Friday, 14 November 2014

EMR Pollution and The Business Traveller

An article about Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) published in Townsend Letter, The Examiner of Alternative Medicine (November 2014) highlights the new environmental landscape we find ourselves and the insidious impact EMR is wreaking on health. The article serves as a reminder of a real and present danger of our time and the role EMR could play in the health picture of anyone facing illness. The article's value lies in alerting us to a developing consensus in certain parts of the scientific community and our ability to read between the lines of what is known about this new landscape and where the trend is heading. This article hopes to draw your attention to the fact that there are certain workers in the general populace who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMR than others. In this instance I am referring to business travellers and anyone who has global travel as part of their job description.

In the latter part of the twentieth century we began a large-scale experiment by making use of artificial electromagnetic radiation waves to drive technology and industry which gave us some very nifty advantages. The upside has been the accelerating rate of globalisation of the world and the world economies. The downside is that we have become more out of touch with our innate health supporting environment. As the world has globalised it mobilised; Technology is an enabler of a mobile world and EMR is a necessary feature. The Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw our society transform from an agrarian one to an industrial one. Now we have transformed from an industrial society to a technologically driven society with some not so desirable consequences. Artificial EMR waves we use in daily life to power our gadgets and connect globally are disruptive to human health because they severe our link to the natural geomagnetic wave profile that has nourished Man from time immemorial.

The article goes on to describe the author's health challenge with Lyme's disease and the role EMR played in it. It is the research material quoted in the article,which is of more interest to us in terms of what it says about the risks of EMR pollution to business travellers. The most detailed research quoted was the BioInitiative Report compiled by scientists and researchers of ten nations. It notes thousands of studies which demonstrate the damaging effects of EMR from cell phone radiation and other sources. It is damning because it shows the depth of the problem across various fields of study.

Digging into the details of some of the other research used we find a quote from the late Dr Professor Neil Cherry a pioneer in environmental health who said, "EMR confuses and damages the cells signalling system, which produces symptoms such as headaches, concentration difficulties, memory loss, dizziness and nausea, and long term diseases such as Alzheimer's dementia, brain tumours and depression."

In a quote from an interview published in 2009 with Dr Thomas Rau of the renowned Paracelsus clinic in Switzerland he says " ....cultures of normal human endogenous bacterial cultures grow much less when exposed to EMR". Rau's comments are a reflection that our immunity is compromised in the presence of EMR. Herein lies the problem. EMR messes with immunity which has harmful effects on long-term health.

The article also quotes a Lynn Quiring (RPh, CCN, NMD) paper titled "The Cell Phone Poisoning of America." In it Lynn cites over 66 scientific references proving the relationship between prolonged EMR exposure and a host of health conditions including hormonal imbalances, low sperm count, immune system disorders, memory loss and sleep disorders.

Not only are we changing the environment externally, but its influence on our internal environment is what is most worrying. Our ability to control and determine our internal environment is our ability to maintain health. It is our first line of defence against stress and the challenges we face on a daily basis.

Business travellers have many challenging scenarios to negotiate in pursuit of a successful business trip. They can include anything from the geopolitical nature of the world, the weather, industrial action, personal security while on the road and more. The constant shift in any of these variables is enough to cause stress, especially when you can't control them. For the most part we brush them off and get on with the business in hand however, being able to do this is reliant on our stress coping mechanism. Yet here we have evidence that one of the tools that enables our functionality in the global economy is the very thing which is eroding our much-needed resilience. If this seems a bit too far-fetched take a look at the following Infographic from PC Housing Mobile Dependence: A Growing Trend In Business Travel.

Where is this heading? To zero in on what one kind of future scenario could look like we only have to look at a group of people who are now being diagnosed as Electro-sensitive. Electro-Sensitives cannot be in close proximity of or endure long periods of time in the vicinity of EMR or gadgets using them. Electro-Sensitivity and Electro-Smog have entered the popular lexicon. In the face of EMR ruling our airwaves and environments our immunity is taking a battering. When you put this in perspective with figures from the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA) you get a sense of where the trend is headed and how EMR is a factor we should reckon with. See their document "A Briefing Report on Autoimmune Disease and AARDA: Past, Present and Future". To get an even more specific take on how stress is affecting Business Travel see the industry specific white paper by AirPlus called "Traveller Productivity: How to tailor your travel policy to improve traveller performance."

