Upon noticing my moon posts, Meghana, of Everyday Health Group, wrote this article for me. Some interesting science on lunar effects...
Several ancient cultures believed that the phases of the moon have the power to affect human physical and mental health. Many of these beliefs are based on the observed changes in the habits of wild animals, especially during the full moon. Even domesticated animals might be influenced by the phases of the moon. A recent study based on approximately 12,000 case histories of dogs and cats found that our pets were more likely to suffer from medical injuries on fuller moon days.
Do the phases of the moon affect our health?
Scientists have been studying the effects of the moon on humans for decades with a lot of conflicting results. Many of the early studies showed that the phases of the moon did affect human health. However, many of these findings have been overturned by modern researchers as they found that tests were not carried out correctly or the results were affected by experimenter bias. Modern tests are carried out under strict conditions to eliminate experimenter bias and increase test accuracy. It is important to note that some modern tests indicate that the phases of the moon may affect some aspects of our health.
Does the moon affect our physical health?
Most studies on the effects of the moon on physical health focus on whether the moon can trigger an increase in birth rate, changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle or heavier blood loss due to injury.
Several studies on the birth rate in New York during the 1950s and 1970s found a 1 percent increase in births following a full moon. The results of these studies were often used by other researchers and the findings went unquestioned for years. Modern studies, such as the analysis of 70,000,000 birth records from the National Center for Health Statistics showed that birth rate is not affected by the phases of the moon.
The average length of a woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days which is very close to that of the lunar cycle which is 29.5 days. Recent analysis and studies indicate that this is mere coincidence and that the lunar cycle does not affect a woman’s menstrual cycle. It was also believed that the full moon increases blood loss from injuries and there are anecdotes of surgeons refusing to operate on these days. However, recent studies show that the lunar cycle does not affect blood clotting.
Does the moon affect our mental health?
Current research shows that there is no connection between the phases of the moon and our physical health but some studies indicate that the moon might have an effect on mental health, especially under specific circumstances.
Several studies have found that individuals with mental disorders, specifically schizophrenia exhibit an increase in aggressive episodes during the full moon but tend to be stable in the new moon. Researchers also recommend that this type of deterioration merits more attention and health care measures from hospitals and the families of those suffering from schizophrenia.
Another study found that some people with epilepsy were prone to more seizures per day when the moon was fuller. However, further research found that the increase in epileptic seizures was triggered by advanced photosensitive epilepsy and disappeared when the patient’s bedroom was shielded from the bright light of the full moon. These photosensitive epileptic seizures were triggered by exposure to the brightness of the sky and not the lunar phase.
Ancient practices such as yoga and meditation have been revered for their health benefits for centuries and yet it was dismissed by the scientific and medical communities for decades. It has only been in the last few decades that scientific studies were able to pinpoint the various health benefits of yoga. It is possible that in the near future, science might unearth a stronger link between our health and the phases of the moon.
According to Ayurveda, the moon has a cooling and calming effect on the mind and body. It is considered to be enlivening but not aggravating since it reflects the light from the sun. The full moon is an auspicious time and is considered the best time to make ghee. Since the moon has a soothing effect, moon bathing can help to reduce the severity of conditions such as hives, hypertension and migraines that are linked to excess heat.