Contact |  Links | Privacy | Log In

Sunning - Embracing the Light

Sunlight is nature's healer and vital to our well-being and health. Doctors and healers have relied on sunlight treatments for many common alilments over the ages and modern medicine prescribes sunlight for the treatment of Rickets, Osteomalacia, Osteoporosis, Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis,Neonatal jaundice and Depression (SAD). Sunlight is also recognised as having a role in the prevention of Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, Type-1 diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease and a broad range of common and serious cancers.

The media and other business interests have raised the level of fear around sunlight to the point that many people now avoid it, to the serious detriment of their health. Many people today lead lives "in the dark", living and working under atrtificial light, slapping on sunscreen as soon as they see the sun, or wearing dark glasses. Such a life-style is likely to lead to serious health issues over the long-term.

It is important that people do not burn their skin under the sun, however this is most commonly attributed to "binge" sun-tanning. Being out in the sun regularly and covering up if it is too intense for your skin color allows your skin to naturally adapt to the conditions by increasing the melanin or natural pigment of the skin. Thus your skins protection is naturally increased. Maintaining a balance between sunshine and protection from burning has been made more complicated by migration. Dark skined people have difficulty receiving enough sunshine where they have migrated to areas with little sunlight - this is considered an important factor in the high incidence of internal cancers amongst coloured people in the United States. Equally those who have migrated to areas of strong sunlight but have fair skin suffer the reverse problem, the risk of skin cancer from over exposure.

The problem is that one of the key known benefits of Sunshine is its role in the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is very difficult to obtain through diet. Sunshine or more specifically UVB, falling on the skin, forms an important part in the bodies natural synthesis of this vital substance. A white person would normally only need 15-20 minutes of sunshine ( arms, neck and head exposed ) 2 -3 times a week to meet a large part of their requirement, darker skins may require considerably longer 20-30 times). Application of and SPF factor 8 cream can reduce absorbtion by 95%, glass also filters out UV light, so sunningi behind glass is ineffective. Supplements can be used for vitamin D deficiency but vitamin D manufactured by the body from the sun's energy has a slightly different chemical makeup and lasts longer in the body.

The Vitamin D factor is very important and a focus of much attention as it's deficiency has been linked to many serious health issues however there are other very important benefits to sunlight. As well as falling on the skin and helping in the production of Vitamin D and increasing the skins natural defences with the production of Melanin; sunlight also arrives at our eyes. The light in the eyes does not just go to the visual cortex to create a visual picture, some of the output of the optic nerve goes to the hypothalmus which in turn sends messages to the pineal and pituitary glands. Between them, these organs and glands regulate many of the functions of our mind and body including activities such as eating,sleeping and alertness. It also influences the thyroid and adrenal glands, reproductive organs, growth, body temperature and blood pressure. The Pineal Gland syncronises many of the bodies metabolic functions.

Serotonin production has been strongly linked with sunlight, peaking in the summer and reducing in the winter. This dip is often correlated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). High levels of Seratonin create a "feel good" factor and helps combat depression.

Melatonin which is important for sleep and is known to boost the immune system, is manufactured in the body from Serotonin. Thus the ability to manufacture sufficient melatonin is entirely reliant on their being sufficient Serotonin. Getting a good dose of bright sunshine in the day can ensure that not only are Seratonin levels boosted but also the light to dark pattern of night and day is properly established. Leading to a brighter more alert state in the day and plenty of Melatonin to help establish a deep and healing sleep at night.

The Seratonin and Melatonin pair are ubiquitous throughout the body, each usually having opposite effects. Therefore their importance certainly goes far beyond simple sleep and "feel good" factors and have subtle but extensive health consequences.

Sunlight on the skin also has the effect of increasing the blood flow through the capilliaries of the skin, increasing oxygen to these areas and flushing away any waste products that may have accumulated.

Given the vital importance of sunlight to our health and well-being it is no surprise to find that it is an important element in natural vision improvement also. "Sunning" is a simple self healing technique that should be practiced regularly, 5-10 minutes a day is ample.

Sunning is a very natural self-healing activity. To do it you simply have to sit down with your face up to the sun. Remember to always keep your eyes shut. Simply move your head from one side to side or gently circling the sun. Do not sun so long that you get sunburn - normally 5-10 minutes is enough. If when you start the light is too bright, try doing it in a more shaded position, like under the shade of a tree.

In the event of there being no sun, more extensive outdoor activities on a bright but cloudy day can still be beneficial. In the absense of any real sunlight you can practice sunning infront of a simple full spectrum bulb.