Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunlight as a palliative ...

I came across this piece in a magazine I was reading the other day while waiting for coffee at the corner espresso joint.  What caught my eye was the description of the physiological and emotional effects sunlight has on the skin and body.  Just the day before I'd emerged from my bedroom to the sunlight on my back deck and decided to lay out in the sun instead of staying in that darkened room recuperating from my latest round of therapy.  When I finally came in near the end of the afternoon I felt more energized and feeling good about myself than I have in weeks.  
What particularly seemed right was the statement about UV encouraging the release of endorphins . . . the 'feel good' hormones.  Particular to my condition . . . UV also is responsible for Vit D production . . . particularly important to strengthening the bones.  But most of all it just felt so incredibly great to be in the embrace of the sunlight.

Sunbathing on my back deck

Sun tanning process : Understanding the physical and psychological benefits

Actually sunbathing is very relaxing, sensual - giving off a feeling of having a solar massage and leaving us with a kind of sense of unwinding and happiness and perhaps even peace. 

(Note: this may be related to an increase in the release of endorphins after a dose of ultraviolet rays). 

The sun tanning process feels good on a psychological level too. A number of sensual affects have been noted..women may feel more physically attractive-even thinner, men may feel more masculine, and emotional good health is boosted. 

The skin is a medium for emotional expression:

Also, interestingly enough - the skin is essential to self-esteem, the skin is a medium for emotional expression, sun tanned skin could suggest wealth; success and tanned skin could lead to social advantages. Looking at this we can see that having a tan is tied in with how we see ourselves and also with how we think other people see us. It's like a fashion statement. 

There are several goals in mind among the sun tanning population when they go to tan. 

Health is not the only benefit of sun tanning:

There are a variety of reasons people who want to tan, also want to tan quickly. 

  • there are people who tan to play outdoor sports
  • there are those who want to prepare their bodies for a beach holiday
  • some folks who just simply want to look good and feel good
  • people who seek relaxation
  • then there are those who are aware of the health issues and have skin conditions from psoriasis and acne.

Don't you think too, that the modern urge to sun tan may well be a form of compensation?

Some of UV's positive effects: Production of Vitamin D

Many people now live under semi-permanent protection from Ultra Violet rays leading perhaps to a 'UV deficit'. Scientific findings on some of UV's positive effects such as the production of Vitamin D necessary for healthy bones, improved blood flow and the easing of certain skin conditions, seem to support our feeling of 'urging' to tan as form of compensation. Some practical reasons also motivate people to tan. 

Boosting the skin's protection 

A program of seasons indoors boosts the skin's protection mechanisms, building up the naturally occurring melanin and the thickening of the skin's 'horny' layer. A surprisingly number of people have sensitive 'skin type 2' and wish to have a controlled and gentle tanning programme (like me). Unfortunately 'skin types 1's' are not allowed to tan at all.

Mainly, to tan is do what comes naturally. If we approach it sensibly we have nothing to lose. The body itself has its own defences, as we've seen, the main one actually being the tan itself, guarding our skins health by moulding us to our environment.

New health benefits are appearing each year in reports made by scientists discussing biological effects of light, not just UV rays by invisible light. Some findings are . . . Sunlight is vital for good health. Sensible use of UV rays (solarium and sun) are far more beneficial to health than previously realised. Although unacceptable risks do exist they are usually from over- exposure or abuse. More serious health threats come from under-exposure. UV light could be described as 'natural medicine'. UV light brings down high blood pressure. Vitamin D oral supplements not found effective, only vitamin D produced in the body from UV rays. (Boston summit USA 2001-39 lectures-60 scientists). 

Interesting stuff. Let's wait for the next summit.

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