Friday, June 14, 2024

Aufguss ritual, the new wellness trend, unknown in Spain, sweeping Europe

This week the ViviMarbella team has traveled to the Netherlands to attend the Aufguss World Championship that began last Tuesday, September 13 and ended on Saturday 17, bringing together more than 100 participants from 22 countries at the Hotel & Wellness Center Therme Bussloo. The Dutch resort, which already had 16 different saunas inside, debuted its huge “Sauna Theatre” just this month, to accommodate up to 200 people at the same time, enjoying the aufguss.

The championship, which has reached its 10th edition, is represented by almost all European countries, with Japan for the first time, with a delegation that has reached the finals on Saturday. Spain had no candidates as the ritual is not yet widely known or practiced. An association was recently founded to promote the aufguss in Spain and that has aroused our curiosity to discover what this ritual has to bring together so many enthusiasts from all over the world in competition.

The participants could compete both individually or as a team, achieving a different score and aspiring to win in both categories.

This year’s winners were the Polish Maciej Pizcura who shared the 1st position with the Dutch Laura Lenders in the individual category, while the team made up of the Italians Massimo Gelli and Simone Mannelli, won the 1st prize in the team category.

For those who do not know it, the Aufguss is a well-known sauna ritual in countries with a well-established sauna and spa tradition and consists of turning and shaking a towel after having placed ice balls flavored with essential oils in the brazier dressing. essential oils and water, to spread jets of steam in the environment. The objective of the ritual is to achieve a much more pleasant stay in the sauna for the user, thanks to the harmonic movement of towels by an expert who moves the towel, not only choosing the most appropriate combination of oils for his audience, but accompanying it with music and play of light, so that the sensory experience is complete and the user lives the sauna ritual as a moment of well-being at 360 degrees and not as 10-12 minutes of enduring the heat sweating.

The exhibition stage is a “sauna theater” reminiscent of Roman amphitheaters, with a huge brazier in the center, a giant screen and a small stage so that each participant can perform their show as a true actor, dancer and sauna athlete (already which requires fairly good strength, fitness, and heat resistance). The shows were inspired by movies, books, stories or real characters, with free interpretation and choice of aufguss technique. The jury, made up of an expert representative from each country, began scoring the qualifications on Tuesday until the finals on Saturday.

Among them, Riccardo Marzi, Italian, veteran of the championships, details the scoring criteria and the techniques used.

“The evaluation criteria consist of:

  1. Professionalism and Overall Impression (10 points): Evaluate the professionalism of the Aufgussmeister (MOA) in performing the ritual. Specifically: the preparation of the aufguss (precision, punctuality, respect for the rules), the opening and closing of the casting, cleanliness and order of execution and materials in the cabin and the general performance understood as charisma, empathic contact with guests, fitness, performance management.
  2. Heat Gain and Distribution (10 points): Assess heat management to be incremental over the three/four turns of the final peaked jet, not too warm and not too hot. The effectiveness of heat distribution is also evaluated, that is, that the air displaced by the MOA is clearly perceived during the throw and its ability to direct the steam.
  3. Classic Venting and Show Techniques (15 points): Basically the four basic venting techniques: Helicopter (circular motion), Parachute (top to bottom), Flag (sideways), Comb (bottom to top). They are the original techniques in the execution of the ritual and the most effective in the distribution of steam and heat. They are of German origin and later spread and evolved in all the countries where the execution of the ritual is distributed. While the more choreographic movements (throws, pirouettes, one-hand movements, etc.) are movements that have limited effectiveness in distributing heat but that make up the choreography of an aufguss show. let’s say that Italy and Germany are the first countries that introduced the so-called show movements, then we moved mainly to the north (Holland and Denmark) and to the east (Polish, Hungarian and Czech school) and nowadays there are always new ones.
  4. Dosage and use of natural fragrances (10 points): divided into perception of fragrances and in the different rounds, correct use of water, gallor and products, creativity and quality in the desired fragrances. Aufguss WM promotes and encourages the use of natural products (essential oils, infusions, incense or other aromatic products) so the use of chemical products is not allowed and if detected all points are lost.
  5. Theme and Implementation of the Theme (15 points): assessing the subject and plot presented, the settings and elements of choreography and costumes, the use of lighting and visual effects, the creativity and originality of the theme, and international understanding of the theme.
  6. The atmosphere/emotion generated in the audience and in the jury itself (10 points)
  7. Team spirit and synchronization (10 points, only for teams): the harmony and fair division of the execution time of the aufguss among the team members, the synchronization in ventilation, execution and performance, the interactions between the members are evaluated of the team.

These same evaluation criteria are also used in all the previous national competitions that serve as qualification for the world championships.

The experiences and stories of each participant are different, but all of them, thanks to the aufguss, maintain a permanent and satisfactory job throughout the year in high-level hotel centers, many begin to give courses after 2 years of practice.

We asked Sara Niederkofler, a 25-year-old Italian from South Tyrol, how she experiences her passion for the Aufguss. “My story started about 7 years ago after I finished high school. I went to Cron4 (a sauna center in Italy) to work there and learn to give Aufguss, there I had the first competition. After half a year I went to Austria to do the physical training school and after finishing it I went to the Andreus hotel where I have been working now for 6 years”. Sara is also a pole dancer so her technique is related to dance and what she likes the most is doing the split while waving during an aufguss show.

We will tell you more details and experiences of these intense days of well-being and learning in the coming days.


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