Go out and enjoy some sunshine!
It's the perfect time to start having an awesome day , do something to brighten up your mood and at the same time take in some additional health benefits.
Humans have a long history of using sunlight therapy.
“Even before ancient cultures understood the science of the sun and its light rays, they understood it was special. They recognized it, and in many cases deified it, as the bringer of life and energy for the planet. Stonehenge is widely thought to be a site of sun worship; ancient Greeks built roofless buildings to expose themselves to light.
Herodotus believed it helped heal muscles and nerves.
Ancient Egyptians believed bathing in various colored light would promote healing of associated ailments.
According to Indian medical literature from around 1,500 BC, light therapy was used to treat skin disorders.
Chinese texts dating from 1,000 - 2,000 years ago describe a range of color and light therapies for the treatment of skin and mental disorders.
Today, sunlight therapy is referred to as heliotherapy.
In modern science, the earliest work in studying light was by Niels Ryberg Finsen in the late 19th century. Awarded the Nobel prize for his work in 1903, his was the first device that generated artificial sunlight to treat several conditions.
Three decades later, a lack of vitamin D, normally produced by the skin’s exposure to sunlight, was identified as the cause of Rickets, a disorder that weakens and softens the bones. In the 1950s, Eastern European researchers began publishing case reports “soft” laser light helped relieve arthritis pain with Endre Mester of Hungary demonstrating the first early tests of laser phototherapy.
Then in the early 1990s, NASA conducted a study using LED light, specifically to figure out how to help plants grow in space. The result was a new understanding of how light interacted with biology. Research soon turned to understanding light’s effect on animal and human cells, with astounding results.
“In space, the weightless environment slows cellular growth, in part because it depends on gravity. NASA research examined the use of light to penetrate deep into tissues and found it stimulated cell growth and promoted healing in zero-G environments.
Today, LED Light Therapy is an FDA-approved cosmetic procedure that is gentle, painless, safe and effective. Treatments are non-invasive and non-abrasive.
Red Light helps to encourage collagen production and healing in the skin. It helps to increase blood and oxygen flow to the skin and capillaries, therefore increasing cellular metabolism and strengthening the capillary walls. Red LED Therapy is also an excellent treatment for scarring and rosacea. The red light penetrates deeply into skin tissue. It stimulates gradual healing by increasing blood circulation and lymphatic activity.
Blue LED Light Therapy has proven very effective against more difficult acne cases, and instances where an ongoing acne treatment appears to have stalled. In clinical studies, blue light has been shown to generate singlet oxygen which attacks the bacteria that causes acne. More than 86 percent of study participants experienced a 74% acne reduction!”
Exposure to the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in sunlight, that we can find spending time in the outdoors, has many beneficial effects on human health.
When we see slightly tanned people, we instinctively think that they look healthier than very pale people.
Sunlight helps increasing Vitamin D levels.
According to Clifford Rosen, M.D. in the summer it takes only about 10 minutes a day of unprotected solar exposure on a small area of skin to produce around 5,000 IU of vitamin D, which is enough for most people—even older folks, who have a slightly reduced capacity to make vitamin D—to maintain normal blood levels.
“Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin through a photosynthetic reaction triggered by exposure to UVB radiation.
At least 1,000 different genes, governing virtually every tissue in the body, are regulated by the active form of the vitamin D.
Vitamin D accumulates in cells of the intestines, where it enhances calcium and phosphorus absorption, controlling the flow of calcium into and out of bones. Thus, adequate vitamin D production through sun exposure is vital for healthy bones.
Without enough vitamin D, bones will not form properly. In children, this deficiency is called rickets, a disease that retards growth and causes skeletal deformities, such as bowed legs.
Low vitamin D levels cause and worsen osteoporosis and osteomalacia (painful bone disease) in both men and women.”
Sun exposure sets circadian rhythm
“Circadian rhythms are influenced by your environment -- in particular, by light exposure, which adjusts your body clock and suppresses the release of melatonin, a natural hormone that signals to your body that it's time to sleep, says Charles Czeisler, director of the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School.”
