Once upon a time, we lived in harmony with the sun. In ancient times we worshipped it, and in the early days of the 20th century we learned to harness its power to fight diseases such as tuberculosis. But with spiking rates of skin cancer, we were told we must protect ourselves from it. So, slathered and sprayed with sunscreen, we did. And somewhere along the way, we forgot that we have a friend in the sun.
In The Healing Power of the Sun, now in a newly revised second edition, Richard Hobday, PhD—a leading authority on the history of sunlight therapy, also known as heliotherapy—marshals the evidence of history and of science to remind us that the sun is, and always has been, a life-giving, health-enhancing form of medicine.
You don’t need a scientific background to enjoy this book, but the author nevertheless brings the science. It was at the dawn of the 19th century when the medical field first turned its attention to the therapeutic properties of ultraviolet light: Dr. Oskar Bernhard began exposing his tuberculosis patients to the sun’s rays in 1902. Niels Finsen won the Nobel Prize for Medicine by successfully treating TB patients with certain wavelengths of light in 1903. And Swiss physician Auguste Rollier opened up the sunbaths at his famed tuberculosis clinic that same year.
Despite all that was learned in those early days about the benefits of sunlight therapy, and sunlight in general, these advancements were eventually pushed to the wayside by our deeply held cultural belief that the sun is harmful to our health. The Healing Power of the Sun is a timely book that challenges this mistaken notion and details the immense, beneficial powers of the star we orbit:
- It heals. The sun can prevent and heal a wide range of conditions that vex human health, among them tuberculosis, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, and several forms of cancer.
- It disinfects. Before the discovery of antibiotics, which significantly downgraded our appreciation of the sun as a powerful disinfectant, doctors relied on sunlight to heal wounds and treat infections—nature’s way of killing viruses and bacteria.
- It’s way better than artificial light. Too much artificial light, and too little natural sunlight, can confuse your biological rhythms, jack up your stress levels, worsen your eyesight, make you gain weight, make you feel blue, and weaken your vitamin-D deprived immune system.
- It’s the best way to get vitamin D. Simply being in the presence of the sun—regular but moderate exposure—will afford your health a serious boost in vitamin D. (If you don’t know why this is so important, read our editor’s note below.) When the temperature is cool and the early morning sunlight beckons you from your bed, it is an especially good time to rise up and greet it.
Hobday shows us that the power of the sun is the power of nature. When correctly applied and harnessed, it is also the power of health. That is why we highly recommend picking up The Healing Power of the Sun and reintroducing yourself to humanity’s oldest, wisest, and most powerful friend.
Editor’s note: Sunlight gets a bad rap these days, but it’s important to remember that it’s absolutely critical in order for humans to create vitamin D. When sunlight strikes our skin, it irradiates cholesterol beneath the surface and converts it to vitamin D. This harnessing of the sun’s power is the only known example in the human body of manufacturing food from the environment. In this sense, vitamin D production is similar to photosynthesis in plants. In plants, the sun spurs the creation of carbohydrates. In humans, it helps form vitamin D.
From Amazon Customer Reviews:
“In The Healing Sun: Sunlight And Health In The 21st Century, Richard Hobday shows how the sun is central to human health and well-being. He explains that sunlit houses can help prevent disease, make us feel happier, and save energy; that sunlight can help prevent and heal many common (and often fatal) disease like breast cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis; that sunlight was used successfully to speed up the healing of wounds before the invention of antibiotics; tanning moderately throughout the year is better than avoiding the sun altogether; sudden bursts of strong solar radiation are unnatural and dangerous, protection needs to be built up slowly, early morning sunlight in cool temperatures is particular beneficial to the body; sunlight hospital rooms provide a better environment for the treatment of clinically depressed people; prolonged exposure to artificial light puts the body under great stress; and much, much more. The Healing Sun is a unique and invaluable contribution to personal and professional alternative health and medical reference collections.”
—Midwest Book Review
“An important book to read about how important the sun is for us all. We have been taught that the sun is so dangerous but this proves otherwise.”
—Inger Pettersson “Ingerpet”
“This is a fascinating read. Richard Hobday takes you through the history of ‘heliotherapy’ (sun therapy) and how it was ousted with the discovery of antibiotics, then makes the connection that we, as we live in our sheltered environments in artificial light have disconnected from the natural world and are deprived not only of Vitamin D, ‘the sunshine Vitamin,’ but of other not yet understood ways sunlight works on our human system. When doctors used to send tuberculosis patients ‘out west’ where the sun shone clearly and strongly, they knew something that’s been overlooked by much of modern medicine. If you’ve ever suffered from an infectious disease, diabetes, cancer or any of a number of modern diseases, this little book is worth your consideration.”
“Vitamin D is the hottest vitamin at the moment and the best way to get it is naturally under our infamous sun. The author very credibly explains away the media demonization of solar radiation and makes one feel secure in getting out in the sun again.”
“This book is a MAJOR eye opener. After all of the ‘doctor’s orders’ over the past decade to stay out of the sun because of skin cancer, this book gives you a 180 degree different perspective and led me on a quest to learn more about the benefits of Vitamin D -and the lack of it- on our health. If you are struggling with ANY form of chronic health problems, you may just be surprised that following the guidelines in this book just may seriously improve your health!! Having been a Registered Nurse for over 14 years, a lot of the information in this book goes against EVERYTHING that I had been taught. But in a nation of increasing antibiotic resistant infections, we just may be forced to return to whatever works for good health- and it’s contained in this book. Learn these principles now and when antibiotics are useless, you’ll have free medicine in your toolkit that you can use anytime.”
—Kerri Knox, RN
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