The Role of Sunshine in Healing
Human beings need a certain amount of sunshine to stay healthy and thrive. But how much is too much? And are most of us getting enough? When you have pain such as back pain, headaches, or stomach pain, your chiropractor or acupuncturist will ask you about your daily habits, including how much time you spend outdoors. The connection between natural sunlight and vitamin D production, mood, sleep, and bone density is well studied; but how daily sun exposure levels affects pain levels is not well appreciated by most people. Research into the topic of sunlight exposure and health may help to clarify the issue. People who get blood tests and have been shown to have low levels of vitamin D (hypovitaminosis D) are advised to take vitamin D supplements which may help, although the level and type of supplementation is still in its infancy to combat the hypovitaminosis D problem. Ask your healthcare practitioner how you can achieve adequate levels of sunlight exposure every day without increasing your risk of damage from too much sunlight if you have concerns regarding this issue.
Recent studies (Walsh K, Cruddas M, Coggon D. Low back pain in eight areas of Britain. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1992 Jun;46(3):227-30) show that back pain increases in areas where people get less sunlight, either due to low sunlight latitudes or because people in those cultures cover up their skin a lot or avoid going outdoors. Northerners experience 3-4 times the level of back pain as people who live in Southern climates. Lack of sunlight also affects weight gain, anxiety levels, and certain cancers and other diseases such as multiple sclerosis; doctors tell their patients to get some sun every day to improve health on many levels. Other studies show that even the time of day one gets sunlight matters; 15” of morning sun exposure, as compared to later day, positively affects both weight gain and the ability to sleep at night.
Of course, it is vital to guard against overexposure to the sun’s rays, and the amount of adequate sunlight varies from person to person. Too much sunlight is associated with certain skin cancers and premature aging of the skin, as well as some eye problems. Recent concerns about the toxicity of sunscreen products themselves may have people scrambling to limit their sunlight even more.
Tell your chiropractor or acupuncturist, like an acupuncturist in Chapel Hill, NC, about your daily sun exposure levels because these affect pain and stress levels and will affect other factors associated with health and well being such as back pain, insomnia, weight gain, hypovitaminosis, and mood.
Thanks to Acupractic Natural Healing Center and Acupuncture for their insight into natural healing.