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The Healing Sun - Livin' the Good Life

Apr. 6th, 2007

03:08 pm - The Healing Sun

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I'm reading a fascinating book right now called THE HEALING SUN. It tells how, before antibiotics were invented, sunshine was used to kill infection. In the early 1900s they used to have "sanitariums" where people went to recover from illness...mainly tuberculosis. They gave people the "fresh air" cure, which meant that the patients were wheeled out in their beds to a sunny location in the early morning every day to sunbathe. This was done on a strict schedule, taking into consideration skin-type, so that no one was ever allowed to get sunburned. This, along with a strict diet of fresh, wholesome food and cleanliness, proved to be an effective cure for sickness. It was very labor intensive for nurses, however, and everyone was relieved when antibiotics came along and "cured" everyone in a few days rather than weeks or months by merely taking a pill or a shot. The down-side to this is that the "fresh air cure" was lost to public knowledge, and we've become a pill-popping society. I love reading about self-help remedies. It's been an enduring interest of mine for about 40 years. The book said that, with the advent of antibiotics, these natural treatments fell out of favor, and, incredibly, most people have never even heard of them. The author predicts that if we continue as we are, antibiotics are going to eventually lose all effectiveness, and we'll have to adopt some of these "old ways" again. (Since I am not a medically-inclined person, I am for natural treatments only...well, I believe we should save antibiotics for life and death situations, not for every infection.) What I like about using the sun to treat illness is that it's FREE! And, as long as it's used judiciously, it's harmless. Can't say the same for antibiotics! Another thing I found interesting is that in ancient times architects were schooled in medicine. It was understood in those days that the way we build houses has a huge influence on our health. If you position your house (and your windows) in such a way that is receives lots of light throughout the day and promotes good air flow through the rooms, your family will be healthier. This goes for the layout of roads, and cities, too. Tall houses, close together, promote darkness, dampness, and disease. Air flow is restricted and light is limited. There is an old Italian proverb that says: "Where the sun does not go, the doctor does." Nowadays, I notice that very few builders take the sun into consideration when they build a house. There are often few windows on the south side, so the house is dark and cold in the winter. The windows are not positioned favorably to promote the best air flow, so the houses are hot in the summer. They build porches on the south side of the house that further darken and cool the house in winter. They don't think about where the wind usually comes from when they are designing outdoor living spaces. I'd LOVE to design a house with all this in mind. Our current home is quite good, but it could be better. I'd like to make it better.


Date:April 8th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
When I trained to be a pediatric nurse in Berlin in the early seventies, all babies that were admitted for pneumonia or bronchitis went to the "out door" ward. They were bundled up and put into cribs on a covered balcony in thick feather beds 24 hours a day. As nurses we hated it because it was so much work to un-bundle them to bring them inside for changing and feeding but it was a successful treatment and especially bronchitis was not treated with antibiotics unless this outdoor treatment didn't improve the condition within a couple of days. I can't remember what direction this deck faced. I don't know if this is still being done today but it's what I did with my babies when they had respiratory infections (except for the night). Let's revive this practice.
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Date:April 8th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear Willow! We definitely need cheaper, more natural tricks up our sleeves to deal with present and future illnesses, and I'm delighted to hear that you employed some of these ideas with your own children. I have a picture of myself as an infant in a crib on the back porch (outdoors) with the sun shining on me. Looks like my mom was "sunning" me, or that's just where I napped.
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