Electromagnetic Field Sensitivity (EMF Sensitivity) Revisited

Sensitivity reaction or killing of microorganisms?

       The following is an excerpt taken from the book Lyme Disease and Rife Machines, by Bryan Rosner. This excerpt examines the safety of electromagnetic fields with regard to treating Lyme Disease. Specific focus is on so-called electromagnetic field sensitivity (EMF Sensitivity).



The ideal protocol must not be taxing to the body (other than the inevitable herx reactions).  Immunosuppressive side effects must be avoided such as those common with pharmaceutical drugs. 

Long term antibiotic use creates a toxic condition in the body.  The ideal treatment would avoid long term use of any drug, including antibiotics.


The most common concern voiced by those investigating rife machines is the possibility of unwanted side effects (including cancer) from exposing the body to electromagnetic fields (EMF).  This concern is rational and warranted.

There is no conclusive proof that rife machines are safe.  No therapy, regardless of how widely studied, can be proved 100% safe.  As with any decision about a medical treatment, a risk/reward ratio analysis is necessary.  This book does not assert or claim that rife machines are safe or unsafe; instead, this section will present relative data so that you can come to your own conclusion.  When investigating rife machines, each individual must determine for them self if the treatment is a smart course of action.

The first reason rife machine use appears safe relates to the circumstances in which researchers believe exposure to electromagnetic fields is dangerous.  Long-term, continual exposure to very low or very high frequency electromagnetic fields is generally believed to elevate EMF associated risks.  For example, living near power lines (low frequency) or excessive use of cell phones (high frequency), would put a person in this exposure category.  Electromagnetic fields created by power lines are 60 Hz (this is considered low frequency), and electromagnetic fields generated by cell phones are typically in the MHz range (this is considered high frequency). 

Most rife machines used against Lyme Disease do not use very high or very low frequency AC fields.[1]  Also, although a rife machine treatment campaign can require several years, treatment exposure is not continual.  Treatment protocols only require use of a rife machine for between 15 minutes and 1 hour per week. 

For the purpose of being thorough in evaluating the effects of electromagnetic fields, we will review scientific studies that address various durations of electromagnetic field exposure, including repeated exposure.  We will also review the effects of a wide range of frequencies. 

According to The McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment in Canada , fear of electromagnetic fields causing ill health effects is based more on public and media sensationalism than the results of objective, scientific research.  The current evidence linking EMF exposure to childhood and adult cancer is limited and inconclusive, and there exists very little evidence of EMF-induced non-cancer health problems.[i]

The Department of Preventative Medicine at Stony Brook University , New York found that there is no association between EMF exposure and breast cancer.  This study examined low-level, chronic exposure to 60hz AC fields.[ii]

A similar study by Stony Brook University  examined the effects of chronic, low-frequency EMF exposure on the occurrence of breast cancer in women who sleep with electric blankets.  This study concluded that there is no evidence that electric blankets increase the risk of breast cancer.  In addition, based on other experimental parameters and interviews with people involved in the experiment, there was no increased breast cancer risk even with increased duration of use, frequency of use, and even other more intense EMF exposures.[iii]

The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Mainz, Germany  conducted a study that explored the effects of high-frequency EMF on sleep.  The study concludes that high-frequency EMF does appear to have a few subtle effects on sleep, none of which are negative or harmful.  For example, exposure to EMF resulted in a slight sleep-inducing effect.[iv]  

The Section of Toxicology and Biomedical Sciences, Casaccia, Rome, Italy  found that exposing human blood cells to 50hz magnetic fields resulted in no significant genotoxicity as measured by comet assay, chromosome aberration, micronucleus, and sister chromatid exchange analyses.[v]

A survey and analysis of several epidemiological EMF studies and experimental investigations published mostly in peer-reviewed journals revealed that the preponderance of data does not support the supposition that in vivo or in vitro exposures to EMF is carcinogenic.[vi]

