Dr John Ott - A Pioneer in Full Spectrum Light - Halio Therapy --- Part - I

DR JOHN OTT

Dr. John Nash Ott was a banker who was most notable as a pioneer in the cinematic use of time-lapse photography.

Ott's initial "day-job" career was that of a banker, with time-lapse movie photography, mostly of plants, initially just a hobby. Starting in the 1930s, Ott bought and built more and more time-lapse equipment, eventually building a large greenhouse full of plants, cameras, and even self-built automated electric moving camera systems (the first movie camera motion control systems ever built) for moving the cameras to follow the growth of plants as they developed. He even time-lapsed his entire greenhouse of plants and cameras as they all worked, a virtual symphony of time-lapse movement. His work was featured on an episode of the second incarnation of the request TV show, You Asked For It in the late 1950s.

Ott also discovered that the movement of plants could be manipulated by varying the amount of water plants were given, and varying the color temperature of the lights in the studio, with some colors causing the plants to flower and other colors causing the plants to bear fruit. Ott even discovered ways to change the gender of plants merely by varying the light source color-temperature.

By using these techniques, Ott time-lapse animated plants "dancing" up and down in sync to pre-recorded music tracks. The film, completed in the 1950s, was titled, simply, Dancing Flowers.

His cinematography of flowers blooming in such classic documentaries as Walt Disney's Secrets of Life (1956), pioneered the modern use of time-lapse on film and television. Ott wrote a book on the history of his time-lapse adventures, My Ivory Cellar (1958).

Ott's experiments with different colored lighting systems and their effects on the health of plants led to experiments with colored lights on the health of animals, then humans, then on individual cells, using time-lapse micro-photography. Ott discovered that only a full spectrum of natural light (including natural amounts of infra-red and ultra-violet) worked to entirely promote full health in plants, animals and humans. Ott made a second film, Exploring the Spectrum completed in the 1960s.

Ott also discovered that the color temperature of lights affects mental health, with balanced light reducing hyperactivity in classrooms and reducing negative behavior in prisons and mental health facilities. Ott discovered that even individual cells' ability to properly reproduce in both plants and animals (including human) is affected by variances in lighting as it entered the body through the eyes. A second book, Health and Light, detailing these experiments followed in 1973. Medical research facilities, such as in the The University of Oregon Health Sciences Center (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon, and others, experiment with his lights for both physical and mental health benefits.

In the 80s and 90s, Ott also published a series of seven articles in the International Journal of Biosocial Research, a medical journal out of Tacoma, Washington that studies links between physical and mental health. Titled Color and Light: Their Effects on Plants, Animals, and People, the articles summed up Ott's decades of independent research, which was contrary to the established "wisdom" of sunglasses manufacturers who warned of the "sudden" negative effects of full, natural sunlight on the human eyes and skin.

Further, Ott developed lighting systems for businesses and homes that delivered his full-spectrum light, now available at many lighting stores worldwide.

______________________________________________________________________

Dr. John Ott
The Father of Full Spectrum Light

John Ott, PhD used the word "serendipity" to describe how his part-time hobby in time-lapse photography sprouted into a pioneering career in the new field of photobiology. As far back as 1927 Dr. Ott spent his free time photographing plants under fluorescent lights in his basement and filling his kitchen pantry with hundreds of reels of film.

His time-lapse sequences showing flowers opening and fruits ripening were used in several Walt Disney nature documentaries which aired on the first Chicago television station and in the feature film, "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever."

In the course of his work for Disney, Dr. Ott often had trouble coaxing seedlings to grow, or blossoms to form, as in the case of a stubborn pumpkin vine which would produce only all male or all female flowers, depending on what type of lighting the plant received, and which would die before reaching maturation.

Intrigued by the possible connection between varying light waves and plant growth patterns, the amateur scientist built a plastic-walled greenhouse in his backyard, and there the experiments continued, augmented by an impressive array of photographic lights, set to turn on automatically for each time-lapse frame.

Ott was so astounded by his findings over the next few years that he carried his theories over into the animal world. Impressed with his results, Loyola University awarded him an honorary doctorate in science.

Encouraged by his continuing success Ott founded The Environmental Health & Light Research Institute to coordinate his ongoing studies into the way in which light can, in the proper spectral balance, enhance the health of plants and animals.

In time, Ott turned his attention towards monitoring the beneficial effects of full spectrum lighting on certain human physiological conditions. It was about this time that Dr. Ott developed the first full spectrum fluorescent tube which he called Vitalite and which was brought to market by DuroTest Inc. based in his home town of Chicago, Illinois.

At the time, Dr. Ott's research efforts generally met with polite indifference from the scientific community but he soon began to attract attention from a wider public audience with his theory of mal-illumination, a condition Ott likens to malnutrition, which has been brought about by shielding ourselves with such things as tinted windows, windshields and sunglasses we have unintentionally limited our intake of full-spectrum daylight.

