It’s time for an electrosmog protection plan called PEMF or Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy or just plain “pulsed field.”
The cell phone is the most adopted consumer technology ever. Just because these devices, and the requisite WiFi and cellular radiation that brings them to life, are indispensable, coveted, and omnipresent, however, doesn’t mean they’re safe. This post is not about building the case that high-frequency EMFs are dangerous. I’ve done that here and here. There are many people doing incredible work in this area, including Cindy Sage of Bioinitiative, Peter Sullivan of Clearlight Ventures, Joel Moskowitz, PhD of Electromagnetic Radiation Safety, and Jeromy Johnson of Protect Your Family from EMF Pollution.
This post is meant to offer a possible solution. It is about the development of new technologies that offer great promise for enhancing health and promoting healing. It does not release us from the need to speak out and advocate for safer devices, technology, and usage policies and recommendations. If you want to cut to the chase, just scroll down to the recommendation at the bottom. If, like me, you have a fair amount of annoyed resistance about the idea that you need to do anything about EMF bombardment, then you might want to read the entire post. Denial can only work for so long. I know that we can’t wait for government and industry to make things safer for us.
Waiting for cell phone safety enhancements?
Good luck with that. We may as well be waiting for Godot, endlessly and in vain.
Q: How long does it take for research evidence to reach clinical practice?
A: Seventeen years.
That’s nearly a generation. And it takes many generations longer when billions of dollars are at stake.
To remind myself of this, I did a bit of reading about the history of cigarettes and lung cancer. Very instructive.
In 1994 (30 years later), we watched as seven tobacco CEOs testified under oath that they did not know nicotine is addictive.
Today (60 years later), the US market ranks #3 in a $744 billion global industry for a product known as cancer sticks.
As a side note, I find it interesting that lung cancer — which is the leading cause of cancer death, exceeding breast, colon, and prostate cancer deaths combined — was so rare at the turn of the last century that “… medical professors, when confronted with a case… told their students they might never see another.” Sound familiar? The first documented autism diagnosis was 73 years ago and was similarly declared exceedingly rare. Today, the CDC says that 1 in 68 children born in 2004 has autism. Yes, there’s a 12 year data lag. The CDC can pinpoint the tomato patch implicated in a single case of salmonella poisoning but won’t be able to tell us about autism prevalence in children born this year until 2028. The autism rate is 1 in 41 children (and a staggering 1 in 28 boys) in New Jersey. Is it really a big mystery? We know it’s not just better diagnosis. Why aren’t we doing the research?
I do not believe proactive leadership regarding cell phone radiation dangers will come from government or industry. I am, however, modestly encouraged by the efforts I am seeing outside our country. For example, an international congress focusing on electro-hypersensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity convened last year in Paris to call for protection from EMF exposure. And Israel and the Italian state of South Tyrol recently took steps to limit WiFi in schools. These developments, too, will take time.
Nowhere to hide… we’re all affected
Here’s more disturbing news in the area of EMF (un)safety:
- The new iPhone 7 increases radiation exposure via wireless airpods because Apple removed the headphone jack.
- WiFi exposure facilitates mercury release from amalgam restorations.
- And how about the possible involvement of WiFi in Alzheimer’s disease?
No one wants to hear this!!!
I get that. We haven’t figured out how to reconcile research and practice at home either, and receive endless amounts of grief from our kids. We are the weird family, admittedly for myriad other reasons, too. But definitely because we are still hashing out the cell phone issue. This is partly because we wonder about the emotional maturity and other skills needed to navigate and manage 24/7 access to the internet (How much can we really monitor? Is it addictive? What are the opportunity costs of all this screen time?), and partly because we’re concerned about radio frequency radiation exposure. I’ve heard from too many people with RFR intolerance, susceptibility, or hypersensitivity (see Figure 1) who have helped me understand that this is not an abstract issue.
But it is only very, very recently that I stopped dead in my tracks and wondered: Is the hypersensitive “them” increasingly all of “us,” and especially those of us dealing with chronic illness in our loved ones that seemingly will not resolve no matter what.
What can I realistically do when radiation is all around us, all the time, wherever we go? Turning off our WiFi at night might feel constructive but in truth, I’m just emptying the ocean with a spoon.
I need to come at this in a different way. If science caused this conundrum, maybe it can also produce solutions. Like, what’s all this buzz about quantum physics, for example?
