3 Ways You Can Hurt Yourself With a FitBit

john-schnobrich-520022-unsplash opt.jpg

#1 Fitbits increase wireless Electro Magnetic Radiation (EMR) exposure associated with increased risk of cancer and gene damage.

Watch the video on this concerned fellow’s blog showing his Fitbit Charge HR hitting 480 mW/m2. He measured alternating spikes peaking between 280 mW/m2 to 560 mW/m2. The problem is that those readings are nowhere near the recommended safe range of <10 mW/m2 during the day and only half that at night, as our bodies absorb more EMF/EMR radiation when asleep than awake. To make the situation more urgent, in 2011 the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer classified all radio frequency electromagnetic fields as a Possible Human Carcinogen.

Knowing all this, you might want to turn off the Bluetooth on your Fitbit; it will still track your steps. Of course, you’d really be selling the Fitbit’s capabilities short” according to one industry expert, if you didn’t sync up to make use of your Fitbit account online, but hey….you might reduce some of these symptoms of EMR exposure.

Insomnia, agitation, anxiety, irritability, headaches, ringing in the ears, fatigue, weakness, memory, concentration and learning problems, disorientation, dizziness, eye problems, heart problems, chest pain, leg cramps, arthritis, body pain, nausea, flu-like symptoms, sinus problems, nosebleeds, respiratory problems, asthma, cough, skin rahses, urinary problems, endocrine disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, changes in menstrual cycle, hyperactivity, seizures, recurrence of cancer.

So...don’t wear your Fitbit to bed. Or forget to turn off your wireless at night. Or any other time you don’t really need the EMR exposure. Turn your cell on airplane mode when you’re not using it. And keep it away from your head and gonads when you are. Use a hands-free headset or speaker phone. And don’t let children near your cell phone. Their small, thin developing skulls make them more susceptible to brain tumors. Following that logic, you won’t want to hold your infant in your arms while wearing a Fitbit connected to Bluetooth.

If you’re thinking, yeah, but…it won’t happen to me, or I thought it was safe, or not today, I can tell you those are unhealthy ways to think in these times we find ourselves in. You might want to take a wireless walk in nature one day soon, barefoot, and, instead of count your steps, walk a sacred circle while setting an intention to change your relationship with devices that emit Radio Frequency EMR including mobile phones, cordless phones and their base stations, WiFi routers and devices, smart meters, microwave ovens, GPS devices, baby monitors and communication towers, WiFi-enabled devices like your Smart TV, Bluetooth devices, Apple watch, and, yes, Fitbit. And while you’re at it, reassess your energy consumption and carbon footprint as an earthling at a critical time when we need to conserve

#2 A Fitbit makes you co-dependent on technology.

Like all digital health solutions, the Fitbit triangulates our relationship with our own health, inserting technology where, just a short time ago, humans didn’t seem to need it. Furthermore, our chronic disease rates show no positive correlation between better lifelong health and more digital health data. In fact, the opposite is true. Millennials are becoming chronically ill faster than their parents. So becoming accustomed to needing data from a Bluetooth bracelet to get up and take a walk, or manage your health, may actually hurt your ability to adapt and be well from some internal operating system from within your own bodymind.

The reason is because healthy organisms self-regulate. Their health doesn’t depend on external technology. Self-regulation means internal regulation. When we’re healthy, our nervous system regulates itself, our cardiovascular system regulates itself, our immune system regulates itself, our hormonal system regulates itself, our digestive system regulates itself—and we don’t need wireless to do it. A lot of that self-regulation depends on some key organs, like your liver, kidneys, intestines and big brain. But nowhere do we need external technology to operate our own vehicle.

The Quantified Self being marketed to us today appears to have forgotten how to self-regulate. Because the failure to self-regulate is what creates the market for a digital health solution in the first place—whether we’re talking about how active you are on a daily basis, or how you manage stress with meditation, or how well your liver regulates insulin-like growth factor to trigger your pancreas to produce more insulin in response to blood sugar levels. No device can do all that better than a healthy person can.

The truth is, digital health solutions make us co-dependent on technology. And they make our health dependent on data. That won’t heal what really ails us as a society, or spare us from suffering personally in a culture where 50% of people already have one or more chronic illness. Big Data’s trend to turn medicine into more information technology hasn’t healed our chronic disease epidemic, and it never will. Because technology is outside of us, and the healing we need can only come from within.

#3 Your Fitbit’s focus on quantifying steps can distract you from other things you need to do to take care of your health.

The Fitbit is designed to quantify your daily movement, and it’s very good at it. It’s also very good at conditioning you with a simple feedback loop to repeat the same action over and over. But that feedback loop is directed at just one behavior, and most of us need to change more than one behavior to recover or maintain an optimum state of health. In fact, most people need to change deeply engrained, habitual bodymindsets about health and illness that organize a broad range of somatic-emotional-thought patterns.

Let me give you an example. A classic case of "I'm fine." A cousin came to visit and her husband was obsessed with walking between 5 to 10 miles a day tracked meticulously on his Fitbit. One morning, I suggested we all go to the beach to start the walk together, and he could go on after the rest of us turned around, and we would meet him for lunch later. At the beach he took off his running shoes and socks, and I immediately noticed one of his feet was swollen like a balloon with severe edema. I was very concerned and asked him what was going on. He confided his doctor had diagnosed him with cellulitis, was treating him, but it wasn't getting better. I asked questions to get a sense of his body story to find out what could be causing the cellulitis. When he reported other family members also had cellulitis, I asked him about chicken. Yes chicken. Not his genes. His diet. Family members not only share genes, they tend to share patterns around food. I discovered he bought discounted commercial chicken from Costco, as did other family members.

He got very quiet when I showed him search results on the cellulitis epidemic among commercial chickens. Cellulitis is a condition commonly seen in chickens raised on overcrowded commercial farms and in poultry processed in large slaughterhouses. It is characterized by extensive lesions of the skin and subcutaneous tissue and is associated with the bacteria E. coli. Virulent strains of E. coli are not the only pathogenic microbes coming from chickens. PBS Frontline recently reported we're in the middle of the biggest outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella in recorded history, and it's coming from commercial chicken—about 200,000 cases in the U.S. are reported every year. It's why the EU doesn't want to buy our chickens.

Before our visit ended, my cousin's husband's Fitbit trance had been broken. He made an appointment with a health center in his hometown that provided ozone therapy. Ozone is a cheap and effective systemic antimicrobial agent—one of the most potent we have against antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria. And he agreed to take a break from walking so much until the swelling in his foot went down. He also stopped buying discounted chicken in bulk. He even did The Healist 10-day Superfeel Detox when I challenged him, cleaned out his colon, liver and kidneys (a great way to boost your immunity), and lost 12 lbs. I mean, he went for it. All because he finally admitted that he wasn't fine after all, even if he could walk 5-10 miles a day.

If you're curious about what more you can to do for your health beyond fitness, see our self-care Lists to learn how to be well and stay well in a chronic illness epidemic—from the basics, to core health, to self-regulation, to adaptation.