No one likes to be sick. But, why does one fall sick? There are so many reasons for ailments like wrong life style, unbalanced diet, consumption of harmful products, lack of exercises, etc. So, it is certain that a human body is engulfed by some ailments (or) the other. This process has started since the beginning of the human civilisation. Since ancient times, various methods have been used to treat the ailments through different experiments and inventions. These inventors believe that among all methods used to cure ailments, the sun rays therapy ( Helio Therapy ) holds a special place.Helio=Sun
Helio Therapy is defined as the treatment of disease by exposing the body to sunlight. It is the treatment of diseases by means of Sun’s electromagnetic waves.
Sun light is so called Electro Magnetic radiation – Energy of many different wavelengths emitted by the Sun; it travels through space at the enormous speed of 1,86,000 miles per second. Such energy provides us with the heat and light we need, as well as, delivering damaging UV rays.
In addition to UV, Visible light & IR, Sunlight is composed of a host of other solar rays such as cosmic rays, gamma rays, x-rays, radio-frequency radiation; but these are present in too small quantities and have too low energy to affect our skin.
Electro – Magnetic Radiation
Cosmic Rays/ Gamma Rays/ X-Rays : Dangerous and potentially cancer producing but penetrates to earth only in significant amount. X-rays are used artificially in medicines.
UV Radiation : Causes short & long term damage to exposed living matter, particularly causing in humans- sun burn, photo-aging and skin cancers.
Visible Light : Allows us to see, enables plants to create food molecules; lifts human mood.
IR Radiation : Warms our bodies.
Radio-frequency Radiation : Has no known significant effect. Used artificially for telecommunication.
Why Sunlight is Important?
The energy from sunlight has been essential for the evolution of life on earth. Without sunlight human beings, plants and animals cannot survive.
- Visible light needed for photosynthesis (through food chain)
- IR light gives warmth, which we need to live.
Light from the sun is the natural source of light that heats the earth and makes life on earth possible. Plants need sunlight to grow. Animals eat plants and plants have nourished other animals too. Directly (or) indirectly all life depends on the sun. Without Sun’s light, the earth would turn so cold and/frozen that nothing could live on it. Even if we burned all our fuels, we may not be able to keep the earth warm enough for life to exist.
- Sunbath can be taken by people of all ages and both genders.
- Early morning and evening sun bath is the best i.e. 7 to 9 AM and 4 to 6 PM,
- Bright sunlight is not advisable.
- 10 minutes to 15 minutes of daily exposure to sunlight is useful for maintaining the normal functioning of body.
- Drink sufficient amount of water before sunbath and if needed during sun bath.
Types of Sun Bath
1. General Sun Bath (Direct Sun Bath)
- This type of Sunbath is popular in Western countries. They practice in seashore and on the banks of Rivers.
- This bath should be taken after 1 to 2 hrs of sun rise with minimal clothing.
- Lie down on the sand of seashore (or) lie down on bed sheet.
- Before taking Sun bath drink sufficient amount of Water
2. Indirect Sun Bath
Same way as General Sun bath, but in this type the whole body should be covered with thin white cotton clothes and head and eye covered by wet pack.
3. Localised Sun Bath
In this type exposure of Sun to positive area of the body for treatment, other parts of the body covered by a wet sheet. It is effective in respiratory diseases and all joint diseases.
4. Plantain Leaf Bath / Banana Leaf Sun Bath
Same as General Sun Bath, the body is covered with banana leaves and then exposed to sunlight.
Physiological Effects of Helio Therapy
- Sunlight is the only reliable source of Vitamin D. Just exposure of natural sunlight for 15 minutes/day on your hands and face is sufficient in most cases to obtain the recommended daily allowances of Vitamin D.
- Exposure to sunlight increases the body’s ability to metabolize cholesterol leading to a 15% decrease in blood cholesterol level.
- Scientific studies indicate that exposure to sunlight may have similar effects to those of exercise viz. A decrease in blood pressure, lower resting heart rate and 39% increase in the healthy output of blood.
- Sunlight decreases the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) like sadness, insomnia and carbohydrates cravings.
- Heliotherapy is effective in psoriasis skin lesions and arthritis; upto 84% of psoriasis is cured with UR-rays in sun within 80 days.
- New studies in California says that exposure of sunlight may play an important role in the precaution of certain types of cancer like breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer. Vitamin D produced by exposure of Sunlight is associated with lower rate of fatal breast cancer.
- Exposure to the sunlight increases blood constituents.
- Direct exposure to sun light for 15 minutes stimulates lymphocytosis. Human skin absorbs maximum sun rays wavelength between 230 to 320 nm. That UV rays produces a ‘Cutaneous Reflex’
- These rays stimulate lymphocyte-producing organs via the blood streams, lymphocytosis show a high degree of immunity to certain transplantable tumours, as well as, enhanced reinforce to bacterial infection.
- Ten minutes of exposure to controlled UV light, once to thrice a week has been demonstrated to reduce the frequency of colds up to 40.3%.
- The positive effects of the sun are to achieve the perfect balance. The right amount of sun to maintain your health. Repeated over exposure to the Sun can lead to premature aging, wrinkling and skin cancer.
- UR-Rays in sunlight alone induced only leucocytosis.
- Over exposure of UV-rays stimulates P53 gene in non-melanoma and tumours in human because the P53 gene controls cell cycle regulation. A loss of function mutation in the gene could be an earliest event in the initiation of Non-melanoma skin cancer.
- Over exposure develops bubble forming rashes on their skin only in areas lacking pigmentation. UV rays causes a chemical reaction in Cutaneous blood vessels in non-pigmented areas.