Some people travel thousands of kilometres for an authentic Eastern European sauna experience. Courtenay residents don’t even have to leave town.
The Comox Valley is the only location on Vancouver Island where you can experience unique sauna traditions. The Lost Faucet Sauna House (3455 Cumberland Rd., Courtenay) is Vancouver Island’s first sauna-centred spa offering the German ritual of Aufguss and the traditional Eastern European Banya with venik.
Most cultures in Nordic climates have a well-developed, collective love of sauna and have created some unique accompanying practices. The Lost Faucet owner, Lisa Jaster, has experienced many of these traditions, having sauna-ed around the world from Berlin to Bali, and Kiev to Costa Rica. She now curates these practices for a Canadian audience. For Jaster, “there is so much more to sauna than just hot a hot room.”
Jaster was first exposed to Banya (eastern European sauna) when she lived in a small town in Ukraine. She would go to the Banya each Sunday for ladies’ day to sweat with other women in the village. This is why The Lost Faucet offers the “Banya Experience,” an Eastern European practice of massage using bunches of oak or birch in the sauna. The rustled leaves not only create an amazing aroma, but elevate all the sensations for the sauna-goer, as well as create an intense heat.
Because of The Lost Faucet, many Comox Valley residents have already tried the complimentary Aufguss treatment, which is a German practice of pouring water over the hot stones and then wafting the hot, scent-infused vapour around the sauna, while music plays in the background. The sauna participants experience waves of heat, music, lights, and scents as they are encouraged to stay in the sauna for multiple rounds.
There is also a variety of ways to cool down to suit all types of sweaters. Experienced sweaters might choose the rush of the cold bucket shower, while novices might opt for the fine mister shower.
Most sauna sessions are booked for private groups, but the new ‘Wednesday Social Sauna’ is a nice way to experiment with sauna practices, or for those who want to make sweating a weekly routine and meet other sauna aficionados.
Jaster’s passion for sauna continues to drive innovation at The Lost Faucet. She has appeared on sauna podcasts, hosted visitors from around the world at The Lost Faucet, visited over 90 bathing spas, and will be attending the International Sauna Congress in Stuttgart in October to continue bringing innovative practices from the wider sauna world to the Comox Valley.
“As a heat-seeker, I really love to constantly ‘up our sauna game’ and bring the best of those techniques to The Lost Faucet,” said Jaster.
For more information, visit thelostfaucet.com/, or call 250-918-9155.