An exploration through the animal kingdom towards the true north of man’s magnetic field.
Gaia’s Geomagnetic GPS
Many animals that have an uncanny ability to find their way back to the same feeding grounds every year have a superior navigation tool at their disposal: they can orient themselves using the Earth’s geomagnetic field (GMF).
Animals like birds, whales and sharks have an internal GMF GPS hardwired by nature. Nearly 2,000 miles below the Earth’s surface, swirling iron in our planets outer core conducts electricity that generates a magnetic field.
This field stretches all the way from the Earth’s interior to the space surrounding the planet, and is what protects the world from deadly solar radiation. But the direction that the electromagnetic energy flows, as well as the strength of the resulting protective sheath, depends on where on the planet’s surface you are.
Animals that use the magnetic field to orient themselves do so by detecting these differences in field strength and flow. They then use that information to figure out where they are and where to go.
Scientists have predominantly found evidence of this by hacking the system. In a laboratory setting, small localised magnetic fields can be generated and tweaked to mimic the conditions of various locations hundreds of miles away. This tricks the animals internal navigators, causing them to reorient and start swimming in the direction they think will lead home.
Biologists still aren’t sure where many of these ‘magnetic receptors’ are located, and do not know how the phenomenon occurs. However it is fairly common to the animal kingdom as a whole… and has been registered in plants, bacteria, algae, mud snails, lobsters, honey bees, sea turtles, dogs and mole rats. It may even be something that is common to all animals in some form.
The term ‘aura’ is often used to denote the characteristics or virtues that a person embodies, or that appear to radiate out of someone or something. However it is known that all objects, including human bodies, emit electromagnetic radiation.
Humans produce their own electromagnetic field, and give off mostly infrared radiation which is a frequency lower than visible light (thermal radiation). We also produce electrochemical energy for example in the form of brain waves.
The human heart produces a significant electromagnetic field, with each contraction due to the coordinated depolarisation of myocytes producing a current flow. Unlike the electrocardiogram, the magnetic field is not limited to volume conduction and extends outside the body.
The magnetism produced by the human body is very weak compared to the magnetism of the Earth, and while numerous organisms use the Earth’s magnetic field as a sensory cue for migration, body alignment, or food search – it has generally been accepted that humans do not sense this geomagnetic field.
However, there is surfacing evidence that human’s magnetic sense is mediated by a light and magnetic-field resonance dependent mechanism. In other words, recent results establish the existence of a human magnetic sense and suggest an underlying quantum mechanical magnetoreception mechanism.
In animals, both magnetic compass and magnetic map information can be derived from the GMF, with the former being responsible for a variety of magnetically sensitive behaviours. In some species, this compass can be disrupted using different wavelengths of light
Research on magnetoreception in humans is very limited, because it is widely accepted that the Earth’s static magnetic field is not sensed by humans. However, alternating magnetic fields such as power frequency fields and pulsed fields, have been shown to have adverse or therapeutic applications respectively.
Some of the studies that do exist refer to the ‘human inclination compass’, but cite that humans are now much less mobile than long-distance migratory birds (without technology) and may not have evolved to be as sensitive as birds to encountering the polarity variation of the GMF.
The Right Vibrations
Everything in life is vibration. Atoms are in a constant state of motion, and depending on the speed of these atoms, things appear as a solid, liquid, or gas. Sound is also a vibration and so are emotional energies and thoughts.
Spiritual / existential / religious circles will often proclaim that certain emotions and thought patterns, such as joy, peace and acceptance create high frequency vibrations, while other feelings and mindsets such as anger, despair, and fear vibrate at a lower rate.
This has lead to the rise of popular books and movements promoting ‘magical thinking’ such as ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Law of Attraction’. This is also nothing new. In France, around 1780, many Parisians believed in curing their illnesses using magnetism. To perform this cure, they sat in a group around a tub containing ‘mesmerised water’ and iron filings; this was part of the cult introduced to Paris by Dr Franz Mesmer.
Dr Mesmer proclaimed that the animal magnetism of the human body controlled the flow of a universal fluid through the body and that illness resulted when there was an obstacle to that flow. The illness would be cured by magnetically redirecting the fluid with arrangements such as the filings and water.
Research today suggests that while the body is a source of magnetic fields, man’s magnetism is slightly different from that imagined by Mesmer. Instead of water and iron fillings in a tub, modern apparatus’ measure and emit much more finely tuned magnetic fields. They also face a new challenge – measuring evidence of the body’s weak magnetic fields amidst the increasing background magnetic radiation.
Bioelectromagnetics, also known as bioelectromagnetism, is the study of the interaction between electromagnetic fields and biological entities. Areas of study include electromagnetic fields produced by living cells, tissues or organisms, the effects of man-made sources of electromagnetic fields like mobile phones, and the application of electromagnetic radiation toward therapies for the treatment of various conditions.
Bioelectromagnetism is studied primarily through the techniques of electrophysiology. In the late eighteenth century, the Italian physician and physicist Luigi Galvani first recorded the phenomenon while dissecting a frog at a table where he had been conducting experiments with static electricity. Galvani coined the term animal electricity to describe the phenomenon, while contemporaries labeled it galvanism (where the term ‘galvanising’ comes from).
Many behavioural effects at different intensities have been reported from exposure to magnetic fields, particularly with pulsed magnetic fields. The specific pulse-form used appears to be an important factor for the behavioural effect seen; for example, a pulsed magnetic field originally designed for spectroscopic MRI, referred to as Low Field Magnetic Stimulation, was found to temporarily improve patient-reported mood in bipolar patients, while another MRI pulse had no effect. A whole-body exposure to a pulsed magnetic field was found to alter standing balance and pain perception in other studies.
This is why a number of physicians are attempting to replace Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to treat disorders such as severe depression and hallucinations. A strong changing magnetic field can induce electrical currents in conductive tissue such as the brain. Since the magnetic field penetrates tissue, it can be generated outside of the head to induce currents within, causing TMS.
These currents depolarise neurons in a selected part of the brain, leading to changes in the patterns of neural activity. Instead of one strong electric shock through the head as in ECT, a large number of relatively weak pulses are delivered in TMS therapy, typically at the rate of about 10 pulses per second. If very strong pulses at a rapid rate are delivered to the brain, the induced currents can cause convulsions much like those in ECT.
While health effects from extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields (0 to 300 Hz) generated by power lines, and radio / microwave frequencies (RF) (10 MHz – 300 GHz) emitted by radio antennas and wireless networks have been well studied, the intermediate range (IR) (300 Hz to 10 MHz) has been studied far less.
Direct effects of low power radiofrequency electromagnetism on human health have been difficult to prove, and documented life-threatening effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are limited to high power sources capable of causing significant thermal effects, as well as medical devices such as pacemakers and other electronic implants.
However, electromagnetic radiation in the intermediate frequency range has found a place in modern medical practice for therapeutic use – for example in the treatment of bone healing and for nerve stimulation and regeneration. Other studies have been conducted with electromagnetic fields to investigate their effects on cell metabolism, apoptosis, and tumour growth.
Virtually every single process which is keeping you alive can be traced back to an electric field that some component of your body is creating. Even as I’m typing this, the only thing letting me do it is the electric field in my fingers repelling and depressing the keys in my laptop.
While I constantly emit a low level radiation in the field of the infrared region, my eyes are intercepting the electromagnetic radiation of the environment and turning that into yet more electrical signals.
Not only is it possible that the body creates its own electromagnetic fields, it is the only way we can exist as a coherent entity. We are a giant electric field which holds our atoms together, and which interacts with other electric fields to send silent signals into the inner and outer worlds between us.