By Dr. Jeannie Thomason, co-founder of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy
Just as nutrition and exercise are vital for true wellness for our companion animals, time out in the sunlight is just as vital. Especially in today’s lifestyle where our companion animals spend the majority of their days cooped up in the house, or in a stall while we are gone at work.
Sunlight consists of many different frequencies of light; each one has its own unique healing power!
Near-infrared is one of the light frequencies. Near-infrared is more than 40 percent of visible light! NASA has done research into near infrared light and their findings show that this specific band of energy penetrates deeply into the body and has a very specific effect on the cells due to the bodies natural response to specific near infrared wavelengths. Inside the mitochondria of every cell are receptors that respond to these near infrared wavelengths. The light triggers an increase in cell metabolism, protein synthesis (including collagen), and anti-oxidant activity. It reduces inflammation and pain. Overall, they found that near-infrared light triggers growth and regeneration of the cells!
Our dogs, cats, birds, most horses and even ourselves are missing out on the many essential benefits of being outside in the sunlight for at least 15 minutes a day, every day – weather permitting.
Please note that when I am talking about the exposure to sunlight’s full spectrum of light frequencies,the light spectrum your pets (or yourself) are exposed to when sitting by a window is NOT the same as the full spectrum of being outdoors in the sun. Sunlight is only filtered at best through a window, since much of the light spectrum is not able to penetrate the glass. Our modern day windows are designed to be “energy efficient” so they filter near-infrared light.
Sunlight is essential to:
- reduce stress and anxiety thereby reducing behavioral issues;
- boosts levels of serotonin
- boosts fertility in breeding animals
- maintain muscle and skeletal strength;
- mental and emotional stimulation;
- enhance and support the immune system;
- aids in disinfecting and speeds the healing wounds;
In fact, the German solders after WWI knew of the discoveries that had been made in 1903 by the Nobel Prize winner, Niels Finsen and they often used sunlight exposure to disinfect and heal wounds.