"Last summer I treated several young girls and women for goiter by exposure to the sun, at the same time administering thyroid and iodine treatment. I found that upon combining the drug treatment with the treatment by the sun's rays the results were far better. These persons took the sunbath on the shores of a river flowing on the outskirts of Carlsbad, or lying in a canoe on the river. This is an especially efficacious procedure, and upon lying in a rowboat on the river, in the sunshine, for a certain time an intense pigmentation of the skin can be obtained as proof of the direct action of the ultra-violet rays. It would not be wise, however, to take such a sunbath on very hot summer days and certainly not at noon.
The method requires a clear, pure sunshine, rich in ultra-violet rays, but not the excessively warm rays of the sun on hot summer days with a close atmosphere. On such days the morning hours up to about 10:30 or 11, or the afternoon after 4 o'clock, are most suitable, in order to avoid sunstroke.
There can be no doubt that this measure, especially in regions where the sun is rich in ultraviolet rays, is capable of powerfully assisting in the treatment of the diseases of the thyroid by thyroid gland.
Sometimes there are good results even without the thyroid.
Thus Revillet, of Cannes, obtained very good effects in children with congenital myxedema who were sent from Switzerland to the Asylum for Children of the Swiss Republic. Through simple exposure to the sun's rays of the Riviera, rich in ultra-violet rays, these children were cured without the use of thyroid preparations.
In recording these results Revillet also draws attention to a very interesting fact, mentioned in a report by Prof. Dupasquier, of the University of Lyons. He found at a small place called Allevard, in the Alpes Dauphinoises, that on the shady side of a street there were cases of cretinous goiter to be found in nearly every house—the sun never shone on this side of the street—whereas no such case could be found on the other side of the same street, which was the sunny side. It is a fact that idiocy and cretinous goiters are to be found with the greatest frequency in the deep, sunless valleys of Switzerland and Italy.
That the salutary results above referred to are brought about by the ultra-violet rays of the sunshine is best proved by the fact that the artificial sunlight, the quartz light (from the large quartz lamp), which consists mainly of ultra-violet rays, exercises a very wholesome influence upon the thyroid gland. Thus, Haselberg reported in a Swiss medical periodical that such treatment yielded excellent results in a number of girls and women suffering from goiter.
The ultra-violet sun's rays exert a similar favorable influence upon the other endocrin glands, including the sex glands. This is shown by the fact that in southern countries, with sunshine rich in ultra-violet rays, menstruation appears in young girls much earlier than in the north. The interesting fact has been recorded by Arctic travellers that with the appearance of the polar night, or several weeks thereafter, the Eskimo women sometimes cease menstruating, the function reappearing only after the sun has returned.
A similar direct influence of sunlight rich in ultra-violet rays has been reported by Revillet. In eighteen young, anemic girls in whom menstruation had been absent for several months he observed reappearance of the same after exposure for a certain time to the ultra-violet rays of the Mediterranean sun.
Solar treatment is also capable of giving the best results in the treatment of affections of the uterus and ovaries. But this applies even more to the treatment with the ultra-violet rays of the quartz light. Indeed, in modern gynecology such
treatment is availed of with great profit. As the results of Bach and others have shown, such treatment is also very efficacious where menstruation has been absent for a long time on account of certain diseased conditions.
On the basis of the above facts I have come to the conclusion that the ultra-violet rays serve as activators of the functions of the thyroid and sex glands."
source: "Life-Shortening Habits and Rejuvenation", by Arnold Lorand, 1922