Soon after the first use of electromagnetic fields in telecommunications, scientists started investigating the medical use of electromagnetic fields. In France in the 1930s, Georges Lakhovsky developed a “multiple waves oscillator” which he used to cure cancer – a well documented development. Guglielmo Marconi, possibly the most prominent contributor to the development of radiocommunications, treated himself with short wave exposures. Wilhelm Reich treated cancer by installing the patient in what was essentially a Faraday cage – thus protecting him from electromagnetic fields. Royal Raymond Rife experimented treatments based on exposure to a relatively complex waveform.
However these remarkable inventions faced adverse circumstances. Rejection by “mainstream science” of the interaction between the human being and electromagnetic fields can indeed be traced back to 1784, long before the first use of electromagnetic fields in telecommunications. In that year, the French academy of science, following reports ordered by king Louis XVI, but against the opinion of many physicians and of prominent individuals such as La Fayette, and despite counter-reports by Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu and Charles Deslon, ordered that its members trained in animal magnetism shall sign a letter of abjuration. This forced conversion initiated the divorce between “official science” and all practical and factual knowledge connected to animal magnetism. Mainstream science was to switch from an attitude of careful but objective investigation, towards dogmatic rejection. When electromagnetic fields became used for telecommunications, the rejection of animal magnetism was quite naturally extended to the interaction of life with electromagnetic waves. Lakhovsky’s results, despite being remarkably reproducible, were not enough to either resolve the conflict or open a new scientific field of investigation. Results by other researchers such as Wilhelm Reich or Royal R. Rife, which were plagued with reproducibility issues and inadequate interpretations, were rejected far more vigorously. After the second world war, electromagnetic medicine had fallen in complete discredit.
Rejection of animal magnetism may well have been productive. It led scientists away from a difficult and controversial issue, thus allowing them to concentrate on more concrete issues, very successfully. The principles of electromagnetism were set out by Maxwell in 1864, relativity was set out by Einstein in 1905 (special relativity) and 1915 (general relativity). Quantum physics was set out mostly between 1923 and 1930 (De Broglie, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, ….). As of 1930 the conceptual framework of modern physics was ready to serve. Yet the extension of mainstream science’s rejection of animal magnetism towards the interaction of biological systems with electromagnetic fields could have been avoided: indeed, this interaction did not raise the same difficulties as animal magnetism, and lent itself well to a scientific approach.
In the 1960s in France, a remarkable invention appeared which continued the works of Lakhovsky, Reich and Rife, however with more rigorous experimental methods. This was the “Priore Machine”. Honest and clear-sighted scientists such as Raymond Pautrizel spent part of their life validating it. They obtained highly reproducible results and correctly identified the immune system as the target for electromagnetic fields. Despite these highly probatory results, despite heavy investments, and despite the implication of recognized scientists, the scientific hierarchy finally refused to modify the dogma , which was reaffirmed by the refusal of Priore’s thesis and the closing of INSERM unit 89.
In the 1970s the Soviet Union progressed towards a better knowledge of the biological effects of electromagnetic waves. In 1971 Dronov and Kiritseva identified disturbances of the immune system caused by low power electromagnetic fields. This work was continued in 1975 by Vinogradov and Dumansky who worked at 2450 MHz and 0.5 W/m2, significantly below today’s european exposure standards. This explains why regulations in Russia were stricter than in Europe or the United States.
In 1973 Smolenskaya and Vilenskaya initiated research on biological effects of electromagnetic fields in the millimeter band. This work has been continued ever since, yielding today’s millimeter wave therapy which is widely used in Russia. Beside these developments, in the centimeter band Fesenko found in 1999 an effect on cancer based on the same type of interaction as the “Priore effect”.
In the United States, research was also progressing, for example under the direction of R.W. Adey. Power windows of biological effects were identified, then in the 1980s the inactivation of lymphocytes by electromagnetic fields was discovered. Meanwhile, Hertzian communications were developing. But it is only after the generalization of mobile telephony in the 1990s that popular concern about health effects of electromagnetic waves arose, based on multiple symptoms described by people living near mobile telephony base stations.
Yet the belief of mainstream scientists remained in full conformity with the abjuration of 1784: low power electromagnetic waves could not have any health effects. This belief was stronger than the experimental facts which contradicted it in an increasingly obvious manner. It was also stronger because the telecoms industry had become a financial power which feared a possible impact of scientific progress on its business and often succeeded in influencing official organisms and communication agencies. And because the public was becoming more accustomed and more dependent on mobile telephony.
Over time, this certainty has built into a “Doctrine of Innocuity of Electromagnetic Waves”, with the appearance of a solid and irrefutable scientific approach. If you wish to understand the fundamental physics underlying the present controversy between the Doctrine of Innocuity of Electromagnetic Waves and the approach defended on this web site, you may read the following document:
There was at all times a minority group of scientists defending a rational attitude: observe, obtain reproducible experimental data, accept the fact that such reproducible data is correct even if not explained, and from this starting point we may at some point find explanations. Another group of scientists, possibly representing a majority of those directly working on the subject, almost invariably concluded their publications with words like “globally, we did not observe any significant negative effects of electromagnetic waves”, yet reported the observed facts faithfully. The unclear conclusions made it later difficult to retrieve their publications, yet these scientists produced valuable experimental data. Both groups contributed to the advancement of science and the findings on which this web site is based would not have been possible without them.
Whilst a number of effects of low power electromagnetic waves on biological systems and on human health are well documented, until recently they were not properly understood. The reason for this is that a fundamental fact was essentially ignored: most of these effects are due to the stimulation by electromagnetic waves of transitions between different conformations (i.e. spatial arrangements) of proteins or other biological sub-systems. These transitions are analogous to transitions between two states of a molecule in a Maser (Microwave laser). They are ruled by quantum physics, as this is the branch of physics which applies to atoms and molecules. Different conformations of a protein have different biological functionalities, so that stimulated transitions result in various functional disturbances.
This web site was created following the identification of the fundamental mechanisms of interaction of biological systems (and particularly the immune system) with low power electromagnetic waves. It aims at allowing interested persons to understand the nature and consequences of these interactions that take place at low power, i.e. power values to which the general public is commonly exposed. It does not answer all questions which this interaction raises, but it gives enough answers to convince any reasonable scientist that this interaction exists and is interpretable within the framework of modern physics.