A sanatorium is a medical facility for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 (TB) before antibiotics. A distinction is sometimes made between "sanitarium" (a kind of health resort, as in the Battle Creek Sanitarium
Battle Creek Sanitarium
The Battle Creek Sanitarium, in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States, first opened on September 5, 1866, as the Western Health Reform Institute, based on the health principles advocated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In 1876, John Harvey Kellogg became the superintendent, and his brother, W....

) and "sanatorium" (a hospital).


The rationale for sanatoria was that before antibiotic
An antibacterial is a compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria.The term is often used synonymously with the term antibiotic; today, however, with increased knowledge of the causative agents of various infectious diseases, antibiotic has come to denote a broader range of...

 treatments existed, a regimen of rest and good nutrition offered the best chance that the sufferer's immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

 would "wall off" pockets of pulmonary
Human lung
The human lungs are the organs of respiration in humans. Humans have two lungs, with the left being divided into two lobes and the right into three lobes. Together, the lungs contain approximately of airways and 300 to 500 million alveoli, having a total surface area of about in...

 tuberculosis (TB) infection. In 1863, Hermann Brehmer
Hermann Brehmer
Hermann Brehmer was a German physician who established the first German sanatorium for the systematic open-air treatment of tuberculosis.-Biography:...

 opened the Brehmerschen Heilanstalt für Lungenkranke in Görbersdorf (Sokołowsko), Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 (now Poland), for the treatment of tuberculosis. Patients were exposed to plentiful amounts of high altitude, fresh air, and good nutrition. Tuberculosis sanatoria became common throughout Europe from the late 19th century onwards.
The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium
Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium
The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium was a tuberculosis sanatorium established in Saranac Lake, New York in 1885 by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau. After Trudeau's death in 1915, the institution's name was changed to the Trudeau Sanatorium, following changes in conventional usage...

, established in Saranac Lake, New York
Saranac Lake, New York
Saranac Lake is a village located in the state of New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,406. The village is named after Upper, Middle, and Lower Saranac Lakes, which are nearby....

, in 1885, was the first such establishment in North America. According to the Saskatchewan Lung Association, when the National Anti-Tuberculosis Association (Canada) was founded in 1904, its members, including renowned pioneer in the fight against tuberculosis Dr. R.G. Ferguson, believed that a distinction should be made between the health resorts with which people were familiar and the new tuberculosis treatment hospitals: "So they decided to use a new word which instead of being derived from the Latin noun sanitas, meaning health, would emphasize the need for scientific healing or treatment. Accordingly, they took the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 verb root sano, meaning to heal, and adopted the new word sanatorium."

Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 used to have many sanatoria, as health professionals believed that clean, cold mountain air was the best treatment for lung diseases. In Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, a series of tuberculosis sanatoria were built throughout the country in isolated forest areas. The most famous was the Paimio Sanatorium
Paimio Sanatorium
Paimio Sanatorium is a former tuberculosis sanatorium in Paimio, Finland Proper, designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The building was completed in 1932, and soon after received critical acclaim both in Finland and abroad. The building served exclusively as a tuberculosis sanatorium until the...

, built in 1930 and designed by world-renowned architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 Alvar Aalto
Alvar Aalto
Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was a Finnish architect and designer. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware...

. It had rooftop terraces where the patients would lie all day on specially designed chairs, the Paimio Chair. In Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, the Heliantia Sanatorium in Valadares, was used for the treatment of bone tuberculosis between the 1930s and 1960s.

In the early 20th century, tuberculosis sanatoria became common in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In the early 1900s Arizona's sunshine and dry desert air drew many people (called "lungers") suffering from tuberculosis, rheumatism, asthma and various other diseases. Wealthier people chose to recuperate in exclusive TB resorts, while others used their savings to make the journey to Arizona and arrived penniless. TB camps in the desert were formed by pitching tents and building cabins. During the tuberculosis epidemic, cities in Arizona advertised the state as an ideal place for
treatment of TB. There were many sanatoriums in the state of Arizona modeled after European away-from-city resorts of the time, boasting courtyards and individual rooms. Each sanatorium was equipped to take care of about 120 people. The greatest area for sanatoriums was in Tucson, with over 12 hotel-style facilities in the city. By 1920, Tucson had 7,000 people who had come for treatment of tuberculosis. So many people came to the West that there was not enough housing for them all. In 1910, tent cities began to pop up in different areas; one of which was described as a place of squalor and shunned by most citizens. Many of the infected slept in the open desert.

The first tuberculosis sanatorium for blacks in the segregated
Racial segregation in the United States
Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, included the racial segregation or hypersegregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines...

