Baths and Bathing have been around for centuries. Since the beginning of time, the art of bathing in water has been essential to one's good health and peace of mind. Bathing emporiums to cater to personal hygiene and grooming have been around as early as the third century.
The Greeks and Romans are perhaps the first to come to mind when thinking about the origins of baths, due to the numerous facilities that they constructed solely for bathing. The two had different opinions and beliefs about bathing; the Romans believed in the clear health benefits and bathed to keep well, whereas the Greeks saw it as a way of cleansing themselves from the stresses and worries of the day.
Both Greeks and Romans also used the baths to conduct business, gossip with friends, eat, drink, or arrange sexual liaisons. Some public baths were so grand that they could easily contain lecture halls, art galleries, meditation rooms, and prayer stalls. There were always numerous, separate enclosures for "private" business.
The larger bathhouses combined healing practices with entertainment, social festivities, and physical fitness. It was not uncommon for wounded or weary soldiers to find comfort after a battle before returning to society. Some of the finest healers worked in the baths and could tend their wounds. This may be why today bathing is often linked to healing both mind and body.
Over the next few posts we will look into how these century old civilisations have influenced our modern baths in both usage and design.