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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Visit this winter sauna pop-up in Boston before it’s gone!

Need something to do over spring break? Why not visit the Moki Sauna pop-up on the Rose Kennedy Greenway! This pop-up sauna “village” includes wood-fired saunas, a cold plunge tub and a resting area where customers can relax before repeating the process again. According to Moki’s website, there’s also a reception area where visitors can receive towels and sandals, shower stalls to rinse off and changing areas. [1]

Moki Sauna’s operation is modeled after Finland’s sauna culture. Their name, Moki, is a play on words of “mökki,” the Finnish word for a wooden cabin. In Finland, where visiting the sauna is a part of daily life, it is the norm to cool off by jumping through “a small hole in the ice on a lake, the sea or whatever and refresh yourselves in the freezing water,” according to the board of Finnish tourism. [2] 

The founder and owner of Moki Sauna, Mark Peloquin, wanted to bring this one-of-a-kind experience to residents of Boston: “We were hopeful that people would not only be drawn to the amazing physical and mental benefits associated with sauna and cold plunge, but also discover that it can be a real fun social experience. It’s a great place to go with friends and be among others in the community.”

UMass Boston student Carly Chung was lucky to be hired among the initial few employees of the Moki team. As the pop-up’s popularity increased, so too did its list of employees. Chung recalls her experiences working there, from being someone who was unfamiliar with Finnish saunas and cold plunges starting out, to someone with now months of experience under her belt.

I remember trying to research the company and realizing I was joining the pilot of a completely new business, which was very exciting to me,” said Chung. “I’ve learned so much about sauna and cold plunge culture. For example, it’s recommended to wear a hat in the sauna, since your head heats up faster than the rest of your body. They even make special sauna hats that look like gumdrops.”

Despite the unique nature of her work, Chung actually discovered Moki Sauna through a job search website. Her previous experience was limited to working with gym saunas, and what she knew of cold plunges from social media such as Instagram. The concept was intriguing to her, however, so she decided to apply for customer service, which is something she enjoys. 

According to an article from National Geographic, the health benefits of a hot sauna and cold plunge include an improved mood and feeling of well-being. The warm water of a sauna “dilates blood vessels” and the cold water of a plunge “constricts them, increasing blood flow and oxygenation to tissues.” [3]

“We’re open until 10 p.m. on weekends, so at times it does get a bit ‘vibey,’” said Peloquin. “Being a pop-up allows us to learn from our guests and quickly incorporate feedback. I wanted to bring an alternative social scene to Boston, especially during the dreary winter months January to April. It’s a bonus to me that it also happens to be an amazing wellness experience.”

Chung can attest to the varied groups of people that she’s met while working as an employee at Moki: “There’s been such a diverse crowd of people drawn to Moki, literally from all over the world. Many people are trying something new, some have general interest in health and wellness or are fitness buffs, and some are experienced sauna buffs.”

These experienced sauna buffs, according to Chung, are where she learned many of the norms of sauna culture from. Along with the new and exciting people she’s met, and the lessons on Finnish saunas, she’s learned a lot about running a pop-up, having watched Moki as it grew from its inception a couple months ago.

Moki Sauna, as a business in its first year of operation, had its fair share of hurdles to jump through before it could open, says Peloquin: “It was a challenge, the city of Boston has been tough, but very fair and supportive. Just like anything, it will never go perfectly, but that shouldn’t prevent you from trying. There have been many late, cold nights in January getting things set up for launch, but when we talk to our guests and get positive feedback, it makes it all worth it.”

Chung agrees, despite the difficulties of working at a new pop-up, she doesn’t regret her time there. As an employee, she’s aware of the many small challenges, such as how to launder hundreds of towels. But, it’s also a job where everyone is constantly learning and adapting, to improve the unique experience that Moki brings to Boston.

When questioned on whether or not Moki Sauna would be returning next year, Peloquin answered, “Yes, it looks like we’ll be returning next year—earlier, bigger and better.”

Due to the success of the saunas and cold plunge, next year, there will be “more cold plunges, maybe an area for a masseuse, and some more heated lounge areas. And the biggest thing we would like to do would be to upgrade our showers and changing rooms, now that we might be here for a few years, we can really invest into some of the facilities.” 

Before visiting the pop-up, visitors are instructed to bring their own bathing suit, and keep themselves hydrated before entering the sauna. While walk-ins are available depending on the time and day, customers are recommended to purchase reservations on Moki Sauna’s website before their visit. [4] The pop-up will be open until the first day of April. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.mokisauna.com/
  2. https://finland.fi/life-society/bare-facts-of-the-sauna/
  3. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/hot-cold-plunge-sauna-finnish-swedish-korean-spa
  4. https://www.mokisauna.com/faq