You could have EMF sensitivity, and not yet know itFeb 27, 2019
Those with EMF sensitivity feel much better in nature, and some feel more healing from skin to earth contact
by Sophia Ruan Gushée
I suspect that EMF sensitivity (also referred to as electromagnetic hypersensitivity and electromagnetic sensitivity) may become as common an allergy as are nut allergies. And with so many people addicted to your phone (I'm guilty of that too), it makes sense that EMF sensitivity will increase.
The good news is that once you are aware that you are sensitive to electromagnetic fields, you can adopt simple changes to reduce your exposures. Often, people feel or sleep better immediately.
Think about all the people with a food allergy (like to nuts or dairy) but did not know it. Once they realized that they felt better avoiding allergy triggers, they were empowered to make simple choices to become more comfortable.
This article explains EMF sensitivity, benefits of an EMF Detox (which doesn't ask you to use less technology), the beauty of having EMF sensitivity, and three simple tips to detox your electromagnetic fields.
I was late to realize that I have EMF sensitivity
As I finished writing my book A to Z of D-Toxing in 2015, I was just starting to investigate EMF toxicity further. Since A to Z of D-Toxing was published, I have been studying electromagnetic fields further by recording podcasts with leading EMF experts. With my understanding of how toxic chemicals threaten our health and wellbeing, how and why EMFs threaten our biology makes sense to me.
While there is a strong body of science that underscores precautionary measures towards the electromagnetic fields from our household items, there are also conflicting expert opinions. Having conversations with leading public health and EMF experts has been enlightening for me, and I hope for you too (you can listen to these free podcasts here).
As I learned more about EMF sensitivity, I started to realize that some of my chronic symptoms may result from my electromagnetic field exposures. So I started reducing my EMF exposures to experiment. I noticed that many chronic symptoms dissipated after reducing electromagnetic fields in my home.
By implementing an electromagnetic field detox, I have learned how my body reacts to EMF exposures. The approach is similar to how an elimination diet can enlighten you to which foods your body is allergic. For example, by avoiding dairy from your diet, you can observe whether you feel improvements in your symptoms. Later, by reincorporating dairy into your diet, you can learn more about how your body reacts to dairy. The same approach can be applied towards electromagnetic fields.
Through an EMF detox, I now recognize when I'm around too much Bluetooth exposures, and when the wireless printer in my husband's home office is on. With this awareness, I can make simple choices to reduce my chronic exposures (like turning off the wireless printer when it's not in use, which is most of the time).
I believe that electromagnetic field sensitivity is more common than we realize and that simple tweaks can help people feel better.
What are symptoms of EMF sensitivity?
My symptoms of EMF sensitivity include pressure in my chest; tingling in my tongue, teeth, and fingers; insomnia; poor sleep quality; discomfort in my heart; and occasionally heart palpitations.
The World Health Organization recognizes electromagnetic field sensitivity (the WHO uses the term electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS)) and reports:
EHS is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms, which afflicted individuals attribute to exposure to EMF. The symptoms most commonly experienced include dermatological symptoms (redness, tingling, and burning sensations) as well as neurasthenic and vegetative symptoms (fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances). The collection of symptoms is not part of any recognized syndrome.
Other commonly reported symptoms include headaches, ringing in the ear, confusion, and memory loss.
It is also noted in literature that people who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity can be more likely to experience electromagnetic field sensitivity. I believe that many people also experience multiple chemical sensitivity and do not know it. You can read more in my article "Might You Have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?"
The symptoms mentioned above are relatively not too serious. However, electromagnetic field exposures are associated with more life-altering health issues, including various types of cancer.
Dr. David O. Carpenter has an impressive professional track record in the field of how toxic exposures (including toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and EMFs) affect public health. As a graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Carpenter is also director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at University of Albany's School of Public Health, which is also a a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization. His list of credentials is long and distinguished.
When I asked Dr. Carpenter, What do you wish the world knew about EMFs?, he responded, I wish more people knew about the hazards.
Listen to this podcast or review the transcript to our conversation here.
Why may electromagnetic field sensitivity become a more common allergy?
From in utero, we are exposed to unparalleled levels and types of chronic exposures to manmade electromagnetic fields. Since the iPhone was released in 2007, technological advancements have inundated our homes, schools, and public spaces with various types of electromagnetic fields. And new EMF sources and types continue to enter our lives. The upcoming 5G rollout will affect our environments greatly.
