On some level, there’s no clear barrier between you and the external world you live in.
We are an extension of — and intimately linked to — the quality of our locale environments.
How healthy is any environment? The answer largely depends on three factors:
Air quality (Indoor/Outdoor)
Air quality is determined by the build-up of chemicals and mold particles inside buildings — as well as the presence of pests (namely rodents).
Indoor chemicals can come from outside (industry and treatment plants), or inside (new construction, new furniture, new products, cleaning chemicals).
Mold particles occur when moisture or humidity is present, allowing mold to grow and release harmful VOCs, mycotoxins, and spores.
Rodents inhabit buildings that are improperly sealed from the outside — finding entrance via tiny holes and openings. They are also attracted to the scent of food, and are always looking for moisture (and the subsequent mold it causes) in buildings.
All three indoor air quality variables are made worse by moisture:
- Mold cannot grow without moisture/humidity issues
- Rodents are attracted to moist spaces
- Chemical VOCs release more quickly in the presence of humidity
Indoor light quality is becoming a slowly-worsening epidemic in modern buildings for years, mostly due to the global switch away from incandescent lighting.
In their place, LEDs have taken hold in the industry, with their improved energy savings and long lifespan.
To achieve an improved energy efficiency, LEDs have disregarded the natural “blackbody radiation curve” — the balanced spectrum of all frequencies produced by natural sources of light (fire, the sun, incandescent bulbs). Instead, LEDs produce a spectrum with limited spikes of only a select few frequencies.
Modern LED lighting is also usually rich in harsh blue frequencies — great for energy efficiency, but harmful to the eyes, skin, thyroid, and brain chemistry.
Instead of the gentle balance between nourishing red frequencies and stimulating blue frequencies, modern LEDs have replaced red frequencies with extra blue — all while flickering endlessly, much like a strobe light.
These harsh blue modern lights also are blatantly toxic in the evening — especially when bright enough — blocking the rise of melatonin, the hormone of sleep, at night.
Melatonin is one of the most important anti-cancer hormones, as well as being quintessential to the health of the gut microbiome.
Believe it or not, the earth itself has a natural electromagnetic field.
It’s extremely gentle — so gentle, in fact, that it weakens considerably mere feet above the ground.
An EMF is simply an energy field flowing outward, and pulsing at a certain rate or frequency.
Flowing, pulsing energy is also called radiation — and in physics, radiation refers to both light and sound, as well as electric and magnetic fields.
The fact that the earth’s EMF is gentle also means it’s not very powerful. It’s there, but only barely.
Interestingly enough, your body also has a very gentle — though verifiable — EMF field, too. The fields associated with both the earth and the body are very weak, they aren’t very powerful at all.
The natural EMF of the earth and the body are both essential elements of health — this concept is one major reason why it feels so good to lay in the grass or be close to another human being. Within a few feet of either — planet or person — the body can sense the quality of the EMF produced.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as Radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting.https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/index.cfm
By contrast, all electronics produce EMFs, too, though they’re of a very different sort.
Rather than gentle and low-frequency, these electronic EMFs are often of both higher frequency and intensity than is found in nature.
The common use of the term “EMF” excludes light and sound, and instead, usually refers to just three types of electromagnetic field:
- Radiofrequency fields (wireless technology)
- Magnetic fields
- Electric fields
For most of us, complete avoidance of these man-made fields is not necessary for health — nor would it be possible.
Instead, simple reduction of exposures — with special emphasis on avoiding common over-exposures — is what matters most.
In other words, the best advice is: With EMF, avoid the danger zones.
And if you’re dealing with more severe health challenges, take it a step further: reduce overall exposure even more intentionally.
When nothing else works — when you’re bouncing from concept to concept, approach to approach — you could be dealing with an unhealthy building.
For me, personally, seeing the importance of my environment was the last piece of my health puzzle. It also turned out to be the deciding factor in whether I improved, or remained stuck in my health journey.
After all, I spent years growing knowledge about all the Pillars of Health, seeing just how important they each were. The other Pillars returned to me the ability to function in every day life.
But it was understanding, finally, that I was living and working in sick buildings that allowed me to improve dramatically, and allowed the effects of the other Pillars of Health to really come forward.
With big changes in my environments came a return of my health that would not have been possible had I stayed in sick buildings.
My conclusions are: avoiding any Pillar of Health, alone, could set back your health. This was true for me, and I’ve seen it with countless clients. Gut, sleep, movement, nutrients — they all matter.
But the health of a building can be an unique dead weight on your efforts, working directly against your healing, and making each step harder. In stark contrast, a healthy, clean building can be a source, itself, of healing — making progress almost easy.
Buildings, then, are rarely neutral. Rather, they are nudging us toward health — or away from it.
Among the most important concepts — especially when battling with illness — is the health of your environment.
This completes Why Sick Buildings?
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(from the Big Picture section)
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