Finding answers in the new physics
Physics? My high school physics teacher recently posted this pic of me on Facebook. I recall an ill-fated and modestly traumatic experiment in which I froze live goldfish in liquid nitrogen and attempted to revive them. It was supposed to work like this. It did not.
My short-lived inquiry into this branch of science ended in 10th grade. Until recently, that is… because there’s a cool, new kind of physics in town. Actually, quantum mechanics has been around for 100+ years. But its application to health and healing is new to most of us. It’s also exploding.
I pinched this Cliffs Note version from Forbes to give you (and me) a mini-tutorial:
- Everything is made of waves and particles.
- It involves the modeling of discrete amounts (quantum means “how much?” in Latin).
- It involves a distribution of probabilities not a determination of certain outcomes.
- It is non-local. I love this. It argues for the idea of systems that can be widely separated but correlated, so the outcome of one is determined by the other.
- It is mostly very small. It is easiest to see quantum behavior in particles. Its effects get smaller as objects get larger.
- It’s admittedly weird but governed by accepted mathematical rules and principles.
So what, you ask? Keep reading.
Quantum field theory and healing
Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong or evil. It makes it a mystery.
Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.
– Neil Armstrong
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
— Albert Einstein
I want to hang with the kind of people who think mysteries are cool. I was delighted by this book list and this one, offering dozens of titles on quantum physics and health that explore such mysteries as:
- The placebo effect and the biology of belief.
- The artificial limitations of the participating observer and the assumption that experiences are defined solely by physically described aspects of nature.
- The mind-body is not separate from its environment.
- The role of consciousness in shaping our “reality.”
- Theories about vibrational medicine, including acupuncture, chakras, crystals, flower remedies, homeopathy, meditation, radionics, and more.
- The significance of our “whirling fields of energy” that extend beyond our bodies and can be measured.
- The power of shamanistic healing.
- The intersection of science and spirituality, including the use of qualitative diagnostic information and applications of ancestral (i.e., Esoteric, Hermetic, Paracelsian) teachings.
- The idea that the universe may be a giant hologram constructed by the human mind.
- Morphic resonance or the physical effects of morphogenetic fields in the organization of systems in biology, chemistry, and physics.
- Virtual medicine and the use of interactive diagnostics to diagnose and treat.
- Molecules of emotion and their link to our health.
The Newtonian, mechanistic view of the world may have run its course and is giving way to quantum thinking, with new, lit paths to explore. Many of these researcher-explorer-authors stand on the shoulders of giants and their proteges, including Albert Einstein; Danish physicist and Nobel laureate, Niels Bohr; University of London physicist and Einstein’s student, David Bohm; and Stanford neurophysiologist, Karl Pribram.
Not that it pays to wait around for mainstream acknowledgement of new ideas, however, which often comes too late to be useful for the people needing answers now. Medical doctor Ignaz Semmelweis was reviled and hounded literally to his death for urging colleagues to stop spreading germs and loss of life by washing their hands in 1847. Einstein was snubbed by the Nobel committee for over ten years and never received a Nobel prize for relativity because it was controversial. As we know, pioneers must be brave.
Natural vs man-made frequencies
Before exploring how quantum principles can apply to EMFs, we need a little primer here, too.
EMFs are classified by frequency, intensity, and duration. Frequency is the number of times the electromagnetic field vibrates in one second. Examples of frequency include microwave, radio, and heat. It is measured in units of hertz (Hz). Intensity measures the strength of the field. It is measured in gauss or tesla (1 tesla = 10,000 gauss = 1012 pico tesla). Examples of intensity include the magnetic field of the human brain (10−9 to 10−8 gauss), a typical fridge magnet (50 gauss), and a medical MRI machine (600 to 70,000 gauss). Duration is the length of exposure (as measured in units of time) to the electromagnetic field. In general, the higher the hertz, gauss, or tesla, and the longer the duration, the more likely it is to be harmful.
Mother earth generates natural electromagnetic fields. The earth’s magnetic field at its surface is 0.25 to 0.65 gauss. There are electromagnetic waves that circle around the earth, just above its surface. Some of these waves combine to form a kind of “atmospheric heartbeat” (love that) called the Schumann Resonances (SR), which vibrate at 7.83Hz and an intensity of about 1 pico tesla. This heartbeat of mother earth is a beneficial frequency that promotes and sustains life. Numerous Pubmed studies explore this; for example, the relationship between SR and blood pressure and human intelligence as an electromagnetic system synchronised by the SR signal (scroll down for a dozen more research articles).
