I feel pity for anybody who will try to find any kind of systematic approach in what will follow. Just as life is often times full of unexpected turns and events, human thought and memory experience same kinds of turns, jumps and inconsistencies.
It happened in 1964, a young physicist (myself), working with Institute of the Physics of the Earth in Moscow, was on a business trip near Almaty in Kazakhstan and bought a local newspaper. I don't remember the exact title of the article, approximately it was something like “Concentrated Sunlight heals hard resistant diseases”. It was a boring afternoon in the local hotel, so the article was thoroughly read and, to my surprise, it made a lot of sense!
Some comment will be appropriate – working at that time with Department of Earth's Electromagnetic Field, I happened to know quite a bit about the Solar-Terrestrial Physics, so I just substituted my knowledge into the places where this information was missing in the article. The resulting picture made me fascinated, and this fascination lasts until now, 47 years later.
Essentially the story was very simple. In Almaty there was an astronomical observatory under the auspices of the Kazakh Academy of Sciences. The Head of this observatory was a remarkable man Dr. Vladimir Nikolayevich Buchman, whose life passion happened to be the Solar Energetics, conversion of SunLight into other forms of energy. The Solar Kitchens of his design were introduced into local population and were highly appreciated by cattle herders and shepherds, Solar-powered water pumps were used in some agricultural settlements, even children in Almaty amusement park could have a fun ride on the Solar-powered locomotive.
To do all this, Buchman needed to concentrate the Sunlight from big areas into small spots, in other words he needed Solar Reflectors-Concentrators. Design, testing and manufacturing of these concentrators was a substantial part of his activity and the activity of his Observatory. Of many designs developed by him, not all were successful, some were rejected and better designs were developed to replace the unlucky ones.
Dr. Buchman lived in a private house in the outskirts of Almaty, he had a ¼ acre garden and some fun constructions for his grandchildren – a ladder, a sandbox and a swing. When some experimental designs of Solar reflectors turned out to be abandoned in favor of better designs, he took home a couple of these abandoned reflectors and started using them for fun and home-based experiments.
Experimenting with kitchen boilers and steam engines was one thing, but a real scientist always asks himself a question – what will happen if...? So, what will happen if the concentrated Solar Light will be applied to the human body? At first the question seems moronic – you will simply burn a hole in this human body, this is good only as a method of torture! However Buchman found an elegant and easy solution to this problem. He invented PCSL – Pulsed Concentrated Solar Light.
The method was simple – Buchman fixed the reflector to the children's swing and pushed the swing. This way the reflected sunspot was moving between two extreme positions, never staying in the same place of the skin long enough to cause any dangerous overheating or burn. Then he started applying the PCSL to himself and to members of his family.
These Solar Games didn't go unnoticed. One after another, the neighbors and coworkers of Buchman grew interested in the never-before-seen procedure and asked the scientist to apply the Solar Radiation to them. At first nothing happened, but 2-3 months later marvelous stories started emerging from these people...
Coworkers told Buchman that two of them lost their chronic pains in the legs, another one noticed that his bald head started growing hair, one of the neighbors was relieved from a 4-year old chronic bronchitis and another one had a steady remission from his old duodenal ulcer. What was even more remarkable, some of these effects happened long time after the application of Sunlight, as if the Sunlight triggered some internal processes in the body which took sometimes weeks and even months to produce visible result. When enough evidence was accumulated, Buchman presented it to the local medical community.
Fortunately, the reaction of Almaty physicians was not one of disbelief, it was just a surprise – what is the distinguished scientist doing in this area so remote from his engineering interests. However, the interest in the medical community was sufficiently strong, the facts were verified and double checked, and a couple of young ambitious M.D's took these facts as a starting point for their Ph.D research. Later I will quote the results of one of these theses – the one where the author conducted a thorough investigation centered around chronic bronchitis. For us the most important data in this thesis will be the design of the reflector, the distances patient-reflector, the rate of Solar Concentration, the energy dosages, the total length of treatment, and also the precautions, a very important topic if we take into account the fantastic power of Concentrated Solar Radiation.
Here it is not the right place to speak about the administrative and bureaucratic hurdles that were standing in the way of successful application of the PCSL, but when the majority of hurdles were brought down, the result was quite remarkable – the first Solar Healing Center in Kazakhstan (also the first one in the whole USSR) opened its doors for patients in 1959 in a beautiful mountain valley some 32 km from Almaty, and Dr. Buchman was the one who cut the traditional tape at the opening ceremony. It should be noted that this Healing Center operates until now, it is now mostly child-oriented, it can be found on the Internet at < http://rdks-alatau.kz/ >. They don't put a strong emphasis on the Solar Healing there these days, but the reason has nothing to do with the efficiency of the treatment.
