Learn How Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Is Damaging Your Health
What are Electromagnetic Fields?
Over the recent decades, researchers have studied the impact of electromagnetic fields, also referred to as EMFs, and the affect of electromagnetic hypersensitivity on our health. Electric and magnetic fields are abundant in modern life.
Electric fields are produced by voltage, while magnetic fields are the result of current. Electrical fields remain constant even when devices are not turned on, though the magnetic field may vary. The result is that any electrical device produces EMFs, whether the device is on or off. In today’s high-tech living we are surrounded by many sources of EMF even though we may not be aware of them all. These fields have increased our electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
Sources of Electromagnetic Fields?
- EMFs occur naturally. The Earth has a strong magnetic field that migratory birds, fish, and other ocean species use for navigation. The Earth’s magnetic field is the force that moves the compass needle in a North to South orientation. EMF buildup is also produced by the electrical charge emitted during thunder and lightning storms.
- Man-made sources of EMFs saturate our everyday life. These include power lines, the wiring in our homes, cell phones, computers and the wifi connection, microwave ovens, televisions, radios, medical diagnostic technology such as x-rays and ultrasounds, and many other sources.
The frequency of the electromagnetic field varies depending on the source. EMFs are categorized as either low to mid frequency or higher frequency.
- Low to mid frequency EMFs are emitted from sources such as: power lines, radio waves, electrical wiring, cell phones, computers, microwaves and other daily used technology. EMF frequency in this range is referred to as non ionizing radiation. Historically, non ionizing radiation has been deemed safe and not associated with any known health concerns. However, the effects of non ionizing radiation exposure has been revisited and some research is suggesting the possibility of serious health concerns.
- Higher frequency EMFs are produced by x-rays, radiation therapy, and gamma rays. EMF frequency on the highest end of the spectrum, often termed ionizing radiation, is known to cause DNA and cellular damage.
Modern technology has impacted civilization greatly with strides made in medicine, communication, agriculture, entertainment, and in the quality of daily living. While these technological advances have improved life in many ways, the amounts of EMFs we encounter has increased significantly. Research has started to show that this increase in exposure to EMFs may have serious adverse effects on our health.
What is Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity?
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity refers to a health condition that is characterized by a variety of symptoms triggered by electrical sources. As each human body is incredibly unique and has a limited coping range for external stressors, symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Once exposure exceeds beyond the body’s ability to cope, the body becomes stressed, and the symptoms of EMF hypersensitivity emerge.
Sensitivities to EMFs are not a new phenomenon. In 1932 Erwin Schliephake, a German medical physician, published research on a condition he referred to as “radio wave sickness” or “microwave sickness”. He revealed his patients experienced extreme reactions when around radio towers. Though Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity is still disputed by some in the medical community, EMF research suggests 3% to 7% of the US population suffers from symptoms of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity.
Symptoms of a Hypersensitivity to EMFs
Prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation can have a negative impact on all of the systems of the body. As people are incredibly diverse, symptoms vary greatly from person to person. The following health concerns are some of the possible symptoms of an Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity.
- Insomnia, sleeplessness, decreased melatonin production, and other sleep disturbances.
- Muscle and joint pain
- Tingling or involuntary muscle twitches of the fingers, arms, and legs
- Dry skin, rashes, and acne
- Swelling in the face, lymph nodes, and the extremities
- Blurred vision, night blindness, seeing spots or light flashes in eyes, and other problems with eyesight
- Hot or cold flashes
- Memory problems, poor concentration, and trouble focusing
- Low energy and a decline in motivation
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Learning difficulties
- Mood swings
- A weakened immune system and decreased healing time
- Changes to blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen saturation levels
- Digestion problems, stomach discomfort, and constipation or diarrhea
- Dizziness, vertigo, and feeling light headed
- Premenstrual Syndrome and infertility
This list is not exhaustive and there are many other symptoms that could be experienced due to oversensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Many symptoms could indicate medical conditions other than EMF sensitivity. Always consult your Primary Care Physician regarding health questions and concerns.
The NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response to EMFs
When symptoms begin to arise from sensitivity to EMFs, the body has already reached a point of fatigue. The body, as a whole, is overworked and each of the organ and systems of the body are affected. The body is living in a state of chronic internal distress.
Modern society is fast paced. We live in times of great technological discoveries that have allowed us easier ways of working, but results in leading busier lives than ever. An endless stream of phone calls, appointments, commuting, and “emergencies” to attend to. The body’s natural defense against chronic stress is the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response. During times of stress, the adrenals secrete cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone, to address and cope with the current stressor. This response is essential when a threat of harm exists. When cortisol is released, the body goes into survival mode. The body functions that are not crucial for survival are decreased significantly. These include lowered function in the digestive, immune, and reproductive systems. When threats to survival exist, cortisol heightens the senses and increases reasoning and decision making capabilities.
