So what does that leave us with?
What we’ll be focusing on in the main are the gamut of devices that emit electromagnetic energy that are often also able to measure the body’s own weak electromagnetic fields. These are the kinds of devices that are gaining more and more use in the sphere of integrative or ‘alternative’ medicine and so are the ones most likely to be encountered by proponents of natural health and wellness.
As you may recall from Part 1, any electromagnetic field involves an interaction between both electrical and magnetic fields – and these fields allow the transfer of energy through electromagnetic waves, and that energy can have profound effects on different processes and structures in the human body, from our skin all the way to our DNA.
A question of quality and quantity
If a device professes to be able to read the body’s magnetic field, it needs to be incredibly sensitive given the electromagnetic energy output of the body is extremely weak (which doesn’t make it unimportant) and mediates its effects well below the thermal (heating) threshold.
Thermal (energy) is of course a different matter. We each, as adults, issue around 100 watts of energy, 24/7. This thermal energy, that’s responsible for maintaining our body temperature despite the continuous loss to the environment around us, is generated primarily by all the biochemical reactions associated with our metabolism that in turn release energy in the form of heat.
But it isn’t this thermal energy that ultimately controls the interactions of individual molecules, atoms and sub-atomic particles in the extraordinarily sophisticated way that we know as ‘life’. That’s down to the much weaker and more coherent electromagnetic energy that we considered in Part 1, energy that helps create the crystalline energy of our biofield that in turn provides the matrix for the body-mind being that we think of as the human species.
This electromagnetic energy is always issued in a wave form and doesn’t need a medium (like air or water) to propagate, which is why electromagnetic waves can travel through space. This enables us to see stars with the naked eye, including stars in the Andromeda galaxy that are estimated to be some 2.5 million light years way. Remind yourself that when you look at those stars, the light and image you’re looking at represented events that took place 2.5 million years ago, before the first members of our genus Homo appeared on Earth!
These waves, that are the product of combined electrical and magnetic fields, have 5 key, interrelated properties:
1. Frequency – the number of wave crests passing a given point per second, with 1 Hz being equal to one wave cycle per second
2. Wavelength – the distance between each wave crest (Fig. 1), measured typically in metres, millimetres or nanometres
3.Amplitude (height) of the wave (Fig. 1), that is a determinant of its power or intensity, that is often measured in milliGauss (mG) or Tesla units
4.Waveform – the shape of the wave, including whether it’s a smooth sine wave with rounded crests and troughs, or a stepped digital wave, as well as whether the form is continuous or pulsed, or changes in form over time
5. Energy – the amount of energy carried by the wave that is dependent on its frequency and in particular its amplitude (wave height; Fig. 1). As Einstein’s general theory of relativity formula E = mc2 reminds us, it is the energy carried through electromagnetic waves that can be converted to matter, and, equally, matter can be interconverted back to energy. Units of measurement of energy vary depending on the type of field being measured. They include milliGauss (mG), nanoTesla (nT), Ampere per meter (A/m), microWatts per square meter (µW/m²), Volts per metre (V/m), or as the Specific absorption rate (SAR), namely the power absorbed per mass of human tissue, expressed as watts per kilogram (W/kg).
Electromagnetic waves – in a vacuum – always move at the speed of light (just under 300 million metres per second). Why? In simple terms, because that’s the speed of light and light is a form of electromagnetic energy as you’ll see from any diagram of the electromagnetic spectrum (see ‘Visible spectrum’, Fig. 2)
Three key parameters of an electromagnetic wave, namely the frequency (Figs. 2 and 3), wavelength (Fig. 1) and energy, are interrelated mathematically – as the great Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell proposed in the 1860s and 1870s. So if you know one of the parameters you can calculate the other two, using what are referred to as Maxwell’s or the Maxwell-Heaviside equations. <<Continue Reading Part 2>>