What did NASA discover?
NASA’s findings from 2003 corroborated experiments from the 1960s and 1970s by German chronobiologist Rütger Wever and others suggesting that human beings don’t fare well when we are separated from these beneficial earth frequencies. We begin to die. When astronauts left the earth, they experienced significant bone, tissue, and psychological deterioration — in other words, dramatic and accelerated aging.
Thomas J. Goodwin. PhD led a NASA research team that learned “how altering microgravity environments and time-varying electromagnetic fields can positively and negatively impact human physiology at the cellular and genetic levels.”
Specifically, NASA used electromagnetic fields therapeutically to heal living tissues and counteract the negative effects of being in space. It’s not a big leap to ask if these same treatments could help sick and sluggish people on terra firma.
The life-sustaining force of low frequency EMFs
Let’s think about this for a moment. Why might this kind of therapy make sense?
Life evolved with these very low frequency, low intensity fields, just as it evolved with air, water, and heat from the sun. It’s not a surprise that we can handle these fields. Taking it a step further, it is not a surprise that human beings (and all life) interact with our environment with a deep intelligence that’s not just beneficial but indispensable to our well being, with critical information that’s encoded and exchanged in ways that we do not fully grasp. In other words, our ability to survive and thrive may not be a battle against anything (i.e., germs) so much as it is a fundamental need to maintain a kind of homeostatic equilibrium that’s hardwired for health.
Return for a moment to the idea that everything, including human beings, is made up of waves vibrating at their own, life sustaining frequency (<30 Hz) and intensity (1 pico tesla).
What happens when these life waves are repeatedly and continuously disturbed by an external, unanticipated, man-made force? Like WiFi, which is about 850 million Hz and 2 million pico tesla, for example. The beneficial life affirming frequencies are still out there but they’re being blocked by “electrosmog.” We already know that EMFs can cause harm at the high-energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum because they can break the electron bonds that hold molecules like DNA together.
What about the role of EMFs at the super low-energy end? And the connection to quantum theories?
Pulsed EMFs support health and healing
Peek at this eye-opening 2015 paper, An Overview of Biofield Devices (Glob Adv Health Med. 2015 Nov; 4(Suppl): 42–51):
Advances in biophysics, biology, functional genomics, neuroscience, psychology, psychoneuroimmunology, and other fields suggest the existence of a subtle system of “biofield” interactions that organize biological processes from the subatomic, atomic, molecular, cellular, and organismic to the interpersonal and cosmic levels. Biofield interactions may bring about regulation of biochemical, cellular, and neurological processes through means related to electromagnetism, quantum fields, and perhaps other means of modulating biological activity and information flow. The biofield paradigm, in contrast to a reductionist, chemistry-centered viewpoint, emphasizes the informational content of biological processes; biofield interactions are thought to operate in part via low-energy or “subtle” processes such as weak, nonthermal electromagnetic fields (EMFs) or processes potentially related to consciousness and nonlocality. [emphasis mine]
Peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrates that low pulsed, natural EMFs can benefit human physiology. Who knew? Thanks to NASA and the work of many others, researchers are asking very interesting questions about the therapeutic use of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. Scroll to the end of this post for links and abstract excerpts I found showing the following benefits:
- wound healing
- pain reduction
- improved energy and quality of life
- tissue, bone, ligament, and nerve repair and regeneration
- capillary function
- post-heart attack recovery and cardiac function
And there appears to be a lot more research, including studies involving:
- sleep disorders
- immune function
- HGH and ATP production
- increased endorphins
- balance and motor synchronization
- strength and stamina
Should you buy a PEMF therapy device?
I think so. I just did. We’re all dealing with some degree of electrosmog-induced stress. But here’s a big caveat. PEMF might help you a little or a lot (or not at all). It should not, however, give you a false sense of security that you are protected against radiation and can navigate with impunity. Injury is harmful, even if you can put a bandaid on it.
