Salt Baths, Saline Solutions
"The Morning Bath" by Edgar Degas, 1887/90, Art Institute of Chicage (public domain)

Salt Baths, Saline Solutions

On Healing
Anna Drzewiecki
time 13 minutes

They are present in seawater, seaweed, magnesium sulfate; they restore, preserve and make potent.


Saline. Sometimes, the solution is that simple.

So they tell me to cry it out. Salts. In a panic, he seeks reference points. He suggests going to the river. By this he means swim in it, a tidal river. Salts. I think maybe I’ll just go to work, work a long day, work until I stumble home on sore toes and a bladder full to bursting. Sweat. Salts.

Maybe, I think, maybe, it is all much simpler than it appears.

I plan the cake I will make for her next birthday. The recipe calls for one teaspoon of salt. I cross it off. Instead, I write two.

Saline. Sometimes, the solution is that simple.


I have started taking baths again. I light candles and open the window a crack. I don’t have time for this, but I make time for this. I box out time so I can fall into time. I assume I took baths as a child, though I don’t remember them much. I assume these baths were not too hot, and quick to cool as I splished and splashed, supervised, ecstatic. Since then, I have seen baths in paintings and texts. Sometimes, like in New York City, I have lived in homes where the baths block doorways and smell of rot. Once, I saw the baths at Pompeii. This struck me. I have read about hydrotherapies for the sick and dying, like at Hot Springs in Arkansas, or at towns up and down the coasts; towns as retreats, capitalizing on fresh air, ecological purity, etc. Who is the freshest of them all? I even sat in a stone tub where, for hundreds of years, humans like


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Also read:

Swimming Is Like Zen
Blankenberge Beach, Belgium. Photography from the catalogue “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Belgium”, published by Detroit Publishing Company, 1905. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Swimming Is Like Zen

An Interview with Piotr Kieżun
Agnieszka Drotkiewicz

Max Frisch liked to swim. In his diary, he recorded an anecdote about the time he once went to a lake with Bertolt Brecht. For Brecht, nature was something alien – before he decided to get into the water, Frisch had already swum a good few lengths. The list of swimmer writers and intellectuals is long. Before the war, Czesław Miłosz would go to the Legia swimming pool in Warsaw and later, at the University of Berkeley where he lectured, he swam almost every day. Agnieszka Drotkiewicz talks to the editor of the weekly Kultura Liberalna, Piotr Kieżun – a big fan of both literature and swimming.

Agnieszka Drotkiewicz: You run the blog “Świat wpław” [Swimming Through the World], devoted to various aspects of the history of swimming. Let’s start at the beginning, that is, in ancient Greece…

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