Can Cordless Phones Affect Your Heart?

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

Cordless phones sure make life easier in some ways, but are they bad for your health? Over the past decade, there’s been a lot of controversy over whether radiation from wireless devices like cellular and cordless phones can cause health problems ranging from insomnia to cancer. A growing number of people are reporting symptoms such as dizziness, heart palpitations and digestive disturbances when exposed to various electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which raises the question, “is electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) truly a hypersensitivity issue, or are we all at risk?”

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Researchers had hoped that the long-awaited Interphone Study results would help resolve the issue and assist authorities in determining whether current safety standards (established in 1996) should be revised; however, the study results were deemed “inconclusive” due to biases and errors despite data that “heavy” cell phone use (30 minutes per day for 10 or more years) was linked to increased risk of cancer. Other experts published the BioInitiative Report in 2007, through which evidence from a wide range of other studies was summarized to suggest that safety standards should be revised because electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from wireless technologies may cause non-thermal health effects like heart arrhythmias, insomnia, and immune system dysfunction. Most of the studies, though, have not demonstrated instantaneous or direct evidence of such negative health effects… until now, that is.

The Havas Study on EMFs and Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

In late 2010, Magda Havas, Ph.D, an electrosmog and electrosensitivity expert, published results of a groundbreaking study in the European Journal of Oncology which demonstrated that some wireless EMFs can adversely affect heart function. Using a NervExpress HRV Monitoring System and a Lifeforce UA-767 digital blood pressure monitor, Havas and her colleagues first measured baseline heart rate variability (HRV) and blood pressure in 25 generally healthy individuals. The researchers then continually monitored the subjects’ HRV and blood pressure during a series of exposures, in 3-minute intervals, to cordless phone base station emissions (2.4 GHz – which is about the same frequency as WiFi and microwave ovens).

The subjects, who had filled out wellness and EHS questionnaires prior to the physiological testing, were located approximately two feet from each base station and were unaware as to whether each base station was operative; background EMF was also carefully measured and accounted for. While 15 of the 25 did not demonstrate detectable cardiovascular changes in response to the EMF exposure, 10 of the subjects (40 percent) displayed increased heart rate, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats, a.k.a. heart palpitations), or other disturbances in HRV. Four subjects experienced overt tachycardia, or intense and prolonged heart racing, after a second or two of exposure, with one subject’s heart almost tripling its rate. The 10 subjects with noticeable cardiovascular changes had HRV readings which evidenced strong increases in sympathetic nervous activity and decreases in parasympathetic activity.

HRV: a Diagnostic Test for EHS?

The finding that exposure to cordless phone EMF can directly impact heart rate and autonomic nervous system function may provide a groundbreaking diagnostic test for EHS. Cardiologists now use HRV to help determine whether a person is at risk of cardiovascular events due to too much stress. Chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system branch and not enough parasympathetic activity also explains many of the symptoms EHS sufferers commonly report such as heart palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and nausea. Until now, determining whether a person is electromagnetically hypersensitive has been a matter of speculation; use of HRV to physiologically measure stress levels brings a whole new dimension to EHS.

The Cardiologist’s Challenge

Wireless technology has brought a whole new set of issues to cardiology. Patient complaints of unexplained arrhythmias are usually attributed to “emotional stress,” though other behaviors or situations that can trigger or exacerbate arrhythmia include cigarette smoking, overeating, having too much caffeine, alcohol, or sugar, using stimulant or some prescription drugs, exposure to environmental toxins, magnesium deficiency, menopause, and competing in sports activities. Cardiologists now must add to this mix the possibility that overexposure to EMF is causing their patients’ hearts to go out of rhythm. In addition to conducting HRV tests, they need to ask patients about their technology usage patterns: do they use WiFi, cordless or cellular phones, or baby monitors? If so, for how long per day? Would they be willing to switch to land telephone and wired internet lines? How close do they live to cell phone towers?


As with chaotic wireless emissions, negative emotions such as panic, depression, anxiety and hostility – “bad vibes” – can negatively impact HRV. In addition to grounding, regularly practicing mind-body activities such as yoga, meditation and Tai Chi, and learning to breathe fully, can also help bring about states of greater relaxation and more variability in heart rate. Limiting exposure to wireless emissions is also advisable.

One of the simplest ways to improve HRV and increase parasympathetic nervous system activity is to ground. Making direct skin contact with the Earth’s electromagnetic field by standing barefoot on the Earth’s surface (grass, dirt, ocean, or on unpainted concrete) or use of a (professionally made) conductive device can help bring the autonomic nervous system back into balance by shifting activity in the parasympathetic direction. Through a recent study (Chevalier, et al.) of 27 subjects, researchers found that 2 hours of grounding resulted an increase in parasympathetic activity that went beyond relaxation, indicating a positive trend toward lowered stress and improved HRV.


© 2011, 2017 HeartMD Institute. All rights reserved.

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  1. Line

    on December 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    I am wondering if wearing a hematite necklace can possibly have any effect on protecting from EMF since hematite has grounding properties.

  2. nancy

    on February 13, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I need a new roof and am considering a stone coated steel roof over asphalt because of its amazing energy and mold deterrent properties as well as it’s fantastic warrantee. My question is: Is there any dangers/benefits for EMF’s in having a steel roof? I have a full stand-up attic but I do have a pole transformer about 50′ or so from the house throwing out EMF’s as I had the electric co come out here some ys ago. They will not move the transformer. I do only have 2 days to decide.Cant see much on internet and seems like opinions. Thanks! Nancy in CT

  3. John

    on March 12, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Although it is now March, you may want to see The EMF expert that has created that site does phone consultations, if need be.

  4. yinka

    on April 11, 2014 at 12:11 am

    mobile phone companies can only see profit and do not care about the health of their customers, I have friends that have used their phones a lot due to the free calls, and have head ache and other pains around their head, as it has been commented on the use of mobile phones is very new, and the has not been a lot of time to see the long term effects that we all will be experincing in the near future. I do not use my phone that much, but have had a tingling feeling in my hand after going on line with my phone, i am now going to stop doing this. in short it does not take brain surgeon to know we have big problems coming down the line, the will be many a law suite, a bit like fags will not give u lung cancer, same sort of lie with the phones . take care

  5. Ethel Jamfrey

    on August 26, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    As a person with obvious EHS, I find it nearly impossible to be with “people”…eg. go to the doctor’s office especially the waiting room, eat in a restaurant, go to a public library, go to the bank, attend lectures at the local university, go shopping in stores with a heavy duty cell tower near by and even travelling on certain roadways becomes a problem when stoplights leave one sitting at an intersection that is barraged with heavy rf radiation. In all of these areas people can and do at any time pull out an electronic device that pulses out anything from 0 to 250+ mW/m2 ( as per my Electrosmog Meter). The immediate effect on me is a sudden headache which may also be accompanied with delayed thought and response time, shaky feeling in body, and difficulty in breathing. While getting away from these sources of WiFi helps, the residual effects continue …fatigue, nausea, gut problems, listless, don’t feel good, depression and generally in a poor disposition…sometimes , depending on the length of time of the exposure, can be several days. I have found that Benedryl and coffee can off set the symptoms, but massive grounding is the most effective “cure”. I see that insurance “risk management” information is now listing effects of WiFi to be the most serious casualties in the next 4- 10+ years. What do you recommend for me to pursue as a solution until “we come to our senses” about WIFI?

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