During the Dark Ages, Western man ceased to bathe. In America, up to the time of Graham, people did not take baths. They had no bath tubs and did not regard bodily cleanliness as a necessity of life. Graham and the other Hygienists taught Americans to bathe and in this work they had the active opposition of the medical profession. As late as the middle of the last century a Dr. Winship, who claimed to be the "strongest man alive," although not wholly opposed to bathing, as were so many of his professional brethren, was not overenthusiastic about cleanliness, advising: "Practice general ablution at least once a week in cold weather, and twice a week in warm, but seldom oftener in a New England climate. (In offering this rule, I expect to be censured by quite a large class in the community, who seem to delight in the daily soaking and splashing in water, not having, probably, the slightest consciousness that by so doing, they defeat every intention for which water is externally applied.)"

From Winship's statement, it will be seen that the objection to the daily bath was still quite strong, so that even a physician who indulged in physical exercise, including heavy exercise, could still oppose daily bathing. Today people take their baths regularly and without opposition and few of them have any knowledge of the mighty struggle that went on in the last century to overcome popular and medical opposition to bathing.