The wonders of modern technology have majorly improved our lives. From laptops and cell phones to microwaves and airplanes – life without technology is nearly unimaginable. But all the benefits of our ever-advancing technology also come with a dark side.
Constant exposure to climbing levels of electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, emitted by electronic devices, can have serious implications on your health. A growing number of people are suffering from the effects of neverending exposure to this radiation. And left unchecked, this exposure leads to a condition known as electrohypersensitivity.
Today we’re going to dive into exactly what electrohypersensitivity is and how to protect yourself.
What Is Electrohypersensitivity?
Electrohypersensitivity, also known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity, is a heightened sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. EMFs are invisible fields of energy that are created when you combine a magnetic field and an electric field. Electromagnetic fields are a type of radiation that occurs when a current of electricity flows in a given direction.1
Some EMFs occur naturally – we receive EMFs from the sun and earth and even our own bodies produce EMFs. But since the discovery of electricity, man-made EMFs have been consistently rising. Today, nearly all of the technology we depend on emits some levels of EMFs including:
- Radio signals
- Power lines
- Cell phones
- Smart meters (digital electric and gas meters that measure utility consumption)
- UV lights
And this constant exposure to rising EMF levels can trigger some harmful effects in those of us that are sensitive.
How Exactly Do EMFs Cause Damage?
More research and time is needed to determine exactly how EMFs exert their harmful effects on your body, but it’s likely due to more than one factor. One thing we know for sure though is that one way EMFs can cause damage is by increasing the concentration of free radicals in the body.
It goes something like this:2,3,4
Step 1: As exposure to EMFs increases, free radical levels climb. Free radicals are unstable atoms that influence chemical reactions in your body. These free radicals are beneficial when levels are balanced – but when imbalanced, they can cause oxidative stress.
Step 2: Oxidative stress occurs when free radical levels are left unchecked. When these unstable atoms aren’t balanced, they wreak havoc on the body – resulting in damage on a cellular level.
Step 3: This oxidative stress can be damaging to proteins, lipids, and even your DNA – eventually altering the way your cells reproduce.
So over time, these invisible EMFs can do a lot of visual damage.
What Are the Symptoms of Electrohypersensitivity?
The symptoms of electrohypersensitivity can be vague and widespread, often making it challenging to pinpoint EMFs as the problem. Symptoms of electrohypersensitivity can include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Heart palpitations
- Digestive issues
- Red skin
- Burning sensation
- Muscle aches and pains
What’s even scarier, is that the damage caused by EMFs can be cumulative – meaning that over time their harmful effects can lead to serious and even deadly conditions. Exposure to high levels of EMFs has been linked to conditions such as:
- Cancer 5
- Neurological deficits and disorders 6,7,8
- Reproductive issues 9,10
While identifying EMFs as the source of your symptoms can sometimes be challenging, the good news is we’ve come a long way in our ability to diagnose electrohypersensitivity.
How is Electrohypersensitivity Diagnosed?
Unfortunately, electrohypersensitivity is still not widely recognized in the medical community. Usually, diagnosis requires a practitioner well-versed in dealing with patients struggling with electrohypersensitivity and takes a comprehensive approach. The typical criteria for a diagnosis of electrohypersensitivity includes:11
- Presence of symptoms that can’t be explained by any other diagnosis
- Ruling out other potential causes of symptoms
- Reproducible increase of symptoms with increased EMF exposure
- Regression or disappearance of symptoms with EMF avoidance
- Analysis of labs such as histamine and oxidative stress biomarkers
If you’re struggling with vague symptoms or a chronic illness that you’re having a hard time getting answers for, it might be time to take a look at the EMF levels in your environment. I also strongly encourage you to seek out an experienced Integrative and Functional Medicine Practitioner. These professionals can help you identify electrohypersensitivity and any other underlying issues that may be contributing to your symptoms. If you’ve never worked with an Integrative and Functional Medicine Practitioner, I’ve put together a guide on how to choose the right one for you here.
Does Anything Else Contribute to Electrohypersensitivity?
One of the primary issues with electrohypersensitivity is an increase in free radicals and the subsequent inflammation and oxidative damage they cause. So it makes sense that any conditions that contribute to an overall increase in inflammation will add fuel to the fire and make you even more susceptible to EMF sensitivity. Some underlying conditions that can exacerbate EMF sensitivity and increase sensitivity include:
- Underlying infections like Lyme disease
- Chronic conditions
- Exposure to toxic mold
- A high total toxic burden
This accumulation of factors that increase your overall inflammation can cause heightened sensitivity. Knowing this gives us some options in treating electrohypersensitivity.
