The Sun – Friend or Foe?
Almost everything in our modern world is back-to-front and upside-down. Hospitals are not safe places to receive treatment because of superbugs and drug-resistant bacteria. Our schools dumb us down and our water is laced with oestrogen-like substances. We arrived at this place because we took our eyes off the ball and allowed an unholy alliance of politicians, industry and industry-backed scientists to dictate what is and what is not good for us. We all need to step up to the plate and re-claim our powers of reason and logic. If we leave our safety in the hands of others, especially governments, we quickly lose touch with what is right and what is wrong. Very little in this life is as it seems; we need to question everything. This article looks at the toxic nature of suncreams /screen-blockers and contrasts these issues with an ancient form of spiritual healing called sungazing. Sungazing is making a welcome comeback into our consciousness as a means of increasing biological and spiritual health.
Suncreams, sunscreen blockers and nano-particles:
For thousands of years we worshipped the sun and many of our ancient philosophies and religions paid homage to the yellow sphere in the sky which warmed our bodies, grew our crops and gave light to the world. Our bodies depend on the sun to synthesize the all-important vitamin D. Exposure to sunshine is also a well-known remedy for SAD (seasonally affective disorder). After a long cold and dark winter, almost everyone welcomes the return of summer with its promise of long days and plenty of sunshine.
Natural sunlight contains ultraviolet radiation UVA, UVB and UVC. Although these portions of sunlight can be harmful to us, they are mostly blocked from reaching the ground (and us) by the ozone layer which is found in the outer reaches of our stratosphere. Closer to ground, water vapour and dust particles also absorb UV radiation keeping levels relatively small. The effects of these stratospheric and tropospheric cleansing processes also vary through time and space. As a student of the atmospheric sciences in the late 1980s, I was made aware of the link between the thickness of the ozone layer and incidence of eye cataracts. There was no such clear cut correlation between UV radiation and skin cancers, although I do remember that UVA was defined as mostly benign and UVB was the real ‘bad guy’. That has all changed and UVA is now seen almost in the same light as UVB: both types are now ‘bad guys’.
- Ultraviolet (UVA) is implicated in the development and acceleration of wrinkles and aging of the skin. Tanning booths use UVA at 12 times measured at the ground leading to a 75% increased probability of developing skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma.
- Ultraviolet (UVB) produces more melanin than UVA leading to a heavy tan and thickening of the skin cells of the epidermis. In extreme cases, sunburn occurs and with it comes an increased incidence of skin cancer? From my understanding there is little factual data to support this view. From early inception of suncream use, the whole premise of industry was to get people to use both common sense and sunblockers. Through time and a form of ‘Chinese whispers’ the message nowadays is – ditch common sense, take measures to avoid almost any contact with the sun by slathering on suncreams. If you do not, you increase your risk of getting skin cancer.
- Ultraviolet (UVC) is germicidal in nature, does not penetrate the skin layers and much of it is readily absorbed by atmospheric gases or other environmental processes.
Astonishingly, the science behind ultraviolet radiation and its effects on our biology is still at the infant stage. It is a controversial science because the more it is studied the less we seem to understand about cause-effect between exposure to UV radiation and induction of skin cancers. It is within this terrain of uncertainty that suncream /sunscreen manufacturers have added another layer of complexity to this existing problem by their addition of nanoparticle technology in their products.
Nano-technology is about decreasing the physical size of elements such as aluminium, zinc and titanium to between 1 – 100 nanometres. One nanometre is 1 billionth of a metre. Surprisingly, particles this small do not behave in the same way as a ‘normal size’ particle of aluminium. Nanoparticle sized elements exhibit ‘quantum’ properties and little work has been carried out to characterise the properties of these nano elements. These particles are small enough to get past the skin layer of cells, into the blood and are readily available for adverse biological reactions anywhere in the body, including crossing the blood brain barrier. Nonetheless, suncream /sunscreen blocker manufacturers use nanoparticles of either zinc oxide or titanium oxide in their formulation.
Note there is no onus on manufacturers to stipulate ingredients or industrial process on their product descriptions. Traditional suncreams suffer from a perceived ‘image problem’ because it reflects a ‘white’ colour on the skin. This was acceptable in bygone days but due to our fetish with how our body looks today, manufacturers now make use of nanoparticle technology to make the suncream invisible.
Traditional sunscreen blockers ended up as white blobs on your skin
Thus, nanoparticle technology is used purely for aesthetic reasons in spite of all the uncertainties in the use of nano-technology by industry and its lack of regulation by government. This is a major environmental, health and safety scandal that will reverberate for many years to come. Once again, a new industrial process has come to market without due consideration for the health, safety and well-being of its consumers, not to mention its environmental consequences.
