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Sunlight: The Light of Life

Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.

All life forms on earth, whether plants, animals or humans, depend on nourishment from the sun to survive. Petroleum, the energy resource of the modern world, is also an ancient form of sunlight. Although sunlight is so vital to life, modern man is commonly deficient in sunlight. We no longer begin work at dawn, and rest at dusk – it may even be that we don’t see the sun in twenty-four hours, particularly during wintertime when people can be living under electrical lighting all day. During winter, people living in parts of the world with high latitudes easily contract S.A.D., a season-related illness with the following symptoms: depression, suicidal tendencies, insomnia, fatigue, bad temper, inclination towards drinking alcoholic drinks, over-sleeping, weakened immune system, and even stroke, dementia, and calcium-deficiency through the lack of vitamins. Most electrical lighting tend to have a “yellow” tinge, which can lead to tensed feelings from over-stimulation of the nervous system, as well as eye fatigue.

Over forty years ago, to make a Walt Disney film on the growth process of plants, John Ott grew some squash plant under interior lighting. In the end, these squash plants did not flower or produce fruits even after one season. This experience led John to engage in research on lighting. He believes that animals and humans possess cells that have photosynthesis capabilities of plants. Light enters through the eye to the hypothalamus behind the brain, and then gets transformed to electrical impulses that are sent to the pineal gland and pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is the body’s biological clock and balancing center, and controls the body’s reproductive functions, responses to hunger and thirst, body temperature, and moods. Light is critical to our health and moods. John Ott found that fluorescence lamps and ordinary bulbs have narrow light spectrums, and weak light intensity that is equivalent only to that at dusk. He designed a full-spectrum blue light. In classrooms that changed to this lighting, students’ learning ability increased, and their hyperactivity decreased. People working in offices that used this full-spectrum lighting increased their productivity and energy levels.

Depending on the season, we need an average of 30 minutes to 2 hours of direct or indirect sunlight. Lack of sunlight can lead to the following effects:

  • Low energy levels
  • Cravings for carbohydrates, sugar and coffee
  • Difficulty in waking up, and extended sleeping time
  • Low zest for life
  • Decreased attention span and ability
  • Inclination towards bad moods.

Sunlight absorption does not necessarily need to come from direct exposure to the sun. Light entering the eyes through the windows can work as well. Lack of sunlight, particularly deficiency in red, blue, violet and some ultraviolet light, can occur in the following circumstances: frequent wearing of sunglasses; use of dark-colored windowpanes in the home or office; or dust pollution in the atmosphere. The skin can also absorb sunlight. When light shines on the skin, it promotes the formation of melanin that protects the skin. Then, through melanin, Vitamin D is formed. Vitamin D3 and melanin jointly help to regulate one’s mood and immune system. Vitamin D enters the liver and kidney to help the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and is essential to the formation of healthy bones and teeth. In particular, during children’s growing stage, Vitamin D helps the development of their nervous system, heart function, and blood clotting.

In the pre-1930 period when there were no antibiotics, treatments using sunbaths or ultraviolet baths were universally acknowledged to be the best forms of treatment against bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, asthma, cuts and wounds, festering wounds, jaundice, joint inflammation, psoriasis, acne, and lymph inflammation.

Besides appropriate exposure to the sun, room color matters. Use light colors for the rooms or use mirrors to reflect light. If we need to work indoors under artificial lighting, use full-spectrum light bulbs. Avoid fluorescent lamps – they are the source of X-rays, radio waves and low-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Whether the X-rays originate from fluorescent lamps, computer, or television, they can cause the blood cells to coagulate. Over a long period of time, this will cause us to be tired, and drowsy. In contrast, exposure to light from the sun or a full-spectrum lamp causes the blood cells to separate and not coagulate, and therefore regain its normal function. People who frequently use the computer should do additional sunbaths, or work under a full-spectrum lamp.

Colors from light have unique effects on the body and mind. Western medicine has had some insights over the past two hundred years. In recent times, infants with jaundice have responded very well to blue light therapy. In 1926, an American medical surgeon, Dr. Kate Baldwin, related her experiences using a variety of colors to treat ailments. She was of the opinion that in her 37 years of medical practice, light therapy had more superior effects than any other medicine or surgical procedures; recovery was faster and benefitted the patients more. When treating burns, blue light had the effect of curing inflammation, and stopping pain and itch. The light blue color helps in healing of the skin. A child who was severely burned could not pass urine for 48 hours. Dr. Baldwin shone a red light for 20 minutes at a distance of 18 inches above the child’s kidney, with the rest of her body covered. Two hours later, the child passed 250cc of urine. Light therapy is most appropriate for the treatment of sprains and bruises and is effective in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections. It can also be used to treat asthma, heart problems, lung infections, eye infections, glaucoma, and cataract. Even under conditions where surgery is required, the patient’s recovery is hastened with the use of light therapy. Recovery from burns is especially fast using light therapy – 20 to 30 minutes of blue light exposure can stop pain and itch and enable the skin to recover its softness.

Dr. Baldwin was one of the most outstanding students of Dr. DinshahGhadiali. Dr. Dinshah had several medical degrees and had been interested in light therapy earlier on when he was in India. In 1897, during the rampage of the Black Death, a friend’s niece contacted a lethal form of colon infection. She had to pass motion hundreds of times a day, and she was literally waiting for death because no medicine could cure her.

Dr. Dinshah was aware that Dr. Edwin Babbit from the U.S. had used color therapy. Dr. Dinshah used the light from a kerosene lamp filtered through indigo glass pane to shine on his friend’s niece for 30 minutes. At the same time, he filled a glass bottle of the same color with milk and placed the bottle under the sun for an hour before feeding her the milk. The effects were immediate. The patient’s tendency to pass motion reduced to just 10 times a day. With continual treatment, she was able to get out of bed after three days. This experience changed Dr. Dinshah’s direction of life. He spent the latter half of his life investigating and promoting light therapy. In 1911, he settled in the U.S.A., and after his death in 1966, his son Darius Dinshah continued his work. Darius suggests the following treatment for SARS: place a blue bottle filled with water under the sun for an hour, and then drink a cup of the water three times daily. In addition, another suggestion is to use indigo light for twenty minutes twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. When doing so, it is best to keep the light at a distance of about 3 feet from the body. Currently, the use of light therapy in medical treatment has increased by leaps and bounds and deserves the attention of people in the medical circle. We can also use color therapy in our daily lives – fill water in different colored bottles and put the bottles under the sun for an hour before drinking the water. Here are the functions associated with different colors:

Blue: Promotes calm and quiet; clears phlegm and fever; stimulates the pineal gland.

Green: Stimulates lymphatic system; aids digestion and bowel movements; beneficial to nervous system.

Orange: Aids breathing system and growth of bones.

Red: Stimulates nervous system and circulation and aids the repair work by the liver.

For further information, visit the website www.dinshahhealth.org or read the book “Light Years Ahead” published by Celestial Arts, 1996.