by Dr. Debra Gambrell
There is much discussion about the current roll-out of 5G, or the 5th generation cellular network. Unlike 4G, which was a specific technology revolving around certain frequencies, 5G is the infrastructure that uses existing LTE (Long Term Evolution, the high speed wireless technology that many devices use for high speed mobile communication), 3G and 4G technology and new shorter wavelengths to create a web that has the ability to connect all technology to all humans. This all- inclusive connectivity is why it is sometimes referred to as the “Internet of Things.” The NEST home assistant, which monitors temperature, detects visitors approaching the home, and runs cooking and cleaning appliances, is one such example. This computer detects the home dwellers and their patterns and allows for predictive behavior for increased control and convenience. Like with ALEXA, privacy is a concern. But of deeper concern may be what Michaela Glockler, MD, referred to as the creation of human “automatons”, or human beings who give up their free will in exchange for information and convenience. And how do these human-made sources of EMF fundamentally affect the human being?
Examples of human-made electromagnetic frequencies include LED, halogen, and incandescent lighting, radio waves, microwave/cellular radiation (which is also called radiofrequency or RF), and electricity. These artificially processed wavelengths are polarized, pulsed and highly directed. They provide energy and/or exchange information using electrical grid infrastructure from systems such as damned waterfalls, solar panels, and newer technology like the underground turbine systems in Portland, Oregon. We are harnessing nature’s movement of electrons, changing the energy from a dynamic, living state into a fixed, static or deadened state. The advancements in our civilization are dependent on this ability to store energy in a fixed state.
In contrast, the wavelengths created by nature, such as sunlight, firelight, lightning, and the geomagnetic lines of the earth are non-polarized, continuous, and diffusely scatter. This natural movement of electrons is experienced by the body as native and “living”, and is thus easier for the body to process. To experience this difference, look under a car while the sun is shining above. You can easily differentiate a dime from a quarter. When the sun goes down, even if the car is under the brightest street light, the coin will be difficult to locate, much less differentiate. When considering any technology we might ask, “How much has nature been processed and altered from its original state?” In general, the more highly processed the energy source is, the harder it is for the body to utilize.
In addition to the alteration of our energy sources, we can also consider the amount and types of wavelengths that make-up our total daily exposure; in other words, our “wavelength diet.” The more industrialized the area we live in, the more likely we are to have an imbalance in our wavelength diet. 5G is a new application of
shorter wavelengths with the goal of creating a spider-web of internet connection that covers every corner of the spaces we occupy, further pushing our already imbalanced wavelength exposure. By understanding these wavelengths and how they affect us, we can better assess the benefits and risks of current and new technologies.
Why should we be concerned about human-made, processed EMF exposure?
Technology brings great opportunities for connection and convenience in medicine and in life. Through advancing our application of processed EMF, we have been able to diagnose and treat disease with surgery-sparing interventions. We are able to remotely monitor disease progression with less daily interference in a patient’s life. We can share information across the globe for rare and challenging cases of illness. Implantable cardiac monitors upload heartbeat information in real-time so anyone on the care team can access this data and make necessary interventions, sometimes before the patient even knows anything is wrong. We are able to form and maintain relationships with people from across the world and across cultures.
We can put parts of our everyday life on autopilot to allow us to focus on the tasks we value. From an anthroposophic perspective, the human developmental task of our age, sometimes referred to as the “consciousness soul”, is catalyzed by the materialistic and industrialized culture in which we live, because it provides the resistance necessary to bring about this development. With this in mind we can ask “What is the risk of highly processed EMF exposure and are there safer ways to use this technology?”
Like any sensory input, these highly-processed waves must be “digested” and processed by the body. Any sensory input not processed by the body remains as a stimulus or irritant to the nervous system and can over-tax our metabolic system, which works to detoxify the body and replenish our tissues. Common sense and clinical observation tell us there is a level of saturation above which our physiology becomes overwhelmed with sensory input. Studies show the following effects of EMF exposure: symptoms of headache, tinnitus, eye fatigue and brain fog; circadian rhythm disturbance, disturbances in blood function (rouleaux formation of RBCs) and adrenal/thyroid function, and increased blood-brain barrier permeability. Of course, not everyone will be conscious of the effects of EMF, but consider this: the eye can detect a single photon at night even though we don’t “see” it. Our body notices even if our consciousness does not.
