Every morning come rain, sun or snow, Eddie and his band of comrades from ‘Kallbadhusets Vänner’ – ‘cold-bath-house friends’ can be spotted walking the gangway to Varbergs historic landmark; Kallbadhuset.
A ritual not unusual in Sweden, which has a rich Bastubad – ‘Sauna-bath’ culture that dates back for centuries, with many Kallbad and Varmbad – ‘warm bath’ houses found along Sweden’s shores.
You probably know about the benefits sauna and bathing has on circulation and skin elasticity, yet contemporary science continues to identify a host of other benefits, like increased production of heat shock proteins (helping the body cope with stress), and a reduction of reactive oxygenated species (ROS can cause damage to your cells), oxidative stress (imbalance between antioxidants and free-radicals) and inflammation, to list but a few.
Yet for Eddie and the gang the motivating factors are more social than scientific; the ritualised gathering of friends provides a fundamental stability, that on a January morning in horizontal rain, when the water is a measly 6 degrees, provides a different kind of warmth and a few good laughs.
Long live Kallbadhusets Vänner!