A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF HELIOTHERAPY

The importance of the healing power of the sun was well known in ancient times by the Egyptians, Assyrians , Greeks and Romans
THE EFFECTS OF THE SUN ATTRIBUTED TO EACH TYPE OF RADIATION

  • INFRARED RADIATION
  • Increases skin temperature.
  • Increases blood flow to the surface of the body.
  • VISIBLE RADIATION (sunlight)
  • Stimulates the hypophysis (pituitary gland)
  • Increases hormone production.
  • Balances the vegetative nervous system.
  • Creates a feeling of mental and physical well-being.
  • ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION
  • Disinfects the skin.
  • Produces Vitamin D, which promotes the absorption of calcium in the intestine.
  • Increases defenses against infections.
  • Increases the production of blood. who deified it as a source of light and health, and , in some cases, considered it king of the gods.
  • Nevertheless, during the first few centuries of our era and in the Middle Ages, the healing power of the sun receives very few mentions.
    MODERN HELIOTHERAPY
    At the beginning of the 18th century the practice of taking sunbaths for determined disorders was once again recommended. During the 19th century many institutions specialized in the practice of hydrotherapy, which includes sunbaths as one of its treatments.
    In 1855 Arnold Rickli founded the famous sanitarium Welder Krai on the Adriatic Coast, and this was the first institutions to apply sunbaths. The effectiveness of these treatments was known all over Europe thanks to his works, which were translated into French, Italian and Spanish. On the other hand, in America the creator of the famous “Graham bread”, Dr. Sylvester Graham, frequently recommended sunbaths.
    At the beginning of the 20th century two Swiss doctors, Oskar Bernhard and August Roller, studied the beneficial effects of sunlight on many patients and then went on to prove these through experiments. They established how the sun’s rays helped cure several different types of skin lesions, such as abscesses, badly-healed wounds and tuberculous gramulomas. They also showed how the sun benefited certain cases of tuberculosis, disorders of the joints and rickets.
    For example, during the first World War, long before penicillin was discovered, Rollier managed to completely cure 1,746 of the 2,167 patients admitted with tuberculosis in the Leusin Sanitarium (Switzerland).
    MICROBIOLOGY
    In the middle of the 20th century microbiology gave heliotherapy (sun cure) a major boost. Studying the effects on sunlight on bacteria and other microorganisms, it was shown how diffuse light curbs their development while direct sunlight destroys them completely. Nowadays it has been proven that this antiseptic action of the sun is produced by the ultraviolet rays.
    Today heliotherapy is an effective medical treatment that has been fully recognized by the world’s scientific community.