Over the last fifty years the "three screens" syndrome (cinema, television, computer) has relentlessly driven the human race indoors depriving them of their natural light environment. Working with manufacturers, Ott went on to develop an indoor lighting system to mimic the full-spectrum range of natural sunlight, and to devise experiments using the special fixtures.

Although people seem to refer to all full-spectrum lighting as "Ott lights," quality full spectrum lighting is now available by a number of manufactures.

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Works of
Dr. John Ott:

P_Ott_video.htm P_Ott_video.htm
Exploring the Spectrum
(video)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0815961219/sciartcoloasi-20 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0815961219/sciartcoloasi-20
Light, Radiation & You - How to Stay Healthy
1982



http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0898040981/sciartcoloasi-20 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0898040981/sciartcoloasi-20
Health and Light
1973

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0815962177/sciartcoloasi-20 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0815962177/sciartcoloasi-20
My Ivory Cellar
(Time Lapse Photography)
1958


Photobiologist and pioneer in light research, Dr. John Ott, discovered through 40 years of scientific research the remarkable effects specific wave lengths of natural light have on all living things. Dr. Ott developed the first OTT-LITE® product while filming "The Secrets of Life Series" for Walt Disney.

A specially formulated blend of rare earth phosphors is used to create this unique illumination that looks and feels like natural daylight.

Ever since Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb in 1879, the trend has been for people to spend more and more their time indoors. As a result, Dr. John Ott found, people are being deprived of the natural daylight they need, especially during the short days of the dark winter months. OTT-LITE® are naturally balanced to replicate natural daylight indoors, while providing the pure light you need to see, work and read with comfort and ease.

The unretouched photograph above compares the same print under two types of lighting: standard lighting (right hand side), and OTT-LITE® (left hand side). Notice that the OTT-LITE® you can see details and color perfectly in the clear, comfortable, virtually glare-free environment on the left. The standard lamp on the right creates high-glare, harsh distorted light.

John Ott and time lapse photography: No filmmaker can be credited for popularizing time-lapse more than Dr. John Ott.

Ott's initial "day-job" career was that of a banker, with time-lapse movie photography, mostly of plants, initially just a hobby. Starting in the 1930s, Ott bought and built more and more time-lapse equipment, eventually building a large greenhouse full of plants, cameras, and even self-built automated electric motion control systems for moving the cameras to follow the growth of plants as they developed. He even time-lapsed his entire greenhouse of plants and cameras as they all worked, a virtual symphony of time-lapse movement. His work was featured on an episode of the request TV show, You Asked For It in the late 1950s.

Ott also discovered that the movement of plants could be manipulated by varying the amount of water plants were given, and varying the color-temperature of the lights in the studio, with some colors causing the plants to flower and other colors causing the plants to bear fruit. Ott even discovered ways to change the gender of plants merely by varying the light source color-temperature.

By using these techniques, Ott time-lapse animated plants "dancing" up and down in synch to pre-recorded music tracks.

His cinematography of flowers blooming in such classic documentaries as Walt Disney's Secrets of Life (1956), pioneered the modern use of time-lapse on film and television. Ott wrote a book on the history of his time-lapse adventures, My Ivory Cellar (1958).

Ott's experiments with different colored lighting systems and their effects on the health of plants led to experiments with colored lights on the health of animals, then humans, then on individual cells, using time-lapse micro-photography. Ott discovered that only a full spectrum of natural light (including natural amount of infra-red AND ultra-violet) worked to entirely promote full physical and mental health in plants, animals and humans. A second book detailing these experiments followed, Exploring the Spectrum (1973).

John Ott, light pioneer Whole Earth Review, Fall, 1988 by Ramon Sender Barayon P

PHOTOBIOLOGY, THE STUDY OF THE EFFECTS OF LIGHT ON living things, is relatively new as a formal field of scientific inquiry. Only over the past ten years has it become acceptable to question the quality of artificial light we live by and to look more closely at how the human organism responds to sunlight. Recent articles in the popular press attest to exciting discoveries, for example the January 14, 1988 New Yorker, which reported a conference titled "The Medical and Biological Effects of Light." Curiously, the article never once mentioned John Ash Ott, who deserves much of the credit for awakening interest in this subject.

During his career as a banker in Chicago, John Ott developed his hobby of time-lapse photography into a successful sideline. We have all seen his blossoming flowers in such Walt Disney films as Nature's Half Acre. It was while filming plants under various lighting conditions that Ott noticed how their reactions varied. A reprint of an article from Smithsonian Magazine in the September 22, 1987 San Francisco Chronicle's "This World" section described how Ott went on to study the responses of both flora and fauna to specific wavelengths. Filming through a microscope, he found that the pigment granules in both animal cells and chloroplasts exhibited behavior patterns to different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Quoting from the article, by jack Fincher:

"Ott went looking for examples of humans whose health and well-being appeared directly affected by light, and he believed he found them. In one, a laboratory where contact lenses were made, the employees were remarkably free of flu. The lab had plastic windows which admitted ultraviolet light. This is screened out by ordinary glass; that is why you cannot get a suntan inside.

