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  1. Hellos and my situation

    Hello everyone, I found this forum one day and have been reading it for awhile now. I decided to join and see if anyone could help me out. I'm currently 19 years old.

    The main thing I wanted to bring up is an ability I have. I feel light, not just visible light, but a much broader spectrum. I don't know the real limits to the frequencies, as it's been difficult to test much alone. I feel it as a sensation in my head, different sources feel like they react with different parts of my head. Some feel like a sharp ring, some like a burning pressure, but most aren't debilitating.

    I know it is light and other electro-magnetic radiation because when I feel these things, I can sense what direction they are from and a relative feeling of power from them, giving me distance. Electronics with large capacitors are one of the most easily sensed things I've distinguished so far, these are things like TVs, monitors, capacitors used in theme parks for magnets, and others. Flourescent lights give the burning pressure feeling, while incandescent lights I can only sense with effort.

    My real problem begins here though. I'm not sure if my family really believes me or not, but I do know that they don't want to. In fact that's how most people treat me if I let on about this ability.

    So in trying to keep some in-tact relationships, I have tried to block out this ability and tell myself it isn't real. To an extent the sense has diminished, but I'm having trouble with long-term memory, self-confidence, and sleeping now.

    I don't feel I can talk to my family or our doctor about this anymore. Even with a forum as anonymous as this I still feel afraid to talk about it. Friends have turned against me, my family has turned their back to me, and in trying to hide this ability I don't know who I am anymore.

    I'm sorry to make my first post like this, but I'll appreciate any help or suggestions.

  2. #2

    Hellos and my situation

    This seems to apply:

    Helping electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals
    excerpted from IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Sept/Oct 173-175, 2002

    Whatever its cause, EHS is a real, and sometimes disabling, problem for the affected individual. The Bergqvist committee offered recommendations for helping electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals, which are summarized below.

    The Bergqvist committee recommended that the starting point for all treatment should be the health symptoms of the individual, and not his or her perceived need for electrical "sanitation" of the workplace or home. Electromagnetic field surveys in normal workplace and residential environments are extremely unlikely to uncover the presence of fields that can be related to the symptoms of the EHS individual.

    In helping electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals, it is important to try to identify and treat any relevant health, environmental, or occupational hygiene problems that might be present, without assuming that they are caused by exposure to electric or magnetic fields.

    This requires, for severely affected individuals:

    * Medical evaluation of the EHS individual to identify and treat any specific medical conditions that may be responsible for the symptoms.
    * Evaluation of the workplace or home for factors that might contribute to the presented symptoms. These might include indoor air pollution, excessive noise, poor lighting, or ergonomic factors. In the workplace this evaluation would normally be conducted by an industrial hygienist.

    Apart from identifying any treatable causes of the patient’s symptoms, physicians need to initiate communication with the EHS individual and help develop strategies for coping with the situation.

    For electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals with long lasting symptoms and severe handicaps, therapy should be directed principally at reducing symptoms and functional handicaps. As recommended by the Bergqvist committee, this should be done in close co-operation between

    * Physicians (for handling the medical aspects of the symptoms)
    * A hygienist (for identifying and if necessary controlling factors in the environment that are known to have adverse health effects of relevance to the patient) and
    * A psychotherapist, where appropriate.

    The Bergqvist committee also stressed the importance of providing electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals, health-care professionals, and employers with information about health and safety hazards of electromagnetic fields, and their possible relation to EHS. The committee stressed that this information should be balanced and appropriate for different target groups, including the general population and various professional groups. The committee also stressed that the information should include a clear statement that no scientific basis currently exists for a connection between EHS and exposure to electromagnetic fields.

    Given the similarity of EHS to multiple chemical sensitivities, medical advice for handling MCS patients might also be helpful. For example, Magill and Suruda (1998) recommend that treatment should aim to establish an effective physician-patient relationship, and encourage patients to return to work and to a normal social life.

    more at:
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. Hellos and my situation

    Thank you very much! I had tried searching on the internet for quite awhile but just didn't know what to look for before. This now gives it a name, which will help me look for more answers. The symptoms match amazingly well, but I know the symptoms listed can also come from many other things. I'll see what else I can learn from here, thank you again Daniel.

