It was one of the first things I asked myself about vata dosha when I first read about it; since it is all about lightness, wind and air, does it make us vata types more susceptible to electro-sensitivity than people with other dosha balances? Several weeks into asking myself that, I am convinced that, yes, it does.
Perhaps this is why so many people simply aren’t, apparently, affected by wi-fi, microwaves, bluetooth, electric strip lights and so on (or so they think) and so they look at us sensitives as though we have lost our minds when we say that we “feel” these stimuli in our environment. Most people I know seem to be kapha dominant and I suspect that trait offers a natural immunity or buffer, of sorts, to electro-sensitivity; being water and earth based (a constitution that is not so easily knocked off its perch by an unseable force such as wi-fi). I would go as far as saying, I suspect electro-stimuli could be a trigger towards developing, or retraining kapha-dominance type physical traits for some people, such as water retention, congestion and weight gain, as the human body seeks to protect itself from the relentless fall-out of modern hi-tec living. So if you are struggling to loose weight in spite of dietary efforts, or constantly lethargic, I would say take a look at whether you are sleeping with you phone next to your pillow, a wifi mast nearby, too much electro-smog in your home environment or even a habit of too much social media. It could be that you are mis-interpreting a strong craving for invigoration and “spice” as an urge to dive even more deeply into an internet habit when this could be exactly the last thing your body really needs. Conversely, if I was to ask a forum of electro-sensitives to check their dosha, I wonder whether I would I find a large number of vata-types amongst their numbers.
I recently found that when I was staying in a very grounded place, literally ringed by mountains and water, that I was far less affected by electro-stimuli than ever before, even though I was staying in a very modern city hotel and using mobile phones and other hand-held devices every day to do my travel research (something I struggle to do for more than a couple of minutes at a time, without intense pain, when I am at home). In fact, the profound difference in my health astonished me (I began to feel like a “normal” person for a few days and started to enjoy my new access to technology) but back home, 40 miles from London, the old pain and sensitivity returned just as soon as I took my phone off airplane mode; how disappointing. It was as though the mountains and water (such a kapha landscape) buffered the effect of all those modern gizmos around me…just as having a kapha physical-type, perhaps, buffers the effect of using them; at least to a degree. It is a well-accepted principle of Ayurveda that the environment we live in has a significant impact upon how our dosha-balances manifest and I now suspect that where I live, in the Thames valley (the broad, flat clay basin that has London as its centre point) is not particularly conducive to my good health in an era when ever more potent wi-fi signals are being rolled out from every barely hidden mobile mast in the ever more populated vicinity of my home (and no mountains or significant hills here to mop-up the surplus).
Wi-fi (taking that prime example of an electro-trigger first) is…after all…vata in nature, being invisible, air-borne, a matter of vibration carried across the ether. In the body, vata is the domain of nerves and all those subtle signals that invisibly convey messages around the body and beyond, so if that system gets interfered with, or piggy-backed upon, by manmade data, we are likely to find ourselves in physical disarray, sooner or later. More specifically, I suspect wi-fi and many other electro-stimulants are a combination of vata-pitta (wind and fire) which is why they can be so harsh to deal with for us super-sensitive vata or vata-pitta types. Not only do they piggy back our central nervous system but they “burn” us as they pass on through.
Though we are all born with certain traits, our three doshas do not remain constant; they jostle for position and establish new arrangements with one another throughout life (encouraged by changes that we make through lifestyle and diet). As the vata dosha gains a foothold in the overall balance of doshas, I suspect this aspect becomes more refined and active; net result being that you start to register more subtle sensations in the environment. My husband is the classic kapha type but, due to a dramatic change in his body shape, including significant weight loss (all thanks to yoga), he has been developing more vata-like symptoms over the last three years. He now notices electro-stimulants in the environment such a lot and is finding he is having to mitigate his over-use of technology and avoid using it at all late in the evenings, or in his car (he’s ditched bluetooth altogether), for the same reasons that I do. If he uses it all day, he finds he experiences headaches, tingles, heat, itches and pain until he stops using it; and I suspect this will become more common for a lot of people as they attune their health to a more balanced lifestyle (assuming that they do).
There’s relatively little information “out there” on this topic (as yet) but I did find this article (below), which is pretty comprehensive and which – in collaboration with an Ayurvedic practitioner – could of considerable use to someone suffering with electro-sensitivity since it suggests a number of treatments that may prove useful. I notice, there are a few readily available steps suggested in there that I already, instinctively, find helpful with my own electro-sensitivities (aside from the obvious one…general avoidance of the triggers and turning off the wi-fi at night). For instance, going out in nature, hugging trees, grounding in the garden, getting outside under a full moon…these are some of my go-to help aids and they really work. I also talked about how helpful the vata-pacifying diet has been to me when it comes to coping in some really electro-triggering environments in my recent post (and I am finding that adhering to that diet is helping me to become a whole lot less sensitive to electro-stimuli in general). Proximity to technology overnight can really mess with a vata’s natural inspiration. Conversely, mindfulness can be used to achieve a sort of heart-cohesion that offers protection in the face of heavily polluted environments. The warm, moist, carby, slightly oily and, I would say, salty over sweet diet (without over-reliance on hot spices) seems to be a reasonable (if temporary) antidote to some of the electro-sensitivity issues I have come to know whereas dry, cold foods seem to offer very poor protection and leave me wide open to painful levels of sensitivity.
For a kapha experiencing issues shedding surplus weight or water retention, or feeling exhausted, lethargic or even depressed all the time, around electro-stimuli, I would first significantly reduce exposure but then follow a kapha pacifying diet of warm dry food without too much oil or heaviness and with complete avoidance of sweet flavours. Pitta types might find their natural traits inflamed all the more by over use of technology; irritability, over-use and addiction, obsessive-compulsiveness and even migraines, are common traits I have noticed in that situation from pitta-types (including myself when pitta, my second dosha, is rising) and the best solution is, really, to pull back from over-exposure and find some other things to do with your time (such as getting outside in nature). I therefore suspect that the more you know, and work to balance, your doshas, the less these triggers are a problem (though that’s not to say they don’t present a long-term health risk with excess exposure to the trigger-factors) so the Ayurvedic route could well prove a useful one for anyone struggling with electro-sensitivity and who has exhausted all other avenues.
Here’s that article:
For much more on this topic, please read my follow-up post Building Coherent Structures