I was at work a little later when I was called to an unexpected meeting with my boss. It was serious, as are unexpected meetings. After that, I went back to my desk and sat quietly. At 6 pm, I went home, took a bath, missed the nap, put it in the tub, and took a deep breath for the first time in five hours. My heartbeat returned unheard. Throughout human history, people have attributed healing properties to natural pools of water, especially if the water smells good. When Sebastian Knepp, a Bavarian villager contracted tuberculosis in the 1840s, he forced himself to take ice dips in the Danube on the idea that it would strengthen his immune system.

The products are made to its standard

It worked or it did and the tuberculosis subsided. Kneipp credited the fall of the cold, and later invented the water-based healing philosophy, which became part of a long tradition of hydrotherapy champions. The Romans had their thermos, the Greeks had their gymnasium, and the Knaps had their vassals. He was later appointed, and continued to preach his treatment widely. The world listened. By 1896, Kneipp-style associations were operating in Brooklyn, West Hoboken, and Danville, NJ, and Dansville, NY. Her prescriptions were accessible: take a steam bath. Wash yourself with cold water. Take a walk in the morning without shoes. Do not wear woolen underwear. (Coarse linen is O.K.) Eat simple food. Go to bed early An article in The Times in 1891 called Kneipp "extremely clever", which may be the world's most polite expression for "German".

The makers have given it too

Despite their availability, Knap oil has not been in the national discourse for more than a year. The problem, of course, is that you have to take a bath to use them, and who does that now? Raise the topic with friends or family, and you'll hear the standard object: "Why would I want to drown in my shit?" This is a good idea if your job is a real mess. People who belong to this category should definitely abstain. But most of us don't. It's weird to sue for something we all started our lives with: swimming naked in hot water. As Americans, we protect ourselves in every way possible - by eating white food, playing with responsive devices, being annoyed by surveillance, and refusing to sleep on time. Still, we lean on the tub. Our bathing culture is more pitiable than that of the Turks, the arts, the Japanese, the Russians or anyone else. This is bad, because despite their reputation for waste - which is high anyway - bathing is an economic form of recreation, especially in New York. When per square foot, my bathtub takes up 2.9% of the total area of my apartment. It's not a big tub, but the return on investment is more than happy.

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