ISA – International Sauna Association

The International Sauna Association (ISA) is an association of national and other sauna societies, organisations and private people. It was founded in 1958 and pursues the goal of publicizing the sauna and promoting its use on a global scale by rallying supporters of sauna activities in different countries.


This goal is served e.g. by promoting the scientific studies of the sauna from e.g. such viewpoints as social history, folklore, medicine and technology. A particular emphasis is given to the collection and compilation in archives of the results of such scientific studies as well as other written material on sauna.

Logo isa

Board members

Jussi Niemelä

Finnish Sauna Society/ Member of the Sauna Research and Culture committee
Jussi has a degree in engineering as well as an MBA from the Henley Business School. He is well networked with different sauna organisations and groups. Jussi is a seasoned business leader with a strong track record in both multinational and SME firms. He has worked in various management roles as well as a consultant in a Big 4 firm. Currently he is working as a board professional, a chairman of the board of a fast-growing entrepreneurial services platform company.

Kim P. Pedersen

Danish Sauna Association/President System Administrator & Cyber Security Specialist
Kim is working in the field of IT Security as a System Administrator and Cyber Security Specialist. He has an AP Graduate in Computer Science and a Bachelor of IT Security. He is involved in many sauna events and happenings such as the National Championship in “Saunagus”, qualification for the Aufguss WM, education and courses and other sauna related initiatives in Denmark and the rest of the world. He takes care of the website of ISA.

Piotr Koper

Polish Sauna Association (Polski Związek Saunowy)/President
Piotr has a Master of Science as Telecommunications Engineer from Warsaw University of Technology as well as an MBA/Ingenieur d’Affaires European from the École nationale supérieure des télécommunications de Bretagne. He is currently working as Vice-President of the Board Koperfam Ltd and runs Wellness & Spa – Project Creation and Execution company as its owner.

Risto Elomaa

ISA President; Memberships :Finnish Sauna Society, Helsinki Sauna Club, Suomen Saunakulttuuri/ Founding member and Board Member; International Whisking Academy, Lithuania/ Founding member; Soomi Saunaselts/Founding member; International Smoke Sauna Club; Finland Sauna Club ,Japan Honorary Chairman; Austrian Sauna Forum / Honorary Member; Bastuakademie Sweden/ Honorary Member
Risto has Master of Science as Chemical Engineer from Helsinki Technical University. He has been dedicated to sauna all his life since he was taken in a smoke sauna at the age of one month. He has founded and served various sauna associations in Finland and worldwide and introduced and promoted sauna culture in several counties, in which he has been active during his working life. Risto is a sought-after specialist and works, among other things, in the field of certification of saunas and is involved in international standardization ( CEN and UL), international research projects and market analyses and publishes on various topics related to saunas.

Rolf-A. Pieper

Deutscher Sauna-Bund

Rolf-A. Pieper is a trained sports scientist and linguist. Until the end of 2020, he was Managing Director of the Deutscher Sauna-Bund for 38 years. In addition, he was or is a member of the executive committee of important industry associations. He has given several hundred lectures and written articles on sauna bathing and related forms of bathing. In the laudations for tributes to his work, he is described as the “world’s best sauna expert”.

Carsten Sonnenberg

President of Deutscher Sauna-Bund, Professor of Business Law, Bernburg/Germany
Carsten Sonnenberg studied law and economics at the university in Göttingen, completed his doctor in economics at the university in Dortmund and is a Professor of Business Law at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences with the main area Bank and Insurance Law. He worked more than three years in the Deutsche Bank AG, is General Counsel of the Stadtbad Braunschweig Sport und Freizeit GmbH and member of the Extended Board of the German Association for the Bathing Operators e.V. In Bathing and Sauna issues he is also working as a consultant in law and economics and as an expert witness in court cases. He is a member of the German DIN-committee Sauna, Spa und Wellnesszentren and was elected as an expert in the European Standardisation Committee CEN/TC 136/WG 16 Spa and Wellness centres for public use.

Peter Jeitler

President of Austrian Sauna Forum, Vice President of ISA
Peter has been the owner of a sauna producing company for decades. He is a founding member and president of the Austrian Sauna Forum ÖSF (Austrian Sauna Association), Court certified expert for Sauna and member of the Austrian Standard Institute Working – Group Sauna. He is also a jury member of national and international „Aufguss“- competitions and lecturer for the training of sauna masters in Austria.

Kari Laukkarinen

Finnish Sauna Society. ISA Board Secretary
Sauna enthusiast Kari has Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration. Kari has worked in Management and Board positions in international trade since 1987. Currently Kari -based in France – works as independent Consultant assisting companies expand their business on global markets. Kari is fluent in several languages and he is eager promoter of the diversified sauna and wellness cultures.

Kenseki Kim

Japan Sauna and Spa Association, Board Member
Kenseki gained a Master Degree for Hotel and Food Service Management from New York University in 1994 and worked in Grand Hyatt, New York at the beginning of his career. Today he is the CEO of Skyspa, one of the big spas in Yokohama, Japan including saunas. Kenseki is member of Finland Sauna Club of Japan and has long experience in spa and sauna industry.

Lasse Eriksen

Norwegian Sauna association /President, Aufguss WM/ Vice President, Global Wellness Institute Hydrothermal Initiative /Initiative member, World Wellness Weekend, Sweat For Charity Norway

As Norways first male aromatherapist at age of 18, Lasse gained a bachelor in medicine at Atlantis medical school/Oslo, followed by different medical and sports massage studies. He worked as therapist with Norway National sport teams and opened up a private clinic.  Working with hydrothermal therapy in sports for many years, Lasse made his career in wellness through consultancy, implementation and coaching. As a speaker at conferences in the wellness sector, his goal is to bring the wellness industry and the sauna world closer together.

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