Dangerous Sun or Heliotherapy?

Since ancient times man has worshipped the sun. Sun Temples can be found in the Inka and old Egyptian empires. There was a right of light in the old Rome. It was common practice to visit solaria on a regular basis.

Our life is coined by the solar year. The longest day (summer solstice) falls on 21st June (St. John´s day) and half a year later the shortest day falls on 21st December (Christmas). Particularly people in the northern countries kindled bonfires to help the sun to return after the shortest day. Sun is life!

Soranus of Ephesus (1st century) applied sunlight for treatment (Heliotherapy) of chronic diseases (epilepsy, paralysis, haemorrhagia, asthma, etc.).

In the British Medical Journal 4th March, 1916 Ltd. Col. Berkly Moynihan wrote: "In the treatment of all gunshot wounds where the septic processes are raging, and the temperature varies through several degrees, an immense advantage will accrue from placing patients out of doors." In World War I wounds of soldiers were exposed to sunlight to achieve rapid healing.

Florence Nightingale stated: "No ward is in any sense a good ward in which the sick are not at all times supplied with pure air, light and a due temperature.

The era of antibiotics terminated sunlight therapy. It was more comortable to treat the patients by antibiotic pills than to wheel them out. It would have been better to to do one thing but not to omit the other.  Wheeling out as a standard and pills for the complicated cases only. Easiness and greed terminated sunlight therapy in the end. Now we complain of resistance among germs and challenge overcoming.

Nowadays light therapy is applied during the dark season to treat the "winter blues", especially in Scandinavia. Lighttherapy as such has almost completely disappeared.

Experts are telling us: "The sun is dangerous". We have to protect ourselves from sunlight to survive. This message is reinforced by public campaingns to curb the anual increase in skin cancers. We must use sunprotection clothing and heavy-duty sunblock. Ideally, we should act like Count Dracula: "Fear the first ray of light; you might turn into dust!

How has mankind survived the previous centuries without the knowledge of nowadays` experts in medicine?

Sun is life! Put a plant in a dark room and you will easily see what it means to turn away from the sun.

Using heavy-duty sunblocks increases the risk of skin cancers! Sunburn is painfully noticed. Not so after the appliication of sunblocks having a high sunscreen factor. The alarm mechanism is put out of order. We resemble a diabetic patient with no sensation in his feet. Stepping in a nail thus would not bother him at all. However, this is not desirable. This is what happens when using heavy-duty sunblocks.

High sunscreen factors and the avoidance of sunlight lead to a vitamin D (a hormone) deficiency. Vitamin D is not responsible for bone metabolism only. This hormone stabilizes our immune system. A deficiency may result in aquiring  infectious diseases and an increased risk of cancer. Therefore, sunscreen factors of maximum 6 should be used. Everything above this is dangerous, because sun is life.

People of African origin are endangered in regions of higher latitude, because they have a high inherited sunscreen factor in the skin.  They should, therefore, seek medical counseling.

For patients who suffer from frequent attacks of infectious diseases or in case of cancer it is advisable to check for vitamin D and to supplement adaquately (as well as Vitamin K2 (MK7) and Vitamin A). In the 50ies particularly children were treated by UVB lamps. Nowadays experts have banned these lamps completely. I do advise visiting a solarium during the dark season even though modern sun beds have only little UVB radiation left. Still you will profit from that little impact on your vitamin D synthesis. Paracelsus (1493 - 1541) told us that only the dose determines if a substance is poisonous or not.

I can assist you in supporting your immune system and that of your children. This does not mean that I favour treating all children with vitamin D. Only a deficiency has to be corrected. Rely on common sense. Sapere aude!

Pioneers of light therapy:

Dr George Bodington (1799 - 1882), Florence Nightingale (1820 - 19120), Dr Niels Finsen (1860 - 1904), Dr Oskar Bernhard (1861 - 1939), Dr Auguste Rollier (1874 - 1954) Sir Henry Gauvain (1876 - 1945), Sir Leonhard Hill (1866 - 1952)

Literature:

Richard Hobbay, 1999: The Healing Sun, Sunlight and Health in the 21st Century. Findhorn Press.