Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Contributor to Your Adrenal Fatigue

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM


electromagnetic hypersensitivity can be set off by a cell phoneThe disorder Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, or EHS, is a physiological condition characterized by certain immunological and neurological symptoms. Exposure to electric or magnetic fields, as well as certain forms of electromagnetic radiation, precipitates the condition. Much of the electromagnetic radiation comes from common sources that surround us all the time.

Typically, someone afflicted by electromagnetic hypersensitivity shows a marked improvement in their health once they remove themselves from the cause, and in time, the symptoms might even vanish. Although the condition is not widely accepted as a medical diagnosis, many countries accept it as a functional impairment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed over thirty studies relating to electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Their finding was that, although electromagnetic hypersensitivity was real, and could have a disabling effect on people, the symptoms experienced could also be the result of pre-existing psychiatric problems or the result of stress due to worrying about the effects of electromagnetism.

Certain countries, however, such as Sweden, take the condition more seriously. The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive is an organization that both produces and distributes educational literature on electromagnetic sensitivity to Swedish residents in an effort to raise awareness about the condition. Australia and the United Kingdom have followed suit, and acceptance of the condition seems to be spreading, especially in Europe. In Paris, France, for instance, one library has reportedly turned off their WiFi after reports that their staff was contracting health problems.

We are permanently surrounded by an electromagnetic field. This is because the sun constantly bombards the earth with electromagnetic waves, and the earth reflects it right back. These waves are all around us and have been since the moment we were first conceived. The addition of manmade electromagnetic radiation, however, bombards us at ever-higher levels. This radiation is emitted everywhere in modern society: from television sets, appliances, cell phones, and even your home’s electrical wiring.

The biggest source, however, is WiFi. This is because the radio wave emitted by WiFi is either 2.4 gigahertz or 5 gigahertz. This is higher than your cell phone, because you hold that next to your ear. These high-frequency radio waves allow for the transmission of exceedingly large volumes of data, but they also emit much more electromagnetic radiation.

electromagnetic hypersensitivity data is available for those who seek it.Despite the current controversy on the matter, electromagnetic sensitivity first came to light in 1932. Erwin Schliephake, a German medical doctor, published data in a German magazine, the German Medical Weekly, in which he discussed what he termed ‘radio wave sickness’ or ‘microwave sickness.’ He also described the symptoms.

His work was supported over thirty years later by a Russian doctor, Zinaida Gordon. In 1966, she published a study of over one thousand people who worked in different fields where they were exposed to high levels of electromagnetic radiation. According to her, the symptoms intensified with prolonged exposure.

Her findings, as well as subsequent research by scientists in other countries, all point to the various, common symptoms experienced by people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Cancer was one of the symptoms included.

Effects of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome

Humans are electromagnetic beings. Your body conducts electricity and grounds the electromagnetic radiation that is present all around you. In fact, each cell in your body is made up of energy—electromagnetic energy. Similarly, everything around us is made up of the same. The problem, however, is the ‘new’ man-made frequencies we are being exposed to. Our bodies are simply not designed to cope with them.

A typical example of how this radiation affects us negatively is in the pineal gland, a tiny endocrine gland situated in the brain. This small gland, together with our eyes, are the organs most sensitive to electromagnetic radiation. The pineal gland also controls our body’s hormone levels, including melatonin. Low levels of melatonin have been linked to fibromyalgia as well as chronic tiredness, two conditions that are accompanied by sensitivities to chemicals and other environmental factors. When the pineal gland is placed under undue stress, it is unable to produce sufficient melatonin for the body’s needs. Constant bombardment by these electromagnetic waves at a frequency our body has difficulty coping with puts extra stress on the functioning of the pineal gland.

Constant exposure to these electromagnetic waves also causes excessive cellular vibration that can lead to muscle tension and a heightened stress level. The more intense and persistent this radiation, the more stressed the body becomes. The adrenal glands are kick-started to respond to this threat and your body goes into fight mode.

