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Bathing is putting the body into a fluid, most often water, or a solution with water. Usually it is done for hygiene or for religious purposes, or for fun. Sometimes bathing is also done as a form of therapy.
When people talk about bathing, they most often mean being immersed in water. But people have also "bathed" in other substances. Some therapies involve bathing in mud. People have also bathed in other substances, like Champagne, beans, or chocolate. A form of bathing quite common is bathing in sunlight.
Reasons for bathing
Bathing serves several purposes:
- Hygiene, and the physical appearance of cleanliness
- Decontamination from chemical, biological, nuclear or other exposure-type hazards.
- Therapy (e.g. hydrotherapy), healing, rehabilitation from injury or addiction, relaxation (e.g. Blessed Rainy Day)
- Religious, or, less frequently, other ceremonial rites (e.g. Baptism, Mikvah)
- 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. 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.