How is Electrohypersensitivity Treated?
The focus of electrohypersensitivity treatment is minimizing exposure to EMFs. It’s impossible and unrealistic to avoid all EMFs. We rely on technology and it improves our lives in many ways. But if you’re struggling with electrohypersensitivity, there are some steps you can take to drastically reduce your daily exposure to EMFs.
Here are some things you can do:
- Use ethernet cords rather than Wi-Fi
- Unplug your Wi-Fi router when not in use
- Keep devices off or in airplane mode when you’re not using them
- Avoid Smart TV’s that rely on Wi-Fi – or unplug when not in use
- Make sure your homes electrical wiring isn’t emitting unnecessary EMFs – transformers that convert high voltage to low voltage emit unnecessary energy
- Keep devices like cell phones or tablets away from your body when not in use
- When possible, use speakerphone during phone calls instead of placing the cell phone directly against your ear
- Consider an EMF meter to measure EMF levels in your home – I recommend the Acousticom 2RF EMF Meter.
- Invest in a Bioelectric Shield Personal Energy Pendant to block and neutralize EMFs (you can get 10 percent off with the code “DrJill”)
Avoiding exposure to EMFs is the primary focus of treatment. But there are also some additional ways you can help your body heal and cope with unavoidable EMF exposure.
How Else Can I Protect Myself If I Have Electrohypersensitivity?
If you’re suffering from electrohypersensitivity, it’s all but guaranteed that you also have increased inflammation. So it’s important to take steps to reduce overall inflammation and neutralizing harmful free radicals.
Some inflammation-busting strategies that I often suggest to my patients struggling with electrohypersensitivity include:
- Reducing your overall toxic burden: The countless chemicals we come into contact with on a daily basis can begin to accumulate in our bodies – essentially clogging up our natural detoxification mechanisms. Reducing your overall toxic burden frees up your immune system and detox pathways to better process inflammation-causing irritants like EMFs.
- Earthing: Earthing, also known as grounding, involves having direct contact with the earth's surface in order to tap into the earth's power to stabilize your own bioelectric environment. This can simply be walking outside barefoot or laying directly on the ground. You can also purchase earthing sheets or mats to get the benefits of earthing while you sleep.
- Eating an antioxidant-rich diet: Antioxidants work like an “off” switch for free radicals – neutralizing them and their harmful effects. Eating a diet rich in foods that contain natural antioxidants can help restore and maintain balance. To follow an antioxidant-rich diet, simply focus on consuming a variety of fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats, and high-quality protein. You can also get a daily dose of potent antioxidants by taking supplements like buffered C powder or glutathione.
- Minimizing stress: Chronic emotional stress releases a cocktail of hormones that increase inflammation throughout your body. Finding ways to minimize stressors and finding healthy ways to process the unavoidable stressors in life can go a long way in keeping inflammation levels down.
- Prioritizing sleep: Sleep is critical when it comes to maintaining a balanced immune response and keeping inflammation levels in check. Even one night of poor sleep has been found to cause a spike in inflammation levels – so it’s no surprise that chronic sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your body. Aim to log at least seven to eight hours of high-quality sleep each night. If you have a hard time falling or staying asleep, you can even try an all-natural sleep aid like LipoCalm.
Managing electrohypersensitivity requires a “big picture” approach of limiting exposure to EMFs and giving your body the support it needs to keep inflammation levels balanced.
Remember, You Are Your Own Best Advocate
If you suspect you or someone you love is struggling with electrohypersensitivity, there’s no need to move off the grid or start putting tinfoil on your windows. Modern technology is incredible and improves our lives in so many ways. So, of course, we want to enjoy these benefits – even if that means exposure to some EMFs.
The key to managing electrohypersensitivity is staying informed and being proactive. When it comes to your health and dealing with conditions like electrohypersensitivity, you are your own best advocate.
By being cognizant of your exposure and following the steps outlined above you can protect yourself from the damaging effects of EMFs without giving up the everyday conveniences of modern technology.
Now it’s time to hear from you! Were you surprised to learn that EMFs can cause health issues? What steps are you taking to protect yourself and your loved ones from their harmful effects? Leave your questions and thoughts in the comments below!
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.