In Studies of exposure of rabbits to electromagnetic pulsed fields by Nickless and Hoffman, Dutch rabbits were acutely exposed to electromagnetic pulsed (EMP) fields (pulse duration 0.4 mus, field strengths of 1--2 kV/cm and pulse repetition rates in the range of 10 to 38 Hz) for periods of up to two hours.  This exposure had no measurable effects on the rabbits.  The biological markers unaffected by this exposure were pentobarbital-induced sleeping time and serum chemistry (including serum triglycerides, creatine phosphokinase [CPK] isoenzymes, and sodium and potassium). Notice here that the exposure time in this study was similar to that of rife machine treatment, i.e., not continual but instead, a short two-hour period.

These scientific studies suggest that EMF exposure is not likely to be harmful under the conditions of the studies. 

Interestingly, there are actually studies in which the effects of electromagnetic fields were found to have a positive impact on health. 

Injured white rabbits in New Zealand were exposed to an alternating electromagnetic field for 12 hours per day (72 Hz, 380 usec duration, 2 gauss, 1.4 mV/cm bone). These rabbits showed an increase in the rate of re-vascularization and bone remodeling of the femoral head.  The study found that “in both the descriptive and quantitative analyses, an increased vasculature associated with PEMF exposure occurred in the early stages of circulatory recovery.” These rabbits actually recovered faster when exposed to an electromagnetic field at 72 Hz.[vii] 

The section in chapter 5 which addresses DC powered machines has an extensive discussion of many additional health benefits

This document is an excerpt from the above book.

 documented from exposure to electromagnetic fields.  There are over 50 endnote citations in Appendix G which cite studies that report the positive effects of electromagnetic fields.  Yes, you are reading that correctly – more than 50 studies, all finding EMF to be beneficial. 

There are at least several scientific studies that report a possible correlation between electromagnetic field exposure and negative health effects.  Although there may be some circumstances in which electromagnetic fields can be harmful, most experts conclude that the risks associated with exposure to common sources of EMF are insignificant, and the public fear is mainly due to uneven reporting by the mass media, inability of scientists to guarantee there are no risks, and statements made by scientists and governments that more research is needed.  Public fear is further compounded by inaccurate books alleging that a conspiracy has taken place to cover up the true ill-health effects of EMF.

In an extensive and thorough compilation of data maintained by John E. Moulder, Ph.D., professor of Radiation Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin  titled “ Power Lines and Cancer FAQs,” the following conclusions are reached: 

  1. The consensus in the scientific community is that no causal relationship exists between residential exposure to EMF and negative health effects.
  2. There is also a consensus that exposure to these fields has not been, and cannot be, proven to be absolutely safe.
  3. It is also generally agreed that if there is a health hazard to these fields, it is likely very small or restricted to subgroups of people.

If the reader is interested in further information about this issue, I recommend reviewing “Power Lines and Cancer FAQs.”[2] 

A new look at EMF sensitivity

Another important area to explore with regard to the safety of rife technology is EMF sensitivity , the condition which involves immediate, adverse reactions to electromagnetic fields.  EMF sensitivity  is distinguished from other feared adverse effects because it is experienced as an acute, immediate reaction, as opposed to a long-term, progressive effect. 

EMF sensitivity  is a relevant topic for discussion in relation to treating Lyme Disease with rife machines because: a) If it is a real condition it would be wise to prevent it when using rife machines, and b) Many Lyme Disease sufferers appear to be more susceptible to EMF sensitivity  than healthy people.

The scientific community generally does not recognize EMF sensitivity  as a real condition.  The available evidence does suggest that the symptoms of EMF sensitivity  are real and valid, but the medical community has been unable to create repeatable experiments in which these symptoms recur and/or can be explained by known mechanisms of exposure.  The condition remains questionable, not well understood, and widely labeled as mainly a psychosomatic problem. 

