The Ancient Art of BathingThe Ancient Art of Bathing

Bathing has a long history in human activity; it probably began in the Stone Age since a majority of European caves containing Paleolithic art are located a short distance from natural springs. Some ancient people like Egyptian priests were fastidiously clean, but the greatest washers of all time were the Harappan people who lived in what is now modern day-Pakistan and Northern India who bathed three times a day; a practice that continues in some Harappan communities even today.

Ancient Greeks bathed for personal cleanliness, and Romans expanded on the idea, creating expansive aqueducts to supply water to public bathhouses that were essentially an ancient form of spas that offered massages, exercise, and entertainment as well as a place to socialize. When the Roman Empire collapsed and the Dark Ages rolled in, Roman aqueducts fell into disrepair and many public and private bathing facilities disappeared, ushering in a new era of uncleanliness throughout Europe.

In Asia, the bathing culture can be traced back to Buddhist temples in India, where priests cleansed themselves for religious purposes. Their Buddhist culture of bathing spread first to China and then in the 8th century to Japan where bathhouses for monks within Buddhist temple compounds began expanding their services to the public when people who were sick started bathing in temple bathhouses as a form of healing.

The Bubonic Plague of the 1300s changed the way a large portion of Europeans viewed bathing. With no understanding of germs, people thought that their skin would allow illness to enter the bodies through open pores and assumed that dirt on their skin would block disease. In addition, the Church viewed public bathhouses of dens of iniquity where men and women could mingle, and these two beliefs kept more and more people from bathing. While the plague discouraged people in the western world from bathing, Eastern countries and religions maintained their high standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

In the early 1500s, when Spanish Conquistadors conquered parts of Mexico and Peru, they noted that the native indigenous populations bathed regularly in rivers, lakes, and streams. Just like the Conquistadors, the Pilgrims arrived in New England in the 1600s, rarely bathed, although Native Americans bathed regularly just like the Aztecs and Incas in the previous centuries.

In the early 18th century, most people washed their hands and faces every day although they rarely bathed their entire bodies. By the middle of the century, the idea of disease prevention through sanitation and good hygiene began to take hold. By the beginning of the 1900s, the Saturday night bath routine had become common although carrying, heating, filling, and emptying the water required so much effort that the was usually shared by the whole family, starting with the father followed by the mother, and then by each of the kids in order of ageóhence the phrase, "Donít throw the baby out with the bathwater!"

Bathing in natural hot springs marked the origins of bathing, and it continues today. Hot springs are found in almost every part of the world--there are nearly 1,700 hot springs in the US and over 3,000 in China. Japan has more than 6,000 hot springs that are visited by 138 million bathers every single year. Hot springs vary in temperature and mineral content. Hot water accumulates calcium, magnesium, and sulfate among a multitude of other minerals, as it migrates upward through the earth.

The whiff of sulfur is striking in many hot springs, although bathers quickly acclimate to its eggy smell. Soaking in warm sulfur-rich mineral water has been utilized for healing purposes since ancient times; it is known as natureís beauty mineral because our body needs sulfur to manufacture collagen to help maintain skin elasticity and keeps us looking younger longer. Sulfur also eases irritated skin, relieves pain, and helps the body eliminate toxins. If you have the opportunity to go for a soak in a hot spring, why not give it a try?

Detox Bath -

Regenerating Night Cream -

Renewing Cleanser -

Featured Products

Chinese Herbs

TCM Books

TOW Store
This Month's Articles

October 2020

Volume 18, Number 10

Points of Interest

Acupuncture Point Location Center

Clinical Doctoral Program

Today's TCM Tip

For inflammation, add LI4 and LI11

Keep Informed

Sign Up for Our
FREE e-Newsletter

All Contents Copyright © 1996-2015 Cyber Legend Ltd. All rights reserved. Use of this website is subject to our Terms and Conditions. All logos, service marks and trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Legal Disclaimer Notice: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.