FOCUS: Baths

DISCIPLINE: Mental Models, Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


Long, very warm baths have always been balm to my spirit.

I recently heard of the Threshold Choirs which honor the ancient tradition of singing at the bedsides of people who are struggling: some with living, some with dying. These all-women choirs started in California and are now all over the country. They provide a “music bath” that is both healing and comforting. My friend Dona sings in the local Threshold Choir and describes the experience of being surrounded by song (they practice having the Threshold Choir sing to them) as a wonderful, “energy bath.”

Air Baths

Benjamin Franklin swore by air baths. He was in the habit of taking an air bath every morning in his room. He said he was able to think most clearly without any clothes on. I’ve always been intrigued by this notion, so recently I’ve been taking air baths. I wake up early, while it’s still dark, and take an air bath for the first 15 minutes of my day. It’s fun to unload the dishwasher in the dark and I love the feeling of the air on my body. I can feel the air moving over my body as I walk, much as you feel the water when you swim nude. I researched air baths to see if there is some true health benefit. A nudist website claims that “air playing over the body may increase metabolism fifty per cent in 10 minutes,” among other things. Air baths are also said to “harden one” and make us more resistant to weather changes. I like this, because I often quit taking walks when it gets cold, and I’d rather not let the cold scare me off.

Sun Baths

“Baths of water are good, baths of air are better, baths of light are best”, according to Dr. Yusef Saleeby. My husband’s cardiologist suggested last week that he take a 20 minute sun bath each day, just sitting, without clothes, near a sunny window. This is a little tricky, given our proximity to neighbors (I’m actually hoping our neighbors don’t read this.) The doctor said this would be the very best source of Vitamin D, which is now being touted as almost miraculous for the heart, the bones and the brain.

Coaching Questions

  • How long has it been since you had a long, relaxing water bath?

  • When might you try an air bath?

  • How about a sun bath?

  • What other kind of bath might serve you? (music bath, silence bath, steam bath, cold bath, mud bath?)


  • This month there will not be a telegathering because I’m traveling to Seattle for the Systems Thinking in Action Conference, stopping in California to visit my daughter and her family. This year the theme of the conference is Now More than Ever: Critical Skills for Courageous Organizations. It’s happening November 2-4 in Seattle, Washington. This is by far the best conference I ever attend. I’ve gone every year for 15 years and always come home energized, stimulated, inspired, and full of practical tools for seeing the world and my work more systemically….it gives me Fresh Views! It’s not too late to sign up. If you’d like to attend this conference as part of a Fresh Views Group, you can qualify for a discount on the registration. E-mail me if you’re interested! Check it out at

Read an excerpt from Liberating Greatness, the Whole Brain Guide to an Extraordinary Life, the book Hal and I wrote, at

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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