Second Law of Health - Sunlight
A miracle factory is at work just beneath your skin. And when the ultraviolet rays of the sun touch the skin, the factory sets to work.
It is a most marvelous system, and without it you could not remain alive an hour.
There are millions of red corpuscles constantly flowing through very small blood vessels throughout every part of the 3,000 square inches of your skin. And there are also tiny oil glands just beneath the skin which biochemists call sterols. As sunshine strikes them, substances within them, called ergosterols, are irradiated and transformed into vitamin D. Carried to all parts of your body, it enables you to have strong bones, teeth, and nails.
But we are getting ahead of our storythe fascinating story of what one of God's special giftssunlightcan do for you.
Every living thing in our world is dependent upon the sun. Without sunshine, nothing could live. Sunlight is composed of energy wavelengths of various types. We will here focus our attention on the visible rays, along with the infrared and ultraviolet rays. In this brief reportyou will learn part of this miracle of what sunlight can do for you,and how it can bring you better health and even a happier outlook on life.
In 1877, two researchers, Downes and Blunt, discovered that sunlight can destroy harmful bacteria. Today, it is used to treat bacterial infections. Sunlight on the body dramatically lowers high blood pressure, decreases blood cholesterol, lowers excessively high blood sugars, and increases white blood cells.
Adequate sunlight on your body will lower your respiratory rate, and will cause your breathing to be slower, deeper, and even easier. Your resting heart rate will decrease, and after exercise it will return to normal much more quickly. Sunlight increases the capacity of the blood to carry more oxygen and take it to your body tissues. Even a single exposure to the ultraviolet light in sunlight will greatly increase the oxygen content of your blood. And this effect will continue for several days. Bronchial asthma patients who could hardly breathe, were able to inhale freely after a sunbath.
It is of interest that many of these beneficial effects of sunlight are heightened if a person combines sunbathing with a regular program of physical exercise. For example, fatigue and exhaustion tend to be lessened and the capacity for work is increased. It is now known that part of this is due to an increase in glycogen content of the blood and muscles following sunlight and exercise.
The strength of the heart is steadied and deepened. The pulse rate is lowered because the heart muscle is pumping more blood at each beat. This enables your heart to rest more between beats. And yet the blood output is increased by an average of 39% for several days after a sunbath. Many people worry about their blood pressure, yet regularly taking sunlight on the body lowers it. Sunbaths alone will lower blood pressure by an average of 8%; combined with exercise, it is lowered 15%.
And there are those that worry about their blood sugar because they are diabetic. It has been discovered that exposure to sunshine has an insulin-like effect on the bodyit lowers the blood sugar. And it does it in exactly the right proportion. Those who have no diabetic problem experience almost no change in blood sugar, while diabetics have a striking lowering of it. It is now known that this lowering is caused by the fact that sunlight on the body causes glycogen (stored sugar) to be increased throughout the body, enabling the blood sugar to be lowered. Higher storage levels of glycogen result in more body energy for longer stretches of physical activity, with more endurance and less fatigue. (Warning: A diabetic taking sunbaths should try reducing his insulin intake, lest he inject too much.)
And then there is stress. We all encounter tensions and problems throughout the day. Sunlight can help you more easily glide through the day. A deepened sense of well-being results, and better sleep comes at night. You feel better and live better. Because you are more relaxed, the crises of life are met with less difficulty. Sunlight on the body both calms the nerves and increases adrenalin. This relaxation is not merely mental; it is physical also. Both gastric and duodenal ulcer patients have been found to improve under the beneficial effects of sunshine.
