It’s summer and that means time for fun in the sun! I have changed in my thinking about catching sun rays, thanks to this post on heliotherapy. That’s a fancy word for sunbathing.
Did you know that :
Those who practice sunbathing have been shown to have lower blood pressure, regulated blood sugar, healthier cholesterol levels and an increased white blood cell count (higher immunity)? (quote from the above linked blog post by Carla Fernandez)
Ms. Fernandez quotes Dr G D Babbitt, author of the book, Human Culture and Cure, as saying:
”There is a vast array of forces of every kind, including iron, magnesium, sodium, carbon, and other elements conveyed by the sunlight, but why shall we not take these elements in their ordinary form from our drugstores, and not go to the trouble of taking sun-baths? Because when these elements are given us in so refined a form, as to come directly from the sun as an ether, or to float skywards and be driven to us by the solar rays, they must be far more penetrating, enduring, safe, pleasant, and up-building to the mental system than if they were used in a crude form.”
Agreed! A few weeks ago I woke up feeling awful. I felt sluggish and just did not want to engage in life. What turned it around was 1. more sleep (I went back to bed for 2 more hours), 2. some flax seed swallowed whole to get my digestive system moving, if you know what I mean, 3. Drinking a lot of water, and 4.soaking in the sun in the middle of the day. After that I felt a million times better. I think I did get some of those elements in the “most penetrating, enduring, safe and pleasant ways,” from the sun.
Here are the rules I gleaned from Ms. Fernandez’ article linked above, about how to sunbathe safely:
1. Get out in the sun around noontime. That’s when the UVB rays are the strongest, to balance out the UVA rays. UVA rays increase skin cancer risk. UVB rays are the ones that help your skin make Vitamin D when it is exposed to them. But UVB rays also cause skin to burn so…that leads me to the next two points.
2. Start out with just 15 minutes or so of exposure, less if you are fair-skinned or elderly. Then slowly build up to a 20 minute exposure.
3. After 20 minutes of exposure, go inside or put some sunblock on. Here is a great article on how to choose a nontoxic sunscreen. The basic idea is to choose a mineral-based sunscreen that uses a mineral, like titanium oxide or zinc oxide to reflect the sun’s rays. Avoid toxins like oxybenzone, Vitamin A, often labeled as “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol”, and parabens, phthalates, phenoxyethanol and PEGs (polyethylene glycol).
I recommend Garden Goddess sunscreen, for sale from mightynest.com in the link above. It is mineral based in the form of a convenient spray.
I hope you take time to sunbathe this summer. I was tested to have a very low level of Vitamin D last year, so I am definitely doing it now that summer is back, in hopes of upping my level. Sunshine makes you happy and healthy, in the right amount. If you do get burned, remember to use apple cider vinegar to soothe the burn and make it fade. Here is a post I wrote on that.