  4. #4

    Hellos and my situation

    According to the abstracts I have read at, there is no known etiology and no standard diagnostic criteria for this syndrome/phenomenon. I got good search results at PubMed when using the following three keywords together:

    electromagnetic sensitivity hypersensitivity

    One such abstract at PubMed, copied below, seems to imply that general hypersensitivity is a factor:

    Neurophysiological study of patients with perceived 'electrical hypersensitivity'

    Lyskov E, Sandstrom M, Hansson Mild K.
    National Institute for Working Life, Box 7654, S-907 13 Umea, Sweden.

    Received 9 November 1999; revised 22 February 2001

    The aim of the present study was to investigate baseline neurophysiological characteristics of the central and autonomous regulation and their reactivity to different tests in a group of persons with so-called 'electrical hypersensitivity', which is often considered as a form of psychosomatic disorders. Twenty patients with combinations of neuroasthenic symptoms (general fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache) and facial skin (itching, tingling, redness) have been investigated. An equal number of symptom-free persons served as a control group. The examination comprised self-reported measures, testing of visual functions, measurements of blood pressure, heart rate and its variability, electrodermal activity, respiration, EEG and visual evoked potentials (VEP). Several variables were found to differ between the patient and the control groups. The mean value of heart rate in rest condition was higher in the patient group compared to the controls (mean value of inter-beat intervals were 0.80 and 0.90 s, respectively). Heart rate variability and response to standing test were decreased in the patient group compared to the controls. Patients had faster onset, higher amplitudes, and left-right hand asymmetry of the sympathetic skin responses. They had a higher critical fusion frequency (43 vs. 40 Hz), and a trend to increased amplitude of steady-state VEPs at stimulation frequencies of 30-70 Hz. The data indicated that the observed group of patients had a trend to hyper sympathotone, hyperresponsiveness to sensor stimulation and heightened arousal.

    An older, anecdotal abstract seems to make a similar point about general hypersensitivity including electrical hypersensitivity:

    Nursing the electrically-sensitive patient.

    Smith CW.

    Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Salford, UK. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1997 Aug;3(4):111-6.

    Sensitivity to the environment is one of the pleasures of life. Unfortunately, for certain individuals this gets out of control. They become hypersensitive to something around them: pollens, moulds, man-made chemicals or to certain foods or drinks. If this is allowed to develop, sensitivity to the electrical environment may also appear as a part of the overall package of sensitivities. The same symptoms will then appear when the individual is in proximity to computers, televisions, telephones, supermarket check-outs, fluorescent lighting and even weather fronts and sunlight. The author has been involved in the diagnosis and treatment of electromagnetic sensitivities with complementary therapy since 1982, and considers here the nursing problems these patients present.

    Regarding treatment of symptoms, one abstract recommended CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) as a form of desensitization:

    Cognitive behavioural therapy for patients with electric sensitivity - a multidisciplinary approach in a controlled study.

    Hillert L, Kolmodin Hedman B, Dolling BF, Arnetz BB.

    Environmental Illness Research Centre, Southern Division of Community Health, Huddinge, Sweden.

    BACKGROUND: Electric sensitivity is a syndrome that still lacks diagnostic criteria and proven aetiology. The suffering of afflicted persons motivates development and evaluation of effective handling and treatments. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy in patients with electric sensitivity. METHODS: Cognitive behavioural treatment, as part of a multidisciplinary treatment package for patients with electric sensitivity, was evaluated in a controlled trial. Ten patients who received treatment were compared to 12 controls. Outcome measures included different dimensions such as symptoms, beliefs, behaviour, and biochemical measurements of stress-related variables. All outcome measures were collected prior to the study, post-treatment, and after an additional 6-month follow-up. RESULTS: The therapy group rated their electric sensitivity as significantly lower than did the control group at the 6-month follow-up, and reduction of self-rated discomforts from triggering factors was significant in the therapy group. There were no systematic changes in the biochemical variables. The symptom indices were significantly reduced over time, and ability to work continued to be good in both groups. CONCLUSION: The prognosis for this syndrome is good with early intervention and cognitive therapy may further reduce the perceived hypersensitivity. This may have important implications on handling of patients with electric sensitivity.

