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  • Public bathing

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    The Asser Levy Public Baths in Manhattan, New York City (1904-1906, restored 1989-1990)Public baths originated from a communal need for cleanliness at a time when most people did not have access to private bathing facilities. The term "public" is not completely accurate, as some types of public baths are restricted depending on membership, gender, religious affiliation, or other reasons. As societies have changed, the need for public baths has reduced: dwellings now have their own private bathroom. Public baths have also become incorporated into the social system as meeting places. As the title suggests, public bathing does not refer only to bathing. In ancient times public bathing included saunas, massages and relaxation therapies, comparable to today's spas.

  • Shower

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    A typical stall shower with height-adjustable nozzle and folding doors A combination shower and bathtub, with movable screen A shower is a place in which a person bathes under a spray of typically warm or hot water. Indoors, there is a drain in the floor. Most showers have temperature, spray pressure and adjustable showerhead nozzle. The simplest showers have a swivelling nozzle aiming down on the user, while more complex showers have a showerhead connected to a hose that has a mounting bracket. This allows the showerer to hold the showerhead by hand to spray the water at different parts of their body. A shower can be installed in a small shower stall or bathtub with a plastic shower curtain or door. Showering is common in Western culture due to the efficiency of using it compared with a bathtub. Its use in hygiene is, therefore, common practice. A shower uses less water on average than a bath: for a shower compared with for a bath.

  • Bathing

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    Detail of Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine's Bath in the Park (1785)Bathing is the washing of the body with a liquid, usually water or an aqueous solution, or the immersion of the body in water. It may be practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes. By analogy, especially as a recreational activity, the term is also applied to sun bathing and sea bathing. Bathing can take place in any situation where there is water, ranging from warm to cold. It can take place in a bathtub or shower, or it can be in a river, lake, water hole, pool or the sea, or any other water receptacle. The term for the act can vary. For example, a ritual religious bath is sometimes referred to as immersion, the use of water for therapeutic purposes can be called a water treatment or hydrotherapy, and two recreational water activities are known as swimming and paddling.

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