The wealth of new scientific insights on the restorative power of sunlight continues to unfold. Sunlight lowers blood cholesterol, and an excess of blood cholesterol is one of the problems leading to heart and artery disease. The basic fact underlying this truth goes back to the year 1904, when it was discovered that sunlight changes the cholesterol just under the skin into vitamin D. Because there is so much cholesterol just under the skin, when it is changed by sunlight into vitamin D, cholesterol from the blood is sent to take its place, thus lowering the cholesterol in the blood. Researchers now know that when cholesterol is removed from the bloodcholesterol stored within the plaques deposited on the artery walls takes its place. The result is a beneficial reduction of the dangerous deposits that accompany hardening of the arteries and lead to strokes. Two hours after a sunbath, an average of 13% reduction in human blood cholesterol occurs.
Research carried out in 1970 in Russia disclosed that sunbaths help people with hardening of the arteries of the brain. Their improved mental performance and memory indicates that those harmful blood vessel deposits were lessened by the exposure to sunlight.
Incidentally, one insight that came out of this and other Russian research was the fact that patients were helped more by frequent short exposures to sunlight than by infrequent longer sunbaths. Proof of this was shown in the electrocardiograms: almost twice as good in those receiving shorter, more frequent sunshine on their bodies.
Dramatic evidence of the importance of sunlight on the body is to be found in the fact that dark-skinned races suffer more from certain diseases than light-skinned races. Of all the races, the Negro race is the most susceptible to rickets. The solution is vitamin D, but in order to manufacture it in the body, blacks must have their bodies in the sunlight more than the light-skinned races.
Because blacks require more sunlight on their bodies for good health than whites, blacks tend to have more jaundice, higher blood pressure, tuberculosis, and diabetes.
In our book, "The Water Therapy Manual" (see order sheet) (Part Two of "Better Living for Your Home"), we include a section on sunbathing as a healing principle in the treatment of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis of the skin, bone, and lung are all helped by sunbathing.
Streptococcal infections have been found to be reduced when sunlight regularly reaches the skin. In 1929, Dr. Ude introduced sunbathing into America for the treatment of erysipelas (a streptococcal infection of the skin). In 1938, penicillin was discovered and many researchers turned their eyes from sunlight to the wonder drugs. But the many dangerous side effects of these medicinal drugs are less likely to be found in taking a sunbath.
Fungus infections of the feet and toes are especially helped by sunlight. So many different bacteria and viruses exist that it is neither wise nor safe to attempt vaccination against them all. But sunlight on the body is part of the best solution to many of these problems.
Infectious diseases include many physical problems ranging from the common cold to flu,and even the dangerous spinal meningitis.
How very important it is that we make sure that we frequently obtain the vital sunlight that our bodies so much need in order to maintain good health.
Some people believe that all of the problems of mankind are due to germs, and others think that germs are no problem at allas long as one lives properly and eats healthfully. We well agree that right living is the most important of all, but germs in the water and air around us are not always harmless.
In 1935, Daryl Hart noted the frequency with which infections developed in people who had just had operations. He wondered whether air-borne germs might have contaminated them while the operation was in progress. He placed petri dishes in an operating room for an hour during an operation, and found 78 colonies of staphylococcus on one place alone. Was there a way that those germs in the air could have been killed? Dr. Hart placed ultraviolet lights overheadand discovered that all the germsincluding very dangerous oneswere killed within ten minutes, if they were within eight feet of those lamps. And this happened even when the lights were so low in intensity that it required eighty minutes for blond skin to be reddened. A similar experiment was done in a naval training center, in which very low-intensity ultraviolet lights were installed in the barracks. The result was a 25% reduction in respiratory infections among the recruits using those sleeping quarters.
(Please, do not set up sunlamps in your bedroom! They are far too high in intensity, and your eyes will be damaged. Instead, draw back the curtainsand let the sunlight in. For it has been scientifically established that sunlight reduces the danger of open-air transmission of disease. Sunlamps must be used with greatest care and for only a few seconds at a time.)
Water purification is now being taken to the sunlight. Chlorination kills many water-borne diseases, but the chlorine has certain carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects. Researchers are now turning to irradiation with ultraviolet light. The four most dangerous water-borne bacterial infections are cholera, typhoid, bacillary dysentery, and hepatitis. It has been demonstrated that sunlight can kill such bacteria to some depth, if the flow of water is slow enough so that the ultraviolet radiation can effectively reach them.