South is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.South is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to east and west.By convention, the bottom side of a map is south....

 was the Piedmont Sanatorium
Piedmont Sanatorium
Piedmont Sanatorium was a rest home for tubercular African Americans in Burkeville, Virginia from 1917 to 1965. It was the first facility of its kind ever to be established in the United States...

 in Burkeville, Virginia
Burkeville, Virginia
Burkeville is a town in Nottoway County, Virginia, United States. The population was 489 at the 2000 census. The source of the town name is disputed. The town is located on the crossroads of U.S. Routes 360 and 460....

. Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a closed sanatorium located in southwestern Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky. It opened in 1910 as a two-story hospital to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients. In the early 1900s, Jefferson County was ravaged by an outbreak of tuberculosis which prompted...

, a Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, tuberculosis sanatorium, was founded in 1911. It has become a mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 for curiosity seekers who believe it is haunted. Because of its dry climate, Colorado Springs was home to several sanatoria. A. G. Holley Hospital in Lantana, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 is the last remaining freestanding tuberculosis sanatorium in the United States.
In 1907, Stannington Sanatorium was open in the North East of England to treat tuberculosis in children. The sanatorium was opened using funds raised by the local charity, 'The Poor Children's Holiday Association', now the regions oldest children's charity, Children North East
Children North East
Children North East is a registered charity based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The focus of the charity is to provide help and funding, through community based projects, to families, children and young people in the region who are experiencing a range of problems and difficulties in their lives...


After 1943, when Albert Schatz
Albert Schatz (scientist)
Albert Schatz was the co-discoverer of streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy used to treat tuberculosis and a number of other diseases...

, then a graduate student at Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

, discovered streptomycin
Streptomycin is an antibiotic drug, the first of a class of drugs called aminoglycosides to be discovered, and was the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis. It is derived from the actinobacterium Streptomyces griseus. Streptomycin is a bactericidal antibiotic. Streptomycin cannot be given...

, an antibiotic and the first cure for tuberculosis, sanatoria began to close. As in the case of the Paimio Sanatorium, many were transformed into general hospitals. By the 1950s, tuberculosis was no longer a major public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

 threat; it was controlled by antibiotics rather than extended rest. Most sanatoria were demolished years before.

Some, however, have been adapted for new medical roles. The Tambaram Sanatorium
Tambaram Sanatorium
Tambaram Sanatorium is a locality and railway station on the Chennai Beach - Tambaram section of the Chennai suburban railway.It was originally a part of Tambaram, but later developed as a separate town due to the railway station and the TB Sanatorium and the Madras Export Processing Zone MEPZ)...

 in south India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 is now a hospital for AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 patients. The state hospital in Sanatorium, Mississippi
Sanatorium, Mississippi
Sanatorium was the name of a community in Simpson County, Mississippi, USA, northwest of Magee. The community was named for the Mississippi Tuberculosis Sanatorium, which was once a hospital for TB patients from 1918 to the 1950s...

, is now a regional center for programs for treatment and occupational therapy associated with mental retardation
Mental retardation
Mental retardation is a generalized disorder appearing before adulthood, characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors...

. In Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 in 2001, the ministry of welfare suggested changing the names of a leprosarium to a sanatorium.

The term "sanatorium" was often used throughout the 20th century in the US as a socially-acceptable term for psychiatric hospitals.


In Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, and other former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 republics, the term "sanatorium" is generally used for a combination resort/recreational facility and a medical facility to provide short-term complex rest and medical services. It is similar to spa resorts
Destination spa
A destination spa is a short term residential/lodging facility with the primary purpose of providing individual services for spa-goers to develop healthy habits. Historically many such spas were developed at the location of natural hot springs or sources of mineral waters...

 with medical services.

In How the Universe got its Spots, (pp. 63-70), physicist Janna Levin
Janna Levin
Janna J. Levin is a theoretical cosmologist. She holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology granted in 1993 and a Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy and Physics from Barnard College granted in 1988...

 describes a scientific meeting in a sanatorium near Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 at the end of 1999. She discusses mathematics and general relativity
General relativity
General relativity or the general theory of relativity is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1916. It is the current description of gravitation in modern physics...

 but mentions no medical care.

See also

  • Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium
    Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium
    The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium was a tuberculosis sanatorium established in Saranac Lake, New York in 1885 by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau. After Trudeau's death in 1915, the institution's name was changed to the Trudeau Sanatorium, following changes in conventional usage...

  • Losheng Sanatorium
    Losheng Sanatorium
    Losheng Sanatorium is a hospital for lepers, which is located in Xinzhuang District, New Taipei City , Taiwan. Losheng means "happy life"...

  • Waverly Hills Sanatorium
    Waverly Hills Sanatorium
    The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a closed sanatorium located in southwestern Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky. It opened in 1910 as a two-story hospital to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients. In the early 1900s, Jefferson County was ravaged by an outbreak of tuberculosis which prompted...

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