Have you ever heard of heliotherapy or phototherapy? I didn’t until I was doing the research for this article. What I found out was that phototherapy is the use of light (particularly ultra violet(UV) light) in the treatment of physical or mental illness and heliotherapy is the use of sunlight to treat disease. A deficiency or lack of sunlight causes depression or what is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) which in itself is a stressful condition to be in. Whether you're suffering from SAD or you're simply stressed, the solution is here.
|Stress Release In The Sun|
Now, we know that the sun emits UV light that we need to protect our eyes from using sunglasses or shades. So the same effects of the UV light in a controlled medical facility can be had by just stepping outside and taking a sunbath. Sunlight has been known to not only give light but also much needed Vitamin D.
What most people don’t realize is that exposure to the sun gives the added benefit of reducing stress. Acording to tanwithoutsand.ca, heliotherapy is a chiropractic treatment used for muscular stimulation and relaxation. I see the word relaxation in there. Relaxation translates to less stress.
Some people spend a lot of time inside or work all day under fluorescent lights and then go home at a time when the sun is setting or gone. The following day, they leave for work early and repeat the same routine. This little contact with the sun is not healthy.
If you’re one of those persons, then you need to change your schedule to include time outside. Let your skin soak in some sunlight. This is not the ‘get a tan’ type of outing in the sun, therefore you need to protect your skin. Use a sunscreen that has a high SPF(Sun Protection Factor).
Another set of people who may experience light deprivation and stress are frequent travelers. My recommendation is to take a walk if you can outside the airport and the hotel where you’re staying. When you expose yourself to sunlight before and after a long flight the symptoms of jet lag can be lessened thus reducing the stress that you feel. It is said that even NASA employs this method by exposing the astronauts to bright lights gradually to get them ready for launches that take place late at night.
|Fight winter blues and increase alertness with this Phillips Golite White/Blue|
Spas and medical facilities are able to simulate UV light to help persons heal but the real thing is always better. If you are unable to get out into the sunlight and you can afford the cost of heliotherapy of phototherapy go for it. I saw Amazon has this Philips Hf3321/60 Golite, White / Blue machine (pictured above) that helps to decrease winter blues and increase alertness. It costs about $99 at the time of writing this article and comes with free shipping. However, if the cost of booking yourself into a spa or getting this machine is cost prohibitive, why don’t you use God’s free way of reducing stress and get out into the sun on a regular basis. A side benefit of this is that if you suffer from skin disorders like psoriasis this kind of sun therapy may help heal that too according to studies done.
The sun has a way of elevating the mood so if you’re under a lot of stress use this method. Here are some helpful suggestions to get more exposure to sunlight:
- Park at the far end of the parking lot when you go to the office or the store and walk in the sun to and from the building.
- If you use the bus, and it’s a sunny day then leave home a bit earlier if you can and get off a couple of blocks before your stop and walk the rest of the distance.
- Leave the office early enough to get an hour or so of time outside either playing with your children or just sitting in the sun.
- If the time is not possible on a weekday or even if it is, use your weekends and spend as much time as you can outdoors in the sun playing a sport or other game, enjoying a picnic or just a casual walk around the neighborhood.
Read more on the curative properties of the sun here - The Healing Sun: Sunlight and Health in the 21st Century and The Curative Value of Light: Sunlight and Sun Lamp in Health and Disease 1932.
Get out into the sun and eliminate stress!
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