Children and Technology:
Our children desperately want to live in the world they have been born into, and that includes technology. Rudolf Steiner spoke to this when he said: “Today we must learn to let people participate in life, and if we organize education so that people are able to participate in life, you will find that we are really able to help human beings to a living culture” (from A Social Basis for Education, Stuttgart, May 11, 1919). Our goal as physicians, educators, parents, and caregivers is to modulate the child’s experience based on their ability to tolerate technology without imitating it in ways that prevent the expression of their full human potential. In
other words, the goal is to introduce technology only when the child’s own identity can remain solidly within their own power. When they are younger, we consider the effects of technology on physical growth and development; as the child becomes a teenager, we consider the effects of technology on emotional resiliency and the ability to form relationships; as the child approaches adulthood, we consider the ability to use technology fully as an extension of the individual rather than have the technology replace human capacity at the expense of individuality. And at all stages of development, we need to consider the addictive potential of technology.
Medically speaking, children are unique; they are not simply “little adults”. Their smaller physical size and less-well-developed neural circuitry increases the potential effect of anything that can alter physiologic function. With any new technology we need to be especially sensitive to the effect it may have on a developing child.
Screen use alone leads to increased dopamine fluctuations, increased fight or flight hormone cascades and reduced levels of melatonin, which can lead to poor sleep. Perhaps most importantly, any time spent on a device is a missed opportunity to learn through the body, which is the primary mode of education for the young child. Children up until around the age of seven are “sensory beings” in that their neuro- endocrine-immune system is programmed primarily by movement. Watching a young child reach out to touch everything and place objects in their mouth are two obvious examples. A child learns how the world works through the body, versus the emotional-learning center of the teenager or the analytical learning center at the frontal lobe of the young adult. EMF exposure studies have mostly been conducted in adults, but we are able to see a dose-dependent response which translates to a greater physiologic impact on the child. The synergistic effect of multiple EMF sources, whether taken in passively through the invisible spider web of the “Internet of Things” or actively consumed through screen and artificial light use, should not be overlooked.
A brief look at child development can help us understand specific age-dependent effects. In all wavelength phenomena (color, sound, light), the polarity of the wavelength creates our sensory experience and as such can be seen in the context of our soul life- feelings and emotions experienced as sympathies and antipathies. Our soul life has the ability to relate to the world out of the lens of polarities. The polarities of sympathy and antipathy, or of pain and comfort, exist within our soul life. Different lengths of waves can lead to different “feeling” effects in the body.
Strong feelings of like or dislike can be triggered by these inputs. The immature soul forces of the young child are not fully able to make sense of these wavelengths. Therefore, when the child is asked to use these soul forces prematurely, instincts can arise that prevent the unfolding of more mature processes of discernment. We see children expressing more nerve-sense activity during and after times of increased EMF exposure. In the WIFI-enabled classroom, for example, children have difficulty remaining seated in their chair, complain more of belly pain, and have shorter attention spans. In the evening while at home, they have more difficulty relaxing into a nighttime routine and falling asleep.
In addition, by participating in technology at the expense of active, real-life experience, the young child taxes their regenerative forces. Similar to charging a battery, these regenerative forces thrive on regular, rhythmic interface with natural frequencies of sleep, movement, food, and feelings of security and emotional warmth. Technology isn’t as rhythmic as natural frequencies and it pushes the soul development by artificially evoking an emotional response. As such, it can divert a child’s regenerative forces away from growth and development, as the body attempts to balance the prematurely activated soul forces and over-stimulated nervous system. When this regenerative capacity is exhausted the child is “tired and wired” and “too awake” to the world. The effects on the teenage child are seen in increased mood swings, depression, and poor sleep.
