LEN English Documentation

Countermeasures for EHS/MCS

Diagnosis criteria and treatment methods for electrohypersensitivity (EHS) have been elucidated in Europe, but this knowledge has not been officially adopted in Japan yet, in contrast to multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and most physicians here remain unaware of it. LEN does not consider EHS "incurable." Even if it cannot be completely cured, there are ways to ameliorate the symptoms greatly.

Several useful points for improving symptoms are presented below. The book Denjiha/Kagakubutsu Kabinsho Taisaku (EHS/MCS Countermeasures) by LEN Director Yasuko Kato, published by Ryokufuu Shuppan, presents countermeasures and treatment methods that the author has found effective through her own experience. This is currently available in Japanese only, but you can also refer to [recommendations for books in English]

1. Confirm that it is electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that you are reacting to
There are many different factors that could cause poor health. It might arise from chemical exposures, foods or psychological stress. If you think you may have EHS, make an effort to investigate whether or not you actually react to EMFs. Have somebody cut the breaker switch or switch on their cell phone when you are not aware of it and confirm whether or not there was any change in your condition at the moment when the power source was switched on or off.

2. Avoid exposures as much as possible
To reduce symptoms, first, reduce exposure to EMFs. Walls and windows can be covered with EMF-shielding cloth to prevent penetration of mobile phone EMFs into your room. In as far as possible, sleep in places free from exposure. People have found improvement just by taking these or other steps, such as switching off the circuit breaker when they go to bed. Shielding cloth can provide some degree of protection against mobile phone EMFs at high frequencies of up to 3 gigahertz (GHz).

3. Consume anti-oxidants
Free radicals are said to be increased by EMF exposure. People have reported improvement in symptoms by consuming anti-oxidants (vitamins, minerals, etc.) to eliminate reactive oxygen radicals. Vitamins and minerals are contained abundantly in vegetables and seaweeds, so adopting a diet focused on traditional Japanese foods should be helpful. Some people have obtained improvement in symptoms by switching from white rice to brown rice. It would be best to turn to supplements when sufficient amounts of nutrients cannot be obtained through foods. When taking supplements, be sure to choose high-quality food extracts with few additives.

4. Eliminate harmful metals from your body
Heavy metals and harmful chemical substances such as dioxins within the body can promote free radical generation. People in Japan are said to accumulate high levels of arsenic and mercury. Arsenic is found in agricultural chemicals and pesticides, and causes fatigue and gastrointestinal disturbances. Mercury is found in contaminated seafood, and causes a depressive state and neurological disorders. Accumulation of heavy metals in the body can be tested for along with insufficiencies of essential minerals through hair analysis. Based on the results of that, essential minerals can be supplemented to make up for insufficiencies, and harmful metals can be removed through amino-chelation and other therapies.

5. Remove electro-static charges from the body
When you are exposed to EMFs, put some salts into you bath water and take a bath (even a foot bath is helpful). Doing that turns your bath water into an electrolyte solution, making it easier for accumulated electricity to escape from your body. If you are sensitive you may be aware of stimulation from the electricity being discharged from your body outward through the tips of your fingers and toes. Some people say that taking a bath in this way relieves their headaches or pain inside their eyes. Electricity can be discharged even just by standing barefooted on the ground, but when you are warm it heightens your body's ability to repair damaged cells, so taking a bath is thought to be highly effective.

6. Avoid wearing metals on the body
Metals act as antennas concentrating EMFs. Avoid wearing metal wires on or close to the body, such as metal-framed glasses or brassieres with underwires. People have reduced their symptoms by having metal fillings or implant bases replaced with dental composites.

7. Use exercise and saunas to promote sweating
Harmful chemical substances accumulate in fat, so promote excretion of chemical substances by burning fat through exercise or in a sauna.

8. Avoid consuming foods containing additives and agricultural chemicals
Processed foods contain a variety of additives, such as preservatives, anti-fungal agents, and artificial colorings and flavorings. Avoid consuming these and other harmful chemicals such as pesticide residues as much as possible. In addition, make an effort to drink high-quality water whenever possible.

9. Reduce psychological stress
Psychological stress not only also promotes free radical formation and burdens the digestive system, but can also destroy the physiological balance of the body overall. When ill, one experiences anxiety, but have faith in your own natural healing powers and take care not to worry too much. In particular, with sensitivities, your body reacts to things that most people do not react to, and few doctors are willing to understand this, resulting too often in serious anxiety. To maintain presence of mind, taking slow, deep breaths can be helpful. While breathing slowly and deeply, it also helps to turn your attention to your physical and mental state. By paying attention to what your body tells you, you become aware of sources of stress and burdens you have been shouldering. That may be the first step on the road to healing.

10. Try alternative therapies
Individuals differ, but there are reports of homeopathic, acupuncture, chiropractic and other alternative therapies relieving the symptoms. Homeopathic remedies for EHS have been produced. These heighten the body's natural ability to heal, so they help not only against EHS and MCS, but also improve the body's condition overall, such as reducing tendencies to catch colds. MCS sufferers become unable to take medications when they are ill, but homeopathy offers remedies to treat a variety of symptoms, so keeping several varieties at hand is useful. After receiving homeopathic therapy, people have reported feeling better, such as reacting far less to the smell of chemicals, symptoms of EMF exposure fading quickly, or symptoms when exposed becoming less severe. Some people have also reported improvements from qigong or spiritual healing. Be careful, however, because there have been some dubious characters among qigong practitioners and healers. It would be best to avoid therapists who charge very high fees, claim the effectiveness of their own treatment methods while denying others, fail to explain the treatment sufficiently, or otherwise act suspiciously.

