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The Art of the Bath

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Not only is a bath used for relaxation, a bath could also be used for medical purposes. Throughout the classical period, bathing was thought to promote general good health and longevity.

Hippocrates, father of western medicine, asserted that bathing could balance the humors and relieve ailments such as rheumatism and digestive disorders.

Thermal baths were thought to promote respiration, relieve fatigue, and cure headaches while cold showers were used to relieve swelling and painful joints. By inducing sweating, a very warm bath was used to bring down a high fever.

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine also recognized the positive effects of warm water and recommended that their patients drink warm to hot water to feed their metabolic fire, what the Chinese call Yang Chi.

Nowadays, the morning shower has become nearly a universal ritual, with most Americans showering seven or more times a week. For many, the shower has proven either an adjunct or alternative to the morning cup of coffee.

Outside of a spontaneous plunge into an alpine lake, there are few experiences as invigorating as long, warm shower followed by a brief, cool one. However, with a nice warm relaxing bath the mind clears; the body glistens; and the spirit feels like singing.

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