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Bathing and social secrets

Updated on April 10, 2014

Interesting facts about bathing

Soap removes the dirt from our bodies due to the micelles (molecules that embrace grime.)

Australian homes had bathrooms since the 1850's due to the hot climate.

Turkish baths were common in 19th century towns.

Samurai's would take a bath every morning and shave their heads and trim their nails just in case they were killed in battle as an ill groomed body would be despised by the enemy.

Buddhists received merit for their incarnation if they sponsored public baths for charity.

The bar of soap has lost its popularity and has been replaced by hand wash liquids and shower gels.

Bathing in Europe

For Westerners today, bathing is viewed as a quick way to get cleaned up but for the women of other countries such as Istanbul, Damascus, Turkey and Japan, bathing is an all day outing where they have public bath houses that are social hubs, much like westerners view coffee shops.

The ancient people of the Mediterranean loved their baths.

Egyptians would bath twice a day and the oldest bath tub dates back to the 1700's BC.

The Roman empire opened their first bath houses in 300 BC and continued to grow them as the empire got bigger.

Hot and cold pools were available as well as steam rooms that included libraries, gardens and heat saunas.

The hot pools were made above a basement floor where men would manage hot coals in order to get the pools warm.

Males and females would bathe seperately to avoid any intimacy or animalistic behaviour.

Some bathhouses were used as brothels and massage, bathing and all sorts would happen creating scandal, causing a ban by the Roman emperors, "Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius."

Christians did not appreciate the bathhouses and suggested that it be used for cleansing in matters of hygiene.

In the Middle East at that time, steam rooms were used for perspiration and then they would douse themselves to remove dirt as the drier climate meant less water to splash around in.

Roman bathhouse still in use today Source:Pinterest
Roman bathhouse still in use today Source:Pinterest

Bathing after the Roman Empire

The Romans were impressed by the bathouses created in Constantinople where they returned to revive bathing in the Medieval Europe.

In 1387 Frankfurt had 15 public baths and Vienna had 29. Paris was also awash with bathing houses and the poor would beg for money to go and bath as they received a meal whilst in the tub. Unfortunately sex halted the public bathhouses in Paris yet again.

Explorers from America had brought diseases back to Europe through the frolicking bathers. People who did not die from disease, died from the strong mercury content in the baths.

By 1600 most of the public bathhouses were closed and instead of bathing, people wore perfume to hide the smells.

The wealthy retained their bath tubs and during the 1700's ladies would receive guests, hairdressers and other visitors whilst soaking in the tub.

The Palace of Versailles had over 100 bathrooms and it was not until the Revolution that baths became common in Europe.

They created many types of baths after the Industrial revolution to encourage people to stay clean due to health scares and outbreaks.

In the 1870's bathrooms as we know them today were developed along with sewerage systems and water supply.

A Japanese bathroom in modern days
A Japanese bathroom in modern days

Japanese Bathing

It is not just about getting clean for the Japanese and they love to bath. It is for pleasure and relaxation.

They do not use soap in the bath and before they get into the tub they scrub their bodies, rinse away the soap and dirt, then continue into the bath tub.

Hot springs on the volcanic islands encouraged the Japanese to soak and when Buddhism came into Japan, temples were built near the hot springs to encourage the poor to bath, creating a social service.

For many it was only for the wealthy as they could afford the fuel needed to heat the water whilst the ordinary people would have to use public bathhouses or "Sento's."

The Sento was a public bathhouse and it was used for social meetings where friends could communicate whilst staring at beautiful gardens.

The modern houses have seperate areas for men and women along with a dressing room and taps to soap and wash, then soak into the hot pools and relax.

Most houses have bathrooms where they still have the seperate wash area and baths to soak in.

Japanese bathhouses with the seperate taps to scrub and rinse before bathing
Japanese bathhouses with the seperate taps to scrub and rinse before bathing

How to make Clepoatra's milk bath

  1. Fill the bath with warm water that is comfortable to sit in.
  2. Add 1 cup of milk and a half a cup of honey to the bath, (for smoother skin use more honey.)
  3. Make sure you soak in the milk and honey bath for at least 15 minutes so it removes all the dead skin.
  4. You can ad lavender or oil to the mixture but avoid shampoo or bubbles when bathing in milk.
  5. Any milk can be used and it does not have to be from a donkey!

Cleopatra and the milk bath

Cleopatra was known to bath in milk to soften her skin. Queen Elizabeth 1 of England and Elisabeth of Bavaria also bathed in milk.

