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Have you ever heard of EMFs? Likely you have because it has been a topic of discussion within the alternative health community (and beyond) for some time now, but awareness seems to be growing at a rapid pace here in 2016.
I have known about EMFs for a long time, though I only recently started to educate myself more thoroughly on them as I evaluated their potential effects on my own health. I view health and healing as progress, not perfection. Is this an area that I should pay attention to? Yes. Is it an area that I am going to freak out about? No.
I am here to say that when you start diving into this topic, overwhelm can quickly set in. I know when I first started researching it I immediately felt overwhelmed. And then when we did a podcast episode on the topic this Fall, I felt even more overwhelmed. That podcast is going live next Tuesday (10/11/16) so make sure you check that one out for a lot more specifics. You can also catch up on past episodes here.
Today, I want to talk more about some of the proactive steps I am slowly implementing in my own life to help cut down on EMF exposure. I’ll do that towards the end of this article. For now, I’d like to dive into this whole topic of EMFs, what they are, and how they are impacting our health.
What Are EMFs?
The fabric of life is based on electromagnetic fields (or EMFs). They occur naturally within our body and we experience natural EMFs of the Earth and within our atmosphere every day. The source of these forces come from charged particles, mainly electrons and protons.
Life is made of energy and when particles are charged, they create an electric field, and when these charged particles are in motion, they create a magnetic field.
We measure electric fields in units of volts per meter or V/m. We measure magnetic fields in milli-Gauss or mG. The closer you are to the source, the stronger the EMF will be, which can be very dangerous. Even at great distances, these energy fields have the ability to influence particles.
There are five common sources of EMFs and we will discuss each one briefly below.
These are the fields that emanate from anything that has voltage; basically anything electronic, such as lamps, electrical wiring, outlets, extension cords, electrical appliances, and power outlets.
Electrical fields can affect the electrical communication in your body, such as your brainwaves, or the ability of your neurons to fire and communicate. It can also impede inter-cell communication anywhere in your body. Health problems that can manifest as a result to this type of exposure include neurological and behavioral changes, altered cell growth, cell mutations, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and even cancer.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has labeled magnetic fields a class 3 carcinogen. These fields can occur when there is an imbalance in the electrical wiring, and around electrical motors such as the motor in your refrigerator.
A MAJOR source of magnetic fields is next to the main power meter for your house (think the popular SmartMeters that are being installed around the country). You definitely want to avoid sleeping up against a wall that has a power meter on the outside. Electric clock radios can also generate magnetic fields.
Fortunately, the effect drops off dramatically with distance, so simply putting some distance—typically about five or six feet—between yourself and the source is usually sufficient to drastically reduce or in some cases ,eliminate the danger.
These can be both above or underground. Ideally you don’t want to live near where main power lines run through. You’ll sometimes see houses built directly underneath these large lines. Not truly a safe place to reside.
Yes, believe it or not, your older metal plumbing can frequently carry a current. This was something I didn’t know until recently.
This includes wireless power meters (the so-called SmartMeters again), cell phones, cell towers, wireless routers, and cordless phones. Most of these types of technologies expose you to both electric- and magnetic fields. (Source)
Why Are EMFs Harming Our Health?
Technology has become a huge part of our lives these days. From computers, radios and televisions to cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices, we are being exposed to numerous energy fields every single day.
There is a lot of discussion surrounding the harmful effects from electromagnetic fields. Despite the wonderful conveniences of technology, research has shown that it is affecting our biological tissue.
“Iron, necessary for healthy blood and stored in the brain, is highly affected by EMF. The permeability of the cell membrane of our nerves, blood vessels, skin, and other organs is affected. The intricate DNA of the chromosomes has been shown to be affected by EMFs as well.” (Source)
The generally accepted standard exposure is 2.5 mG. But most people don’t realize that their electric can opener, vacuum cleaner, and hair dryer can emit a whopping 300 mG or more!
Learn more from Evan Brand’s video below, who is a nutritional therapy practitioner and board certified in holistic nutrition:
The Harmful Health Effects of EMFs
Some of the most common health problems that can arise from too much exposure to EMFs are:
- Heart palpitations
- Skin rashes
- Poor sleep
Depending on where you live and how often you are exposed to these energy fields, these health problems could develop over weeks, months, years, or even decades.
It’s alarming to read about all the studies that have been done about EMFs affecting our health and I expect that these studies and research in this area will only increase with time. Unfortunately, there is A LOT of money behind the continuous expansion of faster cell networks and faster technology so you may not hear a lot of this in the mainstream. In some aspects, you can view it as the way Big Pharma controls the media when it comes to discussing the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs.
For example, new research shows that cell phones are now harming children’s health. Brain cancer has been linked to young children who use cell phones because their brains absorb radiation at twice the amount than adults. That is why expectant mothers should not put their cell phones anywhere near their lower abdomen, especially during their last trimester.
