Benefits of Naturism
What are the benefits of naturism? Ask ten naturists, and there will likely be at least ten different answers. Most naturists can identify many benefits attributed to their way of life. These can be grouped into three broad categories: physical, social, and psychological.
The physical benefits of naturism, or nakedness in general, make up much of what first attracted people to this way of life in the early part of the 20th century. Early practitioners of naturism recognized it as an antidote to urbanization and industrialization, as well as a remedy for many prevailing health concerns at that time. Then, as now, naturism offered therapeutic benefits by exposing the body to the natural elements of air, sun, and water.
One of the most significant physical benefits of naturism is exposure to sunlight. While concerns about over-exposure to the sun are warranted, the fact remains that natural sunlight is necessary for physical and mental health. For example, sunlight is essential in maintaining circadian rhythm, which helps maintain healthy sleeping patterns, stabilize mood, and reduce the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Another important aspect of our connection to the sun is Vitamin D, which is produced by the body through exposure to sunlight. This vitamin is needed by the body to absorb calcium, as well as other functions. A lack of Vitamin D has been attributed to a variety of chronic illnesses from depression, muscle weakness, and Psoriasis to Osteoporosis, Multiple sclerosis, and some types of cancer. Other studies have shown that supplementing Vitamin D can improve or even reverse many of these conditions. Considering that Statistics Canada reported that 32% of Canadians have insufficient levels of Vitamin D, getting enough of the “sunshine vitamin” should be a concern for everyone.
The social benefits of naturism also draw many people to this way of life. Although they cannot always be measured in the same way that naturism’s physical benefits can, they are no less important. Without clothing to indicate one’s wealth or social status, naturism breaks down conventional social barriers and serves as a great equalizer. With the principles of respect and acceptance serving as a social foundation, naturists can interact with each other in a way that is more genuine and authentic.
The psychological benefits of naturism have also been known among the naturist community from the very beginning. Being nude with others, especially in an outdoor environment, offers a level of freedom and tranquility that cannot be experienced in a clothes-compulsory situation. Naturists are generally happier in naturist settings, even if they cannot always explain why to their non-naturist friends.
One study led by Dr. Keon West in 2017 regarding the psychological benefits of naturism actually confirmed what naturists have known for years. This ground-breaking study concluded that those who participated in naturist activities had relatively better body images and higher self-esteem. Furthermore, the longer individuals took part in naturist activities, the more likely they were to have a higher degree of life satisfaction.
To read a more detailed article about the effects of sun exposure on health, click here.
Health Canada. Vitamin D. October 29, 2019. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/nutrients/vitamin-d.html
Holick, Michael F. "Biological Effects of Sunlight, Ultraviolet Radiation, Visible Light, Infrared Radiation and Vitamin D for Health." International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment 36-3, (2016) 1345-1356. Available at http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/36/3/1345.full#sec-11
Mayo Clinic. Seasonal Affective Disorder. October 25, 2017. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms- causes/syc-20364651
Statistics Canada. Vitamin D Blood Levels of Canadians. November 27, 2015. Available at: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm
Raman, Ryan. How to Safely Get Vitamin D From Sunlight. Healthline. April 28, 2018. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-from-sun#overview
West, Keon. "Naked and Unashamed: Investigations and Applications of the Effects of Naturist Activities on Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Life Satisfaction." Journal of Happiness Studies 19, (2018): 677–697. Available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10902-017-9846-1