Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's that time of year for Seasonal Mood Disorder

by Dr Mercola

You Can Use Simple Light Rays to Enhance Your Health
Without getting into any complicated physics, light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, we have UV or ultraviolet light at 280 to 400 nm (a nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter).

In the middle, we have what is known as the visible light spectrum at about 400 to 700 nm. The visible light spectrum contains colors that range from violet to blue to green to yellow to orange to red.

Red light is quite important for health reasons, as you'll soon see.

And on the right side of the electromagnetic spectrum, we have infrared light. These invisible rays of natural sunlight have a longer wavelength.

I'm sure you've heard about health benefits from ultraviolet light (I'll review them for you shortly).

However, you can also...

Tap the Power of Infrared Light to Increase Circulation and Relieve Minor Pain and Stiffness
You may also have heard infrared referred to by its other name -- radiant heat. Any kind of heat you can feel from a distance has been transported by infrared rays.

It doesn't matter if it is heat from the sun, from a stove, a light bulb, or even another person.

Infrared is quite different from ultraviolet light. It's a form of energy that heats objects directly. This process is called conversion. One reason it's different is because it doesn't have to heat the air in between the heat source and the object.

Without going into the more complicated aspects of physics, infrared is able to penetrate more deeply than other parts of the light spectrum (to a depth of about 1.2 to 1.6 inches) -- and stimulate your body cells.

Now, when light interacts with tissue (or any material), you can think of it as containing those little energy packets called photons. And your skin has the ability to take these photons of infrared light from the sun or from other sources, and use them to stimulate cellular regeneration.

You probably aren't aware that infrared light raises your white blood cell count, improves your cell growth, or causes DNA or protein synthesis in your cells.

However, I imagine you do find it interesting that infrared light in this range from 700-2000 nm has been known to:

Produce temporary relief of muscular pain and spasm...
Relieve your mild and occasional joint aches and stiffness...
Provide a comforting feeling of penetrating warmth...
Stimulate your blood flow and circulation...
Invigorate your metabolism...
And much more...
Have you ever noticed that sometimes, just lying out in the sun's warmth makes you feel a bit better? Well...

Using Infrared Light to Enhance Wellness is Not New
In fact, your own palms emit infrared energy at between 8-14 microns.

The Chinese have practiced traditional palm healing for 3,000 years based on the properties of these natural infrared rays. Both Chi Gong masters and the Yogis in India have used palm healing. In some cultures and religious rituals, this is known as 'healing by the laying on of hands'.

With today's advancing technology there are much more advanced methods of producing infrared rays.

Infrared Light Rays have Brought Temporary
Pain and Stiffness Relief to Millions
You can get some infrared energy from the sun itself.

However, there are other ways to receive infrared light rays. These range from simple inexpensive hand-held gizmos and heating pads that produce a few infrared rays to expensive 'chi machines', infrared LED light devices, even infrared saunas.

I've tried a few of these myself. And as you can imagine, the quality and effectiveness varies greatly. However, millions of people have used these devices to achieve comforting heat and some measure of temporary relief from pain and stiffness.

But there's more. Infrared is only one of the 3 types of light with health-enhancing effects.

What about those Health Benefits from Ultraviolet Light?
If you've spent any time on my site, you're probably aware of the importance of ultraviolet or UV light to your health.

The sun's UVB rays are crucial to help your body produce vitamin D.

And when it comes to UVA, these rays not only help you produce a tan, but also naturally protect your body from sunburn and can actually help protect you from overdosing on vitamin D produced from too much UVB.

Of course, it is my strong belief that the best way to get your vitamin D is through direct and appropriate sunlight exposure on your skin. The problem is that you may not be receiving ample sunlight where you live. If you live in a colder climate, work indoors, or don't spend adequate time in the sun, you may not be generating the vitamin D you need.

In fact, your vitamin D levels may plummet more than 50% in the winter.

Aside from natural sunlight, there are 2 other practical ways to obtain the vitamin D you need.

You can use supplementation with vitamin D3.

However, if you choose to go this route, make sure you have your vitamin D levels tested regularly to make sure you do not take too much of it. You and your physician need to be aware of your vitamin D levels, so you can adjust your supplementation accordingly.

Your third alternative is to use a tanning system that utilizes UV-B rays to provide you with a way to help you naturally produce the vitamin D your body needs and receive all the benefits I have been talking about here for many years.

The reason this matters is because vitamin D provides support for:

The health of your immune system...
A healthy cardiovascular system...
Your prostate, if you are male...
Your healthy skin...
And much more than I can list here...
Plus, based on my years of study and clinical experience, it is my firm belief that avoiding the sun's UV rays can have detrimental effects on your health. In fact, I've come to believe that vitamin D deficiency is a growing epidemic.

So UV and infrared light are both beneficial to you.

In addition...

Here's the Third Type of Light that Can Help Enhance Your Health: Red Light
Another unique type of beneficial light is red light from the visible spectrum in the 633 nm wavelength.

Exposure to light in this range naturally stimulates your skin cells to produce collagen, elastin and enzymes that provide support for your skin.

As you age, collagen and elastin break down, leading to wrinkles and lines in your once-firm skin. And if you smoke or have a poor diet, this process can move faster.

Red light in this 633 nm range can not only improve the texture, hydration and tone of your skin -- it can also help give you a more youthful appearance.

Now, you've seen how important all three of these light forms are to your overall health and wellbeing