Global Resilience Solutions > Category:sun exposure

Want to Slash Your Cancer Risk? Then Reevaluate Your Attitudes to Sun Exposure…

The birds are singing, the weather’s changing… spring is here! And with that comes the sun. That great big ball of fire in the sky holds the key to the surprisingly simple way to improve your health and happiness – sun exposure! That’s right – the sun. Though often touted by the media as the Number One way to get cancer, the sunshine is not as black as it’s painted. As winter begins to wind down, now is the time to re-evaluate your attitudes about “catching some rays”!

What can the sun do for you?

Quite a number of things!

➯ Regulates melatonin in the body. When you’re outside in the sun, the body produces melatonin, which is what makes you feel tired. You’ll find it easier to go to bed earlier, with a deeper sleep. You’ll wake up refreshed and energized!

➯ Promotes bone health and mineral homeostasis.

➯ Fights illness.  According to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s book, Dark Deception (published in 2008), simple sunshine can be your ally in combating all kinds of mental and physical diseases, including: 16 types of internal cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, ricketts, schizophrenia, tuberculosis and myopathy.  Here’s what Dr. Mercola has to say about healthy sun exposure (the part about insect repellent is an extra bonus!):

➯ Improves mood. Have you ever heard of SAD? Seasonal affective disorder affects us all in degrees – a lack of sun can manifest itself though the symptoms of depression. The lift in spirits we feel in the springtime is tied with the increased exposure we get to UV rays. The more you get out into the sunshine, the better you’ll feel – exposure to the sun is tied with production of seratonin.

➯ Recent findings have shown that vitamin D affects a wider spectrum of cells than we first thought. The findings suggest that there are many more positive effects of vitamin D just waiting to be found!  One thing the latest research does suggest, however, is that 1/3 of all cancer deaths could likely be prevented simply by appropriate sun exposure and the vitamin-D levels resulting from it.


This is where the “sneaky” comes in – because getting the sun you need is as simple as skipping the sunscreen. Don’t apply until you’ve gotten at least twenty minutes of hot sun. So walk or bike to work. Read in your backyard. Go on a picnic with the ones you love! Plan a beach day! Or simply take a stroll. All of these are easy ways to get a better night’s sleep, lower your cancer risk and prevent illness for years to come. And adding a little healthy colour to your skin can’t hurt either!

How much?

If you’re fair, ten minutes a day of sun at its peak (between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm) should do the trick, and if you have a warm/medium skin tone, the recommended 20 minutes a day. If you’re more darkly pigmented, you may need up to three times that. And remember, exposure just on your face and hands often isn’t enough. Shorts and t-shirts are your friend!

What about skin damage?

While the negative effects of the sun on your body are grossly exaggerated by the media, a sunburn should undoubtedly be avoided! After you’ve had a bit of sun exposure, protect yourself from a sun overdose with a hat, a light shirt or a shawl. Or simply stay in the shade! While sunscreen is another way to protect from the sun, it’s far from the best way. First, who knows the effects of all the chemicals that are put into it? We slather on so much of this stuff, and it’s going right through our skin into our bloodstream. I’ve known many people that have had allergic reactions to the stuff, which doesn’t bode well. Wouldn’t it be far healthier, and easier, simply to wear a hat and hang out in the shade? And I for one have never been a fan of the pale-shiny faced look that arises when you’ve glopped all of the stuff on. But perhaps that’s just my vanity speaking.

The worst has happened! You’ve gotten a sunburn!

Don’t panic! Just apply aloe vera (raw if you have it) as often as you can until it heals. Aloe is above and beyond the best way to quickly and effectively treat and soothe sun-damaged skin. Cover the affected area when you’re  in the sun to avoid exacerbating the injury, and try to get your daily recommended sun exposure on another part of the body, if possible.

Wishing you and your family lots of fun in the sun!

~Dr. Symeon Rodger

Summer: the Key to Building Your Personal Resilience (Part 2)

(There’s a special breathing exercise for you at the end, but read the whole thing first!)

Last time I talked a bit about how and why to use the summer months to work on certain aspects of your fitness, aspects that are far easier to work on with the higher ambient temperatures. 