What about germs on the skin? Exposure to sunlight increases the skin's resistance to disease. It does this by directly killing the bacteria on the skin. The shorter ultraviolet wave lengths are the most bactericidal, and do not particularly penetrate beneath the skin. But the longer wavelengths also kill germs, though to a lesser extent, and they penetrate more deeply.
Sunlight not only directly kills bacteria on the skin,but it changes natural body oils on the skin into bactericidal agents! Even the vapors rising from these irradiated natural skin oils are able to kill bacteria.
Psoriasis and acne are two common skin diseases. Both are being treated with sunlight. Sunlight keeps psoriasis under control, and the purifying power of these rays helps to sterilize acne, and bring to it more rapid healing.
Sunlight also strengthens the body's immune system. This is partly due to the fact that sunlight striking the body increases the number of white blood cells in the body. These are the fighter cells that resist infection by gobbling it up wherever found in the body. There is one particular white blood cell that is the most powerful germ killer of them all: the lymphocyte. Science has now come to the startling conclusion that sunlight increases the number of lymphocytesmore than any other kind of white blood cell.
Antibody production, so important to a successful resistance to infection, is also greatly increased after sunbathing. This is due to the fact that it is primarily the lymphocytes that produce the antibodies, such as the very important gamma globulins. In laboratory animals, this antibody increase can last for two or three weeks.
Neutrophils, fairly common white blood cells, are very important. They spend their life within your body eating up bacteria, fungus, and other harmful invaders. After being exposed to the sun, the neutrophils are, in some unknown way, stimulated to chew up harmful bacteria even more rapidly. Research experiments have disclosed that this increase in gobbling action is doubled after a sunbath.
Did you ever notice that people are more likely during the winter months to contract colds, during spells of lessened sunlight?
An interesting study related to this fact is that of the early polar explorers. After spending months in those icy areas with so little sunlight, they would always develop upper respiratory infections upon returning home. The lack of sunlight for eight months had weakened their immune systems, and their antibodies and white blood cells were markedly decreased.
And, of course, sunlight also affects your bones.
In children without adequate sunlight, the vitamin D needed to calcify the bones is not present in proper amounts for the body to lay down calcium in the bonesand they bend more easily. In adults, when there is not enough vitamin D in the body, the calcium leaves the bones and they become softer.
In one research study, over 800 children were studied, and it was noted that they had more dental cavities during the winter and spring months than during the summer months. The lessened sunlight in the winter would be a factor here. However, it should also be noted that those children probably also had less fresh greens, vegetables, and fruit during the winter months. This would also affect their vitamin C and calcium intakeboth important to good bones and teeth.
Newborn and young children in areas of the world with less sunlight have a tendency to develop jaundice. It was a nurse in England that first discovered that sunlight could eliminate the problem. Two blood samples taken of the same infant, one shortly after the otherbrought the whole matter to the attention of medical science. The sunlight bath given by the nurse, Mrs. Ward, to that infant dramatically changed its condition.
Further study into this revealed that sunlight through glass could partially but not as effectively help the infants with jaundice.
Jaundice in adults can be caused by a number of different factors; sunlight seems to help in every case.
But of all light available, there is none as healthful to the human body as full-spectrum sunlight taken out-of-doors.
It was centuries ago that the beneficial value of sunlight in the treatment of arthritis was first observed. Many examples of this could be cited, but the moral of the story is this: If you have arthritis, take sunbaths.
Gout is also helped by sunlight. It is thought that the ultraviolet rays increase uric acid excretion.
Sunlight helps heal wounds. Under its influence, they heal better and more rapidly. Part of the reason for this is the greater blood supply to the wounded body area when sunlight has fallen on it. Another reason is the purifying effects of the sun's rays. But there are other factors involved of which we are not yet certain.
Sunlight, which can help heal wounds, can also aid in the treatment of sores and surface ulcers. Older folk can develop such problems due to an inadequate blood circulation. But sunlight increases the circulation.
An unusual new development in sunlight research involves that of poisonous chemicals. Sunbathing helps destroy many of them, such as lead, mercury, cobalt, manganese, cadmium, fluoride, benzene, pesticides, and even aids in the elimination of quartz and coal dust.
For example, lead was removed twice as fast from the bodies of animals receiving adequate doses of sunlight. The principle here is that the ultraviolet light in sunlight apparently increases the number of enzymes that eliminate toxic chemicals by metabolizing them. Russians give sunlight therapy daily to miners to help remove coal, quartz, and other rock dusts from their lungs.
Yet, oddly enough, while toxic levels of heavy metal and rock particles are removed by sunlightthe amount of valuable trace minerals in the blood are increased.
One unusual fact that turned up in the course of sunlight research was the insight that experimental animals receiving sunlight treatments undergo some weight loss. It is thought that this is related to increased thyroid production, which sunlight is known to do. Basal body metabolism is thus increased and more calories are burned up.
Sunlight striking the skin also increases muscle tone, and this in turn would use up more calories. Sunlight even helps childbirth. Dr. Robert Bradley, an obstetrician of many years experience, has discovered that women who obtained extra sun over all their body in the months before delivery were less likely to tear at childbirth. He found their skin to be more flexible and less brittle at the time of delivery.
The University of Illinois did research on students, and found that the ones who received regular sunbaths showed greater interest in their classes, attended more regularly, and were more alert. F.A. Kummerow found that sunlight treatments favorably affect the mind and help balance the stimulating and depressing nerve impulses. Try sunbathing yourselfand notice how you will gain a feeling of general well-being and a more cheerful outlook on life.
For the healthiest home, let the light in. Push the curtains back so the sunshine can pour in. Yes, it may fade the rug, but the benefits are far greater than the losses. Sunlight purifies the air in the room. Normal air exchange will carry that air to the north rooms of the house and help purify them. Did you know that patients in hospitals tend to recover more quickly when they are in southern exposure rooms, and less quickly when they are in rooms located on the north side? Let the sunlight into your home, as much as possible, and open the doors between the different rooms, so that its quiet, healing influence may permeate your home.
Rooms can be partially purified by skylight (sunlight reflected from the sky) coming in through the windows. See our book, Prophet of the End, pages 69-70 (see order sheet), for more information on this.
HOW TO OBTAIN THE NEEDED SUNLIGHT
Not-too-much and often-as-possible is the best formula. Dr. Zane Kime, whose book, Sunlight is a classic in the field, wrote this:
"If too much sunlight is received, it can have a drying effect, and one may occasionally have flaking, dry skin. Exposure to the sun should be progressive, beginning with only a few minutes a day . . If the tissues of the skin are saturated with the necessary vitamins, the sun will not age the skin, but enhance its beauty. Sunlight, p. 89.
If you would like an abundance of scientific background information on the therapeutic value of sunshine, obtain a copy of Dr. Kime's book, Sunlight (see order sheet).
On page 267 of that book, you will find a listing of many of the human diseases that sunlight can help alleviate.
Here is another important quotation from Dr. Kime's book:
"Nutrition and sunlight are intimately related. By striking the skin, sunlight can produce certain hormones and nutrients like vitamin D. Unless one has a proper diet, sunlight has an ill effect on the skin. This must be emphasized: Sunbathing is dangerous for those who are on the standard high-fat American diet or do not get an abundance of vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fruits. Those on the standard high-fat diet should stay out of the sun and protect themselves from it; but, at the same time, they will suffer the consequences of both the high-fat diet and the deficiency of sunlight."Zane Kime, Sunlight, p. 117.
The problem here is skin cancer. (1) If you are not eating a healthful diet, and (2) if you are getting too much sunlight on your skin,your chances of developing skin cancer are greater.
