Heading West for The Cure

Lyra Kilston at Cabinet:

In Southern California, early health seekers embraced the sunshine, fresh air, and opportunity to sleep outdoors. To reap the benefits of particular microclimates, they often lived somewhat nomadically, circulating between various hotels, boarding houses, or crudely erected tent cities. Some traveled by horse-drawn house wagon, wandering the desert to take air and sun baths. A family in Pasadena pitched a carpet over tree branches and lived beneath the peaked shelter for six weeks. An ill Massachusetts man roamed the bucolic Ojai Valley with a cow, subsisting only on its raw milk until he claimed a miraculous recovery.

Such makeshift regimens, reliant on climatic cures, were also practiced in the warmer parts of Europe. But a more formalized health infrastructure was being developed in Europe’s colder climes, blending the efficiency of a hospital with the comforts of a hotel.

more here.