Our complementary health columnist on the hidden toxins that lurk in our house…
Now that we find ourselves in the glorious British summertime, my thoughts turn to my environment and what I can do to make it more conducive to my wellbeing.
Better health now will always support better health in the future. And, naturally, ensuring that our direct environment is healthy and non-toxic is part of a sensible anti-ageing, rejuvenation lifestyle – helping us to age more slowly and even in some cases even rewind our body clock!
So where to start? By taking stock of the potential toxins in our home environment. In fact, I’ve noticed in my practice that lots of people have been coming to me with all sorts of strange conditions nobody can really seem to explain in conventional medical terms. These include allergies, headaches, asthma, neurological disorders, depression, unexplained weight gain and much more.
The truth is, just a few decades ago these nebulous conditions that are difficult to diagnose were rarely seen and, in some cases, didn’t even exist. Today’s doctors and complementary medical experts who practice environmental medicine believe that the stressors we’re exposed to on a continual basis could be the underlying factor in the huge growth of these conditions.
So what are these environmental stressors? Two major issues which affect many of us are environmental pollution and electro smog. Here’s what they are and how to deal with them:
What’s the problem?
We’re aware of the problems that external environmental pollution causes; just last year we had to contend with smog, Saharan dust and pollution coming from France and other European countries. Admittedly, the air pollution now is not as intense as that which blanketed the country in 1952, when it was estimated that between 4000 and 8,000 people died as a direct result of the smog!
External pollution presents a serious health problem and the WHO has data which shows that it definitely shortens our lifespan – so we need to try to avoid it if at all possible. However, smog is rare in this country. The more insidious problem for us exists within our homes. We are surrounded by artificially produced items which exude chemicals, including furniture, carpeting, upholstery and even pesticides in our food.
The colourless and odourless poisons that are on, in and exuded by these items have become part of our lives for the last 30 to 40 years. The problem is that our exposure to these chemicals is relentless: whereas acute exposure to chemical substances can cause an immediate reaction, such as an allergy which, while inconvenient and uncomfortable, often won’t do any long-lasting damage to our overall health. However, chronic, relentless exposure over a longer period of time can be much more deadly, simply because we are not aware of it.
So, we don’t produce any noticeable symptoms as such, but the negative effects, which are thought to be cumulative, may not appear for decades. This chronic exposure to chemicals that are completely synthetic and do not exist in nature can, over time, compromise our health and especially our immune system activity and this, in turn, makes it much more of a struggle to remain healthy. There is strong evidence which suggests that chronic chemical exposure actually shortens our lifespan.
Your healthier home
The most proactive thing you can do is to reduce your consumption of chemicals in your home and use natural cleaning products; white vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. These are all incredibly useful cleaning agents, they’re cheap, non-toxic and they work! Beware of cleaning agents that claim to contain ‘natural’ ingredients, and check the label closely – a study conducted a couple of years ago showed that many of these did not stand up to scrutiny. Choose furniture and furnishings made from natural materials. Use non-bio washing powder or none at all. Use a good quality water filter and, last but not least, choose organic decorating materials.
What’s the problem?
Electro smog is a condition caused by electromagnetic fields which are believed to be dangerous. These include the emissions from human made sources such as radio wave signals, microwaves, wifi and mobile phone masts. These frequencies are believed, by an increasing number of scientists and lay people, to be harmful. The EMFs around our homes represent a growing health hazard and it is thought that the reason for this is because they have an unnatural resonance that is completely out of sync with our body’s natural rhythms.
Your healthier home
We’re not all affected by the EMFs to the same degree – some of us are far more sensitive. However, it is a wise idea to reduce your exposure to mobile phones, transmitters and electricity supply lines all of which could possibly cause problems in the body. Turn off your wifi at night, unplug as many items as you can and never sleep with your mobile phone switched on and near you. I personally believe that we won’t really fully understand the damage that these cause until several decades into the future.
Before I go, just one final thought. It’s incredibly important not to get too hung up on negativity. Sure, it will take a little time and effort to cleanse your environment of toxins so, start small: in the short term, declutter your home, getting rid of anything that you suspect that might cause you problems. Also, think about what you can do on a personal level to reduce your own environmental footprint. Don’t get stressed out by worrying about toxin exposure, just address the issue step by step. Stress will not help – and actually can be a huge hindrance to a happy and healthy life. Finally, embrace nature, and, providing we haven’t got another smog attack, throw open your windows, let the sunshine in, treat yourself to a beautiful bunch of flowers, put your favourite music on and simply delight in life, knowing you’re doing the very best you can.
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