With summer's arrival come opportunities for basking poolside in the company of friends. I was doing just that recently when the conversation turned to protecting ourselves from the sun. We relied on our shade umbrella to diffuse the intensity of the UV rays and chose not to use conventional sunscreen. We didn’t want to put ourselves at greater health risk by applying toxic chemicals to our skin.

Now to be fair, there are safe alternatives to conventional synthetic sunscreens and sun blocks. I advise the reader to look for non-toxic products if your exposure to the sun is to be prolonged.


To a large extent the sun has become an object to be feared. Although our skin can be vulnerable to sunburn, avoidance of the sun can actually lead to greater health risks. Appropriate doses of sunlight are essential to our overall wellbeing. The following are a few reasons to seek out the sun.


Mood Enhancer


The sun is good for you, plain and simple. Like everything else, moderation is advised. Exposure to the sun allows the body to naturally produce vitamin D. In recent years research has shown the significant role vitamin D plays in our health. Some doctors consider it to be more important than vitamin C.


The sun makes us feel happy. When the body is exposed to sunlight, the production of the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin increases.


“Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.” — Maori Proverb


The Eyes Have It


Not only have we learned to cover our skin from the sun, we also hide our eyes behind sunglasses — blocking the most direct path of communication to the brain for processes that improve our health and enhance our mood.


When the eyes absorb sunlight, the production and release of another neurotransmitter, melatonin, also increases. Together these hormones regulate our mood, emotions, memory, self-esteem, sleep habits, appetite, digestion and body temperature.


Perhaps it would be wise to take the advice of Corey Hart, and wear your sunglasses at night.


Eat Your Sunscreen


It seems that the importance of a healthy diet cannot be overstated. Diets high in processed foods lead to the impairment of intercellular communication, suppress immune functions, damage our DNA and are linked to the skin-ageing effects of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Skin cells are strengthened and nourished internally with real food and plenty of water. When your skin is well nourished it responds better to sunlight.


Spiritually, the sun is our direct link to the creator. As we connect with it the nurturing we receive allows for deeper feelings of peace and wellbeing.
Rather than shun the sun, salute it, as do the yogis in an expression of gratitude for its life-giving light and sustenance.


Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is a holistic health practitioner practicing in Hanoi. For information on the types of services provided, visit a-roamingbodyworker.com

Karen Gay

A true global citizen, Karen has lived and travelled overseas for more than 20 years. Her current journey has led her down the rabbit hole. She's not sure she'll resurface. You can follow her on twitter.com/KRMG and facebook.com/a.roaming.bodyworker

Website: a-roamingbodyworker.com

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