(Speaking of higher ambient temperature, the reason I’m inside writing this and not out enjoying the bright sunny day is that the humidex in Ottawa today is 44C / 111F.  “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.”)

Anyway, I digress.  There are also lots of other ways you can build your personal RESILIENCE most easily at this time of year, so let’s take a look at them:


Switching your diet around to include more freshly grown fruits and vegetables can significantly boost your intake of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and more.  In addition, the energetic or “qi” content of these foods is far superior, giving your immune system a much needed boost.

And including more “cooling” foods in your diet – including most fruits and veggies, as well as cooling herbs like fresh mint (my garden’s overrun with the stuff) – will help your metabolism to function most effectively in the hot weather.  Also, these foods require far less energy for your body to digest than do heavier foods like red meat, so you benefit from that as well.

One easy way to include more cooling foods is to make smoothies.  Here’s an excellent site for smoothie recipes:


Since your body doesn’t need to devote a lot of resources to keeping your core temperature warm in the summer, this season is ideal for doing a cleanse.  If you’ve ever done a cleanse in the winter, on the other hand, and especially one that cut down your food intake, you know firsthand how cold you get without the food you’re used to.

Your body also detoxifies naturally during the summer.  Since your skin is a major organ of elimination and you’re exposing more of it to the air, and since you’re sweating more, toxin removal is much more efficient.  Some of the best cleanses we know of (and that I’ve used myself) can be found here:

Sunshine, Energy and Immunity:

In Chinese medicine, summer corresponds to the high point of Yang energy in the Yin-Yang cycle.  Yang stands for a strong, positive, hot and expanding type of energy, and as the world around you becomes more Yang, so does your body. 

In other words, your body’s energy tends to become expansive and radiate outward, whereas in winter the opposite was true, since your body was automatically conserving its energy.  This is actually good news, since it means that in the summer your body automatically recharges your “wei qi”, which is the type of qi that forms a barrier around you against harmful pathogens and other intruders.  What can you do to help this process along? 

One way is to make sure you get enough sun exposure.  Yes, there’s a ton on information out there about how bad the sun is for you, how it will give you skin cancer, wrinkle your skin and probably fog your i-pod.  Personally, I really don’t buy it.  Yes, you should be cautious about sun exposure, but cautious is not paranoid.  Baring your skin to the sun helps replenish your body’s vitamin D reserves and you may need those reserves in winter, when sunlight is harder to come by and when you’re so bundled up the sun can’t get to you anyway.  Here’s one expert’s take on the whole “sun causes skin cancer” spiel that might interest you:

Emotional Cleansing:

Lots more sunlight has a very positive effect on the human psyche, as we all know from experience.  You can magnify the effect by making a decision to work on positive emotions over the summer: simply decide now to stay in a “headspace” of positive expectation, of gratitude, of generosity and kindness, and you’ll see results pretty quickly. 

You can also decide to learn an emotional healing technique over the summer, such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Be Set Free Fast (BSFF).  You may even get bold enough with these tools to take on some of your inner demons and turf them out 😉

A Breathing Exercise for You:

(Always get your physician’s approval for undertaking physical exercises such as this.  Contraindications include some chronic conditions, cardio-vascular disease, high blood pressure, as well as pregnancy.)

If you’d like to use the summer to detoxify naturally, accumulate more qi, calm your emotions and improve your life in nealy every way, try this:

  1. Go for a walk
  2. As you walk, pay attention to your breath… watch it come in and go out naturally as you breathe through your nose
  3. As you inhale, feel the breath descend to your lower abdomen, a few centimeters / inches below your navel. 
  4. As you exhale, just watch the breath exit through your nose
  5. After you’ve done this for a while and gotten used to it, pay attention to the sensations on various areas of your body as you inhale.  Feel energy entering your body at various points and gathering at your lower abdomen
  6. As you exhale, feel the energy you’ve taken in expand from your lower abdomen outward only as far as the surface of your skin

This is a walking meditation from ancient Taoist sources.  It’s very relaxing, reintegrates your mind and body and improves your immune system too.  Just don’t get so absorbed in it that you forget to watch for traffic!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger