This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
The furnishing of the bath-room depends largely upon the means and taste of its owner. It is no difficult matter to furnish a simple bath-room, in which comfort may be preserved while the unattainable elegancies of the rich are banished. The walls of this room may be painted in oils--in imitation of marble, if desired. Over the floor of wood or tiles a carpet of linoleum should be spread. In front of the bath-tub should be laid an India-rubber mat, on which to step on leaving the bath. On the walls may be placed shelves for soap, sponges, etc., within easy reach of the hand while in the water. On racks or in a wardrobe should be hung the bathing linen, towels, dressing sacks, and other necessaries of the bath.
The human skin is a complicated net, whose meshes must be kept open and unclogged, in order that through them the body may throw off its impure secretions. The healthy action of the skin is stimulated by the opening of the pores in the bath, especially if it is followed by friction with a brush or rough towel.
Instead of the bath-tub and its accessories, the needs of cleanliness may be met with a large zinc tub, a pail, and a small basin of water, with a suitable sponge. In this method of bathing first use warm water; then, if in good health, lower the temperature of the water until, finally, the bath can be taken cold. In all cases the temperature of the room must be moderately warm. People whose lungs are weak should always bathe in warm water.
Partial baths, of any kind, are almost always taken warm. It is unwise to bathe immediately after eating, as it seriously interferes with digestion. There should be at least three or four hours between a full repast and a bath.
In the springtime, when one is more susceptible to cold than at any other season of the year, it is best to bathe at night, just before going to bed, in order that the skin may profit by the warm moisture which it retains for several hours after leaving the bath.
The practice of massage, by the hands of an experienced operator, is of great value in certain states of the health. But, fortunately, ordinary friction can replace this practice without assistance, thanks to the various appliances for the purpose of rubbing one's self over the shoulders and back, which the hands cannot reach easily. The friction is produced either with the bare hand, or by means of gloves or bands of horse-hair, or of rough woolen or linen cloth. When no liquid is employed, such friction is called dry.