Choose Heliotherapy to Heal and Prolong Life
My brother lived for a time in Forks, Washington, in the Olympic rainforest. They get over a hundred inches of rain every year, so they don’t see a lot of sunshine. Often weeks or months go by without the sun poking through the clouds. After a while of being there he began to get depressed and was having trouble with normal cognition. Over the years, he got SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in a big way. The family had to move to Idaho where he could get more sunshine, and things began to look up.
What is LIGHT?
We call “light” the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes pick up. The molecules in our retinas are just the right size and shape to absorb those rays and send a signal to the brain – “Hey, there! I just absorbed a yellow wave!” The brain responds by trying to figure out what it all means! However, there is so much more to light! The following chart shows a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we usually use, including the TINY sliver we actually see with our eyes. There is even more than this, but it remains outside the instruments we currently use. Our experience in the physical world goes from subatomic particles to suns, so that is what we know.
The size of the waves makes a big difference. Size does matter! I can explain with an example of waves in water.
Imagine a stick about an inch in diameter floating on the water. If I drop a pebble near it, the stick will absorb the waves made by the pebble. The waves on the other side of the stick won’t appear. But if that same stick is in the ocean and a wave comes, the stick has no effect at all; it just floats right over the wave.
Likewise, picture the gamma rays that are small, but coming fast. They can be absorbed by small things, like molecules. The concentrated gamma ray energy released all at once, which is how they do damage, causes radiation injury to DNA or other molecules.
Gamma rays go right through water, which absorbs in the infrared spectrum, causing the water to get hot (like in your microwave oven). Infrared wavelengths are longer than the red we see. As they get longer, we call them radio waves that go right through tall buildings like Superman! This is why you can be inside a building with no windows and still use your cell phone. This is also why the James Webb Space Telescope uses the infrared spectrum. They want to be able to “see through” a nebula, for example.
The light we don’t see has always been a source of worry for some people, such as microwave ovens. Most organic molecules will change slightly in either electrical charge or in vibrational frequency when they absorb light in the range of 2-10 micrometers – like the microwaves that heat up your food. As water molecules absorb the light their energy increases, producing heat.
We sit in an infrared sauna. We don’t see the light, but it is all around, being absorbed by the wood walls of the sauna, and penetrating our skin, heating up the water in our bodies like a microwave oven, from the inside-out. When the waves are absorbed, the energy from them speeds up the molecules, which we feel as heat. This improves circulation by dilating blood vessels. It also gets the sweat glands working to help detox the body. This is the same part of the spectrum that heats our body from a campfire – penetrating the clothes we wear and warming us up. The perception of an infrared sauna is healing, while microwaves and airport scanners are thought to harm us (but they don’t!).
A little farther down the infrared scale towards radio waves is the new cellular service 5G that so many people worry about. If you think you can protect yourself from 5G, think again. 5G is in between your microwave oven and a far infrared sauna. In other words, it can heat up water very well, given enough energy. (A full aluminum suit will actually protect you from 5G the way you can block the microwaves in your oven with foil.) 5G does not penetrate walls as well as radio waves because it is a shorter wavelength, and is absorbed by water, which is in the air, plants, and other things, so the towers need to be closer to your phone. The power of the 5G is low, like one to five watts. Compare that to an infrared sauna which may have several 300-watt panels, or a microwave oven with up to 1,000 watts. All of these can affect your body, heating you up from the inside-out.
On the other end of the light spectrum is x-rays. X-rays penetrate aluminum like sunlight through a clean window. Every time we fly high up in the sky where there are more x-rays, the quarter-inch thick aluminum skin of the jet might as well be Wonder Woman’s invisible plane. It is estimated that a flight across the United States exposes each person in the plane to the equivalent radiation of one chest x-ray. Not a lot, but still can damage DNA. Luckily, our cells repair the damage quickly!
Every part of the spectrum of light can affect your body. Why is all this important? I wanted to show you what light is and ways that you already know how it can affect you. There is no need to fear the light. Go towards the light!
The Benefits of Light
Photobiomodulation is a long word known as PBM, which is the health effects of light on the body. Light in the near infrared spectrum penetrates the body well, and there are many different molecules that absorb that light and change the function of cells. (Near infrared light is the section of wavelengths nearest to the normal range but just past what we can see.)