My friend, Dr. Sarah Lane, introduced me to the technology last year, when we were reeling with our son’s new health diagnosis. I was intrigued to read that PEMF is widely used in Europe. We considered buying a device then but were overwhelmed and ended up pursuing different therapies.
A couple months ago, my husband started raving about this new machine. He and one of our boys both fell into a deeply restorative 2 hour nap following a one hour session so I tried it (and yes, I napped, too). I was intrigued. A few weeks ago, our same son broke his wrist in a baseball game, and my trusty social media community responded with, among many other great ideas, PEMF for bone regeneration and healing. In our case, the third time was the charm — we dug into the research and bought one.
Check out the studies below. And here are answers to some of the questions you’re likely to ask:
- Eight minutes, twice a day.
- They cost about $2500 to $6500.
- There’s a secondary market (i.e., eBay) but the warranty generally doesn’t travel with the machine so be careful.
- They’re not all the same.
- The machine needs to vary its signal to prevent habituation.
- Frequency of the signal should be in the 0-30 Hz range.
- Intensity of the signal should mimic the Schumann Resonances (1 pico to 400 micro tesla range).
- The device should deliver square waves to specific areas of the body for targeted repair and sawtooth waves to the entire body simultaneously.
- It should have a biorhythm clock so it delivers the right frequency at the right time of day (i.e., beta in the morning and theta-delta at night).
- It should have a sensor for true biofeedback so the machine automatically adjusts to what the body needs.
My research led me to a knowledgeable person who is smart, patient, and cares about people. He especially wants to help parents with sick kids. He’s part of a two-person team that evaluated a lot of different machines. I started our conversation by telling him: “Full disclosure — I just have a few questions. I’m not going to buy anything from you so I won’t blame you if you don’t want to talk with me.” We talked for hours, I made a new friend, and after doing a lot of research, I ended up buying our PEMF from him. You can contact him here. If you decide you want one and you tell him that Fearless Parent™ sent you, he’ll give you a great price and he’ll also make a donation to support our work. Regardless of the device you choose, please share your PEMF and other biofield device stories and protocols in the comment area below.
Louise Kuo Habakus is the founding director of Fearless Parent™, lead host and producer of Fearless Parent Radio™, and mom of two. She is a published author and runs the non-profits Center for Personal Rights and Health Freedom Action. Louise was a Bain consultant and a C-level executive in the financial services industry. She holds two degrees from Stanford University. She is an advisory board member of GreenMedInfo, S*HE Living TV, and The Documenting Hope Project.
Here is a sampling of the peer-reviewed research studies on the health benefits of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND WOUND HEALING
An introduction to electromagnetic field therapy and immune function: a brief history and current status (J Sci Appl: Biomed. 2015 Vol 3, Issue 2)
Immunological studies show that low-intensity EMF can interact with cells and tissues, providing a large number of anti-inflammatory and wound healing applications. The effect of EMF on the immune system in phagocytic cells alone has attracted attention because of the role that extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) plays in decreasing the growth rate of bacteria. With today’s antibiotic-resistant bacteria, medicine is in need of a mechanism to aid in the control of inflammatory response, greatly benefitting the fields of disease pathology, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Findings from the current study support previously reported data, suggesting PEMF treatment leads to gene expression changes of the factors involved in regulating inflammation, including inflammation resolution.
Effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (J Rehabil Med. 2009 May;41(6):406-11)
Pulsed electromagnetic fields improve clinical scores and function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and should be considered as adjuvant therapies in their management.
Pulsed magnetic field therapy in refractory neuropathic pain secondary to peripheral neuropathy: electrodiagnostic parameters–pilot study (Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2004 Mar;18(1):42-6)
[M]ean pain scores decreasing 21% from baseline to end of treatment… 49% reduction of pain scores from baseline to end of follow-up… There were no adverse events or safety issues… These pilot data demonstrate that directing PEMF to refractory feet can provide unexpected short-term analgesic effects in more than 50% of individuals.
FATIGUE AND QUALITY OF LIFE
Effects of a pulsed electromagnetic therapy on multiple sclerosis fatigue and quality of life: a double-blind, placebo controlled trial (Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;9(4):38-48)
Evidence from this randomized, double-bind, placebo controlled trial is consistent with results from smaller studies suggesting that exposure to pulsing, weak electromagnetic fields can alleviate symptoms of MS. The clinical effects were small, however, and need to be replicated. Additional research is also needed to examine the possibility that ambulatory patients and patients taking interferons for their MS may be most responsive to this kind of treatment.
