(Editor’s note: We had posted this on the Clinic website in May, but we’ve moved it to the blog due to continuing general interest in the topic)

by Rebecca Word ND

What is this you say?  Electrohypersensitivity? That’s what I said recently when a patient came in suffering from this very thing.  I’ve always acknowledged the possibility that humans (and other sentient beings) are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, but I never realized the attention that this topic is starting to get globally if not here in North America.

A group of German doctors have constructed an appeal to the U.S. to rethink the move from analog to digital television broadcasting because of adverse health associations in their own country following such a move.  There is also a document entitled the Freiburger Appeal that outlines the observed health deterioration of populations which correlates to new or increased electromagnetic field exposure.

Some technologies of concern are wireless broadcasting either for cell phone, gaming or television, cell towers; even digital cordless telephones emit pulsed high frequency microwave radiation. This brings a whole new definition to the concept of “pollution.”

Electrohypersensitivity, or EHS, manifests as neurological and immunological dysfunction that flares upon close, continuous exposure to certain magnetic or electrical fields that are emitted from power lines, cell phone transmission towers, cell & digital cordless phones, computers, fluorescent lights and various electrical tools & equipment (basically all around us).

One website on EHS (weepinitiative.org/areyou.html) lists the following as common symptoms: concentration problems, memory lapses, aches or pressure in head, throat and chest, unsteady balance, dizziness, altered heart rate, ringing in the ears, excessive fatigue, numbness or pain in affected areas, sleep disturbances, eye irritation, red skin blotches and eczema.  (Interestingly, some of these symptoms are common to adrenal gland under functioning.  This gland suffers under major acute or long term chronic stress leading this reader to infer a link.)

EHS is not recognized as a medical diagnosis per se but it is getting attention from the World Health Organization and global researchers and doctors.  The Canadian Human Rights Commission classifies EHS as a disabling environmental sensitivity.  European doctors and scientists seem to be much more concerned about the possible links between these fields and chronic disease.  But why are some individuals more affected than others?  One theory is that heavy metal toxicity in the body (which we know has neurological/immunological impacts) acts to increase “conduction” of these fields in susceptible individuals. I also wonder if the aforementioned adrenal fatigue has a role in this sensitivity.

Where is the silver lining here?  Luckily there is relief observed in affected individuals when removed from densely bombarded areas.  The above mentioned website offers the following suggestions to limit exposure as well.  Keep the bedroom a safe haven, this means no chargers of any kind, phones, televisions, or other wireless devices, and be aware of bed placement in relation to the house’s power main and other big electrical devices such as the fridge.  Do what your mom always told you and sit well back from the T.V. (and computer screen).  Decrease or eliminate microwave use (it makes food chewy anyway.)  Trade in the digital wireless phone which acts as a mini cell tower for the old fashioned corded phone.  If using a cell phone get it away from your ear, and thus your brain, by using the hands free attachment.  Unplug devices when not in use.

Here’s my advice: whether you feel affected by these fields or not go out into the woods and take a break from technology.  Don’t just use a chemical free cleaner or bike to work. . . think about reacquainting with the Earth of our ancestors.  Celebrate and recreate a simpler time when we the animals and other living beings were the greatest emitters of electromagnetic radiation and texting was not on the menu.

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