“When you feel the worst, turn to sun and all the shadows will fall behind you.” ~ John Lennon
Why did I decide to write about the sun? Maybe because I spent the entire winter waiting for it, and maybe you did, too. Maybe it’s because I can feel the sun rays on my skin, making me feel better and happier. Last week I spent as much time on the sun as possible. I realized how much I needed it and how important it is in the process of healing. I mean getting enough vitamin D for strong immune system. Vitamin D with SCD can create perfect protection barrier against any attacker :D Maybe you feel this article is a bit long, perhaps it is, but it’s up to you whether you stay or just go out and bask in the sun right away!
Firstly, a little boogieman. Vitamin D deficiency can be dangerous. People with such condition are more vulnerable to all kinds of ill effects. People who limit their exposure out of fear, hospitalized people, even the darker skinned that cover their bodies because of old traditions are preventing the sunlight to reach the skin. People that ingest vitamin D as a supplement included.
Insufficient sun influences seasonal depression but that’s common knowledge. Our psyche and body are giving us clear signals with the spring fatigue, lethargy, depression, higher sugar intake, this just screams for sun. It’s beautiful then, that all these symptoms disappear once exposed to the full spectrum of light.
Sun supports physical and mental activities, lowers blood pressure, improves blood flow into organs and muscles, increases glycogen, has similar effects like insulin, is positive for diabetics. Sunlight is good for children, studies show, that it can treat jaundice of newborns, supports bone growth in prepubescents.
Also mothers that spend their time on the sun during pregnancy usually give birth to children of larger growth.
So how does sun enter our bodies?
1. Most importantly, sun enters us through our eyes and then into our brain. Epiphysis then uses the light to create healthy melatonin which triggers production of serotonin. Serotonin is important for good sleep and limiting the craving for sugar. Considering many medications are based around increasing serotonin levels, sun exposure could lead to easing up on the meds. Studies also show, that shades, contact lens and spectacles block our eyes’ ability to recognize sun rays. Brain then does not properly assess how much sun are we exposed to and then does not administer the necessary levels of melatonin. Melatonin, thanks to which our skin gets the tan which in turn protects the body against the the less benign effects of the sun. So wearing shades or glasses makes our body not realize it is exposed to maximum radiation and therefore does not provide sufficient defenses which prevent sunburn. Eyes help the body to properly adjust when exposed to sun.
From biological standpoint we are meant to be on the sun. It’s a source of health and happiness for us. So how to best accept the sun? Best in the morning and late afternoon, with no shades or glasses or other protective solutions against the sun. People in offices or bed ridden should at least have an open window and let some sun into the room. It is said that half an hour a day on the sun is enough, so get out there!
2. We also absorb the sun with our skin. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that our body creates itself. Using suntan could be a whole chapter by itself, more on that some other time perhaps. I personally don’t use suntan, I count on the perfection of the human body. My intuition tells me that using some super cream factor 60 would totally block out the sun from my skin, which means no vitamin D and no natural protection. When possible I watch the sunrise and sunset with my own eyes. It’s called regulated sighting and it has strict rules so there is no eye damage. Try googling a little, and do not look in the sun during high noon please, that’s not what it’s about.
Studies show, that despite some possible negative effects when exposed to sun, it is far more harmful if a person does not expose himself at all. Statistically, more people die in relation to vitamin deficiencies and illnesses relating to this than to skin cancer. Moderation is the best way, like with everything else. Don’t overdo it, but also don’t avoid the sun!
Bit of history for the inquisitive.
Sunlight as a tool for treatment has been used in ancient Greece, Egypt, Rome and other cultures. For example in Greece and Rome, patients were sent to “solariums” so they would be exposed to sunlight. Hippocrates, father of medicine, recommended heliotherapy in his records, in other words treatment with sun. At the end of the 17th century, doctors treated tuberculosis with sunlight because it can kill the harmful bacteria related to this disease. Many ancient civilizations worshiped the sun. Members of Aztec, Mayan, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Roman and other cultures prayed to the gods of sun for help and health. Early christian and mainly catholic churches pronounced these pagan rituals a sin and began to oppress them. But the remains of these rituals and worship are apparent to this day. After all we do have a Sunday. An Italian proverb says: “Dove il sole, non entra il dottore” which means “Where sun visits, doctor does not.”
P.S. I just want to add that this article is not a guide. It’s food for thought, everything we encounter is something to consider, how each one of us feels about it. Perhaps we are going to have a discussion about sun :)
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