The NEM stress response is triggered by all kinds of stress. Positive and negative stressors affect the body the same. Important milestones in life, such as: marriage, children, and job promotions trigger the NEM stress response just as much as traumatic events do. The NEM stress response is designed to be a temporary state of being intended to subside once the threat of harm disappears. When stress is chronic and with the constant assault of EMFs, the adrenals become overworked and exhausted. The result is often Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.
The adrenals are small glands that are located at the top of each kidney. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, as well as sex hormones and hormones that help the body control blood sugar, blood pressure, digest and utilize proteins and fats, and assist the immune system in dealing with illness, disease, and, injuries. When the adrenal glands are overworked, the production of these essential hormones is affected and the result is systemic, health is comprised.
The symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) and electromagnetic hypersensitivity are often the same. The most common symptoms of AFS include, but are not limited to,
- Extreme fatigue
- Inability to handle stress
- Memory and concentration problems
- Digestion disruption
- Low libido
- Weight gain and an inability to lose weight
- Hypoglycemia symptoms
- Low body temperature
- Decreased immune response
- Cravings for salty, fatty, high protein foods
- Increased sensitivity to foods and chemicals
- Changes to skin or rashes
While none of these symptoms alone are a definitive sign of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, when these symptoms are considered collectively they often point to an adrenal gland dysfunction.
Recent studies into Adrenal Fatigue suggest an association with electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, left untreated, may progressively get worse. Adrenal Fatigue sufferers should limit EMF exposure as much as possible, in order to reduce the effects on their health.
Grounding Yourself the Natural Way
When the delicate balance of the human body is interrupted by ongoing stress, toxins, EMF exposure, poor diet, and lack of physical activity, lifestyle changes are essential. Natural techniques for lowering and coping with stress and detoxifying the body, are generally well tolerated and effective.
Grounding is an ancient technique that helps us to shift our focus, change perspective, and help to reduce EMF exposure symptoms. There are several ways that grounding can be practiced. Here are a few examples of grounding practices.
- Attending to the breath. The nervous system takes cues from the nervous system. Adrenal breathing exercises help to regulate and calm the nervous system.
- Earthing is a grounding technique that involves walking barefoot on the ground. Earthing helps us connect with the energies of the Earth. Research into Earthing suggests that reconnecting our bodies with the Earth increases health, vitality, and aids the immune system.
- Wearing clothing that have silver incorporated within the fibers, such as Silver Shielding clothing, can reduce the exposure of EMFs. This clothing is especially useful for individuals who work long hours with computers, laptops, phones, and other office equipment.
- Practicing meditation is a great grounding technique. Sitting comfortably, turning our attention to the breath, and watching as thoughts come and go. Mediation allows our mind and body to rest in the wakened state, a conscious break.
- Unplugging electrical devices in the bedroom is important. Sleep is essential to good health. Reduce the EMF exposure during sleep will have a profound effect on sleep quality. Aside from grounding exercises there are many things we can do to assist the body in dealing with stress and lowering the impact that stress has on the body.
- Exercise is crucial for managing the symptoms of AFS and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Gentle forms of exercise, such as Adrenal Yoga, walking, and Tai Chi, are best to start with, in order to avoid an adrenal crash or a spike in symptoms. If low impact physical activity is not tolerated well, yogic breathing exercises and gentle stretches are some alternatives to consider. Always consult your primary care physician before starting any exercise regimen.
- Eating a diet that is full of nutrient dense foods, including lean meats and fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, and healthy whole grains. Following the adrenal fatigue diet provides optimal nutrition needed to heal the body.
- Drink plenty of clean, filtered water.
- Reduce the use of caffeinated beverages and other energy supplements.
- Limit the intake of alcohol.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements should be taken as advised. Adrenal fatigue sufferers and those with electromagnetic hypersensitivities should use caution when taking supplements, as some many have unintended effects.
- Living and working in areas that are free from large power lines and industrial machinery, whenever possible, greatly reduces the amount of EMF exposure for those with an overly sensitive reaction to electromagnetic fields.
Living in our modern society, we are constantly bombarded with electromagnetic fields, emitted from the technology we use, every day. Many individuals experience seemingly unrelated symptoms from EMF exposure. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a physical reaction to EMF exposure and places the body in a state of chronic stress and AFS may result. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, left untreated, may progress into the advanced stages of adrenal fatigue. The adrenals continue to weaken from chronic stress and environmental toxins, and the body may break-down further. The journey to recovery is focused on reducing the stress on the body and increasing overall health. Treatment must include decreasing EMF exposure and overall stress levels, while providing the body with optimal nutrition, hydration, and rest. Making lifestyle changes slowly is important to remember. Even positive health changes, when done too quickly, can have an unintended response. For example, beginning exercise cautiously and starting with short intervals of low impact yoga, or sessions of yogic breathing, will help the body adjust to exercise demands without triggering an adrenal crash. Making slow, deliberate changes to diet and lifestyle will have a positive impact on health with little risk of negative reactions. Decreasing EMF exposure, especially for those with an electromagnetic hypersensitivity, is vital for reducing the stress on the body. Learning ways to “unplug” from technology and reduce EMF exposure are essential in recovery.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.