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Nordic Night Community Sauna: A steaming amount of benefits

The Stevens Point business provides community with a healing form of entertainment

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March 4, 2024

STEVENS POINT – Nicole Terrill said her family’s interest in cross-country skiing helped inspire her to start her own business – though it may not be what you’d expect.

Terrill said she was compelled to open a sauna business – the first of its kind in Stevens Point – after using a sauna on the family’s ski trips.

“We have been going out to Active Backwoods Retreat in Ironwood, Michigan, for many years, and they have a sauna there,” she said. “We would ski all day, and then ski to the sauna after dark, have a sauna and then ski home. We always loved that experience.”

Flash forward to the COVID-19 pandemic where Terrill – who has a clinical doctorate in physical therapy – was working in the COVID ICU.

Like many others, Terrill said she was struggling with her own mental health during the global pandemic.

“I was looking for an evidence-based way to do something for my own mental or physical health,” she said. “Sauna kept coming up as one of those ways to do that.”

As Terrill continued to read up on the health benefits of sauna, she said she began to realize she wanted to make a larger impact outside of herself and bring sauna into the community.

“So, I developed a business model out of community sauna,” she said. “We modeled (ourselves) off 612 Sauna Society in Minneapolis.”

Once the business model was in place, Terrill said she then built the sauna and kept it on a friend’s plot of land to test things out while she searched for a more permanent spot for it to stay on. 

“I approached many different avenues for where to have the sauna parked,” she said. “I was working with the City of Stevens Point for a while, and then, serendipitously, something came together with a local nonprofit called Farmshed.”

Farmshed – which helps address food security – had a vacant lot on the property that was leased to Fields & Flora, which Terrill said planned to plant flowers in the spot.

She said she teamed up with Fields & Flora on the space, and Nordic Night Community Sauna officially opened in June 2023 at 1027 Union St. – making it the first wood-fired sauna offered in Stevens Point.

“We combined with (Fields & Flora) and Farmshed to create this symbiotic partnership where now, Fields & Flora has a space to grow all their native flowers and the sauna is sitting in the middle of that,” she said. “Seasonally, it’s in a – what we call it – an urban nature-scape. It’s in the middle of a commercial downtown area, but it’s covered in wildflowers.”

A variety of options

People looking to book a session at Nordic Night Community Sauna can choose from three different sessions in the wood-fired sauna:

  • Community Sauna Session – a one-hour session during off-peak times, which are Monday through Wednesday, as well as Thursday and Friday afternoons
  • Signature Community Sauna Session – an hour-and-a-half session during peak times, which are Friday evenings, as well as Saturday and Sunday
  • Private Event Sauna – guests can book out the entire sauna for a session as long as there are at least two participants, offered on Sundays or a requested date and time

To prepare for a session, Terrill said guests should arrive dressed in their swimsuits with a pair of slip-on shoes, a water bottle, two towels and a robe.

She said it is also recommended that guests drink 16 ounces of water before.

Nordic Night Community Sauna is open year-round. 

Benefits of sauna

Though there are many different claims out there regarding the benefits of sauna, Terrill said she only speaks to the evidence-based health benefits she’s seen – which can be easiest explained through the cardiovascular system.

“The largest study done on people who use the sauna regularly found there was a significant reduction in cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke,” she said. 

Other potential benefits, Terrill said, include lowered inflammation, a boosted immune system and increased cardiorespiratory function. 

The sauna owner said there is also anecdotal evidence from those who have been to Nordic Night.

“We have a lot of people who come to help them sleep better – sauna is a powerful tool for being able to sleep better,” she said. “A lot of people have been coming regularly as a tool for seasonal affective disorder, depression or to manage anxiety. Some research studies are coming out to show that whole-body hyperthermia, or heating your body as you do in sauna, can be used to treat depression.”

Community-aspect is crucial

Community and connection, Terrill said, “are at the heart and soul” of what Nordic Night does.

“What we have put all the emphasis into is community sauna,” she said. “You buy a seat on the bench and then you come and sauna with whoever else has purchased a seat on the bench.”

Terrill said the reasoning for this setup is also backed by research.

“Research shows one of the biggest predictors of wellness throughout a lifespan and longevity is community and connection, and how socially connected people are,” she said. “There was a lot of isolation throughout the pandemic, and the community sauna model was intentional as a way to start to combat or reverse some of that isolation.”

Nordic Night also hosts other events to bring the community together, such as a women’s sauna and sobriety group and a men’s iceberg sessions group.

“Women started talking about how much they relied on the sauna… and that it’s a community of people where the entertainment or the activity isn’t surrounded around alcohol,” she said. “(The) men’s iceberg session group is focused on men coming together in community to talk about their emotions and go a little deeper in their connections and friendships.”

Other community events Nordic Night has offered, Terrill said, include a yoga pairing and full moon reflection session offerings.

Meeting several needs

Since opening last June, Terrill said Nordic Night is meeting a multitude of needs – both for herself and the community.

“My goal was (to have)… another accessible, cost-effective way to improve the physical and mental health of the community,” she said.

Terrill said sauna start-ups are more common in larger cities, but Nordic Night proves it can be successful in Stevens Point, too.

“I wanted to show that sauna (in) a city the size of Stevens Point can also support this business model and get access to cool things like this,” she said. 

To learn more about Nordic Night Community Sauna, visit

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