Tanning beds have health benefits

Wednesday, January 23rd 2008, 8:07 pm
By: News 9

By Amy McRee, NEWS 9

Some new light is being shed on the topic of tanning. More and more evidence is coming out about the benefits of sunlight, and it even has some doctors prescribing it to patients.

Within the past few weeks I caught two well-known doctors on national talk shows discussing how we need to get out in the sun just a few minutes each day to receive health benefits.

I decided to tap into one local expert who knows a lot about tanning, and it's a story he's known was worthy of telling all along.

"I think in five years you'll see people regularly coming in for a boost," Yukon Tan & Ton America owner Ed Shelby said.

Shelby says it's taken a long time to turn the public against the notion of tanning, but with new light shining on its benefits he believes the tide's about to turn.

"We've known for years that people didn't get colds that tan with us," Shelby said. "We've been hearing that for 20 years and so we were well aware of some of the benefits of getting sunshine."

It's an apprehension Shelby's dealt with long before he ever got into tanning. He owned fitness spas and remembers when he could only tell people working out would benefit their looks and not their overall health or the spa would be fined.

He says he knew then working out was good for you and believes the same thing is now happening with tanning. He knows that its benefits can no longer be ignored.

"Over 60 percent of the people are vitamin D deficient and that causes diabetes and obesity. It contributes to that, it just goes on and on," Shelby said.

Dr. Marc Sorenson, author of the "Solar Power for Optimal Health", details that and much more in his new book. He says sunlight can bolster your immune system, increases vitamin D and even cures some cancers.

"They've tracked it down now, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer...most of those are created and caused by lack of vitamin D in the system," Sorenson said.

And lack of Vitamin D is proven to lead to all sorts of problems from depression to increased pain. The cure though, according to Dr. Sorenson, is found in 5 to 10 minutes of sunlight exposure daily; the exact same rays duplicated in most tanning beds.

"Evidence is so overwhelming that it's hard not to say that you need sunlight," Sorenson said. "Just a few minutes is all it takes. We're not talking about tanning now, we're talking about benefit from the sunlight; vitamin D."

In fact, Shelby's considering offering packages next winter, during the three months where sunlight is limited, just so people can benefit from sun tanning.

There are people who should steer clear, according to the book. Those with lots of freckles or moles, people who've had an organ transplant and those taking prescription drugs that cause sensitivity to sunlight.

You can get that book at Amazon.com or Tan & Tone stores. Shelby also encourages you to do the research yourself. So, if you're unsure consult your own personal physician.