Heliotherapy or Sunbathing
Is one of the oldest ancient health care practices, used for thousands of years to keep people in a good level of health and to fight common illness by boosting immunity through the creation of natural unprocessed vitamin D.
The first recorded information about this practice were found in ancient Greece, Egypt, Rome, Persia and even Babylon, which had sun-gardens. In the third century AD, sunbathing called “Mithraism” became the universal religion.
The introduction of Christianity put an end to the practice, for over a thousand years, as the Christians considered Heliotherapy as a sin. The physicians of the Roman time considered sun to be the best medicine and food in the world. The gladiators were trained in the sunlight because it would enlarge and strengthen their muscles
In Greek mythology, Helios was the god of Sun, the god who drove the Sun across the sky every day. Hippocrates was a great sustainer of the Sun`s healing properties. Although heliotherapy refers to treatments that imply direct exposition to natural light, the Light therapy is known as useful with artificial light sources like ultraviolet, visible or infrared light radiation. From the late 1800s, heliotherapy became a very used technique in the treatment of tuberculosis of the bones, joints and skin. A long exposure to sunlight was proved to help in killing the bacteria which causes the disease.
Our Sun is a star situated in the center of the Solar System and it is considered to be the most important energy and life source for all living species on Earth. It is an almost perfect sphere containing hot plasma that has an internal convective motion, creating a magnetic field around.
The Sunlight or Solar constant
is the amount of power that the Sun deposits per unit area that is directly exposed to the ray. The solar constant is approximately 1,400 watts per square meter in clear condition. Earth`s atmosphere attenuates the solar constant to approximately 1000 watts per square meter, while the composition of the sunlight is about 50% infrared light, 40% visible light and 10% ultraviolet light. From that 10% of ultraviolet light, the atmosphere filters over 70%.
The role of the ultraviolet light is to create the electrically conducting ionosphere, by ionizing the Earth`s daytime upper atmosphere. Ultraviolet light from the Sun has antiseptic properties and can be used even to sanitize water and tools. On the medical field, it helps directly to the production of vitamin D process. The ozone layer attenuates the ultraviolet light, so that the amount of UV varies with latitude. Many biological adaptations, including variation of the skin color are related to this balance between UV amount and ozone layer capacity of filtration.
In his book, “Human Culture and Cure”, Dr G. D. Babbitt makes the following comment on the benefits of the sunlight: “There is a vast array of forces of every kind, including iron, magnesium, sodium, carbon and other elements conveyed by the sunlight, but why shall we not take these elements in their ordinary form from our drugstores, and not go to the trouble of taking sun-baths?
Because when these elements are given to us in so refined a form, as to come directly from the sun as an ether, or to float skywards and be driven to us by the solar rays, they must be far more penetrating, enduring, safe, pleasant and up building to the mental system than if they were used in a crude form ”
Sunlight brings life and warmth on Earth.
We all would not exist without them. From the perspective of Yin and Yang theory, Sun offers yang energy, vitalizing our system. Most of the health challenges in our life are yin conditions. People who practice sunbathing have shown lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels, regulated blood sugar and an increased white blood cell count. On the other hand, lack of sun exposure can lead to fertility problems, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, depression, cancer, arthritis. Medical literature on heliotherapy is contradictory.
While one field of investigation highlights the benefits, the other field presents it as a dangerous and health damaging practice. What modern medicine does not understand is that exposure to sun does not cause cancer. The sunlight works as an accelerator. If you have a healthy diet, life style, exposing to sunlight will accelerate your path towards longevity and health. If you have a toxic and additives based nutrition, exposing to sunlight will have an ill effect.
The major benefit points of sunbathing / heliotherapy :
When the body is exposed to sun, the serotonin and endorphin levels increase. The more sunlight, the more serotonin the brain produces. This is a neurotransmitter that is tied to states of wakefulness and good vibration. When the sunlight hits the optic nerve, some of the light is transmitted to the gland in charge of melatonin production, in the brain. In response, melatonin secretion decreases until night time, when the melatonin secretion increases again.
Strongly related to no 1 in this article, and the balanced production of melatonin, insomnia is cured with sunbathing. Exposure to sun will regulate the natural rhythm of serotonin and melatonin hormones production.
Regulate other hormone production
By stimulating the Pineal gland, sun exposure regulates the production of hormones, which allow for more creativity, mindfulness as well as helping to improve your vibrational mood, decreasing symptoms of menopause or PMS.
Clears skin irritations
Acne, eczema, rashes can be cured by sunbathing. You don`t have to believe it, experiment it at reasonable hours of the day.
Increases blood circulation
Both white and red blood cell count are increased by exposing our bodies to the sun, helping blood to circulate more efficiently.
Stimulates Vitamin D production
Vitamin D helps the body to regulate the immune system, increase calcium absorption, leading to strong bones, avoiding kidney stones, diabetes and obesity. This vitamin also improves cognitive functions and decrease the chances of developing Alzheimer`s disease. As we all know, in some countries, the pediatric doctor recommends to give our newborn children chemical processed D3 vitamin, called Vigantol, from september to may, motivating that the amount of vitamin D in the cold months is much lower than it is in the summer months.
Now that we know the benefits of sun exposure, we should talk about responsible sunbathing. During sunrise and sunset, sunlight is attenuated because of Rayleigh scattering from a particularly long passage through Earth`s atmosphere, and the Sun is faint enough to be viewed comfortably with the naked eye.
Remember that always a responsible sunlight exposure will affect our health in a positive way. We are the children of the Sun, and like a good parent, this big energy and light sphere will always feed us with the needed nutrients for mental and physic health. Of course, there will be days when we won`t believe in the miraculous power of the Sun. Just ask yourselves then: What makes the seed in the soil grow? Water? But what if we want to grow a plant without light? It will surely die. So.. again: what do we need to grow a seed? We should meditate on this to really understand the life cycle.
“The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happened with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky.”