How is this affecting the global economy now? It is serious enough to get a mention at the open forum at the World Economic Forum in 2011 in a talk titled Burnout - The Latest Fashion? While the talk didn't directly mention EMR as a causative factor its role as an enabler of efficiency in the workspace makes it a contributing factor.

The Business Travel industry and business travellers need to lighten the stress of business travel for the sake of all involved. The Carlson Wagonlit metric the Travel Stress Index (TSi) puts the hidden cost of business travel at over $600 per trip. For companies with large mobile workforces making multiple trips a year that is a big financial incentive. Mitigating costs takes a combined approach, which involves acknowledging the environment we find ourselves working and living in and a sense of individual responsibility towards our health that supports health and therefore productivity.


Eliminate Electromagnetic Pollution to Eliminate Disease Accessed 01/11/2014.

BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Radiation at, December 31, 2012

Cherry N. Evidence that Electromagnetic Radiation is Genotoxic: The implications for the epidemiology of cancer and cardiac, neurological and reproductive effects. Neil Cherry, Extended from a paper to the conference on Possible health effects on health of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields European Parliament, Brussels, 2 March 2001.

Rau T. Transcript interview with Dr Thomas M. Rau of the Swiss Paracelsus Clinic - online article Accessed - 01/11/2014

Quiring L. The cell phone poisoning of America [online article]. 2008. Accessed - 01/11/2014.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Flying without a spacesuit, who does that these days?

While watching the acclaimed Oscar nominated blockbuster film Gravity (2013), it struck me how reliant on technology built into their spacesuits, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney were, to successfully carry out their mission. 

As a frequent flier of sixteen years on short and long haul routes doing about 10,000 miles of flying week in week out it also struck me how unprepared most frequent fliers are today when taking to the world of global travel. Just as the environment in space required spacesuits for the astronauts to function properly, today's environment requires fliers to be suited for the travel environment they face. Clooney and co's success or  mission failure shows the importance of travelling with the right kit. Frequent fliers in the travel  environment of today would do well to follow their lead. Get kitted out to make your travel experience jet lag free.

What kind of kit is appropriate you might ask. 
Most travellers are content to bring a neck pillow, sleeping pills and/or portable entertainment. However to travel well consistently means looking past these items to specific technology to enable you to fly better and arrive well every time.

To the above list I would add as mandatory a quality pair of noise cancelling headphones, an entrainment app from the iTunes or Google Play store, wearable health technology tools like a Fitbit, an isotonic hydrating powder mix and tart cherries for a natural melatonin boost. In addition to these items I would pack a grounding sleep sheet from Barefoot Technology for my arrival and an exercise mat for yoga and stretching.

Most frequent flier don't have a comprehensive "spacesuit" to help them arrive well. The result is they leave their susceptibility to jet lag open to chance when they can routinely arrive feeling much better no matter how long the journey. Most fliers are still in the dark ages when it comes to staying healthy while travelling, coming prepared with your own tools is one way to land ready for business pleasure or that creative task you are faced with on arrival. After all travel is only a means to an end.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Wearable Tech and Productivity.

Healthy Wearables its all about the feedback
When Google Glass first debuted I was one of those wondering and (quietly scoffing) about the usefulness of this technology. More to the point I couldn't really see how it might be of any practical use to things that mattered to me in my life. I have since had to eat my words. Google Glass was the forerunner of many Wearables that have started taking the Tech world by storm. Health related wearable tech is the niche that got me to change my mind. Growing my health is an important subject, as I am sure it is for any intensive frequent flier. Compromised health means the inability to function on the road and zero productivity when it matters. Understanding the value of Wearables has allowed me to make the link between the status of my health and my productivity. I hope this short article allows you to realize similar value.

As a frequent flier getting feedback is key especially where my health is concerned. Frequent fliers go through multiple timezones, oxygen reduced aircraft cabins, shifting hormonal patterns and regular sleep deprivation, getting timely feedback is invaluable. Feedback and the ability to act on it is the difference between those who get results and those who get the results they want. The ability to act on feedback has just been brought to the fingertips of anyone who cares to take note.

I love to compare frequent fliers to athletes. Athletes train for competition and frequent fliers (in the know) train for the road. Athletic performance continues to improve over the years, through the use of feedback athletes get from technology. It is my hallucination that the lot of the frequent flier may be improved by following this same path. We all know that frequent travel is exhausting, and most solutions out there are only good for the short term if at all. Feedback through healthy Wearables allows fliers to monitor the basic health indicators which underpin productivity and creativity.  Being able to wear a device 24/7 which monitors sleep patterns, exercise, calorie consumption, movement, water consumption and steps gives you on the move information you can respond to.