Fortunately, of all the malignancies that plague mankind, skin cancer is the easiest to detect and the easiest to remove. In relation to its frequency of occurrence, there are fewer deaths from skin cancer than from any other type of carcinoma.
But, in view of the advantagesand dangersof sunbathing,what is the best way to obtain it? How long should we sunbathe, and how often? Here are some suggestions:
Some people are more sensitive to sunlight than others. They burn more quickly. Such individuals should take less sunlight to start with and never obtain very much at a time. Others can take more. Dark-skinned people will need to spend more time in the sun in order to obtain enough. The higher in the sky the sun is, the stronger its rays. In the winter months, you will want to sunbathe near noontime, since the sun is lower in the winter skies. In the summer, there is a wider range of hours to select from. Keep in mind that the higher the sun is in the sky, the more ultraviolet rays it sends to your body. And those are the rays that purify; they are also the rays that can bring sunburn. Also keep in mind your latitude. The farther north you live, the lower in the sky the sun will be at noon. People sunburn more quickly at the beach than at home. This is due to the fact that light rays reflect back from the sun. (Snow reflects 85% of the ultraviolet; dry sand 17%, water 3-5%, and grass 2.5%.) Wet skin burns more rapidly than dry skin.
Many of the drugs, cosmetics and soaps that people use tend to sensitize the skin so that burning can occur more easily. Another problem is the suntan lotions. These frequently tend to block out the sun's rays, and this you do not want.
Sunbathe under the sunwithout any glass or plastic between. Be in the sun regularly; best at about the same time of the day you were last in it. Carefully time yourself. This writer uses a stopwatch and begins at two minutes to a side, and finds that he does best not to later go beyond eight minutes per side. Have it settled in your mind that you want a balanced and regular program of sunbathing, not just a suntan. As we said earlier: You want frequent sunlight on your body, but not too much at a time. This is an ideal that you may not always be able to achieve. But such a program, combined with a good diet, will give you the healing sunlight you need, with little likelihood of skin cancer.
On the first day, start with no more than two minutes to a side, and later lengthen it. Do it every day, every other day, or as often as you are able. Beware: Sunlight is relaxing; do not fall asleep during a sunbath.
If you are able to do so, build an inexpensive solarium where you can take sunbaths in privacy. In this way, each sunbath will bring the healing, purifying, strengthening rays to a larger part of your body than would otherwise be possible.
Carotene and vitamin A in the diet, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, while carefully avoiding free fats (grease, oil, etc.)will help protect you from the negative effects of sunlight.
Should you use artificial sunlamps? Only if there is absolutely no way you can get out into the sunlight itself. Never buy or use a sunlamp that produces ultraviolet rays with frequencies below 290 nm. (Only a few firms manufacture sunlamps with safe radiation frequenciesabove 290 nm.)
If you use sunlamps, always wear protective glasses to shield your eyes, and work quickly, rotating before the bulb. Sunlamps are dangerousbe careful!
It is possible to purchase ultraviolet window panesthat will let in the ultraviolet from the sun. Apparently, this new development is useful. Overcast skies only filter out about 20% of the ultraviolet rays, so such windows could enable you to take a sunbath in a blizzard.
Sunlight is one of the great blessings given by God to you. Let it help you and your loves ones every day, and thank Him daily for such a wonderful gift.
"Shade-trees and shrubbery too close and dense around a house are unhealthy; for they prevent a free circulation of air, and prevent the rays of the sun from shining through sufficiently. In consequence of this a dampness gathers in the house. Especially in wet seasons the sleeping-rooms become damp, and those who sleep in the beds are troubled with rheumatism, neuralgia, and lung complaints, which generally end in consumption. Numerous shade trees cast off many leaves, which, if not immediately removed, decay, and poison the atmosphere. A yard, beautiful with scattering trees and some shrubbery at a proper distance from the house, has a happy, cheerful influence upon the family, and if well taken care of, will prove no injury to health."How to Live, p. 64.
