Light: Medicine of the Future

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By Jacob Liberman, O.D., Ph.D.

During the process of reading and reviewing Light: Medicine of de Future, I took the opportunity to read Deepak Chopra's Quantum Healing.

Chopra's presentation of the body-mind connection provides a context for examining the work of Jacob Liberman, O. D., Ph.D., who has pioneered the application of light and color to healing imbalances in the bodymind. Chopra states:

The spectrum of light is like a long, continuous string, vibrating slower at one spot and faster at another. We make our home on a tiny part of the spectrum, but it takes the entire length for us to exist. Beginning at zero vibration, shakes of the string are responsible for the light, heat, magnetism and countless other discrete energy forms that fill the universe. It is just a few steps on the ladder of creation from empty space to inter-galactic dust to a sun and finally the living Earth. What this shows is that emptiness, the point of zero vibration, is not a void but the starting point for everything that exists. And this starting point is always in contact with every other point -- there are no breaks in continuity.

In his introduction Liberman states: "This science (of light) bridges the gap between scientific knowledge, intuitive knowing, health and personal evolution, thus acting as a foundation for a new paradigm in healing. It ushers in a new era in medicine. Light, a non-intrusive, very powerful tool, resides at the core of the new medicine: "energy medicine."

This book is an exploration of this new paradigm. Part 1 presents the body as a "living photocell, stimulated and regulated by light entering the eyes. The eyes are the entry points through which light has its profound effect on the regulation of human physiological and emotional functioning and the development of our consciousness." Light penetrates the brain, stimulating the hypothalamus which "coordinates and regulates most of our life-sustaining functions and also initiates and coordinates our reactions and adaptations to stress."

The hypothalamus governs the autonomic nervous system, receiving external stimuli from the senses and internal stimuli from the nervous system and psyche. Liberman claims the hypothalamus "may be the single most important unit of the brain, standing as high command in maintaining harmony within the body."

The hypothalamus also governs the pituitary gland, which in turn regulates the endocrine system of hormone-secreting glands: pineal, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, adrenals, pancreas and gonads. Having thus established that "eyesight is merely a small aspect of that dynamic process known as vision," Liberman focuses his exploration on the pineal gland "whose function was intuitively recognized by ancient civilizations and, until recently, greatly underestimated by modem science, serves to assist us in bonding with the universe."

This gland, the `third eye,' or `seat of the soul,' "may very well be the newest treasure in science. It acts as the body's light meter, receiving light-activated information from the eyes (by way of the hypothalamus) and then sending out hormonal messages that have a profound effect on the mind and body. Its activity, regulated by environmental light changes and the Earth's electromagnetic field, is to transmit information to the body pertaining to the length of daylight."

In animals this governs adaptation to seasonal change, preparation for mating and other functions that fall rhythmically through the day and around the year. In humans it is significant because the pineal orchestrates all the body's functions and synchronizes them with the external environment. This is accomplished by using light-related messages from the biological clock within the hypothalamus that determine when the pineal releases melatonin, the hormone that controls the impulses to be active and to rest. Melatonin saturates the body in response to the pineal's sensitivity to light and dark.

Liberman comments: "It would appear then, that not a single cell in the body can escape the influence of light striking the eyes...... We truly are light bodies."

The pineal is the "regulator of regulators" affecting reproductive functions, growth, body temperature, blood pressure, motor activity, sleep, tumor growth, moods, the immune system and may also be a factor in longevity.

Continuing his exploration of the body as a photocell, Liberman turns to color. "Although science recognizes the effects of x-rays, ultraviolet rays and microwaves on our physical bodies, there still exists a controversy over whether the visible portion of the spectrum also affects us physiologically. Visible light differs from x-rays only in its wavelength, so how is it possible that colored light, the portion of the spectrum under which we have evolved and to which we are specifically attuned, cannot be exerting a profound effect on us?"

He briefly touches on the theory pertaining to the chakras and states: "With the development of more sophisticated diagnostic techniques, science and medicine are continuing to find that certain brain regions are not only light sensitive, but actually respond differently to different wavelengths. It is now believed that different colors (wavelengths) of radiation interact differently with the endocrine system to stimulate or inhibit hormonal production." This statement anticipates his presentation of Syntonics, the healing method that has become his life's work, and which is the central material of this book.

Liberman cites several examples of the research that backs up this statement. He cites studies which show the impact of color on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration rate; on migraines, athletic performance and on prison inmates.

Having made his case for the role of light in the human body, Liberman tams to a discussion of "malillumination", ill-health caused by poor and/or incomplete lighting. He presents light as a nutrient source and reports studies that reveal the negative effects on health of lights that provide less than the full spectrum.

