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What Is Bathing For?

By Ann Richardson March 31, 2024 Lifestyle

I am exceedingly clean. I take a shower every morning and a bath every night. I wash in all the right places. My mother would be proud of me. But all this bathing has nothing to do with getting clean.

There are so many other reasons to pursue these activities.

The Morning Shower

I used to wake up bright and shiny and ready for the day. Indeed, I would wake up so fully alert that I knew there was nothing for it but to get up and do something – usually work. Even at 5 a.m.

I would trot up to my study (I was self-employed), pull out whatever I was working on the day before and carry on – usually writing something. By the time my husband woke at the more normal hour of 7 a.m. or so, I could tell him I had done two billable hours.

I loved this time – it was so peaceful. In the summer months, it was already bright outside.

This early waking was particularly frequent during menopause, when hot flushes (hot flashes in the US) suffused my body in the early hours of the morning. That was a long time ago.

Alas, no more. I wake up feeling very sluggish and sometimes fall back asleep or fall into that hazy land that is neither awake nor asleep. It sounds nice, but I don’t really like it all that much.

And when I finally crawl out of bed at 8.30 or 9.00 am, I need something to wake me up. For most people, this is strong coffee.

For me, it is a hot shower.

There is nothing like the pounding of water all over your body to wake up your nerves and help you feel alert. I am no longer sluggish. My mind has switched into gear. I am ready for the day.

Getting clean is just a happy by-product.

The Evening Bath

So I go through my day, whether visiting friends, writing, cooking or any number of other things we old people do with our lives. All good.

I am never bored. There are more things to do with my time than time to do them. Sometimes, I am out visiting or doing errands. Or, on the weekends, welcoming one of my grandchildren.

Once a week, I do my yoga, which is important to me. I have been practising yoga for over 30 years and really love it, particularly headstands.

But at the end of the day, whatever the business of that day, I am very tired. I need to get some energy. Sometimes, my whole body aches with general weariness. In the summer, I need to cool off. In the winter, I need to get warm. All reasons for a bath.

So, I run my bath and have a soak. It is delicious feeling the hot water – and I like it very hot (damn the expense) – seep into my pores. It is relaxing and energising at the same time. I find myself far away.

I often lie there and think. And, strangely enough, a lot of my best ideas for articles come to me there. Being in water seems to stimulate my brain cells. Immediately after, I am often in search of some paper to write down the ideas before I forget them.

It is a very special time. Quiet time. Me time. My husband knows he shouldn’t disturb me unless it is an emergency.

And getting clean is just a happy by-product of the whole experience.

The Small Things in Life

I have written recently about how trivial things can be incredibly annoying. A number of readers agreed.

But trivial things can also be incredibly rewarding. You can have your cruise or your once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world.

Just give me a shower in the morning and a bath in the evening, and I am a happy woman!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you like a shower or a bath? Why? Do you see these as simply a means to get clean or is there more to it than that?

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I love my evening Epson salt or baking soda baths to end the day in relaxation, warmth, and ready to drift into a nice sleep. Here is where I take my ‘yoga’ magazines to catch up on. I do not soap each night as that does dry my skin. I do a brisk body scrub, apply my GYG Organic Body Serum, and my skin is not ever dry but very moisturized. I do have jacuzzi jets for a delightful soak!!!


My demonologist has recommended bathing or showering only twice a week because older people have dry skin and all that hot water creates more skin issues.

Ann Richardson

My dermatologist recommended a soap substitute, which I use, but did not think to mention.


Agee.i find taking a nice hot bath relaxing and a time for contemplation..a sort of soul search. It’s nice to drift into the warmth of the bath and quietness surrounding me.


I love taking baths and associate them with childhood (no showers until a teen) and the ultimate relaxation! My tub has held lots of tears during trying times and I agree, someting about being in water makes me simultaneously relax and think through things. I take showers for convenience but bathe for my soul.


Bathing so often is really bad for your skin and hair. The current wisdom is to shower only two times a week or so.


Not to mention it is a big waste of water.


Frankly, I like it. I don’t not shower before the day starts. Everything is fresh. Sometimes I’ll take a bath in the evening usually if I’m cold, lol, sometimes just for relaxation with some Epson Salts and a book. Everyone feels different when they wake, and has different skin, so poo poo to the naysayers.

Last edited 14 days ago by Ann
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The Author

Ann Richardson’s most popular book, The Granny Who Stands on Her Head, offers a series of reflections on growing older. Subscribe to her free Substack newsletter, where she writes fortnightly on any subject that captures her imagination. Ann lives in London, England with her husband of sixty years. Please visit her website for information on all her books:

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