Updated: May 9, 2020
History of Ultraviolet Rays Uses
The acknowledged father of the Universe, the Sun, has been worshiped from prehistoric times. Sun was a principle deity to the Sumerians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and of course Indians. The ancient civilizations of the Aztecs, Mayas and the Incas had built huge monuments in reverence to the Sun God. In India we have a temple, Sun temple, dedicated to the Sun god on the sea coast in the state of Orissa. This temple was used as a lighthouse for the ships sailing in the Bay of Bengal.
The knowledge of the therapeutic value of the ultraviolet rays of Sun was very much present along with the Sun worship in the ancient era. Sun is the mediator of all life on earth, from the tiniest leaf to the humongous elephant. If we keep away the 2% of the nuclear energy aside ( even the nuclear energy has its indirect source in the Sun) Sun is the source of 98% of the heat on the planet earth.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was the first to know the curative power of sunlight as he successfully employed it to cure a number of diseases. He called the cure by UV light of the Sun as Heliotherapy some 2000 years ago. Sunlight has been found to be the most powerful killer of the germs. The spectrum of light of the Sun rays comprises of the waves of different wavelengths and colors which act as medicine to different diseases. This system of ultraviolet rays treatment is present in India since long; the nawab of Junagadh , in Gujarat, had built a solarium which used glasses of various colors for directing the radiation of different frequencies which was to be used for curative purposes.
As the chemical treatment for various diseases became popular with the masses, the sunlight therapy had taken a backseat. But later again Russians came up with a new technique known as Impulse Heliotherapy which proved God sent for the patients of bronchial asthma, pneumonia, cardiovascular, locomotor, skin and many other diseases. The uzbeck academy of science had developed Impulse Heliotherapy which employes exposure of the afflicted body parts to the concentrated sun rays vibrating with the frequency of 60 to 120 impulses per minute. The instrument for generating the sun rays of this frequency was installed at the Semashko Institute of Health Resort and Physiotherapy.
The Sun energy can manufacture vitamin D within our body when received on the skin and chlorophyll in the plans, the raw material for manufacturing glucose, through the process of photosynthesis.
Other Therapeutic Uses of the Ultraviolet rays Treatment
The UV rays are radiated from the Sun's surface which has the temperature of about 10,000 Farenheits. The Sun exists in the gaseous state. Normally the light travels in the form of Short waves of light particles in a straight line, if an obstruction comes in its linear path, or the medium it is travelling through changes then the light changes its path depending on the nature of the obstacle and the changed medium. This concept is known as refraction of the light.
A minute before sunrise and a minute after the sunset we get to see the refracted image of the Sun and not its real image. That is why the Sun rays at these times of the day can directly hit the eyes without harming them, as the power of the sun rays is at the minimum at these times. The afternoon Sun should not be directly stared at all, as it can be harmful to the eyes and their functioning owing to the high intensity of the radiation hitting the earth at this time. Though it is beneficial to bath the eyes in the Sun when it is at its intense most while keeping them closed.
The exposure to sunlight in this manner stimulates the blood vessels present around the eyes which increases the blood circulation in the area. The ultraviolet rays of the Sun are also known as chemical rays. Equipped with long wavelength, and considerable heat energy when the sunlight falls on the skin the nerves and the blood vessels under the skin absorb the heat and circulate it to the body systems via blood circulation. Thus patients of arthritis and muscular rheumatism can largely benefit from it.
The UV light has curative properties for a number of other afflictions.
Sunlight is antiseptic and is very good for the health of the bones
The ultraviolet rays from Sun combine with Aposterol, A chemical found in the skin, to form vitamins D. Vitamin D like all the other essential vitamins is beneficial to a number of functions in the body; it helps detoxify the blood, is good for bone formation and healthy teeth, Children suffering from any deformities of deficiencies in the bones can be cured by exposing them to the Sun, morning one hour and another hour in the late evening
The ultra violet light is also useful in the manufacture of Red blood cells and the leukocytes. Leukocytes or the white blood cells are crucial to a strong immune system of the body
UV rays are also responsible for concentrating the calcium and phosphorus content in the blood
Exposure to Sun energy from sunlight have been found to cure Osteoporosis in which the bones become spongy and brittle due to the loss of the bone mass, this disease is common in women with many children or can strike even during pregnancy, in case left untreated it can deform the bones
UV rays are very effective on tuberculosis of the skin and tuberculosis pheritomisis, it is the tuberculosis of the inner wall of the abdomen which covers the intestines, though the T.B of the lungs is not treated with sunlight
Exposure to the early morning ultraviolet rays from Sun can cure sinus issues
Infrared light is another very useful component of the Sunlight. It had got as many uses as their are of UV rays of the Sun.
Infrared rays from the sun help relieve the pain behind the joints in arthritis
These rays can cure neuritis - the inflammation of the nerves, fibrositis - inflammation of the fibres of the muscles, lumbago , and gout, it reduces the pain due to these conditions along with help curing them in the long run
Today, infrared ray lamps are easily available in the market, but natural sunlight is more effective than the artificially generated infrared rays inside the lamps. Excessive exposure to sunlight - ultraviolet rays, infrared rays - can be very harmful to one's health. The best time to take sun bath is early morning, the ozone layer, smog ( mixture of mist and fog) present in the early hours of the day absorb any excessive amount of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. Applying a little amount of oil on the skin before exposing it to the UV rays will further reduce the danger of overexposure as the layer of oil is good at absorbing certain amount of UV light before it can reach the surface of the skin.
Harmful Effects of the Sunlight
Like any other element of nature the sunlight also has its harmful effects in certain circumstances which one must strive to avoid. Sunlight two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset can be damaging to human body owing to its high strength during this period. Exposure to the Sun energy in the afternoon hours can cause congestive coughs, and laso dilation of the mucous membrane which generated excessive mucous which can enter the system.
Ozone layer is the purest form of oxygen, a highly unstable layer which absorbs excessive ultraviolet rays from Sun, disappears from the atmosphere after the morning hours.That is why practicing pranayamas before sunrise is very effective due to the presence of the ozone layer at that time of the day. The proportion of oxygen in the air is at its maximum in the early morning hours.Though this doesn't work in a highly polluted city like Mumbai. In Mumbai pranayama must be done after sunrise, or their is the danger of developing asthma. The sun rays and heat after the sunrise help settle the pollutants in the air.