TISSUE AND BONE REGENERATION
The effect of low-frequency electromagnetic field on human bone marrow stem/progenitor cell differentiation (Stem Cell Research, Volume 15, Issue 1, July 2015, Pages 96–108)
Complex interactions of multiple genetic substances give rise to physical cues, including mechanical and electrical signals that are relatively easier to control and implement in order to guide repair and regeneration. Treatment using EMF could be an auxiliary approach to enhancing cellular activities for tissue regeneration by stimulating cells with both EMF and the proper chemical signals (differentiation media and growth factors) to promote cellular responses synergistically. Additionally, this inherently noninvasive and noncontact treatment method is easily applied to cells for tissue regeneration using three-dimensional scaffolds
Effects of pulsed electromagnetic field frequencies on the osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (Orthopedics. 2012 Apr;35(4):e526-31)
The results of the current study show that pulsed electromagnetic field frequency is an important factor with regard to the induction of human mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Furthermore, a pulsed electromagnetic field frequency of 50 Hz was the most effective at inducing human mesenchymal stem cell osteoblast differentiation in vitro.
CAPILLARY AND CARDIAC FUNCTION
Pulsed electromagnetic field improves cardiac function in response to myocardial infarction (Am J Transl Res. 2014; 6(3): 281–290)
PEMF treatment significantly inhibited cardiac apoptosis and improved cardiac systolic function. Moreover, PEMF treatment increased capillary density, the levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hypoxic inducible factor-1α in infarct border zone. Furthermore, the number and function of circulating endothelial progenitor cells were advanced in PEMF treating rats.
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy promotes healing and microcirculation of chronic diabetic foot ulcers: a pilot study (Adv Skin Wound Care. 2015 May;28(5):212-9)
By the end of the treatment period, there was an 18% decrease in wound size in the active PEMF group as compared with a 10% decrease in the control group. The PEMF group demonstrated significant cumulative increase in cutaneous capillary blood velocity (by 28%) and 14% increase in capillary diameter. In contrast, the control group showed a decrease in both capillary blood velocity and diameter.
Combination of Local Transplantation of In Vitro Bone-marrow Stromal Cells and Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields Accelerate Functional Recovery of Transected Sciatic Nerve Regeneration: A Novel Approach in Transected Nerve Repair (Curr Neurovasc Res. 2015;12(3):222-31)
The regenerated nerve fibers were studied within 12 weeks after surgery. Behavioral, functional, electrophysiological, biomechanical, gastrocnemius muscle mass findings, morphometric indices and immuonohistochemical reactions confirmed faster recovery of regenerated axons in BMSC/PEMF group compared to those in the other groups (P<0.05). The use of undifferentiated BMSCs with whole body exposure to PEMF improved functional recovery. Combination of local transplantation of in vitro bone-marrow stromal cells and pulsed electromagnetic fields could be considered as an effective, safe and tolerable treatment for peripheral nerve repair in clinical practice.
SYNCHRONIZATION OF CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS AND EMFs
Desynchronization of Human Circadian Rhythms (Jpn J Physiol. 1967;17:450-457)
Fifty human subjects have been kept in an underground bunker in conditions of continuous illumination, each in complete isolation and without any time-telling device… 9 subjects showed different circadian frequencies in activity and in body temperature; in two of these subjects, desynchronization started immediately after being enclosed in the bunker, in the remaining 7 subjects after 9 to 23 days of confinement.
The effects of electric fields on circadian rhythmicity in men (Life Sci Space Res. 1970;8:177-87)
In an underground bunker built for the study of human circadian rhythms, one of the two experimental rooms is shielded against natural magnetic and electric fields… real internal desynchronization has been observed only in the shielded room… the total of the natural electromagnetic fields shortens the circadian period, and it strengthens the interaction between activity rhythm and the vegetative rhythms. Artificial constant fields, electric and magnetic, do not influence human circadian rhythms. However, a weak electric field, alternating with a frequency of 10 Hz, affects human circadian rhythms in the same manner as the total of the natural fields… with circadian rhythms as an indicator, natural electromagnetic fields are proved to be effective on human beings for the first time; this may be of interest with regard to space where these fields are absent.