Joe Hall, the founder of Clarus Systems, in San Clemente, California, has been instrumental in exploring the effects of electromagnetic field radiation. He has found that when a number of people are taken to a remote location in nature and hooked up with EKG sensors, in order to record their stress levels and muscle tension, for a period of fifteen minutes, some were relaxed while others are stressed. If they were then subjected to electromagnetic stimulation such as they would encounter in a normal suburban home, they exhibited a physiological response. Their stress levels jumped. When the radiation level was increased by an additional three to five milligauss per square meter, such as would be the situation in a normal office environment, the jump in stress levels was even higher.

Stress symptoms can be brought on by electromagnetic hypersensitivityHall explains that this may be one of the reasons that many people do not like their jobs and why they find their work environments so stressful. Every electrical appliance, of whatever nature, that is added to your immediate environment adds to your physiological stress, pushing your body into survival mode. And once the body’s intrinsic anti-stress mechanisms have been overwhelmed, you begin a downward spiral.

Magnetic radiation is constantly passing through us, the sub-particles causing irritation to our limbic brain. The limbic brain then perceives this constant bombardment as a direct physical threat. This, in turn, results in an adrenal response through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) hormonal axis.

Those living in industrialized countries have an increased risk and weakened adrenal system due to a sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) can be triggered as a result. What makes matters worse, is that children too are affected.

Signs and Symptoms of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome

The director of Electrical Sensitivity Network, Lucinda Grant, makes a direct comparison between electromagnetic hypersensitivity and chemical sensitivities, such as intolerances to perfume and gasoline. Chemical sensitivity was once also attributed to a psychological problem, much like most people now view sensitivity towards electromagnetic fields. The comparison, however, is quite apt in that both of these sensitivities are due to environmental factors.

It is certainly the case that those who are electromagnetically hypersensitive or who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also tend to have increased sensitivity towards chemicals. Those who experience mercury toxicity (usually due to dental amalgams) are also at a higher risk of developing a sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation.

This is because the electromagnetic field and chemicals both have an impact on your nervous system and the extracellular matrix (ECM). If your nervous system is already suffering due to toxic exposure, you may be more susceptible to the onslaught of electromagnetic radiation. The ECM is the space between the cells and is the cellular communications network. Like highways that connect our organs, it can be congested and become polluted with electromagnetic bombardment.

There are a number of symptoms that are quite common in those who show signs of electromagnetic hypersensitivity. These include:

  • Headaches: Most notably tension headaches.
  • Heart: Heart palpitations are common, as is a feeling of pressure in the chest.
  • Tinnitus: A constant ‘ringing’ in the ears.
  • Sleeping problems: Difficulty sleeping through the night or waking up tired.
  • Constant fatigue: No matter how much you may sleep you feel tired throughout the day.
  • Brain fog: You have difficulty remembering things and keeping focused (cognitive decline).
  • Skin problems: You may develop rashes, your skin may redden, or you may feel a tingling or burning sensation. These skin issues are usually prevalent on the face and arms.
  • Panic attacks: Panic may be accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, etc.
  • Seizures: Links have been established between certain electromagnetic frequencies and epilepsy.
  • Dizziness (frequently and/or unexpectedly).

Fatigue can be a symptom of electromagnetic hypersensitivityThose who have a hypersensitive reaction to electromagnetic radiation usually go through four phases of increasing severity.

  • First phase: This phase is usually accompanied by a few mild symptoms which include headaches and concentration problems, usually while working with any electronic equipment, such as a computer. Brain fog is a frequent complaint, along with mild anxiety.
  • Second phase: The symptoms last longer and may require medical attention.
  • Third phase: Symptoms are such that you require frequent absences from work. Headaches can become severe, accompanied by vomiting or dizziness. Heart palpitations can surface despite having a normal cardiac profile.
  • Fourth phase: You have an extremely adverse reaction to both indoor and outdoor electromagnetic pollution and are no longer able to go about freely. You might also be unable to continue working due to your exposure to electromagnetic radiation. You may be housebound or severely limited in your activities.


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M.Klich, J.W. Bennet and. “PubMed.” July 2003. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC164220/.

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“What is electrohypersensitivity.” weep. 2008. http://www.weepinitiative.org/areyou.html (accessed July 25, 2016).

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A cell phone can produce symptoms of Electromagnetic hypersensitivity