Next in order to the sponge bath comes the plunge bath, and with either of them the face should always be washed first, in the manner previously directed, so as to prevent a rush of blood to the head. In taking a bath, whether it be the sponge or the plunge bath, plenty of water should always be dashed over the front of the chest, for it makes one hardier and less susceptible to the effects of cold. In fact, besides acting as a preventive to attacks of common cold, it really strengthens the lungs, and renders the body more capable of resisting disease. If in addition a little cold water is habitually sniffed up the nostrils at the time of taking the bath it will save many a cold in the head. After coming out of the bath the towels should always be used to thoroughly dry the body, and it is certainly better to have two for the purpose. The two towels should be sufficiently large in size, at least five feet in length and of ample width; anything smaller is altogether useless. One of them should be of some soft absorbing material so as to thoroughly dry the body, while the other should be rougher, to use with friction to the skin. In fact, this rubbing down with the rougher towel is in some respects the most important part of the bath, and there should always be enough friction to get the skin into a glow. If there is not this feeling of reaction, but a decided chilliness, it is a sure sign that the bath is not agreeing, and one with tepid water must be substituted, or else it will have to be stopped altogether for a time.
But although there may be a certain proportion of people whom the cold bath does not benefit, yet I am fully convinced that the number is comparatively speaking small. A' good many make the excuse that they cannot take it, while all the time laziness is the real trouble. Once the advantages derived from the cold bath are experienced, all the objections raised vanish into thin air. Not only is there that feeling of exhilaration which abides with those who habitually employ it, but it is to be remembered that its greatest value consists in the immunity which it confers against diseases of the catarrhal type. The effect of the cold bath is to give tone to the whole system, and to brace up the body. But it does more than this; by maintaining the functional activity of the skin, the liability to catch cold is greatly lessened. There are many explanations given of the phenonema which occur in " taking cold." They are believed, however, to arise from a disturbance of the heatproducing forces of the body. As it has been already pointed out, the skin is the great temperature-regulator of the body. Accordingly this latter all-important duty is best promoted by keeping the functional activity of the skin in full swing. The prevention of catarrh means, therefore, a healthy action of the skin, and for this nothing is so good as the daily cold bath. The praises of the latter are well sung in the following extract: "Those who desire to pass the "short time of life in good health ought often to use cold "bathing, for I can scarce express in words how much "benefit may be had by cold baths; for they who use them, "although almost spent with old age, have a strong and "compact pulse and a florid colour in their face, they are "very active and strong, their appetite and digestion are "vigorous, their senses are perfect and exact, and, in one "word, they have all their natural actions well performed." The beneficial effects which follow the daily cold bath have been thus dwelt upon because I believe that in Australia the greatest good to the greatest number would follow its use. At the same time, however, it is necessary to remember that there are some persons, and some even apparently robust persons, who can never take them. Such baths, also, are injurious to those who are pale and bloodless, or those who suffer from a tendency to congestion of the internal organs - excepting under medical advice. And, in addition, it must also be remembered that warm baths have claims for consideration from a cleansing point of view, and a few words upon them in this respect will not be thrown away. Now, the daily use of the cold bath, together with the assiduous application of soap, may be sufficient to keep the skin cleansed from impurities. Yet as a matter of fact this will the more certainly be ensured by a weekly - or, better still, bi-weekly - warm cleansing bath. The best time to take it is before bedtime, so that there is no risk of taking a chill afterwards. After the body has been well lathered over with soap, and this has been thoroughly washed off, the cleansing process may be then considered as completed. It is next recommended that two handsful of common salt should be added to the warm water, and the body steeped therein for a minute or two. The particles of salt pass into the skin so firmly that they cannot be removed even by the most vigorous rubbing. In this way the functions of the skin are stimulated to a considerable degree; the process of nutrition throughout the body greatly promoted; and the liver roused to action. From this it is easy to understand why hot sea-water baths are so beneficial.
There is another effect of the warm bath which deserves to be well remembered, for it has an historical association. It is related of the great Napoleon, that after a day's fighting, instead of indulging in a night's rest, he would take a warm bath. It was so efficacious that he was enabled to begin his exertions almost immediately. The explanation of this lies in the fact that when the muscles are tired out and the vigour of the body diminished, the hot bath rouses the circulation and renews the worn-out tissues. In the same way, after a night's dancing, twenty minutes or so in a warm bath, and a couple of hours' sleep, will be almost as good as a whole night's rest. In addition to the foregoing, however, it must not be forgotten that the warm bath, or to speak more correctly the hot bath, is a true medicinal agent. It is used in many cases of disease, especially those in which the skin is inactive. A feverish cold is often nipped in the bud by a hot bath at bedtime; a free perspiration usually follows, and thus relief is obtained. In some forms of rheumatism and gout, too, the hot bath is of signal benefit. There are many cases of a spasmodic nature, also, in which it is of great value. At the same time it must be borne in mind that the hot bath, when used to an excess, tends to induce a debilitated condition.