The problem of designing and building the reflectors was solved with the help of engineers from Tashkent. Before presenting here the practical design, it should be noted that from the very beginning Dr. Buchman rejected the idea of using curved mirrors – spherical, parabolic or other complex surfaces. Reflectors of his design were almost exclusively made of flat mirrors. It was the mounting support that provided the necessary tilt for each one of flat mirrors mounted in this array, so that all Sunbeams would be reflected to the same distant spot. In the Tashkent design each individual flat mirror could be tilted individually, an array of 100 mirrors could assure up to 100x concentration of Solar intensity at any reasonable distance depending on practical need – usually 3-7 meters. Individual tilt adjustment also opened another possibilities like arranging a 2-spot focusing, but more about this will be said later.
The Tashkent-made Concentrator was quite an impressive gadget – The base of it had the area of 1 square meter (40”x40”) and this area was covered with 100 mirror facets 10x10 cm each. From the rear side each facet was supported by 3 screws, which allowed the fine adjustment of tilt for each facet. Taking the reflection from one mirror as a reference, it was quite easy to adjust the reflections of all other mirrors to converge to the same spot as the reference one. Essentially this allowed the adjustment of the “focal distance” of the system according to the local conditions. It was not unusual for a therapist to have several Concentrators with different adjustments.
The Concentrator was also equipped with the lid to protect the surfaces of the mirrors during storage and transportation, as well as with the hinges to fix the Concentrator to the swing or some other object to assure the periodic movement.
Recently I started building the Buchman-type reflector as a DIY project.
for 64 mirrors
In Fig.1 one can see the grid outlining 64 squares on the base of the reflector. Each square corresponds to one flat mirror 120x120 mm, in total the mirrors will cover the base area except narrow 20-mm strips near the edges.
Cross-section of reflector base.
The base of this reflector is a 8-mm plywood sheet measuring 1 square meter (1000x1000 mm). The edges are reinforced by 40-mm walls of the same 8-mm plywood. Actually the lateral plywood planks are 60 mm wide, so there is a 12-mm wall protruding from below, 8 mm correspond to the thickness of the base and a 40 mm wall protrudes from above the reflector. (Fig. 2)
However, the most tedious work is the assembly of the mirror array. In order to make each mirror individually adjustable, it must be positioned on 3 spring suspensions.
How to suspend the mirror on 3 springs
In Fig. 3 the arrangement of the mirrors in the reflector can be seen in some more detail.
The 45-mm long screws M5 are inserted from below and protrude from the front side of the base plate, in the picture this direction is upward.
Next a 30-mm compression spring is placed on each of the screws.
Finally the reflecting acrylic mirror plate is placed on top of the 3 screws so that the springs remain compressed between the base plate and the mirror.
Individually tightening each screw, it is possible to adjust the tilt angle of each mirror, thus converging the 64 Sunlight beams to their destinations.
It should be noted that the resulting reflector turns out heavy – about 18-20 kg (~40 lbs). It is movable and easily transportable by a car, but by no means is it a “take-and-go” device. This is a serious concentrator and serious work must be done with it.
Some details of the final design – the lid, suspension hinges, transportation handles – are not shown in the figures, but anyone willing to reproduce this DIY reflector should not have any difficulty attaching those details to the box.
The Solar Healing Center opened its doors in 1959, and about 1961 Tamara Rossova, a young intern of the Kazakhstan Medical Institute, chose the Pulsed Concentrated Solar Light (PCSL) as the topic of her doctoral thesis. She investigated the use of PCSL in the treatment of the Chronic Bronchitis.
The treatment setup was described quite briefly, it included a regular 1 sq.m. Concentrator of Tashkent manufacture, adjusted to the focal distance of 3.5 m. Essentially this was the distance between the reflector and the patient if tightly concentrated spot was necessary. If the treatment conditions dictated a more diffuse spot, the distance patient-reflector could be made shorter.
The patient was sitting on a bench with his naked front or back turned to the Concentrator; a provisory shade tent was installed over the patient and the nurse who was administering the treatment. In the simplest version from time to time the nurse was pulling the string attached to the reflector, causing it to make swings on the hinge. The amplitude of these swings depended on the pulling force, the frequency was just the frequency of the free swinging.