Despite doubt from conventional medical clinicians, EMF sensitivity  is a real condition.  While the cause is not conclusively known, several workable hypotheses exist.  One of the best hypotheses uses a model of infectious disease to explain EMF sensitivity [3].  If the premise of this book is indeed valid (that electromagnetic frequencies, as per Royal Raymond Rife, really do kill microorganisms), then it is reasonable that people experiencing electromagnetic sensitivity may in fact be experiencing an interaction between an infection (possibly unknown) in their body and electromagnetic fields.  Just as Lyme Disease sufferers using rife technology experience herx reactions following treatment sessions, it is feasible that people with EMF sensitivity  are experiencing the effects of electromagnetic fields on undiagnosed infections in their body. 

Substantiating evidence for this hypothesis is that symptoms of EMF sensitivity  can be remarkably similar to symptoms experienced by people with infectious diseases, such as Lyme Disease.  Here are some symptoms reported for EMF sensitivity :

Headache, eye irritation, dizziness, nausea , skin rash, facial swelling, weakness, fatigue , pain in joints  and/or muscles, buzzing/ringing in ears, skin numbness, abdominal pressure and pain, breathing difficulty, and irregular heartbeat. Additional symptoms have been reported in some individuals such as paralysis, balance problems, body and/or muscle spasms, convulsions, confusion, depression , difficulty in concentrating, seizure, sleep disturbances, and memory difficulties.[viii]

These symptoms are remarkably close to the symptoms of Lyme Disease, especially symptoms of herx reactions!  Based on the growing consensus that Lyme Disease is often misdiagnosed and is spreading rapidly, it seems possible that EMF sensitivity  may  in fact be due to undiagnosed Lyme Disease or similar infection.  According to one author, the problem of EMF sensitivity  has grown to epidemic proportions.  Further evidence supporting this hypothesis is that many people who suffer from EMF sensitivity  have lots of other health problems that suggest infection. 

In addition, the time frame for the presentation of an EMF reaction is suspiciously similar to the time frame for presentation of a genuine Jarisch-Herxheimer  reaction in persons treating confirmed Lyme Disease.  Both Lyme Disease Jarisch-Herxheimer  reactions and EMF sensitivity  reactions occur within a few hours to a few days of exposure.  In contrast, the negative EMF health effects feared by the public (such as cancer) occur over the course of months or years of exposure, not a few hours or days.

If it were true that EMF sensitivity  (in some or all cases) is actually undiagnosed Lyme Disease (or other similar infections), then it would follow that as the bacterial load  in the body is decreased, severity of EMF reactions would also decrease.  This is, in fact, what happens in many cases.  People who have confirmed Lyme Disease and EMF sensitivity  note that their EMF sensitivity  decreases with continued rife machine (or other anti-Lyme) treatments. 

If this hypothesis is true then EMF sensitivity  is caused by irritating bacteria in the body with weak, inadvertent EMF exposure. If

 EMF is directed and tuned more powerfully and accurately to attack and kill the infectious organisms, instead of irritating them, then more productive Jarisch-Herxheimer  reactions will occur (instead of merely EMF sensitivity  symptoms).  This can be accomplished by intentional use of rife machines instead of unintentional exposure to weak, non directed EMF sources like household appliances. 

If a person’s EMF sensitivity  is caused by the Lyme Disease infection, and the person reduces their bacterial load with rife machines, then the person should go through the process described in this book, eventually eradicating some or all of the infection.  As the bacterial load  is reduced with rife machines, the person would gain back the ability to be exposed to common EMF sources without experiencing symptoms of EMF sensitivity .  Of course, this is all under the assumption that the above hypothesis is true.

This hypothesis, while obviously not conclusive proof that EMF sensitivity  results from infectious disease, is as workable a hypothesis as any.  It seems possible that EMF reactions are in some cases a result of the direct effect of electromagnetic fields on microorganisms in the body.

How to conduct your own risk/reward analysis of rife machines

This book’s discussion is not thorough enough to be used as a sole assessment of the safety of rife machine therapy.  Rife machine treatment increases EMF exposure.  This additional exposure may result in risk of adverse effects, although current research relied on in the writing of this book has not consistently identified significant risks. 