The near infrared spectrum penetrates the skin, going into the deep tissues, and changing the function of cells. This light gets absorbed by the mitochondria, the part of the cell that makes energy, turning on an enzyme called Cytochrome C Oxidase (CCO) which stimulates the production of ATP – energy. The light is not directly giving the cell energy, but rather turns on the process, and the cell uses oxygen and sugar to make more energy. The results are important:
- Improved energy
- More nitric oxide
- Improved blood flow to bring nutrients
- Better lymph flow to clean out debris and waste
This has far-reaching effects on the body. For example, near infrared light can penetrate the skull and light up your brain. Only about five percent of this light gets through the skull, but that is enough to reach the cytochrome C Oxidase and other chromophores. Near infrared light in the brain causes:
- Improved blood flow
- Increased blood vessels
- Less cell death
- Less toxicity (excitotoxins)
- More connections between nerve cells
- Lower inflammation
- Increased antioxidants
- Less edema
- Improved lymph drainage to cleanse
- More nerve cell growth
What is amazing about this is that the light also induces changes in the transcription of the DNA which has lasting effects. Animal studies show that even a few minutes of light can change the function of the cell for weeks. Utilizing low level laser light, both animal and human studies have shown improvement in brain function for stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and anxiety.
Besides lasers, similar benefits have been shown with LED lights in the near infrared spectrum. In studies done using near infrared LED light to the body during exercise there was increased maximal load, reduced fatigue, and decreased muscle breakdown. Gene expression analyses showed decreases in markers of inflammation and muscle atrophy, as well as more protein synthesis and antioxidant enzymes. Amazingly, there was also a measurable increase in the amount of thigh muscle where the light was placed.
A song about sunshine was made famous by John Denver (but had to be redacted for political correctness)
Sunshine on my shoulder makes me sunburned
Sunshine in my eyes can make me blind
Sunshine almost always makes me high.
Doctors are telling us to avoid the sun. Australia has an ongoing campaign against the sunshine:
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on sunscreen
- Slap on a hat
- Seek shade
- Slide on a pair of sunglasses
There, you’re fully protected, aren’t you? Your brain is protected, your heart is protected, your lungs are protected, your bones are protected, your liver is protected, and, of course, your skin is protected… WHEW! Right?!
Wrong. The campaign is not scientifically accurate.
The argument is something like:
- Sunshine causes damage to DNA
- Damage to DNA causes skin cancer
- Melanoma is a skin cancer
Therefore, sunshine causes melanoma, and we’re all going to die from sun exposure!
Actually, 90% of skin cancers are not melanoma, but rather squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). These are benign cancers that need to be removed locally so they don’t grow and get bigger, they are not a cause of death. Moreover, the types of melanomas caused by the sun are not the malignant type.
In fact, the science consistently says that more sun equals less death from malignant melanoma:
Malignant melanoma deaths are higher in the northern United States (less sun) than in the South (more sun) and happen primarily “where the sun don’t shine!”
The results of one study echoes what many other studies have shown: “Sunburn, high intermittent sun exposure, skin awareness histories, and solar elastosis [all signs of increased exposure to sunshine] were statistically significantly inversely associated with death from melanoma… Conclusions: Sun exposure is associated with increased survival from melanoma.” In other words, more sun means less death from melanoma. Everything we are told is opposite from the science!
Now, it is important to know that the sun does cause benign skin cancers (SCC, BCC, and melanocytic nevi) so there must be some way to get the right amount of sun without too much.
Now that we have dispensed with the myth of sunshine being bad, let’s look at the benefits of the sun. Sunshine is light. All wavelengths of light come out of the sun, but in different amounts. As you can see in the chart below, the “visible” part has more intense radiation from the sun (the yellow is what is entering the atmosphere, the red is what is left by the time the rays get to sea level, the “holes” are what is absorbed in the atmosphere, mostly by water, like clouds). Notice that water is great for absorbing infrared and microwaves. Oxygen absorbs most of the UV light, creating ozone. 
It turns out, the Sun is a very important part of our existence on the earth. Humans have always known that the sun was essential to life – all the energy of life comes from the sun. Plants, animals, insects, everything needs the sunshine to live. However, there is more to sunshine than just giving light to the chlorophyl in plants so they can make sugar for us to eat. We also NEED direct sunlight because it has many immediate effects on the body. Many physicians anciently prescribed “heliotherapy” or sunshine for many different diseases. In the 1930s there was a list of 117 different diseases that could be cured by sunshine, including tuberculosis. But the advent of antibiotics brought the era of “a pill for every ill” and “Heliotherapy” fell out of favor. Nevertheless, the sun is still a healing therapy.
