Heliotherapy, or using the sun as a source of healing, has enjoyed a long and successful practice over thousands of years. Sun worshipping has been an integral spiritual aspect of many ancient civilisations and native cultures, with sun bathing a practical manifestation.
Roman emperors, Egyptian gods and Greek physicians upheld the sun as one of the best forms of medicine, and cities and housing were designed around the path of the sun, in order to optimise illumination and the cleansing properties of sunlight.
It’s no exaggeration to say that life depends on the sun. Galaxies and planets could not exist without it. The truth is simple: our bodies (unclothed) also need sunlight. But in recent times, sunlight has received a bad rap, being blamed for the development of skin cancers. As the skin is the largest detoxification organ in the body, some skin cancers are indicative of waste build up being excreted out of our body, spurred on by the healing effect of sunlight.
Of course, there is a right and a way wrong to sun bathe; moderation being a virtue, and going out at the optimal time, also critical. Those of us who live in industrialised countries, are no longer used to spending the entire day outside. Exposure to the sun needs to be gradual at first.
Many recent scientific studies have confirmed what nature lovers have known for millennia, that we are a part of nature and through it we find our peace and balance. Activities such as forest bathing and sun bathing help us reconnect with nature and centre our body-mind-spirit. Even if we live in the middle of a busy city, walking through a park or sitting in a garden, can deliver significant benefits. After all, we seldom hear of someone returning home angry after going for a walk in a forest.
Any form of ‘nature bathing’ is about being present in nature and shutting out the overload of sounds, thoughts, and other stimuli that constantly compete for our attention on a daily basis.