Discover The Effects Of Sunlight!
Discover the wondrous and therapeutic effects of sunlight on the human body.
There was a time in this world when there were no doctors. People lived in accordance with nature, relied on nature and died a natural death. With advancement in science and technology, man has begun to overlook nature. No wonder, illnesses seem to be spreading their empires everywhere. There is not only a steep rise in the frequency and intensity of old diseases, but there is also a rapid increase in new diseases. We have little control over these newly emerging diseases caused by pollution, ecological imbalance, chemical waste and other such factors. It is but sad that man has forgotten the essence of the healing properties of nature.
In this hustle and bustle of living in air-conditioned concrete jungles, many wouldn’t have even had a glimpse of the sun in months… maybe even years. Most often, the thought of the sun brings to mind heat, sweat and tan, but there is so much more to the sun. The sun is the very source of energy. Without sunlight, there would be no green plants, no animals, and no human beings. The sun can be our best friend or worst enemy. It all depends on how we relate with it. For centuries, natural healers have relied on sunlight for healing and to rebuild strength after an illness. However, over the last few years, research has shown an alarming rise in the incidence of skin cancer because of exposure to the sun. While the right kind of exposure to the sun can make a person healthier, wrong exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer. The solution lies in moderation backed up with right timing.
The best time to get the most of the sun is the one hour that immediately follows sunrise or precedes sunset, in any part of the world, at any time of the year. It has been scientifically proven that at this time the sun’s rays have many health benefits. Exposure to the sun between 10.00 a.m. and 4 p.m. is not advisable. The extent of exposure, however, is determined by factors such as clothing, occupation, lifestyle, age and geographical factors like altitude and latitude.
The primary source of vitamin D is sunlight. It is rightly termed as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is a hormone-like substance that the body produces when it gets enough sunlight. We get just one quarter of it from the diet, and our bodies find it harder to absorb vitamin D from the diet as we age. We need calcium for strong bones and teeth and to make sure that calcium does its job, it’s very important that we get vitamin D. When vitamin D is lacking, there is a risk of brittle bone disease (termed as rickets in children and osteomalacia in elderly people). Vitamin D also plays a role in increasing the amount of oxygen our blood circulates in the body, which in turn boosts our energy levels, sharpens our mental faculties and gives us a greater feeling of well-being. So, let’s join hands with the sun and make it a friend for life.
We can never compete with nature. Sunlight kills germs and bacteria. This is nature’s way of protecting us from diseases. Sunlight combined with fresh air and exercise has an exhilarating effect on the brain and nervous system. It increases the Red Blood Cell (RBC) count and promotes blood circulation. Blood likes warmth. Exposure to the right kind of sunlight increases the production of White Blood Cells (WBC), which aids in strengthening the immune system. When the rooms in our homes are not exposed to sunlight, the fresh air in the room gets reduced, thereby creating a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. While depressed, escape into nature. In the presence of sunlight, our body has been found to increase the production of serotonin, which helps to prevent fatigue and depression. In places where there is not much sunlight, many suffer from winter blues. They eventually resort to some artificial indoor light box treatment.
When animals and birds get ill, they absorb the sun’s rays early in the morning in order to cure themselves. Through sun bathing, one can effect a cure without having to resort to medicines. While sun bathing was and is still practiced by many native people, remember that frequent, short exposures are not only safer but also more beneficial than prolonged exposures to sunlight.
As much as the body needs the sun, it also needs to be protected from it. Talking about the ill effects of exposure to the sun… repeated exposure to the sun damages elastin fibres in the skin and accelerates the aging process. The skin loses its elasticity, starts to sag and wrinkle, and becomes leathery. The damage is irreversible, with signs beginning to show in the early thirties. Once even a little damage has occurred, repeated exposure to the sun only increases the effect.
The sun can be blazing hot in summer. The air is hot, as if blowing straight from an oven. This can burn the skin and cause sunstroke. When the sun is bright, it is advisable to wear good quality sunglasses. These should be designed in a way that they reduce the total amount of energy reaching the retina. Over exposure to the sun’s rays may damage the retina. This is the reason why we are asked not to look at the sun directly during an eclipse, as it could cause serious damage to our vision, to the extent of blindness. It is important to note that excessive exposure has been linked to all types of skin cancer, which are caused by the ultraviolet radiations contained in sunlight. Sunburns can be avoided by using a proper sunscreen lotion. Our skin does not have a strong protection mechanism against excessive ultraviolet exposure. The decrease in the ozone layer over the last few decades is increasing the incidence of such health hazards. So, people who are exposed to direct sunlight on a daily basis should take extra precautions.
We need to maintain a balance – we need enough sunlight to keep our bones healthy, but at the same time not so much that we run a risk of skin cancer.