Pink elephant in the living room:
Significantly, there is little if no data showing use of suncreams and consequent decrease in skin cancers such as malignant melanomas. In fact, some studies suggest suncream users increase their chance of skin cancers by use of the suncream itself. “Actually, the raw data on sunscreen and melanoma are frightening. In one study, people who “often” used sunscreen had 3.34 times as many melanomas as those who “never” slathered up. It’s not a statistic you’ll see on a sunscreen ad, and it’s actually the most extreme example of the studies that find an association between sunscreen and melanoma. In a further review study they found the “odds ratio” of getting melanoma among users of sunscreen was 1.11. In other words, despite the reduction in non-melanoma skin cancers, sunscreen users had an 11 percent greater chance of getting melanoma compared to non-users (1) .
Fifty years ago, peoples of fair skin used common sense when going out in the sun. They adjusted their daily routine to avoid being outdoors when the sun was at its highest and wore hats and clothes that shielded the skin. It was also common for swimwear to be fashioned in such a way that the most exposed parts of the body were shielded against the sun even when swimming. Common sense, particularly at beaches and coastal areas has now been ditched in favour of suncream use. Think back to the last time you went for a swim or should I say just before you got into the water.
Should we blindly follow the dictates of government advisors, government medics and industrial lobbyists who argue the liberal use of sunscreen blockers every time the sun comes out? Have we really lost that sacred connection to the sun that has always provided us with the different forms of energy we need in order to live? It is a topsy-turvy world we currently live in, black is white, strong is weak and knowledge is ignorance.
Environmental effects using suncreams:
It is estimated that up to 4,000 – 6,000 tonnes of suncreams are dispersed into the seas and oceans of the world from the use of suncreams. “Four commonly found sunscreen ingredients (paraben, cinnamate, benzophenone, and a camphor derivative) can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that live inside reef-building coral species. The chemicals cause the viruses to replicate until their algae hosts explode, spilling viruses into the surrounding seawater, where they can infect neighboring coral communities”(3). Significantly, only small amounts of these chemicals are needed in ocean waters in order to initiate wide ranging coral reef die-back.
My second example of how we once used and enjoyed sunlight is through the ancient art of ‘sungazing’. The following is sourced from a literal guru of light affectionately known as ‘HRM’ or Hira Ratek Manek(2).
He brings back to surface, the ancient healing modality of the sun. He says this is a ‘guru-less’ method of biological and spiritual healing process lasting no more than 9 months. He suggests we sungaze for ten seconds on the first day, followed by 10 second increments per day i.e. 20 seconds on the second day, 30 seconds on the third day etc. until we reach a total of 45 minutes. He also states that at the end of this period, everything within you is rejuvenated and you no longer totally rely on eating food to stay alive. He cautions against the use of glasses or contact lenses whilst sungazing because poor vision will improve as you move through the process. He was asked to take part in a research project carried out by NASA. The experiment was simply to take biological tests and note his food intake. The NASA research team found that at the end of 100 days, he consumed just small amounts of butter-milk and water and that his pineal gland was much bigger than average. The NASA wanted to know all about these biological changes because of their astronaut training programme.
The sungazing process:
As in all these things, HRM cautions common sense and asks that we sungaze only within one hour of the sun rising or setting. These periods coincide with solar activity in which ultraviolet radiation is either too small to measure or is not present at all.
- Find a nice spot within Mother Nature, preferably standing barefoot on soil (not grass).
- Gaze into the sun in a normal way i.e. you can blink or flicker your eyes
- Do this for a period of 10 seconds on the first day
- Increase this period by 10 seconds each successive day up to a total of 45 minutes
- By the time you have reached a total sungazing time of 45 minutes per day, you will already have noticed many positive changes within your biology
- Do not wear glasses or contact lenses whilst sungazing
- Check your eyesight vision regularly and be open to regaining 20/20 vision
- Be open to changing diet both in portion size and composition. You may find a dramatic decrease in appetite.
- Your pineal gland (known as the ‘Third Eye’) or what I call our ‘seat of the soul’ will increase in size and be activated. This in itself is indicative of enlightenment or a substantial spiritual awakening.
He also says that sungazing can also be achieved by standing in front of the window of your house although it takes a wee bit longer to achieve ‘guru status’.
In summary, we need to embrace the ‘old ways’ when we celebrated, danced, warmed and embraced in the comforting rays of our sun. There is nothing to fear here; let go of what has been erroneously ‘parroted’ by those with a vested interest in directing our consumer choices. We need to engage the ‘Machine’ and make informed choices before letting go in full glare of the sun – the sun is part of our lineage and birth-right.