After the first 1-2 sessions many patients were trusted themselves the task of string pulling, so the duty of the nurse boiled down to monitoring of time in order to observe the prescribed duration of the session. In this mode one nurse could serve 3-4 patients, who were essentially on “self-service”.
The problem of dosage for PCSL is the crucial one in the whole treatment. Since there were no established guidelines for the intensity and duration of the PCSL sessions, Tamara Rossova calculated the admissible therapeutic dosage just as the amount of energy applied to the patient's body. Assuming the Solar Constant to be approximately equal to 1000 watts/sq.m., and assuming 80% efficiency of reflector, she limited the sessions to 10 minutes during 11AM – 3PM intervals of cloud-free sunshine, extending them to 15 min in 9AM – 11AM and 3PM- 5PM intervals.
Starting low-impact sessions were needed for gradual adaptation of the patients to the new powerful procedure, so starting 5-minute sessions were administered during the first 2 days of treatment, to be replaced with regular duration sessions later.
A very characteristic reaction was observed in many patients after the first 4-7 sessions. The reaction was one of elevated body temperature (closely resembling fever), shortness of breath, elevated heart rate and stomach inconvenience. Tamara Rossova didn't call this condition by any particular name, but later I found the description of it by the name “Herxheimer Syndrome”. This condition happens when pathological bacteria in the body suddenly experience a massive death as a result of some treatment or medication, and lots of their posthumous bacterial toxins get released into the human body. This is the condition when proverbially “The treatment is worse than the disease itself”.
If this syndrome emerged, the PCSL applications were temporarily suspended or reduced to very light dosages, the patient was given time to recover, and the treatment was returned to normal dosages only gradually thereafter. Commonly it was observed that after this temporary debilitation the state of patients dramatically improved and treatment was progressing better than before. As far as I understand it now, PCSL application boosted the immune response of the patients, their bodies got rid of the pathogenes and promoted thus the success of the whole treatment.
The whole length of the treatment for Chronic Bronchitis was 15-30 days depending on the initial condition of the patient and on the limitations of non-medical nature. Many patients came to treatment during their vacations, so this limited the length of the treatment.
The success rate of the treatment is difficult to estimate, but there are 2 facts which help to get an idea of how successful the treatment was.
Of more than 350 patients there were only 5 who said that the treatment didn't help them. Of these 5 patients, 4 were forced to interrupt the treatment after the first 4 sessions.
Only 32 patients returned to the Healing Center with the similar syndrome next year. These were mostly coal miners from Ekibastuz and Karaganda, working in cold wet mines during winter months. Most of them highly estimated the treatment of the previous year and wanted to repeat it.
Last but not least – Tamara Rossova made some observations about the technical aspects of PCSL application. Her observations are related to the concentration rate of the Solar spot and to the frequency of the spot movements.
As a general rule, the observed effects of the treatment were more pronounced in cases when the Solar spot was more concentrated. Tightening the spot to 12-14 cm produced the Herxheimer syndrome about 2 days faster than if the spot was made diffuse to 20-22 cm. Rossova duly noticed this effect, but no plausible explanation was given in the thesis, only the promise to investigate it further. From the today's point of view, the effect of Solar spot concentration is essentially the effect of threshold intensity of the Sunlight. A Solar spot 12-14 cm corresponds to the concentration rate of 60-70 in intensity (given the 100-mirror design of the concentrator), a 20-22 cm spot corresponds to the concentration rate of 20-25. Whence the latter concentration rate is also highly efficient therapeutically, the Sunlight of stronger concentration rate penetrates much deeper into the body and produces accordingly stronger impact in the underlying layers. In short, today's opinion is that there exists some threshold concentration, above which the effects of Sunlight increase in steep nonlinear way.
In different therapeutic setups the frequencies of the Solar spot oscillations were substantially different. Sometimes, when the reflector was fixed to a regular childrens' swing, the oscillations were as slow as 35-40 per minute, in other cases they were faster, usually about 60-70 per minute, and on several occasions it was noted when the frequency of oscillations rose to 110 per minute. This depended mostly on the height of the hinges above the ground, on absence or presence of returning springs, and on other mechanical arrangements used for reflector suspension.
The results of observation with different frequencies were not thoroughly systematized and were not double checked, but the general trend was clear – elevated frequency increased the therapeutic efficiency of PCSL. However, I believe that here we are essentially going into the realm of Roy Rife with his “Frequency Machines”, and one must be very cautious here. There exist ideas about combining the PCSL approach and Roy Rife approach, essentially applying the PCSL at Rife frequencies. Maybe some day these ideas will bear fruit.