Luxurious Bathing by Andrew White Tuer
Treatises and disquisitions sufficient to form a library of no inconsiderable dimensions have been written during the last three centuries on the subject of baths: boiling, freezing, variously medicatedincluding tar-water, steam, and spray; milk, whey, broth, mud, sand, and even earth-bathsin which the patient for hours together was buried up to his neck in a 2fallow fieldhave all had their exponents and upholders; then there is the vapor-bath of the Russian, the dry, hot air or Turkish-bath, besides the cold air-bath recommended by Franklin, and those who like it may follow the example of the elder Pliny who used to indulge in a bath of sunshine. Nowadays it is a common practice, on the shores of the Mediterranean, for many of the inhabitants, during the hot months, to pass a considerable portion of their time sitting on chairs placed a few feet from the shore, the calm water, without even the nuance of a ripple, reaching to the neck, while the head is protected from the scorching sun by an immense grass hat.
3The inference may be too hastily drawn that what is advocated in this Sketch is unnecessary, being simply what everyone nowadays practices in one form or anothercleanliness; on consideration, however, this will be found to be hardly the fact. We are a cleanly nation, or at any rate more cleanly than we were, but bathing with hot or cold water as ordinarily practiced is not so enjoyable and luxurious as it might be, and moreover, to the weakly, is often harmful in its action.
Perhaps the very acme of luxurious bathing is reached in the Soap-bath, an application of hot water and soap to 4the whole body, followed immediately by a cold plunge, or a sponge-bath. A bath is at once a necessity and a luxury, and in order to obtain the greatest number of benefits, including increased health, appetite, vigor, and good spirits, the Soap-bath is the most effectual, and moreover the pleasantest and least trying to the weakly or over-sensitive constitution.
It is a simple and invigorating luxury as compared with the self-inflicted half-painful ordeal the cold bath is to many, which latter is too often taken, not for its own sake, but for the good supposed to follow its use. After a Soap-bath, however, one is ready for the duties or pleasures of the day: duty in fact becomes a pleasure, and pleasure itself is intensified......