“Sauna and cold plunge is better than any medicine out there,” Derek said. “I think it is very easy to get weighed down in life and overwhelmed by its demands, and contrast therapy has allowed an outlet for me to unwind, recharge, and rebuild my mind and my body.”
Derek was born and raised in Provo, Utah. He is currently finishing at BYU with hopes of going to medical school in the next year. He works at Utah Valley Hospital as an anesthesia technician, where he assists anesthesiologists in the operating room and other areas of the hospital. He enjoys learning a lot each day and assisting in patients’ care. “It’s very rewarding, can be very stressful, but I love the environment and being there to help physicians, patients, and coworkers.”
The first time Derek was exposed to the sauna was 8 years ago in Sweden as a church missionary. A Finnish man he worked with often, Heikki, taught him all about sauna.
“Heikki had built his own private, wood-burning sauna in his backyard,” Derek said. “In the winter time, I would sauna and then go out and roll around in the snow...it was an incredible experience.”
"Contrast therapy has allowed an outlet for me to unwind, recharge, and rebuild my mind and my body."
Besides the fact that it feels amazing, Derek was also drawn to the cultural aspect of sauna bathing as a means for bonding with others. He fell in love with it and has sought out similar experiences ever since. In the last few years, Derek has returned to the Nordics a few times and has been able to sauna there, including in Finland where it is most popular.
“Obviously, I’m biased to the true Scandinavian sauna experience that I was so lucky to have,” Derek said. “There was nothing like it in the United States, that is, until PLUNJ came along and made a very real impression on me with the similarities of style and experience.”
When Derek heard about the grand opening of PLUNJ in 2021, he was so excited to sauna again! For him, PLUNJ was a blast from the very beginning. He enjoyed coming to such a clean, aesthetically pleasing, peaceful, and welcoming environment. He is looking forward to PLUNJ’s reopening so he can get back in the sauna as soon as possible.
Derek loves contrast therapy for many reasons, beginning with the nostalgia and the way Scandinavia impacted his life. Sauna and cold plunging always feels like home for him in that sense.
But he’s also experienced significant mental health benefits from it. In some ways, contrast therapy has even impacted Derek’s spirituality. As he spends time in the sauna and cold plunge, he is filled with relief and clarity of mind, which allows him to work through some of his deepest personal struggles.
“It truly has been a therapy for me to recharge my body physically, mentally, and emotionally,” he said.
Derek recognizes that those who have never experienced contrast therapy may struggle to understand the reason for doing it.
“But there is a spot for everyone,” he said. “Give it a try! There is no ‘perfect’ way or requirements you have to meet…come and do what feels good for you! I truly believe everyone can benefit in so many ways from contrast therapy.”