Hydration, sleep and exercise are just some of the metrics measured by these gadgets, you can wear around your neck, wrist or slip into your pocket. Others measure exposure to chemical pollutants or electromagnetic radiation sources you may be exposed to. All in all the simplicity of use and the immediate feedback they give makes them ideal for life on the road. More importantly armed with this information you can adjust your schedule appropriately to refuel and recharge to avoid burnout.

In today's workplace where productivity, stress and burnout go hand in hand acute monitoring tools like this can be a godsend. It seems the usefulness of these tools is not lost on some forward thinking employers. I recently had to send my wearable off for a replacement. During the customer service process I was asked if I bought it myself or if it was provided to me by an employer program. Some employers have obviously recognised the benefit health related wearable tech can bring to their employees, multi-nationals and frequent fliers would do well to pick up on this trend too. For a small investment the returns can make all the difference in performance which can be the difference between success or failure.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wearable Tech And Frequent Fliers, Are You Ready !

The analogy between Athletes and Frequent Fliers is a strong one to make, but a valid one when you consider how grueling global business travel can be. Athletes take the time to train for fitness and competition. Frequent fliers, especially road warriors should take time to train for fitness and the journey. The serious athlete is well aware of the value of feedback, to that end they employ a coach and technology to keep them progressing and competitive. While frequent fliers may not have access to a coach they can leverage technology to help them stay journey fit and healthy. This is made even easier today with the explosion of Wearable Technology. Wearable technology, specifically of the health monitoring variety means any frequent flier can get real time feedback on their health status and adjust accordingly.

What was once the preserve of the elite athlete and out of reach and price range of your average person has now become available to all and sundry. In this respect we are witnessing the sexing up of the humble pedometer.  Wearable technology (wearable tech for short) comes in all shapes and sizes with simplicity and sophistication in equal measure. Wearable tech gadgets can do anything from helping you reach daily physical activity goals to measuring sleep quality and duration, track water consumption, calorie consumption, weight gain or weight loss, as well as power napping and helping you monitor your exposure to ionizing radiation.

The wonders of wearable tech are made possible because of advances in technology and the simplification of the UI (User Interface)  all you need is a smartphone and your chosen gadget that is equally easy to wear on the wrist, in the pocket or around the neck and you are all set. Bluetooth and plug and play syncing options will do the job of keeping track of your progress.

All of these gadgets are available and useful to the frequent business flier and can make a worthwhile contribution to staying healthy while jetting around the world and encountering different time zones. In addition to this new crop of gadgets there are also some other items on the horizon or that have been around for a while which qualify as wearable tech which are also indispensable to healthy fliers. Include magnetic insoles which massage your meridian points on the soles of your feet in this category although you might want to call it low-tech wearable tech. You can also include a soon to be released power napping eye mask which will allow you to power nap to perfection, its timer wakes you by simulating a natural sunrise wake sequence. Another low-tech offering (yet to be released) is a silicon wristband which monitors pollution you are exposed to. Fliers concerned about Aero-toxic Syndrome and fume events when they fly could for instance use the band to monitor exactly what they are exposed to.

The options to get valuable feedback through wearable tech are increasing with the uses technology is being put to, it is only a matter of time before its use becomes the rule for frequent fliers instead of the exception. Apple's reported acquisition of Beats Electronics seems to be drawing criticism from the financial markets, but it could just be that Apple has acquired the last piece of its technology puzzle before it launches the iWatch. Whether Apple can turn the iWatch into that must-have wearable tech gadget we didn't know we needed remains to be seen. In the meantime frequent fliers without wearable tech will seem like astronauts in space without space suits, future generations will wonder how we ever managed without it.

Works Cited

Wearable Technology,, Wikipedia Foundation, Web, Accessed May 18th 2014.

Steven G. O’Connell , Laurel D. Kincl , and Kim A. Anderson, Silicone Wristbands as Personal Passive Samplers, Environ.Sci.Technol., 2014, 48 (6), pp 3327-3335, Publication date (Web) February 18, 2014. Accessed May 18th 2014.

Mark DeCambre, Beats might just be the best platform for Apple's wearable tech,, May 12, 2014, Web. Accessed May 18th 2014.
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