There are also people who may be hypersensitive to Wi-Fi and it’s making them sick, and some don’t even know it. This is an excellent post that has collected links to some great studies regarding EMF dangers. You might also check out this article from The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for more info.
How to Protect Yourself From EMFs
In this Digital Age, we are surrounded by technology and EMFs. There really is no way to get away from them unless you move out to the middle of the mountains or a field, which I’m sure no one will do. While I often dream of moving to the middle of nowhere and disconnecting completely, realistically that is not going to happen.
In my case, and the case of many other people, EMFs are a part of our daily life. I personally run my own businesses and they are all Internet-based. I also have a cell phone that I need as part of those businesses. So, getting completely away from technology and EMFs is impossible in my own life.
Since none of us are going to move to a remote location and leave our cell phones, computers, Internet, and electricity of any form behind, here are some reasonable, easy ways to protect yourself from EMFs:
- Detect the EMFs in your home and work environment by buying a meter to test these areas so you know how much you’re being exposed, and then can adjust accordingly. There are also consultants that can come into your home and help you evaluate your current EMF exposure and assist you in making your home or place of business safer.
- Move furniture and objects around and away from EMF “hot spots.”
- Protect yourself by purchasing shielding devices for your cell phone, computer, etc.
- Add shielding to your household wiring, circuit box, and transformers.
- Use flat screen monitors and televisions (they still emit radiation, but it is a little less than other older monitors and TVs).
- Put your Wi-Fi router and modem on a power strip and turn it off when you aren’t using it and at night when you go to bed.
- Consider running a direct line for Internet to your computer and avoid using Wi-Fi completely.
- Look up your router setting and adjust how much power is being emitted.
- Purchase a grounding mat. You can put one in your office for when you’re working or put one in your bedroom and sleep on one.
- Work outside in nature, especially in the soil if you have a garden, to naturally ground yourself within the Earth’s natural frequency.
- Stay hydrated by getting in lots of water every day.
What Have I Personally Been Doing to Protect Myself from EMFs?
So, like I mentioned above, when I first started diving into this topic, I quickly found myself getting overwhelmed. A lot of what I was reading was giving me the impression that the only way to truly be safe and healthy is to ditch everything electronic and live in a wooden hut in the middle of the forest.
Yeah, so not going to happen.
So, I had to be realistic and evaluate my current situation and see what small changes I could make in my own life. Remember, small changes can add up to big differences. Baby steps are key.
So, I decided to focus on the things that I can easily control and change:
- I always put my phone on airplane mode at night and keep it at least 6 feet from my body (or in a different room completely).
- I never put my phone in my bra. I know so many women who do this (and I used to do it) and it is bad, bad, bad. A simple Google search will give you a ton of results on this.
- When I am not using my phone, I try to keep it away from me. I have a habit of setting it down on the desk next to me and forgetting it’s there. I have been working on remembering to set it on the desk that is across the room from me if I am not going to be in need of it any time soon. That way I can still hear it if it rings, but it’s not directly next to me.
- I’ve been trying to remember to unplug electronics when they are not in use, especially the ones in the bedroom or areas that I spend a lot of time in. This is a hard one to always remember to do. But, every little bit helps.
- I’ve been using a EMF radiation protector case when I want to have my phone with me in case of an emergency, but don’t need to use it for anything. More on this below.
- I never, ever, EVER put my phone up to my ear. I actually stopped doing this years ago because it made my head feel funny, but now I know why. Instead, I use a corded pair of earbuds that has a microphone on it. Or, I use my speaker if I don’t have those near me.
- I no longer use my laptop in my lap. I always keep it on a table and not touching my body. They do make some protective barriers for laptops, but I have not invested in one since I don’t use my laptop very often. These shields can be pricey, but if you use a laptop regularly may be worth the investment. This is a popular product and this is another popular one.
One MAJOR thing that I want to get in the habit of doing is turning off our Wi-Fi completely at night whenever possible. This is something that we have struggled with because my husband and I have totally different work and sleep schedules and often when I am sleeping he is working and therefore needs the Internet.
The way our home is currently set up, running direct Internet lines to each computer is not feasible without a significant investment and since we do not plan on living in this home long-term, we are saving our pennies and will forgo that expense. BUT, in my next home, I will keep my computer hard-wired and try to do away with Wi-Fi completely.
Turning off your Wi-Fi can be one of the most significant ways to reduce your EMF exposure, but you do have to figure out how to make it work for all parties involved if you have a family like mine where we keep opposite work schedules. In order to make it work for our family, we need to get everything situated on a single power strip that can be flipped off before my husband goes to bed (and then hubs needs to remember to do it). 🙂
For now, I am not going to allow myself to stress out too bad about it. I am doing the best I can with what I have and the stress of worrying over not doing everything perfectly is far more damaging to our health. 🙂
EMF Radiation Protection Cases
I mentioned above that I am using an EMF radiation protection case and I can tell a difference when I use it. There are several options online if you do the research, but I was introduced to Lindsey Hoyer a couple months ago and found her Etsy store called Protect Your Health, where she handcrafts EMF protection cases.
