Humans are electromagnetically sensitive beings who have evolved in an electromagnetic environment (sun, lightening etc), so it is no surprise that they may react to the man-made electromagnetic fields that now surround us, according to Drs Mary Redmayne and Siobhan Reddel. In their recent paper in Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine they say, ‘It would be most surprising if this significant change to our electromagnetic environment, in but a moment of our evolution, did not affect us.’
To describe the effects of this exposure, they suggest using the term ‘ElectroMagnetic Illness’ (EMI) which refers, not just to Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), but to other negative outcomes of exposure to electromagnetic radiation, possibly triggering allergies and other diseases.
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity has been the term widely used to describe unpleasant symptoms that people experience during or after exposure. They include headaches, skin redness, heart palpitations, concentration and memory problems, sleep problems, depression, irritability and anxiety.
How EMR affects people
In their paper, Redmayne and Reddel propose a model to describe how electromagnetic radiation affects different individuals. The model suggests that the factors that influence the way a person will react to exposure are:
- a person’s physical and neurological response to exposures (in this case EMR)
- awareness of their body’s response (somatic awareness) – for example, a person’s awareness that their body reacts in a certain way when they’re exposed to EMR and
- an individual’s capacity to self-repair damage to the body.
So, people who are aware that radiation affects their bodies and remove themselves from a field may avoid or minimise harm, whereas those who are not aware that their bodies are being affected but whose immune system can’t keep up with the damage, may accumulate cellular damage which could lead to disease.
‘This model proposes that modulated RFR [radiofrequency radiation] exposure is likely to be affecting everyone at the cellular level to some extent. This interference includes disruption of cellular homeostasis,’ the authors say. In some cases, the body is able to repair the damage and people do not experience symptoms. The authors describe such people as ‘electromagnetic-resilient’.
In other cases, people’s intrinsic repair system is not able to repair the damage and these people suffer symptoms. When the symptoms reach the point of ill-health, the authors suggest that the term ‘electromagnetic illness’ applies.
From their review of the scientific literature, the authors suggest that radiation affects the autonomic nervous system which controls unconscious behaviours, such as heartbeat, digestion, respiration and the fight-or-flight response.
Counteracting electromagnetic illness
The authors suggest a number of positive actions that people can take to counter the problems of EMI.
- The first is to build somatic awareness so that a person is better able to perceive situations that are unhealthy for their bodies, for example, by embodied-mindfulness. Or, for those that are super-aware, to develop sensory regulation skills such as with breathing practices.
- The second is to improve the body’s capacity for repair, for example by paying attention to gut health, which can help build the resilience necessary to cope with living in the modern world.
- A third positive action is to minimise exposure, especially during sleep.
‘We need a good night’s uninterrupted sleep. That includes as little electro-magnetic field exposure as possible. Our bodies do a lot of repair work at night, and that break from EMF exposure may make all the difference to building your repair capacity and maintaining homeostasis,’ Dr Redmayne told EMR Australia.
Mary Redmayne and Siobhan Reddel, ‘Redefining electrosensitivity: A new literature-supported model’ Electromagn Biol Med, 2021 Jan 25: 1-9; doi: 10.1080/15368378.2021.1874971; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15368378.2021.1874971