Appears in The Healthy House, 4th Edition, by John Bower
By Mary Cordaro
Copyright, Mary Cordaro April 2003, First Serial Rights
Our homes are places for rest, retreat and regeneration. If designed, built and furnished simply, thoughtfully and intelligently, they can help us restore our natural balance and connection with nature. For most of us, however, creating a healthy home environment is often unfamiliar--and sometimes overwhelming--territory. Where do we begin? The key is in the bedroom. Even if you can't design for every healthy detail in your new or remodeled home, make the bedroom as healthy as possible. It's the most important room in the house.
We are most vulnerable when we sleep. During sleep, our bodies let down, shed metabolic waste, regroup and regenerate. A healthful sleeping room provides us with the right conditions for all the important processes of the body's natural electrical system, internal organs and subconscious mind to work smoothly and without interference. By eliminating sources of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that may affect the immune system, we give our bodies a break at night--so we are better able to function during the day. Although the scientific community in the U.S. is still undecided about the health effects of electromagnetic fields, the German field of Bau-Biologie* provides guidelines and standards for "prudent avoidance." In Germany many doctors and their patients report better, deeper and more regenerative sleep--and more facilitated healing--when EMFs are eliminated from the bedroom.
Here's a checklist designed to get you started on creating a healing bedroom, free of EMFs. Remember, plan early for the items below, BEFORE budgeting and finalizing blueprints.
- No EMFs from wiring: Hire an EMF specialist who is experienced, qualified and licensed to work early on with your architect, mechanical engineer and contractor. This person should also check the wiring during and after installation and conduct a test for EMFs before you move in. Make sure EMF standards for prudent avoidance are followed. EMF specialists can be located through the International Institute for Bau-Biologie and Ecology or Mary Cordaro Inc..
- No EMFs from electrical appliances: Eliminate as many electrical appliances from the bedroom as possible, including electric clocks, water beds and electric blankets. The rule of thumb is: Keep it simple. Use battery operated devices and if possible, unplug everything else when you go to sleep. Televisions and computers produce and "off load" high levels of electrostatic charge, (more on static, below), hours after they are turned off--even if you unplug them after use. Keep televisions and computers out of the bedroom.
- No EMFs from metal: Eliminate metal as much as possible from the bedroom, especially in, under and close to the bed. If metal structural framing is used, be sure it's grounded properly. In an electrical environment metal can become magnetized, creating the DC magnetic field which cannot be shielded or eliminated easily.
- No EMFs from synthetic surfaces: Believe it or not, finishes, products and materials made from synthetic ingredients cause a type of EMF called the DC electric field which is, simply put, static. Static (also called an electrostatic charge) creates an imbalance of negative and positive ions which can result in dust-attracting surfaces. To minimize static you can use finishes and materials made from natural materials. Remember, "natural-looking" is not necessarily natural in composition. Using natural paints and finishes requires special attention to application, longer ordering times and often more labor. Always purchase from suppliers who specialize in healthy, natural beds and bedding and natural paints and finishes.
Note: If you are chemically sensitive, be sure to test yourself on all natural materials ahead of time, as your options may be limited--depending on how well you tolerate natural odors. Concentrate on the mattress and bedding if you cannot tolerate natural finishes on the walls, ceilings, floors and furniture.
*What is Bau-Biologie?
The German word Bau-Biologie means "building biology" or "the relationship between buildings and life." It can be defined as: "The holistic interaction between man-made structures and the health of all life and all living environments." Bau-Biologie advocates building approaches that contribute to the occupant's health of spirit, mind and body and have a low impact on the environment.
To find EMF specialists, as well as EMF testing for new and existing homes:
International Institute for Bau-Biologie and Ecology