Grew up in Japan and spent a lot of time with others in the public baths. Found them to be healing places where we could have conversations with many people without being inhibited by trappings of social status that often separates people.
Experienced many of the same things in Germany in the public saunas. You’d have a long conversation with some wisened old man or lady only to bump into them in the street and hardly recognize them because of their clothing. They might be a farmer or hgih-brow socialite whom, without the sauna, would never see each other … or if they did would for one reason or another never speak. If they did speak the clothing might dictate the nature of the conversation and cloud the ability to hear.
I’ve experienced the physical and mental healing that can take place in a spa, steam room or sauna and how this is augmented when the space is shared by others at home or while traveling. Often find myself doing the best meditating while sweating or cleaning as well as having some of the best conversations in pea-soup thick hot fog.
As this country [USA] becomes more and more polarized I’m lamenting the lack of having some place like the Japanese sento or European Sauna to where we could gather as a group, shed our clothes, get cleaned and then spend a couple of hours seeing and listening to each other. I wonder, would we have as much disease? Would we see the remarkable amounts of obesity that we see in this country but not in others? Would we be less inclined to focus on appearance when all make-up, wigs and other masks have to be shed? Probably not.
In fact, I’m surprised it’s not a therapeutic fad and I’m really surprised we don’t have them all over the States. Why not?