Bas Kast, sauna enthusiast and best-selling author: a… | Küng Wellness
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Bas Kast, sauna enthusiast and best-selling author: a compass for the soul

The new book by best-selling author Bas Kast is a kind of toolbox for people who are stressed, at odds with the norm and looking for physical and mental balance. One of the tools: harmonising body and mind with sauna sessions and ice baths.


New book: Compass for the soul

The German-Dutch author has achieved everything: he has found his dream woman, started a family and hit the jackpot with his book "The Nutritional Compass". That was five years ago, then came disillusionment and a mental low. Bas Kast's hope, and that of most people, that they would find happiness when they had achieved everything, turned out to be a fallacy. Because happiness does not lie in the future, but only in a fleeting moment, in the here and now.


With his new book "Compass for the Soul", the author wants to show readers tools that they can choose at will to do something good for their body and mind.

Saunas and cooling down as a mood booster

"I take cold showers several times a week, usually after a sauna session. As far as I'm concerned, cold showers and baths definitely revitalise my mood," writes the author in the book's introduction. He sees sweat baths as an effective method of making the body more resilient.

He is convinced that many of his contemporaries have an unhealthy balance: On the one hand, mental stress is high; on the other, the body is hardly challenged at all. He recommends three approaches to help us regain our balance and become more resilient: a healthy diet, regular exercise and sweat and ice baths.


Bas Kast: "cold showers and baths after the sauna definitely revitalise my mood"

Practical and realistic toolbox for more health and serenity

In addition to sport and physical toughening up, the psychologist and biologist has his sights set on another method of making a shaken soul shine again: Psychedelics. The author used the currently booming method in psychiatry by administering mini doses of LSD or similar in a self-experiment - and had astonishing experiences. They sound almost like an advertising message, although it is generally known that the substances should be consumed with great caution, as the effect is completely different for each person depending on their mood and mental state.
We think so: Rather use other tools from Bas Kast's practical and realistic toolbox: Sports and saunas, for example. They are harmless and simply do you good!


The author and passionate sauna-goer in a short interview

The author and passionate sauna-goer had to make clear decisions when answering our five questions about his very personal relaxation ritual.

Mr Kast, which aspect of sauna bathing is more important to you: relaxation or toughening up?

For me, there are clearly two things that take centre stage in the sauna: the immediate relaxation that comes with taking a sauna. Secondly, I have found that an evening sauna helps me to fall asleep - which has also been confirmed by several studies. The fact that the sauna - via a kind of "hardening process" - could also help with stress resilience or drastically reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, for example, is more of a nice extra for me.

Do you prefer short, hot sauna sessions or longer ones with mild heat?

Personally, I prefer it like this: Two sauna sessions of around 15 minutes each at a rather dry heat of around 85 degrees Celsius. A very cold shower in between and afterwards.

When is the perfect time for the ritual for you: in the morning or in the evening?

In the evening, definitely. The effect is that you not only cool down nicely, but the sweating also cools the body down, which lasts long after the sauna session. This in turn supports the sleep process, as it is good to lower your body temperature by at least one degree Celsius in order to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is why cool rooms favour sleep and why we are often unable to sleep well in summer due to the heat.

Intensive infusions or preferably without?

I sometimes make infusions if I want to feel the heat more intensely.

Cooling off in the pool or in the shower?

If there was a pool, I would prefer that, but I don't have one in the usual place where I have a sauna. So shower, but more out of necessity!


Bas Kast

Bas Kast (1973) studied psychology and biology and is a science journalist and author. His "Nutritional Compass" has sold over a million copies and has been translated into over 20 languages. His most recent book is Compass for the Soul: What makes the soul strong - from experiencing nature to psychedelics. In this book, the author presents scientifically sound and tried-and-tested strategies for increasing your own mental well-being. Kast lives with his family in Berlin.

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All pictures © Mike Meyer