Debunking "Alternative" Medicine

Sun Staring Won’t Treat Anything, But Might Make You Go Blind


One of the most absurd aspects of alternative medicine is probably when proponents advocate ineffective and dangerous treatments for things that are not clearly medical problems. In one fell swoop, they have invented both an alleged serious medical condition, as well as the supposed treatment. This, of course, is highly ironic since many alternative medicine proponents make this precise accusation against mainstream medicine. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at a recent blog post at quack central Natural News written by Ethan A. Huff that promoted staring into the sun for over 40 minutes a day in order to treat a calcified pineal gland. In reality, this is not a medical condition and staring into the sun is harmful to the eyes and could potentially make you go blind. As if this was not horrible enough, one of the commenters recommended chelation therapy with EDTA, which might even be lethal. Think there is no harm in alternative medicine? Think again.

Ancient does not mean valid

Hunt is quickly to trot out the classic alternative medicine fallacy known as appeal to tradition:

The technique is known as “sun gazing,” or “sun eating,” and it dates back more than 2,000 years to ancient India.

The fact that an error has been kept for a very long time does not make it correct. The fact that stubborn and ignorant proponents have refused to adapt their beliefs to reality for a very long time does not make those beliefs correct. People have believed that demons cause disease, that bloodletting cures infectious diseases and so on for hundreds of years, but that does not make those beliefs anymore true.

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“Life force” does not exist

Before science and medicine revealed how living organisms worked, it was common to believe that the difference between animate beings and inanimate objects was that there was a life force that inhabited all organisms. Today, we know better. Living organisms are a complicated interaction of physical, chemical and biological processes and no magical “life force” is needed.

By staring at the sun for short intervals every day, at specified times throughout the day, claim advocates, sun gazers are imparted with the universal energy force that drives all life. “Eating” the sun, in other words, is said to literally infuse energy into cells throughout the body.

With the knowledge of modern science, this can be refuted by a single observation: humans are not plants. Humans get their energy from food, plants get their energy from the sun. If you want to get more energy, you eat more food. This food is broken down and converted to the energy currency known as ATP, and this can be used to drive various processes in the human body. This highlight the enormous chasm between the basics of modern science and the beliefs of proponents of this kind of pseudoscientific quackery.

Pineal gland calcification is a not a medical condition

But many people today suffer, often unknowingly, from a “calcified” pineal gland that’s basically closed up shop due to persistent exposure to fluoride, food additives, refined sugar, radiation and a host of other prolific poisons.

No. Calcification of the pineal gland is not a medical condition as it occurs frequently in even young people without any clear negative clinical consequence.

This goes without saying, but a Pub Med search for “pineal gland calcification sun staring” or sun gazing calcification” produces zero results. This means that there are no published, peer-reviewed papers (from journals indexed in Pub Med) even discussing this issue, let alone randomized control trials that show efficacy of such a “treatment”.

Sun staring protocol reveals harm

Huff provides readers with a protocol from the quack website Earth Clinic for how to stare into the sun to allegedly achieve a cure for calcified pineal gland:

Another powerful pineal gland decalcification remedy is sun gazing, the nine-month protocol for which is as follows:

1) Select a safe period of the day (more on this here), either sunrise or sunset, and gaze at the sun for 5-10 seconds. Do this every day for nine months, adding 5-10 seconds to your daily gazing session until you eventually reach a 44-minute maximum gaze session.

2) After reaching the 44-minute maximum gaze session, start to walk barefoot for 45 minutes daily for a full six days, along with your 44-minute sun gazing sessions.

3) After six days, continue to walk barefoot for 45 minutes daily to maintain what you’ve achieved.

There is no safe period of the day to be staring into the sun:

The only time that the Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye is during a total eclipse, when the Moon completely covers the disk of the Sun. It is never safe to look at a partial or annular eclipse, or the partial phases of a total solar eclipse, without the proper equipment and techniques. Even when 99% of the Sun’s surface (the photosphere) is obscured during the partial phases of a solar eclipse, the remaining crescent Sun is still intense enough to cause a retinal burn, even though illumination levels are comparable to twilight.

If you believe that the only harm from staring into the sun comes from the UV rays, then think about how it would feel to stare into a strong light bulb (that does not produce UV radiation like the sun) for 40 minutes and see how that affects your vision. Perhaps the most absurd part of this protocol is that it encourages people to star into the sun for long periods of time, even up to 44 minutes. This will have considerable harm to the eyes.

Bonus round: EDTA chelation to remove calcium can be lethal.

As if the article was not batshit unreasonable enough, the comment section goes into overdrive.


IV with EDTA to remove calcium is a horrible idea. That is because it will likely kill you. EDTA is a chemical that sequesters certain metal ions and the complex is then peed out. This is used against heavy metal poisoning, such as lead. However, it will also bind calcium. Calcium is vital to the human body as it is involved in membrane potential in neurons and other kinds of signalling. Without it, you die. Do not do it. The reason people with heavy metal poisoning who get chelation with EDTA do not die is because they also get calcium at the same time. However, this would clearly be counterproductive for allegedly treating pineal gland calcification since the entire point was to remove calcium with IV EDTA.

This really goes to show how dangerous alternative medicine can be when proponents recommend “treatments” that can make you go blind or even kill you. If there was ever a perfect way to counter the “what’s the harm?” apologetics, this is probably it.


Debunker of pseudoscience.

7 thoughts on “Sun Staring Won’t Treat Anything, But Might Make You Go Blind

  • Sun staring? How absurd. If you want to decalcify your pineal gland you simply drink a tablespoon of vinegar. But you can only do that after you have done all of the pre treatment requirements.

    1. Run wildly through the blackberry bushes.
    2., Apply duct tape to your lower back, and your upper thighs.
    3. Wear a sombrero in an odd fashion.

    It is very important to meet the pre treatment requirements if you want the remedy to work. It also helps a lot if you are susceptible to comments like “you just gotta believe” or “it takes faith”

    (I got #3 from a Sponge Bob episode, what can I say I have kids! Beware the Sea Bears!)

    • Unaided human flight? Is it ok to at least wear sunglasses when you are sun staring? I could really go for some flying through the neighborhood. 🙂

      I don’t know where you find them sir, but I suspect you aren’t having to dig too deeply.

  • Emil Karlsson,

    It seems “Natural News” doesn’t do their research. It would be interesting if we did an experiment where we deliberately fed these quack sites false information and slowly crank up the absurdity until they finally started to doubt what we were telling them. The only problem would be is that too many people would probably take their advice based on nonsense we were telling them and end up killing themselves.

    • Indeed, the practical consequences of such an experiment would be truly horrible.

      Sometimes I wonder if such a point (whereby they realize that the information is false) even exists. Can you even go that much more absurd than stuff already posted on that website?

    • Emil Karlsson,

      Good point. I don’t know. It might be possible. Than again, come to think of it, what they’ll believe probably has nothing to do with how absurd it is overall, but whether or not it backs up their current worldview. Outspoken atheists who promote pseudoscience rarely if every endorse things written by creationists, and its doubtful you’ll see too many of those people post something supporting faith healing. Creationists usually don’t post things on their websites, that support creationists claims made people trying to convert people to faiths other than their own. Don’t see too many Christian or Muslim creationists promoting things written by Hindu creationists. People who are not racists, don’t go around supporting “scientific” racist claims, even they happen to promote other types of anti science nonsense.

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