"Rooms that are not exposed to light and air become damp. Beds and bedding gather dampness, and the atmosphere in these rooms is poisonous, because it has not been purified by light and air. Various diseases have been brought on by sleeping in these fashionable, health-destroying apartments . . Sleeping rooms, especially, should be well ventilated, and the atmosphere made healthful by light and air. Blinds should be left open several hours each day, the curtains put aside, and the room thoroughly aired. Nothing should remain, even for a short time, which would destroy the purity of the atmosphere."How to Live, pp. 62-63.
"Life in the open air is good for body and mind. It is God's medicine for the restoration of health. Pure air, good water, sunshine, the beautiful surroundings of naturethese are His means for restoring the sick to health in natural ways. To the sick it is worth more than silver or gold to lie in the sunshine or in the shade of the trees."7 Testimonies, p. 85.
"The guest-chamber should have equal care with the rooms intended for constant use. Like the other bedrooms, it should have air and sunshine, and should be provided with some means of heating to dry out the dampness that always accumulates in a room not in constant use. Whoever sleeps in a sunless room, or occupies a bed that has not been thoroughly dried and aired, does so a the risk of health, and often life."Ministry of Healing, p. 275.
"If those who are well need the blessing of light and air, and need to observe habits of cleanliness in order to remain well, the sick are in still greater need of them in proportion to their debilitated condition."How to Live, p. 60.
"If you would have your homes sweet and inviting, make them bright with air and sunshine. Remove your heavy curtains, open the windows, throw back the blinds, and enjoy the rich sunlight, even if it be at the expense of the colors of your carpets."2 Testimonies, p. 527.
"If the windows were freed from blinds and heavy curtains, and the air and sun permitted to enter freely the darkened rooms, there would be seen a change for the better in the mental and physical health of the children. The pure air would have an invigorating influence upon them, and the sun that carries healing in its beams would soothe and cheer, and make them happy, joyous, and healthy."Healthful Living, p. 229.
"Exercise, and a free use of the air and sunlight, . . would give life and strength to many an emaciated invalid."Our High Calling, p. 223
God wants His people to be like the sunshine. They are to be the light of the world. They are to rejoice in His salvation, and share the glorious news of deliverance with everyone they meet.
It is daily consecration which begins this experience. Jesus is calling upon us to make this daily, renewed dedication to Him. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1).
Each new dedication, lived out in the daily life, makes us more like our Masterthe One who we are trying to be like. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5), for He "made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant." (Philippians 2:7).
The closer we come to Jesus, the more we can understand His character of love, gentleness, and helpfulness. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:29).
It is unselfish ministry to others that makes the difference between the Christian and the worldling. "And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:27-28). Jesus said, "I am among you as he that serveth." (Luke 22:27).
Sunshine in the life of the Christian means to love God and live to help and bless others. It also means to praise God with all the heart and soul. "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the first fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15).
Sunshine never stops, but the clouds sometimes keep us from seeing it. Let our praise to the Lord be continual also. "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psalm 34:1). "Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever." (Psalm 145:2).
"In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18). "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20).
What a wonderful way to live! Always dwelling in the sunshine of God's countenance; always spreading the sunshine to those around you. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6).
When the sunshine of praise is not present, we lapse into doubt, discontent, and darkness. "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." (Romans 1:21).
Whether on the street, about our business, or at churchlet us praise the Lord. "My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear Him." (Psalm 22:25).
We praise God by telling others how good He has been to us, and the blessings and protection He has brought us. "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul." (Psalm 66:16). "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad." (Psalm 34:2).
In every place and by every means, praise the Lord. "Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness . . Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord." (Psalm 150:1, 2, 6) Spread the sunshine.
From age to age, throughout times past and eternity to come, God's people praise Him with song and rejoicing. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? . . when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4,7). "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord . . The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: . . and I will exalt Him." (Exodus 15:1-2). "Serve the Lord with gladness." (Psalm 100:2).