Dr. Herbert Shelton on Sunbathing

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Dr. Herbert Shelton is commonly referred to as the father of the modern Natural Hygiene movement.  In 1934, Dr. Shelton first published his book on Fasting and Sunbathing.

Dr. Shelton defines Hygiene as:

“Hygiene is properly defined as that branch of biology which designates the conditions upon which health depends and the means by which it may be sustained in all its virtue and purity while we have it, and the means upon which its restoration rests when we have lost it. It is the scientific application of the principles of nature in the preservation and restoration of health.”

Listed below is information gathered from Herbert Shelton’s book The Hygienic System, Vol. III, Fasting and Sunbathing.  You can read the complete text published online here.


  • The great sanitarium of Hippocrates, on the Island of Cos, was equipped with a large solarium for the use of the sun.

  • Ultraviolet rays of the sun are capable of ionizing sodium, calcium, and perhaps hydrogen, magnesium, silicon and iron.

  • Sunshine feeds the muscles. Today every athlete employs sunshine as a regular part of his or her training. Muscles subjected to proper sun exposure grow larger, firmer, and have their contractile powers enhanced.

  • In the absence of sunlight, even with the best food, animals are not healthy.

  • Cancer is less prevalent in the sunny regions of the earth.

  • The germicidal power of sunlight is well known. It is the greatest of all disinfectants and antiseptics.

  • Sunshine aids in preserving the normal alkalinity of the blood and should prove an effective aid in restoring normal alkalinity.

  • Sunlight aids in skeletal development of babies before birth and aids in the production of milk after birth.

  • Oxygen consumption of living cells is vastly greater in light than in darkness.

  • Light increases chlorophyll in plants and hemoglobin in animals.

  • Ordinary glass does not permit the ultra-violet rays to pass through. Basking in the warmth and light of the sun that passes through the window pane is of small value in the prevention of “disease” or the restoration of health. The unfiltered rays of the sun alone are capable of assisting the work of metabolism.

  • Corpulent, anemic individuals have their weight decreased by sun-bathing, due to acceleration of the oxidation of fat.

  • Tanning is due to a deposit of pigment (melanin granules) around the nuclei of the epidermal and basal cells, following exposure to the rays of the sun.

  • Pigment is the most important protecting mechanism by which the body prevents getting an overdose of sunshine.

  • In general, pigmented skin is more resistant to infections and other problems.

  • A good coat of tan increases resistance to both heat and cold.

  • Pigmented nipples are less likely to become sore during nursing.

  • Sunshine is the finest cosmetic. Skin, well-pigmented in response to sunbathing, tends to become firm and strong, but at the same time delicate and soft, almost silk-like in texture.

  • Good pigmentation depends on regular sunbathing.

  • If lotions and oils provided the “protection” that they are claimed to provide, they would also prevent tanning and would at the same time deprive the bather of the benefits of sunbathing.

  • In a broad general sense all of these lotions are frauds, none of them are ever necessary, and many of them are actually harmful.

  • A uniform tan is achieved by exposing the body uniformly to the sun.

  • Too much exposure to the sun occasions an excessive thickening of the corneum and, at the same time, makes the skin dry and causes it to scale. A harsh, dry, coarse skin is the result. Certainly this is not desirable and it is the worst kind of folly to stay in the sun long enough that this takes place. The intelligent person will avoid undue exposure and thus avoid the undesirable consequences.

  • Sunburn is a real burn and injures the skin just as much as fire or scalding water.

  • Sunburn does not show up immediately. One burns without realizing it until hours later. The only safety lies in not overdoing the sunbathing until a protective coat of tan has been built up.

  • To avoid burning it is only necessary to avoid excessive exposure of the body or any part of it to the sun until a good protective coat of tan has been acquired.

  • A thin haze over the sun does not exclude its ultra-violet rays and will not prevent burning. A cool breeze will not prevent burning. It is not the sun’s heat rays that produce sunburn. Do not be misled by the fact that it is cloudy or partially cloudy.

  • Plants and animals grown under artificial light are not equal to plants and animals irradiated by the sun. The lamp cannot produce all the effects of sunlight.

  • The complete solar spectrum, with all its colors and shades so blended and proportioned as to produce white light, is needed for ideal growth and development.

  • In medical circles sunbathing is blamed for skin cancer. The evidence for this is very weak. Repeated burning and habitual over-exposure may help to develop cancer, but what has this to do with intelligent sunbathing?

  • There are those who tan readily and those who tan slowly and with difficulty. There are a few who do not tan at all. The amount of precaution required depends on the type of skin possessed.

  • Start with six to ten minutes. Expose the front for three to five minutes and then the back for three to five minutes.

  • Constant movement in the sun is best. Rest in the shade.

  • Animals seek the sunlight but avoid its heat. They prefer to be in the sun during the cool portions of the day and seek the shade when it grows hot. The late afternoon is also a good time for sunbathing.

  • If sunbathing indoors, the sun should come in through an open window or door.

  • An air bath of twenty minutes duration reduces the hydrogen-ion content of the blood to normal.

  • Air baths will harden one and make one more resistant to weather changes. It is a good thing to train oneself to resist an exaggerated dread of cold. Thousands of people enjoy their daily air bath, even in the most inclement weather.




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This entry was posted on Friday, May 24th, 2024 at 7:12 am and is filed under eBooks, Research.

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bob said:

on May 29th, 2012

I love your work


bob said:

on May 29th, 2012

I love this website so much


bob said:

on May 29th, 2012

I agree with what you are saying here but I must say that some of your calculations are incorrect, the solor spectrum for example.


Dr bob said:

on May 29th, 2012

Oh yeah i forgot i’ve got a doctorite. 🙂


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