“Studies published in the 70’s showed that part of the brain (the hypothalamus), the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), functions as the core circadian pacemaker in mammals. Basically, the SCN helps your body tell the time of day.
The SCN receives its messages from the eye. These messages will depend on how much light the eye is being exposed to.
So, your body’s key way of telling the time of day will depend on how much light your eyes receive at certain times of the day.
This is very important for your health. Studies show that having a good circadian rhythm is important for regulation of sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and other important bodily functions.
Getting enough sunlight during the daytime is essential for good sleep. Getting enough light increases night-time melatonin levels. You might also find you go to bed earlier.
Sun Exposure makes you happier and combats depression and SAD
The 3 main mechanisms by which sun benefits mood is by the serotonin and dopamine system and vitamin D.”
Sun and Serotonin
“Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. At night, darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping you sleep.
Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD). This is a form of depression triggered by the changing seasons.”
Sun and Dopamine
“Dopamine motivates us to take action toward goals, desires, and needs, and gives a surge of reinforcing pleasure when achieving them. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine.”
“Light also increases dopamine release and the dopamine DRD2 receptors.
In Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), symptoms include lethargy, worsened reflexes, weight gain and low motivation, which all suggest a less functional dopamine system. In these people, dopamine transporters are reduced in dopamine-rich areas (striatum).
Acute bright light exposure (7000 lux for 10 min) increased blood flow in dopamine-rich areas of the brain (striatum) in healthy volunteers.
In patients with SAD, neurotransmitter/catecholamine depletion reversed the therapeutic efficacy of bright light, which shows that the effects are mediated by neurotransmitters.
Rodents kept in constant darkness showed increased destruction of neuronal cells that release neurotransmitters — changes that were associated with behavioural alterations indicative of a depressed state.
Even when precursors to dopamine were depleted, mood and agreeableness still increased from bright light, which shows that it works on the receptors or transporters.”
Sun exposure protects against brain disorders
One study (Physiol Behav. 1988;42(2):141-4.) found that, of the 80 participants with Alzheimer’s disease, over half had low vitamin D levels, which suggests that they aren’t getting enough sun.
“Subjects with Alzheimer’s were exposed to bright light significantly less than healthy controls (0.5 vs. 1.0 hr). Healthy elderly received about two-thirds the duration of bright light received by healthy younger subjects.
There is an association between decreased exposure to bright light and the declines in sleep quality which typically accompany normal and diseased aging.
People with Alzheimer’s had disturbed circadian rhythms and sun is critical to circadian rhythms.
Red to infrared light therapy (λ = 600–1070 nm), and in particular light in the near infrared (NIr) range, is capable of arresting neuronal death. This therapy is being explored for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients. Sun contains infrared.
Increased light exposure consolidates sleep and strengthens circadian rhythms in severe Alzheimer’s disease patients.”
In Parkinson’s, light exposure (1000–1500 lux, 1 hour daily for 2 weeks) improved mood, social activity and motor function and, in some cases, reduced medication for dopamine replacement by 13%–100%.
Sunbathing encourages dental health
“Past research has found links between vitamin D levels and gum health, including research that discovered that the higher the vitamin D level, the lower the prevalence of gingivitis, and that higher vitamin D levels can impact inflammation of the gums. A 2004 study in the United States also determined that vitamin D affects risk for periodontal disease due to its effect on bone mineral density.”
“Sun exposure and subsequent increases in vitamin D levels reduce the formation of dental cavities.
In agreement, studies have determined that people who live in sunny locations have fewer cavities, and vice versa.
Children with severe early childhood cavities are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D concentrations at or above 30–40 ng/ml should significantly lower the formation of dental caries.
Another study on children found that 800 IU/day of vitamin D was enough to prevent cavities in children.
In dogs, increasing vitamin D levels led to increased calcification of the teeth.”
So what are you waiting for?
Go and get your minimum of daily 10 minutes sunshine right now!
Feel healthier, feel happier!
Meet up with some friends for your sunshine break!
Find happiness in the simple things and spread the positive energies and vibes together!