The word “Naturism” is derived from the English and Latin languages. The English word “nature” and the Latin word “natura“. These words in Estonian are “loodus“, “loomus” or “loomulikkus” and “naturaalsus” which translated back to English are nature and naturalness.  Naturalness means that something is innate.

Naturism is also often referred to as nudism, which is also derived from the English and Latin language. Words nude in English nad nudus in Latin means naked in Estonian. 

“- ism” is a suffix that is used to describe philosophies, social movements,  communities, behaviors, etc.

Since it is originally a vocabulary used for more than 10 centuries, the nature of naturism also depends on what a particular community considers natural and how they define their principles. Thus, each community can create/initiate its own approach to naturism.

However, when it comes to cooperating with other naturism communities and engaging with the public, one has to consider what the wider circle of people mean by naturism.

Names and their definitions are a means of communication – designed to make people understand each other in the same way.

Language and the meanings of words can also change over time, as has happened with naturism. For more than 50 years the International Naturist Federation (INF) has been marketing naturism mainly as a naked body culture and thus naturism and nudism are often considered synonyms. 

It is believed that naturism was marketed in Europe in the name of nudism after nudists were unable to formally register nudist societies in several countries when their name implied nudity (nude, nudism). As nudists regard being naked as natural, they adopted a word more acceptable to society. All the more so because most people find being naked natural in certain circumstances. 

The International Naturist Federation has defined naturism as a way of living in harmony with nature, characterized by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of increasing respect for oneself, others and the environment. The INF has also said that every country or community can have their own approach to naturism.

Thus, naturism as such is not a specific belief but gives people and communities the freedom to create their own interpretation. As different communities may have a different understanding of naturism, it is important to familiarize yourself with the community’s principles and terms of participation, before joining the community.

The most common feature of naturism is communal nudity with some form of joint activity. Depending on the community or the event, being nude can either be mandatory or voluntary

Naked holiday – naturism tourism

Naturism tourism, which is mostly nude recreation or “clothing optional”, is one of the most productive areas of naturism.

It is one of the fastest-growing areas of tourism in the world and for some countries, it is a big part of the market share. Even people who have not classified themselves as nudists or naturists, probably enjoy a nude vacation. It is really not important that you define yourself as a nudist or a naturist, the main thing is that you feel good while being naked. Polls show that many naturists and nudists are also engaged in nude tourism.

The main promoters of naturism are private landowners, and tourism and cultural operators. In order for private landowners, and tourism and cultural organizers to have the motivation, and sufficient information about the target group, to deal in the field of naturism tourism, it is very important to have cooperation between the communities and the tourism sector.

Until 2019 naked recreation had not been considered as part of the tourism sector in Estonia. Don Simon Tompel, the leader of Estonian Naturism, lifestyle, and personal marketing is planning to launch and market such a tourism industry by launching a naturism tourism cluster and various collaborative projects.

For nature people, being naked is common

The roots of naturism go back to the ancient cultures of the indigenous peoples – a time when people lived in harmony with nature and were healthier.

Nature people are also characterized by feeling natural when naked. No part of the body is taboo because every part of the body has an important function.

Being naked, getting in touch with someone, creates genuine – immediate, close contact. The energy, feeling and air exchange are better with bare skin. You can test it for your self when you touch something first with a glove and then with your bare hand. This is also one of the reasons why in rituals, for example, trees are hugged naked.

As in other native religions, in Estonian’s native religions “maausk”- the native religion and “taarausk” – Taaraism, there is lots of contact with nature and there are also naked rituals. If nakedness gives you a better and free feeling, then one could say you have Estonian’s – nature people’s genes in you.
Maybe that’s why being naked is no taboo in Estonia. It is likely, most people practice being naked, either alone, with family or friends in the sauna or the sports club shower, etc. Society is used to seeing the naked body in art as well as visual media. Many have had nude photos made of themselves. Being naked is normal. The embarrassment and concealment of one’s body have come to Estonia from foreign cultures and religions. It was allegedly brought here by Christianity.

Naturism unites people and contributes to a healthier society!

Don Simon Tompel

In many ways, modern society is alienated from nature and naturalness, and as a result, people have lots of problems with their health and quality of life in general. But more and more people have come to realize that being in harmony with nature and being natural is a path to better health and quality of life. Naturism is, in fact, a modern lifestyle, living according to the principles of ancient cultures. When taking the first steps in naturism, everyone can feel the effect in just a few hours. Changes in that person’s behavior are visible to others.

Being naked has a therapeutic effect

  • Being naked is natural and healthy;
  • Unites people – naturist are more tolerant, friendly and opened;
  • Gender neutral – while being naked everyone is treated as an equal with no regard to their gender role;
  • Unites men and women – being nude reinforces trust, honesty and solidarity;
  • Reduces stress and helps to get over false shame – better mental health and well-being;
  • Better attitude towards your body – age, weight, appearance “it is what it is” – being happy with Yourself;
  • Useful for youth sex education – healthier relationship and family life in the future.