Everything You Need to Know About EMF Radiation
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are quickly becoming a growing area of research. Studies on where they come from and how they affect us are revealing their potentially harmful effects. But what exactly is radiation? Where did it first come from? How did these studies begin? How and why do they affect us and how can we protect ourselves? We’re here to give you everything you need to know about EMF radiation, keep reading to find out!
What Is Radiation?
Radiation is the energy that comes from a source and travels through space. This energy has wave-like properties and is often referred to as “electromagnetic waves.” Traveling at the speed of light, this energy creates an electric field and a magnetic field. Depending on the size of the wavelength, the energy is placed on an Electromagnetic Spectrum. Radiation with the shortest wavelength has the highest energy and often inflicts the most harm: this includes x-rays, and ultraviolet radiation. This type of radiation is categorized as “ionizing” radiation. Radiation with the longest wavelengths, like radio waves, are categorized as “non-ionizing” radiation (1). Check out the graph below for a visual understanding of the different types of radiation (2):
What Is EMF Radiation?
The term “EMFs” stands for electromagnetic fields. These electric and magnetic fields are invisible waves of energy. The term “EMF” is then just another name for radiation. Instead of referring to these energy waves as “EMF Radiation” it is then more correct to refer to them as either “radiation” or “EMFs.”
Let’s Start at the Beginning
The sun is believed to be among the first forms of ionizing radiation to affect us. Other forms of this shorter wavelength, higher energy, more harmful radiation includes gamma rays, and x-rays. X-rays were first discovered in 1895 by Willhelm Röntgen. Then, in 1896 a man named Henri Becquerel discovered that some substances emitted energy. Becquerel’s student, Marie Curie, then went on to name it “radioactivity” and was awarded the Nobel Prize twice for her studies in the fields of radiology, x-rays, radioactive materials, and her discovery of two radioactive materials (3). After this, the field of ionizing radiation grew in popularity among scientists.
Then, with the rise of man-made technology, came the rise of non-ionizing radiation emitters. Forms of longer wavelength, non-ionizing radiation include:
- Radio waves
- Cell towers
- Wi-Fi routers
All of these can be categorized as EMFs. But, how does this form of longwave radiation affect us?
How Do EMFs Affect Us?
Most of the general population is being exposed to a constant stream of both ionizing and non-ionizing forms of radiation. Being in Wi-Fi areas and carrying around our cellphones all may impact our health. While the study of how non-ionizing EMFs affect us is still a growing field, the most common symptoms of EMF exposure include:
- Fatigue and low energy
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory loss
- Tingling skin
- Sleep disturbance
If you get headaches from fluorescent lights, find yourself struggling to focus and refocus when looking at a laptop, feel dizzy or nauseous from looking at your phone for long periods of time, or if you sleep with electronics in your bedroom and find yourself struggling to have a restorative sleep, you may be feeling the effects of EMF exposure. But why do we feel these symptoms?
Why Do EMFs Affect Us?
Electricity is an essential part of our bodily processes. Our cells are specifically designed to create and conduct electrical currents throughout our bodies. These electrical currents are used to send messages from our nervous system to our brains, and then to our bodies. For example, if you touch a hot stove, your nervous system registers that it is experiencing pain. Electrical messengers then tell your brain that you are experiencing pain in your hand and should do something about it. Your brain then sends a message to the muscles in your hand and arm to pull away from the hot stove. Electrical currents are essential for how our brain thinks, processes, and functions overall which then affects how our bodies move, react, and function (4).
Like our cells, EMFs are also a form of electricity being emitted from a source. When we are exposed to the constant stream of electromagnetic frequencies from our cellphones, laptops, Wi-Fi routers, and other modern technological advances, this electricity negatively impacts the electricity within our own bodies.
Did you know that holding your phone to your ear when you talk interferes with the electrical messengers in your brain? By upsetting our internal electrical processes, EMFs can cause a wide range of negative health impacts that impact our memory, our brains, and our normal bodily processes. Furthermore, some studies have found non-ionizing radiation to cause DNA damage, cell damage, increase free radicals in our bodies, increase the risk of miscarriage, and adversley affect reproductive systems (5)(6)(7)(8)(9).
How Can I Protect Myself from EMFs?
There are a few daily changes that you can make to limit your exposure to EMFs:
- Limit phone time: Instead of sleeping with your phone next to your bed, either put it in another room, or put it on airplane mode to reduce EMF exposure while you sleep.
- Avoid bluetooth: swap out your bluetooth headphones for corded headphones. Because the frequency of bluetooth is similar to microwave ovens, having them so close to your head is potentially problematic.
- Limit Wi-Fi exposure: Turn off your Wi-Fi router before bed. This will give you an extra 8 to 9 hours of EMF free sleep.
- Spend time in nature: Take a book or your pet to the park, go for a run outdoors, go on a family hike, or simply just try to spend a few moments of meditation in your yard every day.
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