Milk was used with honey, lavender and essential oils to keep the skin youthful and to rid the body of ailments. It removed wrinkles from the skin and made it more delicate and preserved its whiteness.

700 donkey's milk was used to provide Cleopatra with one bath.

The Roman emperor, Nero's wife was also know to use this method of bathing.

Cleopatra was known to bath in milk and honey to keep her skin youthful and wrinkle free.
Cleopatra was known to bath in milk and honey to keep her skin youthful and wrinkle free.

Are you a bather or do you like to shower?

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Bathing in Epsom salts

Our bodies need magnesium, iron and calcium but if you do not get it from your fruits and vegetables then there is another way for your body to soak it up.

Magnesium helps the body maintain muscle control, electrical impulses and the elimination of harmful toxins.

Epsom salts are high in magnesium and bathing in it will give you a boost.

Due to changing agriculture and our diets, magnesium levels have dropped enormously in the body, causing heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, arthritis, joint pain and fatigue.

The diet in modern times is high in sugar, protein and fats which speed up the magnesium depletion.

Another word for Epsom salts is hydrated magnesium sulphate. This cannot be absorbed correctly through the stomach and for many magnesium supplements do not work. Magnesium can however be absorbed through the skin.

Sulphates can play an important role in brain tissue formation, joint proteins and they stimulate the pancreas generating digestive enzymes and they help to detoxify the body of medicines.

All you have to do is have a bath in warm water and add 2 cups of epsom salts, which you can find at any grocer or chemist.

The Turkish bathhouse

Turkish bathhouses still exist today as in many other countries but they are slowly fading out. The older generations that work in the bathhouses scrub, rinse and cleanse you and after they are done, give you a massage and for those who are in need of a chiropractor, can find one in the Turkish bathhouse.

Take a look at the video and see what goes on in there!

Masada a heritage site, once the home of King Herod
Masada a heritage site, once the home of King Herod

Masada and the bathhouse

"Tragic fortress in the sky," known as Masada held back the Romans for three years as freedom fighters known as the Zealots, managed to hold back 10 000 Romans.

The mountain in the Judean desert appears extremely dreary and this is where King Herod, who ruled for the Romans, built a luxurious fortress. It is also where the Jewish freedom fighters fought the Romans in inhuman valour, then placed their belongings in a corner where they set it on fire and committed a mass suicide.

When Jerusalem was attacked, Herod sent his family to hide out in Masada while he fled to Petra. He was a brutal ruler and a paranoid one at that.

At Masada he built a fortress with two luxurious palaces, swimming pools and lavish bathhouses with a water system that raised Masada out of the desert.

The water for his pools and bathhouses Herod built an aqueduct and reservoir system that utilised floodwater sucked from the riverbeds.

The bathhouse can be seen today and the decor used in those times is something incredible to see.

Masada bathhouse

Masada bathhouse can be seen today as some of it still stands in the National Park
Masada bathhouse can be seen today as some of it still stands in the National Park


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    • Tashaonthetown profile image

      Natasha Pelati 3 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you yes it is interesting to see how everyone else lives and what pleasures they enjoy!

    • profile image

      Rose Pelati 3 years ago

      Simply loved this anything about old times...found it so interesting...thank you...great!!!!!

    • Tashaonthetown profile image

      Natasha Pelati 3 years ago from South Africa

      Wow! It is interesting to find out about different cultures and their cleansing routines. Thanks for sharing!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This was interesting from a cultural and historical perspective. We had some foreign exchange students stay with us growing up and my mother had to require them to bathe because of their smell. Standards and customs vary so much. I did like your suggestion regarding Epsom salts. Voted up and more.

    • Tashaonthetown profile image

      Natasha Pelati 3 years ago from South Africa

      raymondphilippe - the roman bathhouses and the Japanese ones look great, relaxing and calming

      MsDora - i have tried the milk bath and I actually felt dirty afterwards, lol!

      Cherylann - they do look calming and i love bubble baths with candles and music but my favourite is a shower

    • Cherylann Mollan profile image

      Cherylann Mollan 3 years ago from India

      Very informative hub. For us, today, bathing is such a causal thing and we don't even give it a second thought. This hub made me stop and think about it for a bit. It's interesting to see how bathing was almost like a cultural activity before, something everyone engaged in together. I Also liked the Japanese take on bathing. Works best for me! :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Voted Up! Very informative and interesting! I'm tempted to try the milk

      bath. Thank you.

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 3 years ago from The Netherlands

      Lovely. I wouldn't mind giving all those baths a try. If i could go back in time i'd try the roman bath house for sure.