Use a risk/reward analysis for your individual situation to determine whether rife machine use is rational.  You need to do something to treat your Lyme Disease, so you can’t avoid all treatments.  Since all treatments carry some level of risk, you can’t avoid all risk.  So it is not a question of avoiding risk completely but instead minimizing risk the best you can.  Compare the benefits you get (or believe you will get) with rife machines to the benefits you get (or believe you will get) with other therapies.  Compare rife machine risks with risks of other therapies.  If rife machines have more benefit relative to risks than other therapies, then rife machine use is rational.  Make sure you enlist the assistance of a trusted physician when you conduct your risk/reward analysis.  Also be sure to take into account the unique details of your specific situation.  For example, people with “early-stage” Lyme Disease, or Lyme Disease that responds to antibiotics, would have less reason to use rife machines than those who are debilitated with chronic Lyme Disease because antibiotics failed.

When you conduct your risk/reward analysis remember to consider the dangers of other Lyme Disease therapies like pharmaceutical drugs.  Most drugs approved by the FDA have significant incidence of uncomfortable and even dangerous side effects.  The list of serious side effects for a given drug is likely not complete.  Clinical trials for new drugs only catch problems that show up during the trial, with most trials taking place over the course of six months to two years.  There are many examples of drugs being taken off the market after FDA approval when the drug begins to cause serious problems in people years later.  Consider the following when determining the risks of drugs: 

1.     Vioxx ®, once believed to be safe, is actually very dangerous.  Vioxx® was pulled from the market due to a 50% increase in risk of stroke  and heart attack.

2.     IV Rocephin®  often causes billiary sludge that necessitates surgical removal of the gall bladder.  Surgery introduces a new set of serious risks.  Living without a gall bladder also has risks, including chronic digestive problems and diarrhea.

3.     Plaquenil ®, a drug commonly used for Lyme Disease, can cause vision  damage.

4.     Nearly all drugs are associated with sporadic adverse events that can be life threatening, including liver failure, kidney failure, allergic reaction, etc.

These are just several examples.  You should examine the risks of any therapy you are considering and compare it with rife therapy.  Remember that Lyme Disease sufferers often use pharmaceutical drugs (especially antibiotics) in higher doses, and for longer periods, than other people.  This extended use increases likelihood of serious side effects. Many Lyme Disease sufferers are forced to discontinue taking drugs because test results show elevated liver enzymes and other bodily indicators that sound alarms of stress.  So, some people do not even have the option of using certain drugs.  See Appendix B  for additional discussion of the risks involved in using pharmaceutical treatments.

Rife machine therapy is non-invasive.  It does not introduce any physical substance or chemical into the body orally or intravenously, and it does not require a surgical procedure.  There are many intrinsic benefits of non-invasive therapies.  These benefits should be factored into your risk/reward analysis:

1.        No toxicity, possibility of overdose, no documented adverse/allergic reactions.

2.        No chemical or substance that the body has to detoxify and excrete via the eliminatory system.  Antibiotics and herbs get absorbed, circulate in the body, and must be excreted by the liver and kidneys each time the pills are taken.  A 6 month course of antibiotics results in this happening hundreds of times. Many herbs and drugs are very potent substances that can be stressful to the eliminatory system when taken in the high quantities and long treatment campaigns necessary to make a dent in Lyme Disease.  To compound this further, Lyme Disease sufferers’ eliminatory systems are already under considerable stress dealing with the infection and associated neurotoxins .

3.        No risks of getting a contaminated batch of drugs.

4.        No risk of drug interactions.

For me personally,[4] the use of rife machines and the associated electromagnetic field exposure was a rational and appropriate choice given my circumstances.  My personal review of available data did not raise for me a high level of concern in comparison with the high level of benefit I received from rife machines. Additionally, I did not find the risk/reward ratio of other available therapies to be appealing.

