July 5×5 Night
Voting Closes:

July 22, 2024 11:59 am

About this idea
Hearth is a new take on an ancient bathing ritual. We want to put public saunas in beautiful places around the Midwest (Beaches, parks, forests etc.), preferably near a clean, cold body of water for deliberate cold exposure. Both deliberate heat and deliberate cold exposure have well documented health benefits. The combination of the two makes for a very pleasant experience. Doing this hot-cold “contrast therapy” in a beautiful outdoor setting, with friends, is really something special. We have a high-quality, wood fired sauna that is pre-fabricated and mobile. This is our first season in operation and our regular guests rave about our healthy social experience. We see an untapped market here in grand rapids for community saunas. There are plenty of people with private saunas; and gyms with gender segregated saunas in their locker rooms; and spas that will rent saunas for private sessions. We imagine building a social community around this cedar oasis. Details: We currently offer 20 public sauna sessions per week. Each session is 70 minutes long and has a capacity of 10 people. Guests can pay $35 for one session, $280 for 10 sessions, or $125/month for an unlimited membership. We also offer private sessions by appointment, priced at $250. This form will not let me enter the correct start date of Hearth, but we were founded in 2023.
Impact
Our goal is to provide an elevated community sauna & cold plunge experience that improves the mental, physical, and social health of our guests. The impact is the mental, physical, and social health improvement in our community. For mental health: sauna and cold plunge both show promise as interventions to reduce stress and treat anxiety & depression. For physical health: sauna and cold plunge are commonly used to recover from athletic training. Sauna has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and reduce blood pressure. In one study, regular sauna bathing was shown to reduce the likelihood of all-cause-mortality by ~40%. For social health: In a New York Times article Nicholas Kristof said "Loneliness is as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and more lethal than consuming six alcoholic drinks a day". Conversely in the famous "Blue Zones" that produce unusually high numbers of 100+ year old humans, community is always very important. We think that the community aspect of our sauna is at least as important as the hot-cold contrast therapy.
What I'll do with $5,000
This has been our first season in operation. There were many successes and many more learning opportunities. The biggest learning opportunity has presented itself in our effort to find a long term home for our sauna. There are few places close to the city center that have natural water that people want to bathe in. It has also been quite difficult to find landlords private or public, willing to lease us a beautiful plot of land. For these reasons we have decided we would like to create our own beautiful piece of land and create our own artificial bodies of water. We want to rent an empty lot and build a garden ala Outside Coffee Co. We will park our sauna, and set up really nice cold plunge tubs. The $5,000 would go towards the landscaping and the purchase of cold plunge tubs built by local artisan David Stoffer at Nightjar Sauna.
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