nation. Both of these goals were achieved. Old and new friends came together, exchanged know-how and returned home with new knowledge and new friends."

What was your personal highlight from the destination of Stuttgart?

"As this was the first time that I had worked with the Landesmesse Stuttgart, I was particularly impressed by the friendliness and competence of the team there. There was 100% commitment and motivation from everyone involved, such as Mr Sauter, Ms Aßfalg and also Mr Göttert."

What was your opinion of the cooperation between service providers, the atmosphere under pandemic conditions, or other aspects that were important to you?

"As I mentioned above, the cooperation functioned smoothly and the communication was entirely successful. I also found the atmosphere during the congress enjoyable. Despite various difficulties, such as the war, rising infection rates and also the energy crisis, all the participants and the lecturers were interested in personal exchanges and networking. There was an informal, pleasant atmosphere from start to finish."

Many thanks, Ms Jaekel.

Jennifer Jaekel, Project and Marketing Management, Deutscher Sauna-Bund e.V.