Home About TB TB History Human Impact Timeline People Profiles Sanatorium Age Preventing TB Finding TB Treating TB International TB Today Index

  The Sanatorium Age

 "Sanatorium" vs. "Sanitarium"

Children take sun at a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, the region in which heliotherapy originated.

"Sanitarium is the much older word, for it was used long before the twentieth century to apply to health resorts--many of which became famous for their combination of comfortable and even luxurious quarters with good food and the use of water from mineral springs that we in early days supposed to be beneficial, both for bathing and for drinking of the mineral water. We at once think of the wonderfully popular resort of Bath in England, similar resorts in Germany, and later many health resorts at Saratoga Springs north of Albany in New York State. Modeled after them were smaller resorts in many other countries, and, as a local example, there was, about sixty years ago, a popular sanitarium, known as Sulphur Springs Hotel, in Ancaster Township, Ontario, situated at the Sulphur Springs about three miles northwest of the village.

- Introduction
- First
- Types
- Life
- End

The campaign against tuberculosis had its beginning late in the nineteenth century chiefly in the last decade, and apart from employing mineral waters, these new health resorts very closely resembled the mineral spring hotels and sanitariums with which people were already familiar, for they were usually located in the country, and depended chiefly upon the fresh air and a plentiful supply of nourishing food. In fact, fresh air and extra food, including milk and eggs, were considered the essentials, and apart from an after dinner rest-hour and early to bed, the exercise of patients was very little restricted; and so, when in Canada the first anti-tuberculosis association was formed in 1895 and their first institution was built on Muskoka Lake near Gravenhurst, it was given the name of The Cottage Sanitarium, and this was followed in 1898 by the Gravenhurst Free Sanitarium. This name ‘Sanitarium’ was included in their charter, and for this reason it is still used, but following the organization of the National (or American) Anti-Tuberculosis Association

In 1904, it was felt that a distinction should be made between this type of health resort and the new hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis. 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 verb root sano, meaning to heal, and adopted the new word sanatorium. When the Hamilton Health Association received its charter in 1905 and was opened in 1906, this artificial distinction had already been recognized, and as a result their institution became known as Mountain Sanatorium, and this practice has been followed by most, if not all anti-tuberculosis institutions established since that date."

Some young TB patients pose for a group photo at the sanatorium.

This description was originally written by Dr. JA Holbrook in "Mountain View"—Hamilton, Ontario, and was reprinted in the Valley Echo in 1955 [vol. 36(3), page 5].