A Lifestyle Consultant's Course in Natural Living - Sample Lesson 105

Subject: Heliotherapy

By John L. Fielder

Introduction to Heliotherapy • Part One

Introduction

Sun, air and light form the basis from which all life springs on this planet which we call earth, for without them, there would be no life as we know it now. As Jacob Leberman in his book Light, Medicine of the Future says:

“Have you ever wondered why we call the process of profound human evolution 'enlightenment', or why the portion of the galaxy in which we live is called the 'solar system'? Doesn't the term 'solar system' imply that human beings are of, or derived from, the sun?

“Why do people frequently make statements such as 'lighten up' or 'You light up my life'? How does 'living in the light' differ from experiencing the 'dark night of the soul'? Is it possible, as renowned physicist David Bohm states, that 'all matter is frozen light'? Could it be that our evolution in some way is related to our ability to take in and utilise light on a spiritual level as well as a physical level?”

The idea of light as an integral part of all life and creation has been evident since the beginning of time. The use of colour to describe our emotions, physical condition or attitude has become a part of our everyday language, such as the phrases, “You look in the pink of condition”, and, “I could tell that he was positively green with envy”, or, “When I heard her say that, I saw red”. And whereas in the past we have tended to think primarily in terms of our physical health when we consider the benefits (or detriments as the case may be, especially with the current attitude to the connection of our bodies' exposure to sunlight and skin cancer), we rarely if ever take into consideration the psychological and spiritual benefits that may accrue from our exposure to sun, air and light.

Our lives, health and well-being are truly dependent upon the sun. The electromagnetic waves that are transmitted to the earth by the sun sustain the biosphere in which we live, provide the energy for photosynthesis in the plants, and the growth of trees, as well as being the source of the energy which is released from our fossil fuels.

Up until very recent times, that is, throughout almost all of recorded history, man has lived and worked out of doors and been fully exposed to natural sunlight. The onset of the industrial revolution brought about a major change in a large percentage of the population of the industrialised nations, along with the belief that not only was he no longer dependent upon the natural world, but independent, and perhaps even above and superior to it.

It is only in relatively recent history that man has been working indoors in factories and offices, or in mines below the surface of the earth, cut off from, or shielded from the natural elements of sun, air and light, in concrete edifices with incandescent or fluorescent light. Not only is the light artificial and lacking in full spectrum wavelengths necessary for well-being, but the buildings we live and work in are often as not air conditioned, and so we are further deprived by our inability to access pure fresh air.

We commence each day by rising in our air conditioned, glass-windowed houses, walk to our glass-windowed, air conditioned car, in the adjoining carport or garage, and drive to work and spend the day in our air conditioned office under artificial light, which quite often may not have any windows. If our office does happen to have windows, these will be made of glass which, if it is plain, will reflect the ultraviolet rays and other beneficial rays—and if it is tinted, will further inhibit the transmission of light and beneficial rays. We further exacerbate the problem by the wearing of glasses, both sunglasses and corrective glasses. These further inhibit our ability to absorb and utilise the beneficial solar rays.

Dr John Ott, in his monumental work on health and light, has shown from his experiments on humans, animals, and plants, and through his experience with time-lapse photography and the effects of light on the growth of plants, that the human eye is a major area for the absorption of these beneficial solar rays, and that the wearing of glasses of any type detrimentally inhibits the absorption of these beneficial rays to the extent that certain chronic conditions may well develop through their habitual use, and be consequently relieved by the exposure of the eyes to the direct rays of the sun wherever possible, each day.

Dr Ott has also delved into the problem of artificial light, and its detrimental effects in the workplace, as well as providing us with the solution to the problem.

In addition to the findings of Dr Ott, William Shakespeare pointed out that “The eyes are the windows of the soul.” When we observe others, one of the first things we notice about them is their eyes, for through them, as much as any other source of body language, we notice whether they are sad or happy. If they are sad, their eyes will show it, whereas if they are happy, it is immediately visible by the gleam in their eyes.

It can well be seen then that it is of prime necessity that we study the beneficial (and other) effects of sun, air and light, and learn how to utilise them to our ultimate benefit, and to minimise any detrimental (if any) effects that could possibly accrue from a lack of understanding and ignorance.

In recent years the sun's effect upon human health has come to be regarded by the medical profession as little more than a placebo. The current medical concept pictures a destructive sun, one responsible for ageing of the skin and capable of causing skin cancer.

Dr Zane R Klime, in his book Sunlight, has this to say: “The author became increasingly convinced, as he studied the available research data, that the highly refined western diet plays the leading role, both in the ageing process and in the development of cancer, and that sunlight seems only to accelerate the problem.”

In other words, Dr Klime is saying that if we removed the cause, and the cause being in his words “the highly refined western diet”, we would not be detrimentally affected by the sunlight.

End of Part I

Dr Darius H Umrigar MD(AM)

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