People are paying large amounts of money to get “light therapy” for all sorts of things. There are lights for healing wounds, lights for acne, lights for increased energy, lights for brain function, and lights for depression and lights for better sleep. This is not new, in the 1920s there were arc lights for sale to cure rickets (a vitamin D deficiency). Guess what? You don’t have to pay – the sun is FREE! Plus, you get all the other added benefits:
- Infrared light from the sun triggers the natural production of nitric oxide in the skin to reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. There is more cardiovascular disease in the winter months.
- Reduces the death rate from all causes
- Relieves pain after surgery
- Improves PMS
- Increases endorphins that go to your brain and lower stress, reduce pain, and increase anabolic metabolism
- Sets your biological clock – the skin cells have “clock genes” that turn on your metabolism. The skin cells produce ACTH, a hormone that turns on your adrenal glands. Increasing bone mineral density.
- Increases Vitamin D – The UV rays of the sun make 7-dehydrocholesterol in your skin into vitamin D. Depending on the amount of pigment in your skin it can take as little as ten minutes to make about 20,000 IU. Think about that when you take your little vitamin D supplements. Yes, you can take a vitamin D supplement, and if you live in northern latitudes above the 37th parallel, you should take them, especially in the winter to keep your immune system functioning but continue to get sunshine for the benefits on your skin, brain, and energy. Children who get 2,000 IU of vitamin D from birth lowers the risk of type 1 diabetes by 88%. Lowers the risk of COVID, flu, and colds by about 50%. This takes less than 20 minutes in the sunshine.Fun Fact: you cannot get too much vitamin D from the sunshine, and blood levels from the sun last three times as long as vitamin D from a pill.
- Improve neuropathy (numbness, tingling, weakness).
- Cancer – the more exposure to sunshine the lower your risk of dying from cancer by about 50%.
- Skin conditions: reverse acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
- Improve wound healing Even low levels of light in the infrared range can make a dramatic difference in wound healing. Wounds heal better because the skin produces endorphins and nitric oxide that improve blood flow.
- Decreases the risk of multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune disease, including type 1 diabetes. This is more than just the effect of vitamin D; it is also benefitted by ACTH and other hormones.
- Decreases depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and anxiety, and schizophrenia – These can be treated with sunshine, the most important factor is not the intensity of sunlight, but rather the length of exposure. A longer day is helpful.
- Prevents Eye problems: Prevents macular edema, and retinopathy.
- Better circadian rhythm, which causes normal adrenal function, thyroid function, and gives you a good anabolic (rebuild, repair, detox, cleanse) metabolism.
- Prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Before internal combustion engines, electricity and modern conveniences, people had to be healthy. They had no choice! They worked in the sunshine, it got dark when the sun went down. People walked a lot, and had to use muscles to get somewhere, move things, dig holes, and so forth. All their food was natural and whole. They had to fast periodically when there wasn’t enough. They had to eat fermented foods because that’s how food was preserved.
Today, if we want to be healthy, we must do it on purpose. Nobody today is going to get healthy by accident. We must choose good, healthy food. We must decide to exercise and use our muscles. And we must get outside in the sunshine to turn on our energy systems, lower blood pressure, and make some vitamin D! The sun is good. Sunshine heals. Sunlight prevents and cures illness. Sunshine prolongs life!
Recommendations for Sunlight
Get 10 to 20 minutes of sunshine daily, exposing a significant portion of your skin, or a total of about 2 hours per week during the middle of the day. In the winter, you may need a little more – up to an hour per day. If you have darker skin, you can easily double that amount. When it’s cold you can catch rays of sun shining through a window. The light will still help your mind and body.
Don’t burn. If you are going to spend a lot of time outdoors, such as going to the beach, with lots of your skin exposed, it’s OK to use sunscreen. It won’t stop the infrared light that improves the mitochondria. And you will still make plenty of vitamin D. (Native Africans who get a lot of sunshine have 5 times as much vitamin D in their blood than Americans of African descent, who don’t get as much sunshine.)
Take Vitamin D3, about 5,000 IU per day, 5 days per week – especially in the winter. If you live north of Atlanta or LA you are not going to make any vitamin D in the winter, even if you spend all day outdoors. However, if you live in high altitude, you may be able to make some vitamin D in the winter since you are closer to the source of UV light. Vitamin D production doubles at 3,000 feet and is four times greater at 15,000-foot elevation. Even while taking vitamin D, it is good to get some sunshine every day.
Eat a lot of colors (NATURAL COLORS) fruit and vegetables to protect from UV light and keep you young-looking. The colors in fruit and vegetables collect in your skin and prevent and repair damage to DNA to prevent skin cancers and premature aging.