If you listen to popular opinion, the only thing possibly worse than death and taxes would be the sun. Our steady, reliable sun has gotten a mountain of bad press over the past two decades, leading many folks to believe than even a modicum of exposure spells a death sentence. Sunshine equals pure evil or as many would suggest, certain skin cancer.
But hold the phone!
Before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, or the Sun out with Pluto, maybe we should give equal time to all the healing benefits of the sun. We took a long look at the pros and the cons of sun exposure and our investigation convinced us that in moderate amounts it’s good for all of us to let the sunshine in.
Over the past twenty years, the pendulum has shifted from all out sun-worship to total sun avoidance. Not surprisingly, both these swings have had their effects on our general health and well-being. Many of us have tales of misspent youth where we spent hours lounging poolside, slathered in tropical oils and potions absolutely devoid of sunscreen. Our goals were simple: to get as bronzed and darkened by the solar rays as we possibly could without burning to an absolute crisp. Tan was cool. We “caught some rays.” The darker our skin color, the better. Sadly, that cool, continuous overexposure led to wrinkles, and worse, sky-rocketing incidences of skin cancer.
As a result, dire warnings came out about the dangers of the sun. In response, troves of Americans went scurrying from all manner of sunlight and sunscreen manufacturers went into overdrive. The Sun became the modern day bogeyman, something to fear and avoid at all costs. Instead of garlic or a silver bullet, we sought out suncreens with SPFs of 40, 70, and beyond.
As it turns out, that avoidance comes with a cost. More and more research is finding that too little exposure to the sun has an impact on our health as well. More of an impact that you might have thought. Research is finding that there are more health risks from a lack of sun exposure than over exposure. For example, lack of Vitamin D that comes from sun exposure can have serious consequences effecting our hearts, tissue, bones, blood, and minds. When we stay out of the sun or block it out with lotions and ointments, we also block out its many healthy properties.
Healing Benefits of the Sun
Sunshine, in moderation, can be very good medicine. Even though heliosis sounds like a contagious disease, it is actually what the ancient Greeks called the natural healing properties of the sun. Today we refer to it as heliotherapy – sun therapy — but by any name the sun can be very healthy and restorative. Let’s break it down.
Sunshine on our bodies causes all kinds of healthy processes to activate. The most important process is the creation of Vitamin D. It is amazing the many potent and powerful ways ordinary sunshine and Vitamin D effects our bodies.
Here are just a few of the many healing benefits of the Sun:
Sunshine as Antiseptic
Sunshine kills bacteria and so it makes a natural disinfectant, which is why it is beneficial in treating and healing wounds.
Sunshine, Nature’s Dermatologist
Sunshine is excellent for improving a variety of skin conditions. Dermatologists prescribe sun exposure in the treatment of many skin disorders like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Sun and Your Heart
Sun exposure is very good for the overall cardio-vascular system. Studies have shown that sunshine works to improve circulation, lower cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure, and clean the blood.
Your Sunny Disposition
If you feel better on sunny days, you aren’t alone. Sunshine can have a significant positive effect on mood and elevates our spirits. In fact, some people react so negatively to sun-deprivation during the wintertime, they become quite depressed. A whole disorder grew up around the condition and is known as seasonal affect disorder. While some patients responded to sun lamps, most improved most when with natural sunlight.
Sun and Your Mind
We found all kinds of medical evidence linking Vitamin D deficiency to dementia. Sunshine seems to promote positive mental health. Cause enough to get our sun on.
Your Spine, Your Smile
The Vitamin D sunshine helps to create is an essential to strengthening our bones and teeth. As people, especially women have shied away from sun exposure there has been an alarming increase in osteoporosis.
Sun and Your Immune System
Once again vitamin D comes into play as an important component of your immune system.
A study of 30,000 Swedish women found that those who spent more time in the sun lived six months to two years longer than those with less sun exposure.
Hopefully we’ve opened your eyes to the many advantages of moderate sun exposure. If it seems like we’ve used the word moderate a lot it’s because moderation is key. For most people that means somewhere between fifteen and thirty minutes a day, every day. That does not mean four hours on the sand beside the water on an overcast day or spending an afternoon on a lake without sunscreen.
All we’re saying is use your heads and your sunscreen if you expect to be out in the direct sunlight for more than fifteen minutes. Know your own skin, know your own limits. Those with very fair complexions can burn in just that little time. Some people with olive or darker complexions can go longer than fifteen minutes without causing undue harm.
Sun is not your enemy, the Bogeyman, or something to be afraid of. It is a natural healer that, in moderation, can make you feel happier, healthier, and better off physically and mentally. Come out of the shadows, come out of the dark.
Let the sun shine in.
Subscribe To Our Mailing List
Don't miss out on another MarkandGary Article. It’s free, private and you can always unsubscribe at any time. Fill out the form and click Subscribe!