Be it a gap in a daily routine, morning or evening, time is not of the essence. A bath can give one the sensation of ownership, complete relaxation, allowing time to mull over many events, set aside worrying issues, and cleanse the body with a much-loved exotic soap or lotion.

The calm feeling that arises is nothing new. Apparently, the oldest bathhouse known is the 3000-year-old Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan. Other bathing rituals are also traced back to ancient Indian times, with one of the oldest baths in the Indus Valley, now known as Pakistan.

Roman bathhouses were famous. In biblical times, the body was ostensibly set aside for washing. This may have been a forerunner to baptisms. Roman citizens were advanced in technology, and the bathhouses provided relaxation with aromatherapy and massage.

In addition, the injured bodies of gladiators craved attention. No doubt, those who avoided death had a need for some loving, soothing care, thus the use of a number of oils, with myrrh and cedarwood being popular choices. Hot and cold steam was utilized—hardly a soothing combination for the injuries of a Roman gladiator!

Turkish baths, known as Hammams, have glorious ancient architecture with exotic artwork of the East. They are extremely popular and allure hundreds of tourists annually. If affordable, a luxurious treatment is offered, where the body is scrubbed with a hand-woven cloth, foam-washed, and then massaged.

In the Muslim world, interaction between males and females is not permitted in bathing areas, which are separated due to gender rules and rituals associated with prayer. Hungary, a country once under Turkish rule for more than 150 years, eventually saw most bathhouses destroyed. However, one built in 1550 is still in use!

Way back in time, “cavemen” had no soap, which was not an issue as the hunt was a priority. However, the antiquity of hot springs unavailable to them has incredible uses. Sought out by locals and tourists, many exist in South Africa. The sulfur content minimizes bacterial and fungal properties. From a mental point of view, stress levels can be decreased. These baths are so addictive that one is loath to leave their presence. Just as kids will say, “Please, just one more time!”

As for showers, the original was invented by an anonymous entrepreneur. In later times, around 1850, Greek and Roman methods were used due to the availability of plumbing methods. Only by the 1980s did the shower become the property of the masses, incorporating body jets and LED lighting. In conclusion, one can only wonder how technology will lead to the ultimate shower experience of the future!

Look out for Matsimela’s new ‘PAUSE’ limited edition range of products coming soon, comprising of our beautiful butters, scrubs, a sleep mist, calming oil, signature burner, and relaxing magnesium salts.