Human biology requires these essential wavelengths — red and infrared — to function properly and optimally.
Because modern life lacks these frequencies, it’s up to us to intentionally supplement them — for optimal health.
Understand InfraRED Light
4 Sources of InfraRED
Sunlight is extremely rich in red and infrared light. At solar noon, sunlight is roughly 68% red & infrared.
In the morning, blue and UV are filtered out — leaving rich red and infrared light to reach the earth.
Morning Sunlight is Mostly Infrared
Sunlight is always at least 50% infrared — in all seasons, all climates, all latitudes.
There Are 3 Types of Infrared Light
Understanding this will help you decide which type sauna you prefer, which light bulbs you’ll choose.
The two most healing spectrums of light are: 1) red — and its close neighbor — 2) near-infrared.
It’s no coincidence that research indicates these two frequencies are the most restorative, seeing that their wavelengths are right next to each other.
What About Far-Infrared?
Far-infrared (FIR), by contrast, is a very long wavelength. It is actually close to the microwave spectrum of light. As we’ll see, FIR is not as restorative for health, and may not be as safe in isolation.
Sunbathing is a major component of optimizing health — especially due to its massive, rich infraRED properties.
A therapeutic dose of sunlight means exposing most of the body to sunglight.
Don’t Jump In Too Fast
Almost everyone should start cautiously with all therapeutic light.
Besides burning, sunlight can deplete precious nutrients — particularly Vitamin A — but also electrolytes and other vitamins (like B1 to a small extent).
A therapeutic dose of sunlight might look different for a beginner than for a healthy or experienced sunbather. Beginners should start with just a few minutes at a time to guage their body’s response.
Sunlight is healing at all times of the day, but early morning light is remarkably restorative — even without UV — because of its powerful infrared and red wavelengths.
What Makes a Sunbathing Session More Risky?
The UV Index, the duration of exposure, and how much skin is exposed determine how intense your sunbathing session is.
Each person is different: Skin complexion and recent sun exposure (base tan) also matter.
Because it lacks UV and is missing much of its blue light, morning sunlight is quite gentle. By contrast, noon sunlight can be quite powerful, with strong blue and UV frequencies.
A Beginner Sunlight Session -vs- An Experienced Session
- UV Index: 0-6
- Duration: 10-30 min
- UV Index: 0-12
- Duration: 10-60 min
Every Sunny Day?
The ideal day will always include quality time spent in sunshine.
While intermittent sun exposure is certainly better than none, sunlight is most effective at optimizing and regenerating health when it is received on a regular basis.
Direct Sun –> Bare Skin
The frequencies of light that hit the skin directly shape and control the entire body’s health.
A 2019 study suggested that UVB light alters immunity in the skin — and then transfers those benefits to the entire bodily system.
“It is likely that exposure to UVB light somehow alters the immune system in the skin initially, then more systemically, which in turn affects how favorable the intestinal environment is for the different bacteria,” says Vallance.https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.02410/full#h1
It appears that clothing interferes with these biological effects of sunlight on the skin.
While some infrared light can pass through clothing (depending on the thickness of the fabric and number of layers) most is absorbed by the clothing, reducing the direct benefit to the body.
(Beneficial blue and UV are virtually 100% absorbed/blocked by most clothing fabrics).
Therefore, for therapeutic exposures to sunlight, bare skin is absolutely essential.
Sunlight is Healthy Background Light
Humans can’t sunbathe all day without getting a sunburn.
However, being in the shade still provides ample healing infraRED — as healing rays bounce off the surrounding environment and objects.
Sunlight’s natural infrared improves health even when it’s indirect — while wearing clothes and a hat or from the shade of a porch or tree.
When indirect, sunlight’s infraRED wavelengths are less intense, and therefore are beneficial over longer durations of exposure.
InfraRED from indirect sunlight can also be obtained by sitting in front of — or near — windows. Glass blocks nearly all UV, but the rest of the sunlight’s frequencies will shine through. Some newer “energy-saving” glass can block infrared rays to some extent.
Here’s how to know if infrared is reaching your skin: If heat is felt on the skin, infrared light is being delivered.
More About Modern Windows
Modern windows are being treated with various metals to reduce heat transfer between the outside and indoor air.
This will, in fact, decrease some of the infrared that enters the house via the sun. The effect likely will only be minor, and the frequencies blocked in the lower end of the infrared (meaning, far-infrared). Therefore, the most restorative near-infrared spectrum will still be available.
Further, this reduction will be a matter of percentage reduction — not 100% blocking of these frequencies.
With a primary goal to receive infraRED from sunlight, it’s vitally important to avoid sunburn — which damages skin and causes inflammation.
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