Sunday, July 29, 2012

To Protect Yourself from the Sun's Rays, Remember the "Shadow Rule"

Greetings everyone!

This being the summer time, you may often wonder, when is it healthy or OK to be in the sun?  Of course, we all hear the hype about the sun's "harmful rays".  Some say to simply use sun tanning or sun screening products.  However, I have my own reservations regarding applying these "chemical soups" to my skin, especially if you take the time to read some of the ingredients listed on the bottle that after application will be ultimately absorbed by your skin and into your body.  Can you say "Oxybenzone"?

Thus, I will use the commercial sun screen that is immediately available on the market only sparingly when I have no other recourse, that is, when I have to be out in the sun during those high intensity times of blazing sun.  Of course, applying sun tan lotion is probably the lesser evil as compared to getting a full, outright sunburn, which I have had plenty of in my life time as a result of venturing into the sun during those peak times, totally unprotected, when I should have been otherwise.

Thus, in order to be able to forego the use of sunscreen, some of us may be confused.  That is, we might be thinking, should we stay out of the sun, let's see, is it between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m?  ...  Or, if it's the summer time, should it be between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.?  ...  But, what if it's Daylight Saving Time?  Does this then mean between 10 to 4 p.m.?  ...  etc.  ... It seems to be a lot of guessing and confusion.

To help untangle this bewilderment, there is a wonderful book I once read, titled "
Doctor Morrison's Miracle Guide to Pain-Free Health and Longevity" by Dr. Marsh Morrison, D.C., 1977.  In the book, amongst many different health topics, Dr. Marsh writes:

The best test for sunbathing safety is in the length of your shadow.

Dr. Marsh goes on to state that as long as your shadow that is cast on the ground is longer than you are, then it is OK for you to be in the sun.  Or, another way to say this is ...  If your shadow is shorter than you are, you should be out of the sun.

If you must be in the sun when your shadow is shorter than you are, I have heard some people advocate a natural, safe alternative to the commercial sun screens is, instead, using "unrefined coconut butter" on your skin.  I will confess that if I have to be in the sun when my shadow is shorter than I am, I still reach for the Coppertone bottle.  :-)

The best in health!

Guan Yin Acupuncture & Movement-Education Center
Dr. Lin Cheng Speer, LAc, OMD, PhD
James Speer, Injury Rehab Therapist
Functional Movement-Education Therapist
Practitioner of the work of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais
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