How can we assess our personal EMF environment? Once we are aware of the sources of EMF, it can be a fairly straightforward task. Here are the most common sources, with recommendations for basic EMF hygiene:
- Electricity: The electrical field fall-off from the wall or wire is quick. Most electric fields are non-existent 8 to 16 inches from the wire. Some people find they sleep better when their head is not close to an outlet. Simply moving the bed away from the wall a few inches can bring your head out of the electric field. Some people sleep with their feet at the head of the bed so their own head is completely out of the field. Others find that turning off the electricity to their bedroom at night (via the circuit breaker) allows for more regenerative sleep.
- Magnetic fields: This is best measured with a simple trifield (electric, magnetic, and RF) meter, such as the RD-10. Magnetic fields are not easy to alter, so if the field is strong, the best solution may be to find locations with a lower relative magnetic field and choose those areas for sleeping and spending time in during waking hours.
- RF/radiofrequency (this includes sources of 5G infrastructure): This is also best measured with a similar meter. Unlike magnetic fields, RF can be modulated with basic hygienic practices. Housing your router (with the wireless signal deactivated) in a room that is not used often, like the garage, with a wire running into the home for direct internet connectivity is a simple solution. If that can’t be done, simply turn off your router and phones for sleep. At work, find out where the routers are located and plan your work space some distance away from these.
- Spend more time in nature. Instead of looking at your phone or turning lights on upon waking, try to catch the sunrise. Research shows the beneficial effect of early morning sunlight (even through clouds!) on mitochondria, gut and brain function, mood, and energy level.
- Daily movement such as walking, biking, dancing and stretching, helps to move toxins out and counteracts the small, repetitive movements we make throughout the day interacting with tech. The hands, wrists, neck and back are very much involved in tech use and full body movement helps to maintain normal range of motion.
- Reduce stress. Over-exposure to EMF is only one of many daily stressors. The more we are able to decrease the stressors we can control, the better our resiliency and overall health. We live in a tech-saturated world, and it can be overwhelming to think about.
- Balance processed EMF with natural EMF. The more nnEMF, or non-native EMF, we are exposed to, the more we need time in nature to counter balance. Keeping some distance between your body and nnEMF goes a long way toward maintaining health.
- Feed your body well. The synergistic effect of sugar (processed carbohydrates) and processed EMF may be obvious. Both can overstimulate our nervous system and overwhelm our ability to digest and detoxify. Nutritious foods that include vegetables and healthy oils to lubricate the gut and nervous system and support normal gut movement help to encourage a balanced body.
- Keep hydrated. Many processed EMF sources dehydrate the body. Drink plenty of fresh water, especially early in the day.
- Above all, being mindful and making conscious choices out of our free will allows us to remain fully human in a tech world. When we are faced with a decision around technology, there are always options that are less disruptive to human beings and all life.
Parents can make choices about technology for their children, and cell phones are an important part of that decision. Cell phones come in styles that only allow talking and texting and do not have internet or “app” capabilities. GABB is one company leading the way for safer cell phones for children. Included below is a link and a promo code for a discount on this product. http://gabbwireless.com/promo/DRDEBRA PROMO CODE: DRDEBRA
Remember, as with most technology, 5G connectivity can be disabled when not in use. Check your owner’s manual or youtube for ways to do this with your “smart” appliances, your computer, and even your car.
It is becoming more evident in the scientific data that technology interferes with all life systems, both in the context of biochemistry and biophysics. We do have options to create healthier environments for ourselves and our communities that don’t require huge expense or significant mental stress to navigate. Simply choosing more whole light, whole wavelength sources, putting more physical, emotional and spiritual distance between yourself and your technology and including basic EMF hygienic practices goes a long way towards creating your best health.
References and Resources:
- Biological Effects of non-ionizing radiation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30030071
- The Effects of Electromagnetic Field on the Endrocrine System of Children and Adolescents https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26841641
- Artificial Light at Night and Cancer: GlobalStudy: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5454613/
- https://www.waldorflibrary.org/images/stories/Journal_Articles/rb21_2glockler.p df