Ben Franklin’s Solution For Everything Was To Get Naked

Ben Franklin was a weird dude. As we've covered before, he was extremely difficult to work with. John Adams was once forced to share a bed with him, and was exposed to Franklin's weirdest hobby: taking regular "air baths."

Franklin believed - somewhat correctly, though against conventional wisdom of the day - that illness spreads via stagnant air. He thought it was "frowzy corrupt air" (grundle funk) trapped by oppressive clothing that was the source of most ill health - and he had just the solution!

In this letter to his doctor buddy, he raves about his radical new discovery of... reading naked and then taking a nap:

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To Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg London, July 28, 1768. You know the cold bath has long been in vogue here as a tonic, but the shock of the cold water has alSource

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I mean cold air. With this in view L rise almost every morning and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according

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This air bath is not disagreeable in the least, but indeed most agreeable; and if later I slide into my bed, before dressing, as I sometimes do, I sle

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I find no bad consequences from this habit and I am convinced there is no prejudicial effect to my health, but on the contrary the air bath helps me t

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I would wish therefore, in future, to recommend the air bath as strengthening and enjoyable.

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