Learn more about Bathing

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Children bathing in a small metal bathtub

Bathing is the immersion of the body in fluid, usually water, or an aqueous solution. It is generally practiced as part of regular hygiene.

Some spa facilities provide bathing in various other liquids such as chocolate or mud, and there have been examples of bathing in champagne. Additionally, exposing the body to open air is sometimes considered bathing, for example, in sunbathing.


[edit] Reasons for bathing

Most bathing is done in hot water or hot steam. However, splash baths function like a cold shower to help people cool off on hot days. A jogger is shown, in this multiple exposure picture, running through the Dundas Square splash pad to cool down.

Bathing serves several purposes:

  • Hygiene, and the physical appearance of cleanliness
  • Decontamination from chemical, biological, nuclear or other exposure-type hazards.
  • Recreation
  • Therapy (e.g. hydrotherapy), healing, rehabilitation from injury or addiction, relaxation (e.g. Blessed Rainy Day)
  • Religious, or, less frequently, other ceremonial rites. See Baptism
  • Celebration and socialization, e.g. running through fountains after winning the World Series, or jumping through a hole cut in the ice over a lake on New Year's Eve.
  • Ensuring people are free of certain items such as weapons or other contraband: In Chicago, Russian baths were a safe meeting place for rival gang leaders. Weapons are difficult to conceal on a nearly naked body. If the meeting resulted in reconciliation, the gangs would meet upstairs for bagels, cream cheese and borscht. [1] Many homeless shelters, and almost all prisons have an intake facility or intake process that includes a supervised shower with change of clothes to ensure that no contraband or contamination enters the facility.

Bathing is usually done in a bath (i.e. a place designed for bathing), but may also be done in places not specifically intended for bathing, such as rooftops (sunbathing and windbathing), a lake, river, or sprinkler connected to a garden hose.

One town known for its baths is Bath (known during ancient Roman times as Aquae Sulis), a Roman city in England famous for healing hydrothermal springs, and most recently for the Bath Spa Project consisting of a rooftop pool overlooking the city of Bath, as well as four circular clear glass steam baths. The word bath is believed to be derived from the name of the city.

[edit] Kinds of baths

Image:Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas 046.jpg
In the 1880s Edgar Degas, drew a number of pastel studies of women bathing.

There are various kinds of baths, which include:

[edit] Bathwear / nakedness

A wax sculpture of Cleopatra at the Royal London Wax Museum, Victoria BC

Bathing usually involves the removal of at least some clothing; in private baths all clothing is removed. The amount of clothing removed depends on circumstance, custom, and willingness of bathers to reveal themselves. A swimsuit, swimming costume, or bathing suit is a garment designed for swimming or bathing. Typically a men's suit consists of shorts or briefs. A women's suit often consists of two pieces that cover the breasts and pubic region, or of one piece that resembles the combination of briefs and a tank top joined together.

Some European waterparks require bathers to be completely naked [citation needed] and baths are sometimes not separated by gender. Most of the newer Japanese baths are gender-segregated, whereas the older Japanese baths in the countryside are mixed gender. In both cases (mixed or segregated) public bathing in Japan is done in total nudity.

[edit] Hazards of bathing

  • Drowning is one possible danger of bathing. In a shower bath drowning has been known to occur, even though the risks are less than in an immersion bath. Baths that have standing water involve a higher risk of drowning.
  • Heatstroke can also result from the use of sauna baths or other hot baths.
  • Hypothermia from using cool baths and not being sensitive to the cold or because of falling asleep, etcetera.
  • Ear infections, also known as swimmer's ear can result from water building up and the resulting increase in bacteria.
  • Impact injuries are also possible from landing inappropriately in a bath, from an elevation, or from collision with other bathers, or with the sides of the bath.
  • Irritation caused by bathing solutions or other cosmetic products.
  • Infection caused by sharing dirty bathwater or bathing with others.
  • Collapsing when getting out of the bath because of the sudden change in blood pressure can occur, particularly when the bath is hot. Fainting can lead to accidents (including drowning if one falls back into the bath).
  • With advanced age, some people experience a diminished ability to sense temperature, and must use extra care to avoid accidentally scalding themselves while bathing. Caution is needed with children as well, as their body is much more sensitive to temperature and pain and they are more vulnerable to changes in temperature; this is particularly the case with infants.
  • Bathing infants too often has been linked to the development of asthma or severe eczema according to some researchers, including Michael Welch, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' section on allergy and immunology [2].

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

fr:Bain ja:風呂 sv:Bad th:อาบน้ำ


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