Daniel Debaun, who worked in the telecom industry for 30 years in senior engineering positions, describes EMFs as "bees in the room." In our podcast, he explains that one bee in the room will generally not hurt you unless you are lethally allergic to bees. However, the more bees in the room, the more likely you will get hurt. This idea can be applied to electromagnetic fields.
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With various household items emitting various types of radiation along the electromagnetic spectrum, you can think of different sources of EMFs as generating different species of bees. For example, your cell phone may generate one type of bee; your cordless phone another; your computer monitor another; etc. 5G can be considered as releasing a new species of bees as well.
As we have unique vulnerabilities, electromagnetic field sensitivity to this EMF toxicity can manifest differently in each of us.
Just like more people than ever seem to be allergic to nuts and dairy, I think more people than ever will realize they have EMF sensitivity.
Courts are recognizing electromagnetic field sensitivity as a disability for some
Some legal cases have recognized EMF sensitivity as disabling enough that people should be compensated as a result.
In 2015, a French court granted monthly compensation for three years to a woman for her EHS. These types of cases are slowly being filed with more frequency, including in the US.
The beauty of EMF sensitivity
I am grateful for my EMF sensitivity because children are uniquely vulnerable to toxic exposures. And children absorb more radiation than do adults. To be EMF sensitive is to be a canary in the coal mine for my children.
EMF exposures may weaken our blood-brain-barrier (BBB), a membrane that is critical to protecting our brains. A weakened BBB makes our brain more vulnerable to toxic chemicals and heavy metals that we are inevitably exposed to. For the developing brain, the potential effects have not been fully studied but as a mother I prefer to take precautionary measures to protect my family's BBBs.
As a mother of three young kids, I am often grateful when my body is telling me that electromagnetic field exposures are too high. Because if they are too high for me, then my children are also better off with me lowering electromagnetic fields at home.
Cell phones are not the only sources of electromagnetic fields
EMFs are generated from both wireless and wired technologies (they are also naturally occurring but this article is focused on EMFs from our technologies). Typical electromagnetic field sources include cell phones, laptops, computers, WiFi routers, wireless accessories (watches and ear phones), cordless phones, baby monitors, microwave ovens, music and entertainment systems, and more.
3 Simple Tips to See if you might have EMF sensitivity
The three tips below are easy tweaks to detox your EMFs. Experiment with whether you feel better after adopting them.
1. Use Airplane Mode before bedtime. Most of us sleep with our wireless phones next to us when we sleep. The radiation they can emit can undermine our sleep quality. Ideally, you want to turn your phone off and leave it in another room when you sleep. If you can't do that, then the next best thing is to turn your phone to Airplane Mode. Experiment to see if you notice an improvement in your sleep.
2. Clear your night stands of cordless phones. Some cordless phones can emit as much radiation as cell phones. I decided that cordless phones in my home are not worth the risks. Instead, I have phones with a corded connection. If you are not ready to discard your cordless phones, then keep them out of your bedroom; or place them far from your sleeping area. Radiation decreases with distance.
3. Keep your WiFi router as far from where you spend a lot of time, like where you sleep. Even better: connect your WiFi router to a timer so that it automatically shuts off at night, and automatically turns back on in the morning. I also keep it shut off until I really need it. In the meantime, I use a cable connection much more often.
Please note that leading medical and health authorities, including the WHO do not recognize EHS as an illness. They do, however, recognize that some experience a set of symptoms (like those described above), and that those symptoms can be disabling for some. Some historical literature also suggest that those with EHS may experience symptoms as a result of psychological or mental issues. Given the potential long-term impacts on young life, I encourage people to experiment with an electromagnetic field detox to see if they notice any changes. After all, are any of the tips above that inconvenient?
An EMF Detox can help without requiring you to use less technology
You don't need a technology cleanse, a technology purge, or technology detox to reduce your EMF exposures. My EMF Detox: The Ultimate 21-Day Digital Detox teaches you how to detox your electromagnetic fields without requiring you to banish your technology. Instead, you will learn habits that position you and your family to co-exist with technology with healthier balance.
The goal of an electromagnetic field detox is to establish technology's role in our lives as one that optimizes our existence while minimizing our risks from it. Click here to learn more about my EMF Detox.
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