The word “solarium” can describe a tanning bed.
A solarium is a sun room, from the Latin for “sun”. In Rome, this area might be on the roof of a villa and open to the elements. In medieval times it could be on the roof of one of the castle towers, but more typically it could be a room at the top of the tower, with windows all around so the room receives sunlight at any time of day. The manor house or castle solarium was usually the domain of the women, where they would gather to spin, weave, gossip, and manage the affairs of the estate.
Ultraviolet light is sometimes recommended as a way to treat acne.
When glass became plentiful and affordable, rather than an extravaganza, a solarium became a room built into an existing house, with walls mostly made of glass. This type was similar to a freestanding greenhouse, but could be reached from home without leaving the house and was usually furnished for entertaining or as a living room. The room can also be called a “conservatory” and the owner who owns one can grow exotic plants as a hobby.
Sunlight is normally the main feature of a solarium.
Today, the term solarium has several meanings; it can mean an attached porch or greenhouse, i.e. part of the living area of a home, or it can mean a tanning bed or facility that operates tanning beds. The “tanning” context of this room is relatively new. Tanning machines were formerly called tanning beds and then sun loungers. Apparently, the manufacturers and operators of these devices think that the Latin term bestows more prestige on their services.
The term solarium can refer to a balcony.
Sun tanning consists of lying in a compartment that surrounds the person with ultraviolet light. It is the ultraviolet light that causes the skin to tan. However, overexposure to ultraviolet light also causes skin cancer. Some experts recommend exposure to a certain amount of ultraviolet rays for therapeutic purposes, for skin conditions like acne, for example.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays can encourage the body’s own creation and release of endorphins, a natural feel-good substance that has a similar effect to morphine. It is quite possible that the use of tanning beds can cause psychological or even physical dependence. People should proceed with caution when tanning to improve their appearance and keep the dermatologist’s phone number in a safe place.