The impact of sunlight on human health would not have been news for our ancestors.
Ancient and traditional medicines have long honoured the change of seasons and the effect they have on our health. Our body, mind and spirit respond to seasonal and environmental changes.
The solar seasons, the lunar phases, our daily waking and sleeping, our menstrual cycle, our breathing pattern and even our heart rate… these natural rhythms are encoded in our cells and in our genes. From the changing seasons, to our own hormone levels, we are all connected.
Hippocrates said that a city that is properly oriented toward the sun will have less diseases.
Enthusiasm for sunlight as medicine waned after antibiotics began to be widely used during the 1930s, but it has recently revived, as evidence mounts for the complex role that vitamin D plays in human biology.
Scientists are finding that exposure to the sun has numerous other benefits that may be especially important now — including helping to elevate mood, to improve the quality of our sleep and to strengthen the body’s innate defences.
As a result of spending some 90 percent of our time indoors, a large amount of human beings may be vitamin D deficient. This is not limited to those who live in countries that see less annual sunlight.
Lack of sun exposure and vitamin D deficiency have been linked to many serious chronic diseases, including autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancers.
Getting outside to soak up the sunlight is a great way to keep our mind-body connected and robust.
Earthing (also known as grounding) is also fast becoming a popular practice in today’s world, for a number of reasons.
Earthing refers to walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping outdoors to connect to the conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.
Sensible Sun Exposure
Your body needs a steady source of vitamin D for many different processes. Very few food contain significant amounts of vitamin D so regular, sensible sun exposure is the most natural way to get enough of it.
We have been taught from a very early age, through very clever marketing campaigns, to fear the sun, however frequent moderate exposure to the sun is healthful.
- Expose your arms, legs, back and abdomen to get the most out of the sun.
- Try not to wear your sunglasses all the time to get the most out of the sun.
- Choose clothing as a barrier to the sun rather than over using sunscreen*.
- Sensible exposure without sunscreen.
- Seeking shade when you can.
What factors influence vitamin D production?
- Sunscreen use*
- Skin pigmentation
- Time of day
- Season of the year
Due to all of these factors, it is difficult to give an exact recommendation of optimum time to spend in the sun.
As we move into this new season and the weather gets warmer, let’s encourage each other to get outside and reconnect with the amazing, abundant and healing gift that nature so freely offers us.
*A note on sunscreen:
Your skin is the largest organ of your body and since it is porous, it absorbs whatever you put on it. Check the ingredients of your sunscreen. Some sunscreens have been found to contain ingredients such as oxybenzone, that have been shown to disrupt hormones.
Mineral sunscreens, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are natural, nontoxic and are generally recognised as safe and effective for use in sunscreens.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may enjoy another article by Dr Donne on The Amazing Endurance of Innate Intelligence.