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Ancient Baths Usher In Modern Saunas

Sep 2, 2007
The use of the bath is, as might be anticipated, an exceedingly old custom. The fullest details we have with respect to the bathing habits of the ancients apply to its development under the Romans. Their bathing establishments consisted of four main sections, the undressing room, with an adjoining room in which the bathers were anointed; a cold room with provisions for a cold bath; a room heated to a moderate temperature that serves as preparation for the highest and lowest temperatures the bather might experience. Finally a sweating room which was a combination of a steam bath on one end and a hot water bath on the other. Scrapers of metal or animal horn were often used to scrape perspiration and impurities from the skin.

Over four thousand years ago the ancient Egyptians and Persians built grandiose bath houses out of fine marble and made a ritual out of daily bath. Hot water was provided and the bathing had less to do with washing and more to do with relaxation, reflection and socializing. The Greeks also made use of the natural hot springs found near the city state of Athens.

In Russia, at the turn of the twentieth century, a structure was commonly built that consisted of a single hall, built of wood, with a powerful metal oven in the middle. The large oven would be covered with stones and benches would be placed around the stones. Bathers would pour cold water on to the heated stones and thick cloud of steam would rise which caused the whole body to perspire. The bathers would be gently whipped with wet birch rods, rubbed with soap and washed with lukewarm and cold water. Bathers might even jump into a nearby pond or river or even roll in the snow.

The Turks, by religious belief, are obliged to make repeated daily ablutions or washings of the body. Public bath houses became common and customary and a favorite was a modification of the hot-air bath of the ancient Romans and Greeks and began to be referred to as a Turkish bath. The so-called Turkish bath became popular in other Muslim countries. A regular feature of the Turkish bath is the practice of kneading which is generally performed at the end of the seat bath. Kneading would involve as systematic pressing and squeezing of the entire body, the stretching of the joints as well as the fleshy and muscular parts of the body.

At the turn of twentieth century in America and other parts of the world, hot springs and medicinal springs were established and became popular places to treat people with various medical maladies, especially arthritis and rheumatism. There were several hundred of these hot springs resorts both in America and Europe and many still exist today as people seek the peace and relaxation of a steam or hot water bath. In the mid twentieth century, modern saunas and hot tubs allowed people to enjoy all the benefits of these ancient practices with more energy efficient designs and precise temperature controls.

Modern personal saunas and hot tubs have evolved once again as more and more people have discovered a way to enjoy what has for many centuries become a standard in many parts of the world. The benefit of owning a personal sauna or hot tub, is knowing that you can enjoy all the relaxing benefits without leaving home. Easy to assemble, install and maintain, these modern and improved versions of the ancient standard are affordable and oh so relaxing.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a short article writer for the popular
home sauna web site
saunabuyersguide.com.
He
provides informative advice on saunas, home saunas, and the purported health benefits of the new infrared saunas. His website, http://www.saunabuyersguide.com is full of great sauna information.
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