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Sunshine Offers Powerful Healing

The Sun’s amazing healing powers were known to Indians for ages. The Sun is related to our eyes (according to the Purusha Sooktha, the Sun was born from the eyes of the Purusha).

New research explains how exposure to light helps our bio-rhythm and why it is vital for older people to get adequate sunlight exposure.

For decades, scientists have looked for explanations as to why certain conditions occur with age, among them memory loss, slower reaction time, insomnia and even depression. They have scrupulously investigated such suspects as high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and an inactive lifestyle.

Now a fascinating body of research supports a largely unrecognized culprit: the aging of the eye.The gradual yellowing of the lens and the narrowing of the pupil that occur with age disturb the body’s circadian rhythm, contributing to a range of health problems, these studies suggest. As the eyes age, less and less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, its internal clock.

Circadian rhythms are the cyclical hormonal and physiological processes that rally the body in the morning to tackle the day’s demands and slow it down at night, allowing the body to rest and repair. This internal clock relies on light to function properly, and studies have found that people whose circadian rhythms are out of sync, like shift workers, are at greater risk for a number of ailments, including insomnia, heart disease and cancer.

So-called photoreceptive cells in the retina absorb sunlight and transmit messages to a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (S.C.N.), which governs the internal clock. The S.C.N. adjusts the body to the environment by initiating the release of the hormone melatonin in the evening and cortisol in the morning.

Melatonin is thought to have many health-promoting functions, and studies have shown that people with low melatonin secretion, a marker for a dysfunctional S.C.N., have a higher incidence of many illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

These vital cells, it turns out, are especially responsive to the blue part of the light spectrum. The photoreceptors of the average adult receive just 50 percent of the light needed to fully stimulate the circadian system. By age 55, it dips to 37 percent, and by age 75, to a mere 17 percent.

“Anything that affects the intensity of light or the wavelength can have important consequences for the synchronization of the circadian

People should make an effort to expose themselves to bright sunlight or bright indoor lighting when they cannot get outdoors. Older adults are at particular risk, because they spend more time indoors.

“In modern society, most of the time we live in a controlled environment under artificial lights, which are 1,000 to 10,000 times dimmer than sunlight and the wrong part of the spectrum,” Dr. Turner said.

Source: NY Times: Aging of Eyes Is Blamed for Range of Health Woes

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Written by maald

February 29, 2012 at 6:32 am

Posted in Health

3 Responses

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  1. This was known to our ancestors , I guess. My grandfather still spends 1 hr outside, basking in the sun !

    Dee

    August 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

  2. Your blog is like an encyclopedia!

    No wonder the big guy sustains everything.. but these days one rarely gets to meet him. We get into the car/transport to reach the office and by the time we return, the bug guy would have retired for the day.

    But how did our forefathers discover the goodness of sun to develop “Surya namskar”. and that too much ahead of others.

    Happy Kitten

    October 2, 2012 at 10:11 am

    • Thank you. Your words Inspired me to come up with another post after a very long break.

      Note that the artcle above is not so much about exposing our skin to sun-shine but about getting more light into our eyes (circadian rhythms, melatonin and all that).

      maald

      October 5, 2012 at 3:46 am


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