Solar Medicine: Benefits of Heliotherapy
For thousands of years, life revolved around the sun and human beings worshipped the sun for its life-giving powers.
Unfortunately, in just a matter of decades, our way of life has changed so much which has included our appreciation for and reliance on the sun to support our physical and emotional health.
Just as our ancestors understood, today's 'good' science knows that sunlight is crucial to a well functioning human body that is devoid of disease.
In fact, sunshine is just as crucial as the food you eat, the liquids you drink, how much you move and the quality of air you breathe.
Sunlight has also been proven to stimulate the brain with emotional molecules of happiness and joy, to help relieve mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
The bottom line is that you should respect and embrace the fun, not fear it.
And that's why Heliotherapy can be so powerful in helping to heal such a wide variety of poor health conditions.
Heliotherapy is an ancient practice, but its benefits have been forgotten today in favour of invasive, modern treatments. Keep reading to find out the benefits of heliotherapy and why you should get more natural sunlight every single day to experience the life-changing effects of solar medicine.
1. Boosts Mood
One of the often overlooked benefits of heliotherapy is that it’s incredibly beneficial for your mood and overall outlook on life. More than any other time in history, we live the majority of our lives inside under artificial light in windowless offices, indoor sports arenas and nighttime venues. We spend our lives lounging indoors with the curtains drawn venturing outside only minimally.
Not only does this impact your health, but also your mood. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is very real and can particularly affect people living in climates with long winters and short days. Light affects our receptors in the brain that produce serotonin, which affects our mood. When a person lacks full spectrum light, rainbow colours and near ultraviolet light of sunlight, this can lead to depression. By going outdoors for at least 30 minutes per day, you can expose yourself to full-spectrum light, which is considered light healing or heliotherapy.
Learn more in Tips to Heal & Prevent Depression Naturally.
2. Improves Skin Conditions
Too many people mistakenly believe that the sun is bad for your skin, but it’s actually the cure to so many skin conditions. In fact, lack of sun is often the reason why we develop skin conditions in the first place! But we’ve been conditioned to believe that time in the sun will lead to skin cancer and that sunscreen is an absolute necessity, when this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When the time comes for us to venture outside, we usually hide our bodies from the sun. We use sunglasses, hats, skin creams and lotions, makeup products, clothing and more to “protect” our skin from the sun. But when you think about it, just 50 years ago, people received around three to six hours of natural sunlight per day and now the average exposure is only around 30 to 45 minutes.
Many skin concerns can be corrected by increasing your amount of sun exposure each day. In fact, 95 percent of those suffering from psoriasis improve or even remit the condition with regular doses of intense sun.
Studies have found that one of the benefits of heliotherapy is that it may help protect against lymphoma and cancers of the prostate, lung and even the skin. Research suggests that for every one death caused by sun caused skin cancer, thirty can be prevented by getting more vitamin D from sunshine.
If you’re worried about sun burns, the truth is that people are only susceptible to sunburns when they have nutritional deficiencies caused by consuming soft drinks, processed foods, white flour, refined sugars, and other similar substances. A person on the standard American diet can sunburn very easily. But if that same person follows a whole food diet for several months, and avoids all processed foods, even redheads won’t burn their skin in the sunlight.
Learn more in Sunscreen: Prevent or Cause Cancer?
3. Boosts Vitamin D and Immune System
Another one of the benefits of heliotherapy is the increased vitamin D you’ll receive, which can significantly improve your health and immune system. Sunshine creates rare micronutrients in the bloodstream and in the lymph stream, and it affects the electrical properties of the neural receptors on the entire skin base and in the brain. It’s healthy.
Natural sunlight is absolutely essential for good health, and without it, you are far more susceptible to cancer, depression, obesity, osteoporosis and many other diseases. Sunlight is a natural cure that helps the body maintain a high state of health.
During cold and flu season, it’s especially important to spend enough time in sunlight in order to give your body and immune system what it needs to fight disease and illness.
Learn more in Why Sunshine Strengthens Your Immune System.
4. Regulates Internal System
One of the most basic but crucial functions of the sun on your body is that it regulates the natural rhythm of activity and inactivity. Our primary regulatory rhythm is called the circadian system. This system is unique in that it is directly attuned to the 24-hour rotation of the Earth. Our body’s internal clock is triggered by this ongoing cyclical routine of light-to-darkness, which then coordinates a multitude of events and functions.
The circadian system and sunlight prepares us for the start of each new day. When light from the morning reaches us, our heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature automatically begin to rise, and the hormone cortisol, which helps defend the body against stress, starts to increase from nighttime. The cortisol levels peak after sunrise. This is when our heart rate and body temperature continue to rise in expectation of the day’s activities.
This rhythm benefits every single bodily function, but when you deprive yourself of enough sunlight for your body to follow the rhythm, you start to see health concerns, depression, and more.
Learn more in 5 Daily ‘Musts’ to Boost Your Energy Naturally.
Research has shown clearly that the human body requires at least moderate amounts of the entire spectrum of natural sunlight, on a regular basis, in order to function at an optimal level. But sunlight can do so much more than just help you function: one of the main benefits of heliotherapy is that it can virtually cure depression, disease, and transform your overall health.
There’s no doubt that sunshine is good for you. You don’t want to overdo it and become blistered in one day. But 15-30 minutes of heliotherapy helps the body to create vitamin D in the bone marrow that you can’t get from any other source, including supplements and diet.
It is precisely the sun that holds the key to overcoming many diseases in the Western world. We need more sunshine, not less, and while there is certainly such a thing as too much sunshine in one setting, the fact is that almost nobody living in modern cities gets even the minimum daily requirement of sunshine.
So, find ways to spend more time outside in the natural sunlight, and experience the life changing benefits of heliotherapy. Of course, it doesn't mean take all your clothes off and baking yourself in the mid day sun. But it does mean consciously exposing as much of your face and body to the sun for short periods of time each day, especially in the morning before the sun reaches its greatest intensity.
Your more quality sunshine you get - without reliance on toxic, chemical-based sunscreen - the more your health will thank you for it.
Tolman Self Care.