Summary of “Why We Need to Bring Back the Art of Communal Bathing”

For most of the history of our species, in most parts of the world, bathing has been a collective act.
The eclipse of communal bathing is one symptom of a wider global transformation, away from small ritualistic societies to vast urban metropolises populated by loose networks of private individuals.
These would not be the luxury spas and beauty salons that promise eternal youth for those who can afford them, nor the gay bathhouses of the world’s metropolises, but real public spaces: cheap, multi-purpose and accessible to all.
The bathhouse could provide a similar space to focus on the body but, crucially, it would do so at the collective level, bringing corporeality and touch back into the sphere of social interaction.
The bathhouses of the future, by reinventing the historical social functions of their ancient originals and combining their most attractive aspects to build a new model, would compensate for the erosion of public spaces elsewhere.
They could serve as libraries or performance spaces, or host philosophical debates or chess championships: they might, like the Moroccan hammam, have gardens, allotments or other green spaces, to bring urban dwellers in touch with plants, flowers and animals.
Communal bathing is a near-universal trait among our species and has a meaning that extends far beyond personal hygiene.
There are pragmatic reasons to re-invent the practice, to be sure, but its anthropological diversity suggests that there might be a more fundamental need for this ancient and deeply human art.

The orginal article.