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Acupuncture and Sunshine: What’s the connection?

Summer is almost here, and so we thought it best to talk about the power of Sunshine! Sunlight has such a positive effect on the body in so many different ways, we are going to discuss a few…

1.Sunlight helps regulate the pineal gland

The pineal gland and its secretions affect our hormones, body temperature and sleep patterns. Messages about the amount of light in the environment are received from the retina of the eye and sent back to the pineal gland. This creates a schedule of melatonin release and sets our 24 hour circadian rhythms. According to UCLA Health, “Light seems to play the largest role in setting your circadian “clock.” Sunlight and other time cues are used to keep your clock set from day to day.” This is why they say, if you are experiencing jet lag, get into the sunshine and reset your time clock. It’s also why they advise us to put our phones down an hour before bed. If we are constantly stimulating our retinas with light, how will they know when it’s time for bed? On the flip side, if we keep our homes dark, or stay inside a dimly light environment, we will also be robbing our body of natural temperature, hormone and sleep regulation.

2.Vitamin D Mega Boost!

UV from the sun is needed by our bodies to produce Vitamin D–which helps strengthen bones, muscles and the body’s immune system. Low levels of this essential vitamin are linked to many serious health conditions. Just 15 minutes of sunshine (no sunscreen) allows for 12,000 IU of Vitamin D!

3.Helps Skin Conditions

Psoriasis is treated by sunlight due to the fact that UV light slows the growth of skin cells (psoriasis is caused when the skin sheds its cells too quickly). According to the World Health Organization, sunshine exposure also can help eczema, jaundice and acne.

4.Mood Enhancement

Back to the Pineal Gland–tryptamines are produced here and have been shown to improve and elevate mood, as well as, enhance feelings of positivity. Serotonin is produced by exposure to sunlight. There is so much research that’s been done on this topic Google it and you will see the many world-renown health organizations promoting its mood-boosting benefits.

5.Disinfection and Sterilization UV light is anti-microbial and eliminates viruses and bacteria by destroying the DNA in the cell’s membrane.

AND IT’S FREE! No health insurance deductibles, copays or fees required…just step outside and enjoy the golden rays!

Now that we’ve covered some of the awesomeness of sunshine, we at HCA want to remind you to be aware of the very few and preventable drawbacks of sunshine. The first one that comes to mind is sunburn. When heading out into the sun this summer, use a natural sunscreen like SUNBUM (we hope to be carrying this in our clinic soon) look for labels that say ‘mineral sunscreen’. Protective clothing is helpful if you are going to be in the sun for long hours at a time–hats are a great addition to a fun beach day. Natural Lip Balm helps protect the lips from sunburns (Sprouts usually has some great NATURAL products). Remember to stay hydrated too with some delicious purified water, and take some breaks in the shade, under a tree or under your beach umbrella.

How does acupuncture come into play with all this talk of sunshine? Well, acupuncture is another way of regulating circadian rhythms, boosting serotonin and increasing melatonin secretion. In the Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, a study was published on a clinical trial of adult participants that were having feelings of anxiousness and experiencing insomnia. It showed that five weeks of acupuncture treatment was associated with a significant nocturnal increase in endogenous melatonin secretion and significant improvements in total sleep time, and sleep efficiency. Significant reductions in anxiety were also found. It’s outcome stated that “these objective findings are consistent with clinical reports of acupuncture’s relaxant effects.”

So there you have it folks! Come on in and boost your mood, immune, sleep and regulate your body temperature with some peaceful and relaxing acupuncture. We are open 7 days a week!

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