This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Marcus Julian Felicetti
Atapa Snana is the yogic phrase for the healing science of sun bathing. We live in a modern world that is bombarded with paranoid messages about how dangerous the sun is. We should remember that the ancient yogis and many other cultures knew how to use the sun to heal all kinds of illnesses, and bring about radiant health.
In the West we also have a history of using sunlight therapy that dates back to the ancient Greeks. It was called heliosis. Today, the name for sunlight therapy is heliotherapy.
We evolved as a human race for millions of years under the warmth and love of the sun. Perhaps drenching ourselves in poisonous sunblock from head to toe is not the answer.
Sunblock has many draw backs. Most brands are laden with toxic chemicals such as:
- Oxybenzone, which is linked to hormone disruption and cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.
- Retinyl palmitate, which has now been proven to be a carcinogen.
- Octyl-methoxycinnamate causes oxidation damage of the skin, which ages your face.
- Butyl-Methdiebenzoylmethane, which releases free radicals into the body.
- Benzophenone 2 (BP2), decreases the function of the thyroid, in a population that is already seriously suffering from hypothyroidism (under active).
Furthermore, sunblock stops the sun’s ultra violet rays from creating Vitamin D in the body, which is essential for many functions such as:
- bone health
- supports the immune system
- protects against dementia and brain aging
- good for loosing excess fat
- essential for decreasing symptoms of asthma
- strengthens teeth
We are making a whole generation Vitamin D deficient with fear of the sun.
Ultra Violet light is just one frequency of light; there are eight others – infrared, and the seven spectrums of visible light. Each one has its own unique healing power!
Here are 10 benefits of getting a moderate amount of sun exposure:
1. Sunlight and whole foods send breast cancer into remission. The American physician Dr. Zane Kime used sunbathing and nutrition to cure his patients. Even in terminal cases, Dr. Kime was able to completely reverse the metastasized cancer.
2. The sun’s light kills bad bacteria. The German solders after WWI knew of the discoveries that had been made in 1903 by the Nobel Prize winner, Niels Finsen. They used sunlight to disinfect and heal wounds.
3. Sunlight has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema and fungal infections of the skin.
4. Sunlight lowers cholesterol. The sun converts high cholesterol in the blood into steroid hormones and the sex hormones we need for reproduction. In the absence of sunlight, the opposite happens; substances convert to cholesterol.
5. The sun’s rays lower blood pressure. Even a single exposure significantly lowers blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. On the other hand, pharmaceutical drugs such as Statins have side effects, such as robbing the body of Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is essential for cellular and heart energy.
6. Sunlight penetrates deep into the skin to cleanse the blood and blood vessels. Medical literature published in Europe showed that people with atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) improved with sun exposure.
7. Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood. And, it also enhances the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissues; very similar to the effects of exercise. The sun has a great effect on stamina, fitness and muscular development.
8. Sunlight builds the immune system. The white blood cells, which increase with sun exposure, are called lymphocytes, and these play a major role in defending the body against infections.
9. Regular sunlight exposure increases the growth and height of children, especially babies. Many cultures throughout history have recognized this fact. Studies have shown the amount of sun exposure in the first few months has an effect on how tall the person grows.
10. Sunlight can cure depression. The noon sunshine can deliver 100,000 lux. When we sit in offices for the best part of the day, out of the sun, under neon and artificial lights (150-600 lux), we are depriving ourselves of the illumination of nature. Sunlight deprivation can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. It is more common in winter months, but also common in people who work long hours in office buildings.
Exposure to the sun should be done SLOWLY! If you are not used to the sun, then your skin will be more sensitive to it. Avoid sunburn by building up your tolerance SLOWLY.
Marcus became a yoga teacher soon after discovering yoga at University. His classes are fun, passionate and often intense. They offer students the chance to go deep within and connect with their breath and release their emotions.