Another indication I relied on to personally conclude that rife machine therapy is relatively safe was the absence of reported adverse events in rife machine users I was in contact  with.  One specific example is Doug , inventor of the Coil Machine .   Doug  was exposed to one of the most powerful modern rife machines for years (during his experimentation and subsequent use of the technology on himself).  He never had any adverse reactions or negative health effects (other than typical and expected Lyme-related herx reactions).  He is currently in great health.  He actually noticed some pre-Lyme health problems disappear after treatment with rife machines.  Many other rife machine users have a similar story.

My risk/reward analysis served me well, as currently I have experienced no side effects or adverse reactions from rife machines (no manifested risks) and rife machine therapy has been the single most helpful therapy for my Lyme Disease (reward).

However, because rife technology is experimental and has not been proven to be 100% safe, each individual must review the data to their satisfaction and come to their own conclusion.  If your risk/reward analysis does not lead you to conclude that rife machines offer more benefit relative to risk than other therapies, then you should consider that rife machines may not be the ideal treatment for you.  

[1]Although several of the machines discussed in this book are capable of running very low and very high frequencies, use of these frequencies (while possibly helpful in killing Lyme bacteria) is not necessary for success. 

[2] http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/powerlines-cancer-FAQ/toc.html

[3] The following discussion DOES NOT apply to all people with electromagnetic field sensitivity.  Instead, it is simply one hypothesis to explain certain cases of the condition.  Consult a physician before using electromagnetic therapies if you have electromagnetic field sensitivity. 

[4]The following paragraphs describe MY PERSONAL DECISION about the rationality of using rife machines to treat Lyme Disease.  This is in no way a recommendation for others to use the technology, but instead my own personal interpretation of the risk/reward ratio.

[i] Health risks of electromagnetic fields. Part I: Evaluation and assessment of electric and magnetic fields.
Habash RW, Brodsky LM, Leiss W, Krewski D, Repacholi M.
McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. rhabash@site.uottawa.ca.

[ii] Electromagnetic fields and breast cancer on Long Island: a case-control study.  Schoenfeld ER, O'Leary ES, Henderson K, Grimson R, Kabat GC, Ahnn S, Kaune WT, Gammon MD, Leske MC; EBCLIS Group.  Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Stony Brook University , Stony Brook, NY 11794-8036, USA. eschoenfeld@notes.cc.sunysb.edu

[iii] Electric blanket use and breast cancer on Long Island.  Kabat GC, O'Leary ES, Schoenfeld ER, Greene JM, Grimson R, Henderson K, Kaune WT, Gammon MD, Britton JA, Teitelbaum SL, Neugut AI, Leske MC; EBCLIS Group.  Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Stony Brook University , Stony Brook, NY, USA.

[iv] Sleep under exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields.  Mann K, Roschke J.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Mainz, Untere Zahlbacher Str. 8, D-55101 Mainz, Germany. mann@psychiatrie.klinik.uni-mainz.de   PMID: 15033149 [PubMed - in process]

[v] Absence of genotoxicity in human blood cells exposed to 50 Hz magnetic fields as assessed by comet assay, chromosome aberration, micronucleus, and sister chromatid exchange analyses. Stronati L, Testa A, Villani P, Marino C, Lovisolo GA, Conti D, Russo F, Fresegna AM, Cordelli E.  Section of Toxicology and Biomedical Sciences, ENEA CR, Casaccia, Rome, Italy.

[vi] Radio frequency electromagnetic fields: cancer, mutagenesis, and genotoxicity.
Heynick LN, Johnston SA, Mason PA.  Independent Consultant, Palo Alto, California 94303, USA. heylou@mindspring.com

[vii] Device: Bi-Osteogen System 204, Electro-Biology, Inc., Fairfield, NJ; 1.4 mV/cm; 2 G; 72 Hz; 380 usec WF, Page 313

[viii] http://spinspace.com/biophysics/emfsens.htm



Related Books

Lyme Disease and
Rife Machines

The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments


See More Lyme Disease Books and DVDs


Disclaimer: This page is for informational and educational purposes only.
Not intended as medical advice.