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Heliotherapy - Get Some Sunshine

Posted by Mercola, Joseph; Herman, Jeffry. 2008. Dark Deception: Discover the Truth about the Benefits of Sunlight Exposure. Illinois. on

Sun Exposure Proven Therapeutic, While Avoiding Sun Harms Health

Heliotherapy is using the natural sunlight promote good health! But how did it get turned around so everyone is now fearing sunlight, piling on sunscreen and indoor living which prevents this valuable health tool from reaching you? Do you know that vitamin D from the sun can create healthy bones? Do you know that psoriasis has been cured by laying in the sun?

Heliotherapy Benefits

  • Acne, psoriasis and other skin disorders
  • Muscular stimulation and relaxation
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Reducing body odor
  • Boosting the body’s immune system for the treatment of AIDS
  • Reducing bacteria count by as much as 50% from infections
  • Decontaminating blood transfusions
  • DNA repair
  • Irradiating the blood of cancer patients
  • Hyperbilrubinemia (neonatal jaundice)

Since the time of Ramses in Egypt, the health benefits of the sun have been well known and accepted. Widespread sun therapy use decreased after the discovery of antibiotics. The current fear of sunlight began in the 1960s when individuals practicing unsafe sun practices developed sunburns, associated with melanoma. Newer research shows low sun exposure and vitamin D levels decrease survival rates from skin cancer and increase risks of several diseases, including cancer.

Six thousand years ago health practitioners reported the benefits of the sun for heart health. Heliotherapy was praised by Hippocrates, along with the physicians of Rome and Arabia. Roman scholar Pliny described the sun as the most important self-administered medicine. In Rome the sun treated epilepsy, paralysis, asthma, jaundice, bladder and colon diseases, and obesity. In the 1700s sunlight was used to relieve scurvy and rickets. In the late 1800s, sunlight treated bacterial infections, including anthrax, cholera and dysentery. In 1903 and 1905, Nobel prizes were given to sunlight therapists Finsen and Koch, who used ultraviolet light to treat tuberculosis. Dr. Auguste Rollier used sunlight therapy in Switzerland for 40 years to treat TB and obtained success for 1,746 out of 2,167 patients, only failing with more advanced cases. Florence Nightingale redesigned many hospitals in the early 1900s to allow in more therapeutic sunlight. Dr. Oskar Bernhard used sun therapy during WWl to treat wounds and prevent tetanus and gangrene. Through the 1900s sun light therapy was used to treat diseases of the skin, nervous system, musculoskeletal system, circulatory system, respiration, ear, nose and throat.

Sun therapy lost popularity after the discovery of penicillin in the late 1920s

Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in the late 1920s, which was followed by the discovery of antibiotics. These discoveries increased the prominence of drug therapy in replacing more natural cures such as sunlight therapy.

Discovery of sunburn connection to melanoma fueled current misguided fear of the sun

Middle class individuals experienced sunburns in the 1960s and 70s due to sporadic leisure sun exposure after spending most of their time indoors. Sunburned skin became linked to increased risk of skin cancer. Rather than recommend safer sun exposure practices, physicians advised avoiding the sun. The unregulated sunscreen industry responded with creations of toxic sun screen lotions, containing carcinogenic ingredients and blocking healthful UVB sun rays, which convert to vitamin D. With the subsequent fear of sun came widespread vitamin D deficiencies, associated with increased risks of heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

How to sunbathe safely

Healthy exposure to the sun can be achieved through large skin exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the optimal UVB rays can maximize vitamin D conversion. Dark skinned individuals will need longer exposure times in the sun, compared to those with lighter skin. Avoid sun burn by minimizing sun exposure once skin turns light pink. Use of protective hats and clothing, along with safe sun screen is recommended only if needed to prevent burns


Enjoy the summer sun without “protection” as often as possible. Use shade, hats, protective clothing and safe sunscreens to prevent burning, only after long exposures. The sun possesses enormous therapeutic health value and has long been used to cure diseases. Avoiding the sun can cause vitamin D deficiency, which is correlated with many illnesses. Explore sources below for more details.