Running Water and the Tao of Pooh

Running Water and the Tao of Pooh
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

The term ‘running water’ has so many permutations as to be almost infinite. Running water can mean wastage. It can mean advancement in the distribution of water.  It can also, as wise old Winnie-the-Pooh said above, teach us patience. As we know, patience is ha ha, not my strongest suit.

There are many schools of thought as to who first invented piped in water for bathing, I came across this while researching the running water topic:

Ancient Baths

Roman Baths

The Romans were famous for their baths, and they brought them even into Gaul and Britain. While Roman manors often had their own smaller private bath-houses, the Roman public generally frequented relatively inexpensive public baths. By the peak of their popularity, they included hot and cold rooms, and medium-temperature lounging rooms with a variety of extra services such as food, wine, exercise and/or personal training being offered.  At different points in the history of Rome, baths were gender segregated by place or time, while at other times the bathing was mixed. (Fagan, Bathing in Public in the Roman World)

Judaic Ritual Bathing

Ritual bathing is also part of ancient (and modern) Jewish culture. Ritual cleansing baths (mikvot) from the classical period have been found in archaeological digs at multiple sites, including Masada.

The distinctive nature of mikveh structures causes them to be regarded as archaeological markers of Jewish communities at classical and medieval sites. A mikveh dating from around 1150 has been uncovered by archaeologists in Bristol, England (Aldous, p. 27), and another in Cologne, Germany dates from around 1170 (

Early Christians

In the 4th and 5th centuries CE, ‘fathers of the Christian Church’ such as Clement and Jerome condemned excessive attendance at the public baths, and attendance for pleasure. Because bathhouses had mixed facilities, church authorities condemned women’s attendance at mixed gender bathhouses.

Eastern cultures

Roman-type baths were continued and/or re-established in Islamic countries through the medieval and Renaissance periods, and bathing was endorsed by Islamic writers. The hammam, referred to in modern times as the ‘Turkish Bath,’ was a major feature of Islamic culture, and preserved the Roman traditions of cleaning the body first, then soaking and socializing. Due to the Islamic religious requirements for frequent washing (when water was unavailable, dust or dirt could be used for ritual ablutions), baths and washing equipment remained popular. Some historians believe that the habit of the baths return to Western Europe from the Middle East with the Crusaders, but documentary evidence suggests that the resurgence of public baths in Western Europe may have been more a function of political and economic stability.

Japanese baths are of similar if not greater antiquity. Western writers claim that the soaking baths of Japan originate from the extensive use of Japanese hot springs. From A Short History of Bathing before 1601

Fascinating stuff. So, whether running water means wastage (tighten that tap!) or a gently burbling (not burping!) brook that teaches you Tao type patience, remember that we don’t recommend, nor suggest, that you use the AquAid water from source (3 of them, mind you) for bathing (yes, I know it’s been hot), but rather to refresh and hydrate your children at school and your staff in the office. As we all know, drinking sufficient water keeps you healthy both inside and out – it will even keep your skin looking plumped up and ramp gorgeous (even if you’re not into that type of thing). Cheers!

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