While human beings may not have always valued hygiene as highly as they do now, bathing is by no means anything new. In fact, the history of bathing goes back about as far as we can trace—although, that history itself is one that’s as varied as it is long. While the reasons for bathing and the ways in which we do it have changed over time, the story of it all can help explain how we’ve gone from washing off in muddied rivers to enjoying the relaxation of a Jacuzzi® bathtub as we do today. With that said, let’s dive into the deep history of bathing:
Ancient Civilizations & the Rise of the Bath
Whether for social, ritualistic, therapeutic, or hygienic purposes, bathing has practically always been an important part of societies and cultures across the globe. In ancient times, public baths rose to popularity and replaced the practice of using the sea or rivers to bathe, especially as humans began to congregate in communities. Around1500B.C., ancient Egyptians took part in extensive bathing rituals using water basins and various oils or pastes. This would eventually give way to early forms of showers, starting with private rooms in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia but eventually leading to a true “modern shower” in ancient Greece, where indoor plumbing was brought to gymnasiums so male athletes could bathe after exercise.
Perhaps most famous in terms of the ancient era, though, are the bathhouses of ancient Rome. Many quintessential examples of these public baths still stand today, and historians have been able to gauge that they were used as cultural hubs for everything from relaxation and socializing to learning and even exercise.
Medieval Times Through the Bathing Renaissance
When the Dark Ages came about, bathing seemed to go out of style. The showers and baths of the great ancient civilizations went mostly into disrepair—as did the hygiene of most people as a result. Some bath houses did still exist, though, interestingly, they began to be known more for their “dirty” reputation due to an association with sinful acts. When the plague hit during the mid-1300s, the aversion to bathing only got stronger due to the misled belief that dirt on the skin could block disease, whereas water could spread it.
Further East, however, bathing culture looked quite different. In Asia, many societies still practiced bathing for religious and therapeutic purposes, including through the use of steam. While it wasn’t quite the Jacuzzi® baths we have now, these systems were certainly a far cry from the early days of bathing throughout history.
Ushering in a New Age of Bathing
In the 18th century, hydrotherapy began to gain some popularity in the western world. It wasn’t until the late 19th century, however, that scientific findings about the existence of germs were finally accepted. The importance of sanitation was now better understood, and thus bathing was changed forever. A cultural obsession with cleanliness took hold, particularly in America, giving rise to new industries and eventually new bathing practices.
In the early 1900s, modern baths were still not an affordable or feasible option for most families even in the west. So, families typically took baths once a week, taking turns in a bath that started with the father first and leading down to the youngest child (if you’ve ever heard “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” this would be why).
Jacuzzi® Baths Today
Nowadays, the bathing game has changed entirely. This is thanks to innovations like that of the Jacuzzi brothers in the 1900s, which would lead to greater accessibility and the bathing practices we still carry on today. The invention of the Jacuzzi® bathtub would usher in a shift in thinking of bathing as simply a way of getting clean to a greater focus on the relaxation and luxurious feeling of soaking it up in a tub.
Anyone can now enjoy the comfort and hydrotherapy of a Jacuzzi® bath right from their own home, especially with a little help from Jacuzzi® Bath Remodel. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can experience the utmost bathing experience at your home, contact us today.