Lindsey was nice enough to send me one of her cases for free to test out and I really love it. Here’s a picture of it next to my phone (this is the medium sized case). With my cell phone case on, it is a tight squeeze to get it into the pouch, but if I take the case off it fits great with room to spare. I have sometimes used it as a mini wallet as it has the outside pocket where I can put my ID and credit card if I need to run a quick errand. I also love the little loop at the top corner that allows me to carry it easily.
Lindsey’s shielded cell phone pouches have two protective barriers that drastically reduce radio frequency (microwave) radiation and they are really easy to use. Plus, I love supporting small businesses and it makes me happy to know that Lindsey is hand-crafting these cute AND functional cases and selling them on Etsy. You can visit the Protect Your Health Etsy shop here.
One reason that I chose this type of case over some of the others out there is because with this pouch, the whole phone is encased, which means you get more protection. Many other radiation protection cases are similar to a regular cell phone case and they have openings along the sides which can cause radiation to continue to leak out. They are definitely going to offer more protection than nothing at all, but you do need to remain aware of the extra EMF “leakage”.
Lindsey’s cases are super easy to use. When you are not using your phone, you will want to place your phone in the large pocket (see picture below). If you are expecting a call, make sure the top of the pouch is open slightly to allow the signal to get in. If it is completely closed, it can block the signal and drain the battery while searching for one. This is how you know it works.
There is also a small front pocket that is shielded on the bottom half that serves a function as well.
When you receive or make a call, slide your phone into the front pocket facing the large pouch. The back of the cell phone cover should be toward your ear, so that you have two layers of protection between the phone and your head. Your hand will also be shielded when holding the bottom half of the pouch. You can talk through the two layers or put your phone on speakerphone and hold or set the phone down so the signal reflects away from your body.
For texting or browsing, use the pouch to hold your phone. It would be ideal to set the phone on a table or hold it away from your torso. I do this when I am using my phone for an extended period of time to research something or conduct business. I know the pouch has to be working because when I don’t use the case, my hand starts to get hot and tingly/achy feeling. But when I do use it, there are no weird sensations at all.
Another major thing I have noticed is that when I go out for my walks I used to always put my phone in my back pocket (before I had this EMF case). The phone, even when it’s not in use, would get very hot. I can only imagine what that’s doing to my butt and rest of my body. When I go out now, I use Lindsey’s case and realized that there is no longer heat on my body. The phone itself stays cool, as does my back pocket (and surrounding skin).
Since these are cloth cases, they can be gently washed and air dried. It’s recommended to wash by hand in cool water and don’t use a washing machine and dryer. Visit Lindsey’s Etsy Shop here to learn more.
Practical Tips for Cell Phone EMF Protection
It is impossible to block 100% of radiation if we are going to use mobile phone technology. So, unless you plan on getting rid of your phone completely, then the best we can do is just be a bit smarter about how we use these devices. Even a small reduction in radiation exposure every day can have a dramatic improvement on our health. Here are few practical tips for reducing your exposure:
- If you are not expecting a call or don’t need your phone for anything, put it on airplane mode. Even better, put it at least 6 feet from your body. Always, always put your phone on airplane mode and store as far away from your body as possible while sleeping.
- Never, EVER hold your phone up to your head. Use the speaker function, or use a corded headset of some sort (these earbuds with mic are a great option and very affordable). I would skip the Bluetooth headsets completely due to radiation that is emitted from those devices as well — and right next to your brain!
- Whenever possible, try not to carry your phone on your person (i.e. in your bra, pants pocket, etc.). Try to think of ways where you can carry your phone and keep some distance between it and your body. Mine is typically in the very outer pocket of my purse.
- Use some sort of EMF protection shield if possible to help reduce your exposure even more.
Ultimately, when it comes to anything health and lifestyle, it’s about progress, NOT perfection. Don’t feel like you have to solve all of your EMF exposure right now. Just cultivating awareness of what and where you are exposed to on a daily basis is important. From there you can decide what baby steps you want to take towards reducing your exposure where possible.
For further reading, check out these sites:
If you are interested in learning more about Lindsey and her products, make sure you stop by her Etsy shop here. She also has a great demonstration video on YouTube where she talks about how to use her unique pouches that you can watch below.
Wow! There was so much about EMFs that I didn’t know. This was super eye-opening, and I love the product recommendation.
Hi Irena! Thanks for reading and commenting! So glad the article was helpful — and this was just scratching the surface. There is so much to know about this, and so much more that we don’t yet know! I am sure as more time passes we will discover even more about how EMFs impact our health!