    I also found a detailed report sponsored by the Swiss mobile phone industry. It is available as a PDF file and is called "The phenomenon of electromagnetic hypersensitivity in general medicine" (November 2004). Below is its conclusion:

    Our increasingly mechanised environment has resulted in a multitude of physical phenomena and chemical substrates, whose illness-inducing characteristics we are unaware of. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity can be considered as a response of sensitive persons to a situation in this environment. As part of the duty of care and duty of preventative health care exercised by the state, the latter is forced to grapple with this subject. It all depends on how one wishes to define preventative health care. It is normally understood to mean the protection against known risks. Opinion contrary to this states that preventative health care provides protection against unknown effects. If one wishes to pursue the atter definition, then potential hazards would need to be switched off, or the sources of danger at least diminished as far as the operation of the equipment in question allows. This is what the ALARA principle states (“as low as reasonably achievable”). This option can be offered to persons with self-reported electromagnetic hypersensitivity, while hoping that appropriate scientific studies provide more answers as to whether electromagnetic hypersensitivity is merely a raised state of sensitivity (towards electromagnetic fields) – as can sometimes be found in other sensory modalities as excessive sensitivity to coldness, touch or pain – or whether this abnormally high sensitivity is akin to an allergic reaction.

    Professional opinion tends to regard electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a psychological response to new appearances in the environment. It is the pressing task of researchers to find answers to the physiology and pathophysiology of the phenomenon termed “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”. Though, all of the research approaches to date, such as viewing electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a neurocirculatory disease or as a heightened irritability of the central nervous system, have still been unable to solve this puzzle. The physician in general medical practice must be advised to take his patients seriously, to also take their social and physical environment into consideration and not to rule out alternative medical treatments.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. Hellos and my situation

    Once again, thank you for the information Daniel, and let me see which of it I can compare with. As far as general hypersensitivity, I've always had very good hearing and my doctor has said it was pretty sensitive but I hadn't put any thought on that since then. My vision is actually rather poor, I'm am also partially color-blind. However when it comes to touch, I have never liked people touching me and this could have something to do with it. It would be hard to compare my sensitivity to touch, since I can't measure how others are.

    As for a solution, the cognitive behavior therapy I'm a little confused on. Is this changing the patients behavior, making them act as though they don't feel these things? Maybe that's what I've tried to do myself, but the side affects of this aren't acceptable for me.

    But why dim this sensitivity at all? I've thought of working with a bomb squad or similiar military force, since I would be able to sense electrical devices. Currently I'm able to walk up to an unfamiliar house and know if any flourescent lights, TVs, or computer monitors are on from the outside of the house. This has always seemed like a useful ability if I could control the discomfort.

  6. #6

    Hellos and my situation

    As you know, most people (including myself) will not go so far as to believe what you are experiencing is definitely because of electromagnetic or electrical reasons since there is no hard data to prove it. If you haven't already, you may want to visit eSens, a small Yahoo group for EHS individuals.

    Regarding the CBT study, that study seemed to be focused on individuals who were having psychosomatic problems like headaches, etc. rather than social distress. However, I would think that CBT would be helpful in learning how to best deal with others who disagree with you about the cause of your EHS. For example, my parents are very religious people and I don't agree with their religious views, but we get along fairly well regardless. Similarly, most people don't agree about other controversial issues like abortion, and people who are vegetarians for ethical reasons are often married to people who eat meat.

    Also, some countries such as Sweden are far more involved in this issue than other countries. If you and your family lived in Sweden, your folks would possibly be more sympathetic.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. Hellos and my situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel
    As you know, most people (including myself) will not go so far as to believe ... you ... since there is no hard data to prove it.
    I can't blame you for it. When I've been looking for people like me, I have trouble believing them. Most of them I think it's all in their heads. But for me, I feel it like I feel the breeze on my face. I can't see the breeze, I can't catch some and show you, but I know what I feel.

    Well so I guess that's all I have to say. Thank you again for the help, and I hope everyone here on these forums does well. This has been a much kinder response than I've ever received on this issue.

  8. #8

    Hellos and my situation

    zero seven -- have you read the book The Highly Sensitive Person: How To Thrive When The World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron (Broadway Books, 1996)?

    I do think that some people are born more sensitive to certain sensory stimuli and I don't know any reason why electromagnetic stimuli should be any different.

    Either way, you may find that book resonates with your experiences in certain ways.

  9. #9

    Hellos and my situation

    There is also a self-test at the author's website. Online self-tests are often wrong, but they can be helpful as guideline. I got a score of 12. 14 would have been "highly sensitive" by their estimation.

    Related Thread: Are You Highly Sensitive?
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. #10

    Hellos and my situation

    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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