After this brief survey of research intomalillumination, Liberman arrives at the topic that inspired him to write the book, and that forges for him the paradigm of the new medicine: Syntonics. This is a "branch of ocular science dealing with selected portions of the visible spectrum. When its methods are applied by way of the eyes, Syntonics reflexively affects the body's major supportive functions by bringing them into balance with the environment, resulting in improved vision."

Liberman outlines the work of the pioneers in light-as-medicine and comes finally to focus on Syntonics, the work of Dr. Harry Riley Spitler in the first three decades of this century. Spitler's research showed him "that the portions of the brain that directly control both the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system are also connected to the eyes by the shortest, most direct and most highly organized nerve pathways in the brain. He concluded that although heredity, environment and nutrition play major roles in our lives, light may play the most significant role in altering function, behavior and physiological response; in other words, merely altering the color of light entering the eyes can disturb or restore balance within the autonomic nervous system and thus effect resultant functions."

Spitler's Syntonics refers to a physiologically balanced, integrated nervous system. He treated people according to their physical/emotional makeup and constitutional type. He realized that these variables in constitution significantly affect functioning, and his system is based on the understanding that there is variety and inconsistency in how individuals process and utilize light.

Liberman is president of the College of Syntonic Optometry, a post-doctoral educational optometric organization that for 60 years has been devoted to research and clinical application of ocularly perceived light.

Having established in Part 1 that the body is a photocell, Liberman presents Syntonics at work in Part 2. He describes some of its applications to learning disabled children, cancer treatment, blood cleansing, Seasonal Affective Disorder, PMS, dentistry and acupuncture. The case histories are fascinating and dramatic stories of recovery from severe illness after the application of light to the body through the eyes.

He elaborates more on the discussion of malillumination relative to ultraviolet light, proposing that UV deficiency is widespread and avoidable. He questions the prolonged and consistent use of sunglasses, sunscreens and artificial lights with no UV component There are indications in current research that UV light through the eyes stimulates the immune system, and that in trace amounts it is a life-supporting nutrient.

Following the discussion of UV light, Liberman directly addresses food and the role of light in nutrition and metabolism. "It has been calculated," he states, "that the entire volume of blood pumped by the heart circulates through the eyes every two hours..... How is the blood, which transports most of the body's nutrients, affected by the direct stimulation of light?"

He continues, ".....for any ingested substance to be fully processed or used by the body, it needs to go through a series of chemical reactions that are catalyzed (ignited) by a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Without this specific portion of the spectrum (type of light), the substance would not be fully used, resulting in some aspect of the physiological functioning being left in the dark." Without a balanced spectrum of light in our environment we probably suffer from "malillumination. This condition, which is probably much more common than we would like to believe, can lead to a lack of nutritional support for certain portions of our being, resulting in chronic disease."

Food itself is "frozen light" and the lower we eat on the food chain, "the closer we are to receiving lights full force." Foods of animal origin, junk foods and highly processed items have little or none of light's nutritional value. Liberman here mentions the book Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet by Dr. Gabriel Cousens, who has found in clinical practice that the color of food has important psychophysiological functions. "Just as we need the benefits of natural full-spectrum light, we also need natural full-spectrum food to nourish our minds, bodies and spirits."

Liberman is a spiritual seeker, honest, open and courageous. He talks openly about his own life process and journey to maturation and wisdom. The fruit of his struggles is his vision for the applications of light therapy. "If healers and practitioners are not using tools to create deep levels of change, they are merely giving patients a stronger pair of crutches each year." His stated life interest is to get to the root causes of afflictions and avoid the futility of temporary Band-aids that may re-balance a person's system only until they are again "confronted by those aspects of their lives that originally triggered them into states of imbalance."

Finally, in Part 3, Liberman presents his vision of truly holistic healing. As we enter the "light age," scalpels will be replaced by lasers, chemotherapy by phototherapy, prescription drugs by prescription colors, acupuncture needles by needles of light, eyeglasses by healthy eyes. Classrooms will be playful and colorful, stimulating places full of sunlight and fresh air, and therapeutic techniques will treat the mind and body as one functioning whole system.

In conclusion he says: "The study of light affirms the connectedness of all things. We have entered an age when we must look at things from nowhere rather than experiencing them from only our own points of view and, thus, artificially coloring our realities."

This is an exciting book to read. It is well written and illustrated, the access material is generous and includes lists, addresses and sources for full-spectrum lights and related products, light therapy practitioners, suggested reading, copious bibliographical references of books and research papers, and even the manufacturer's numbers for specific paint colors that have been found to enhance learning and harmony in children's classrooms.

Liberman's excitement about Syntonics and light-as-medicine is infectious. He is careful to stay well within the bounds of science by letting the case histories and research studies speak for themselves. He is a gifted writer. His passion for his subject is apparent throughout in an eloquent, often poetic turn of phrase. His vision for medicine is stimulating and grounded in already existing, proven technology and practice.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists.

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By Willow Rain

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