Research on EHS Conducted in Japan Too

With aid from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), research on the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of MCS was conducted in 2005. As part of that, the issue of EHS was also examined. Below, a study on seven EHS patients undergoing treatment at the Kitasato Institute Hospital Clinical Environmental Health Center and research conducted overseas are introduced.

A look at the cases introduced in this report shows that a variety of EMF sources have resulted in the appearance of symptoms—personal computers, mobile phone handsets and base stations, ground-based digital broadcasts and home appliances—and that once the patient had become sensitive to one form of EMF, the number of sources to which he or she reacted increased. In addition, two of the seven patients diagnosed as EHS also suffered from MCS.

The patients were instructed to avoid EMFs as much as possible. In addition, EMF exposure wss said to result in oxidative stress and abnormal calcium metabolism, so recommendations to patients included keeping away from EMF sources, taking antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids, zinc and selenium and getting sufficient calcium and magnesium.

The report states, "The cases introduced here represent no more than a very few of the patients being treated at the Kitasato Institute Hospital Clinical Environmental Health Center" and "Neither we medical specialists nor engineering specialists possess data enabling us to say that there will be no harm from EMFs in Japan as we face an era in which more than half of the population has a cell phone. In the future there will be a need to make a humble reassessment of these issues and face up to the task elucidating the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of this disorder."

The report also touches on what has been said at international seminars and the results of epidemiological investigations and treatment methods overseas. The WHO held a workshop in Czech in 2004 on electrical hypersensitivity. From the workshop it was reported that people EHS patients had reacted with grief to a certain country's announcement that EHS was possibly a psychological disorder. That announcement, it was noted, was not the theme of the workshop.

It was also noted that from long ago, diseases lacking simple diagnostic criteria had all been relegated to the large box labelled "mental disease"; that until research could proceed, the patients struggled against false diagnoses, trying to maintain their health; that disorders initially explained as psychiatric had included multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities, photosensitivity and acoustic hyperesthesia among others; and that of course there had been pressure from industry to block appropriate research and development of diagnostic measures and treatment. It was recalled that Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Director-General of the WHO, had become EHS and subsequently retired.

In Denjiha to Seitai: Bunkenteki Kosatsu (『電磁波と生体:文献的考察』 EMF and the Living Body: Observations from Literature), under "Therapies, etc.," the following is noted regarding treatment:

"Many alternative medical practitioners are aware of EHS and may be able to provide much help."

"Sensory transference of energy through therapies such as acupuncture, qigong and acupressure is used. However, this might not be appropriate for the patient."

It also says, "A vegetarian diet can be helpful for recovering health to some degree in some cases," and, "A macrobiotic diet alkalinizes the body, while meat and sugar generally increase acidity. Eliminating certain kinds of food has been known to improve EHS symptoms. Examples include dairy products and gluten. Chilies, mustard, black pepper and other spices cause inflammation to flare up, so it may be advisable to avoid them. If pesticide-free organically grown produce is available, it might provide further benefits.

If chemicals, EMFs and psychological stress exceed a person's capacity, it is thought, symptoms will arise. The body's capacity is likened to a rain barrel in a rainstorm. The barrel represents the body, and the rain, environmental pollutants, mental stress and biological stress. To investigate the "water" in the barrel, the book says, "It is also necessary to analyze the history of environmental exposures and the recent environment from the perspective of personal and familial medical history, recent medical treatment status, details about the patient's work, etc., and then check what kinds of foods he or she is consuming."

Appropriate treatment reduces the level of water in the barrel, and after it has been lowered to a certain extent, the book says, "Through detoxification, changes in eating habits, treatment of diseases, elimination of environmental pollutants, etc.," one can expect "increased tolerance of exposures, enabling one to withstand exposures that were previously intolerable."

In environmental medicine, it says sauna therapy is used for detoxification, and in alternative medicine, enzymatic (protease, lipase, etc.) and herbal therapies are included. It notes, however, "Enzymes are generally derived from mould, so they are not appropriate for MCS patients or those who react to mould."

"Professor Olle Johansson in Sweden says, ‘β-carotene and vitamin A are effective against photodermatosis symptoms in EHS' and ‘β-carotene is registered as a therapeutic agent for photodermatosis.'" Incidentally, parsley and carrots contain large amounts of β-carotene."

The book also notes, "Melatonin has also been reported as effective in some cases of EHS, but it remains unclear whether it would be widely effective for EHS patients," and "Melatonin has been shown to be effective to some degree against pain from EHS.The method described herein may be good for one person but harmful to another."

No treatment method for EHS has been established yet, but you can make efforts such as improving your diet and trying sauna therapy and the like for yourself. In as far as possible, these should be incorporated incrementally, little by little, while observing how you feel. Note also that some doctors think long-term supplementation with melatonin could cause issues. When increasing melatonin intake, also make a point of increasing your intake of soy, salmon and the like.

Related Publications (in Japanese)

[EHS/MCS Countermeasures] (Ryokufuu Shuppan, Tokyo)

[To Cure EHS] (Ryokufuu Shuppan, Tokyo)

[Health Damage from EMFs] (Ryokufuu Shuppan, Tokyo)

[Protect Your Family from EMFs] (Kenchiku Journal, Tokyo)

[Dangerous All-electric Housing] (Ryokufuu Shuppan, Tokyo)

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