Romantic Bath Setup
How to setup a romantic bath
The purest union that can exist between a man and a woman is that created by the sense of smell and sanctioned by the brain’s normal assimilation of the animate molecules emitted by the secretions produced by two bodies in contact and sympathy, and in their subsequent evaporation. (Auguste Galopin in”The Perfume of Women and the Sense of Smell in Love”)
Throughout history, the ritual of bathing has always been associated with sensuality, from Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba to the modern day. Indian monks used bathing as an act of piety and a symbol of purity- indeed, before marriage, both bride and groom had to perform a ritual involving a bath. Bathing in the Nile was also a solemn ritual for the Egyptians. Most ancient civilisations recognised the sensual nature of bathing and determined the oils and scents which enhanced the body’s response to the luxury.
Bathing reached a height of decadence in the Roman period, when attending the Baths became a vital part of the middle and upper class Roman day. The baths included a cool bath, a steam room and a hot bath. Some also included a swimming pool, library, a gymnasium and the Roman equivalent to a massage parlour. The Baths were generally divided into male and female areas; a particularly good example being in England. Bath was named for the Roman remains which are still the subject of much interest today.
The history of the milk bath begins with Cleopatra, who was renowned in antiquity for her radiant beauty. This beauty was said to have been because of the Queen bathing in milk scented with honey, lavender, or rose petals. Some sources even suggest that strawberries and raspberries were used on occasion to scent her bath. It is said that Cleopatra’s boat was so fragrant with rose petals that Mark Antony smelled the perfume before he saw the vessel itself. It is no stretch of the imagination to consider the fact that Cleopatra probably shared baths with both her lovers- Caesar and Antony. Science has reinforced the legend of Cleopatra’s beauty, showing that bathing in milk relaxes the body and softens the skin, the early scientist Pythagoras being the first to recognize the positive effects.
A recipe for bath milk similar to Cleopatra’s is as follows:
1/4 Cup Powdered Milk
1/4 Cup Liquid Honey
One teaspoon Jojoba Oil
4 drops Rose Essential Oil
5 drops Patchouli Essential Oil
5 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and add to warm bath water. To create an ambient setting, light candles (use rose, patchouli or sandalwood for best effect) and/or burn incense of the same scents.
Another of the most popular love-stories based around bathing is the story of King David’s love-affair with Bath-Sheba. It began when he saw her bathing on her roof; the sight entranced him and he fell for her almost instantly, later marrying her. Their son was King Solomon. The legend is sometimes embellished, with poets describing the ardour in detail and suggesting any number of additives to the water she bathed in- few dissimilar to those Cleopatra is said to have utilized.
The ancient Greeks associated beautiful scents with the divine. One particularly beautiful ritual included an immersion of doves in scented water. The doves were then released, sprinkling water over the gathering as a representation of the blessings of the goddess of love, Aphrodite.
In Roman times, Nero built special ducts in his Golden Palace that would pour forth aromatic water, while also strewing the carpets with rose petals (some say he learned this from the liaison between Mark Antony and Cleopatra.)
Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine often used scents to enhance the atmosphere, and used baths as a sensuous display of romantic interest. Josephine is reputed to have been fond of musk, while Napoleon preferred rosemary. Indeed, at St Helena, he used his incense burner until the day of his death.
To add to the relaxing, sensual atmosphere, it can often help to prepare a bottle of champagne or red wine. Red wine is especially compatible if sandalwood incense or bath oil is used. Keeping the lighting low, using candles if possible, accentuates the atmosphere. Soft background music can also be greatly helpful.