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Frequently asked questions

What does "Ecopraxis" mean?

We have coined the name Ecopraxis from:

eco- (Gr.oikos = house) - concerned with habitat and environment in relation to living organisms

and

praxis (Gr.prassein = to do) - the practical application (rather than just theory) of an art or science

So it means we are committed to delivering practical solutions and advice on making your home or workplace safe and enhancing.

What are EMFs and EMRs?

EMF (electro-magnetic field) is a broad term now commonly used to describe the man-made electric and magnetic fields generated by all electrical apparatus. EMR (electro-magnetic radiation) is more specifically used to describe radiated fields in the radio frequency (RF) and microwave spectrum usually from telecommunications.

Human life has evolved in the natural electro-magnetic fields of the Earth and is finely tuned to operate within and use these forces. In fact electrical and magnetic forces are regarded as the basis of most molecular and chemical reactions.

However, man-made EMFs are very new and we are now constantly and increasingly subjected to fields about which we have little long-term knowledge or experience. The fact is that we just do not know what effects will be over time! But as electrical beings (our heart, brains, nerves and a multitude of other systems are sustained by the interplay of precisely choreographed electrical impulses) we are bound to be affected - and maybe afflicted!

How can I reduce electro-magnetic risks in the home and at work?

First it will help to understand possible causes of EMFs and the levels that you have in your home or workplace.

Take a look at our self help tips on reducing the risks of EMFs for some basic ideas. You can also find out more from the web sites and publications listed in the resources section.

Get Ecopraxis or other EMF consultants to carry out an audit and provide specific advice on reducing or coping with any problems.

A key factor to remember is that the field is always strongest near the source and diminishes as you move away from the source. So get your electrical appliances tested and keep a safe distance.

Also, the affects seem to be cumulative over time. Reducing the time exposed to EMFs will reduce the dangers. So it is particularly important to ensure that places you spend a lot of time, such as your bed, armchair and desk area are as free as possible from high levels of EMFs.

Why are safety and security so important?

Even if we are not consciously aware of it, our subconscious mind is always alert to our safety and security. So it is vital to settle it if we are to be able to function at our optimum ability and creativity.

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What's wrong with feng shui?

Feng shui is based on over a thousand years of observation of human interaction with the environment. It is full of excellent advice and wisdom on how to get the best out of life.

A good feng shui practitioner will take account of a multitude of factors about the building and its occupants before suggesting remedies and enhancements. Unfortunately, the popularisation of feng shui has led to "cure alls" - like wind chimes, flutes and little pots with Chinese characters - that have about as much to do with real feng shui as newspaper horoscopes have to do with real astrology!

For a refreshingly honest, if somewhat cynical view of the state of feng shui today see the Feng Shui Ultimate Resource web site which describes itself as being "Dedicated to helping Feng Shui shed its snake-oil-and-incense image".

What is bau-biologie?

The German term bau-biologie ("building biology") was coined by Dr H Palm in the 1950s, and could be defined as, "how buildings and their environments impact our health" or "the relationship between buildings and life".

Bau-biologie is the application of this knowledge to the construction, or modification, of homes and workplaces. It advocates the use of natural building materials and the avoidance of EMFs and VOCs. More than 40 years ago, Dr Palm warned of the dangers of electrical installations and advised turning off at the mains at night.

What is vaastu shastra?

Vastu shastra is the Indian equivalent of feng shui and has even older roots. The Sanskrit word vaas means "to reside" and shastra means science, or a branch of knowledge.

Originally the architectural science of designing and siting holy places, it is now used to determine the proportions, shapes, orientation and dimensions of any building and the auspicious placement of furnishings to harmonise human existence.

There are many similarities and cross references with feng shui but vaastu tends to be stricter and more literal in application. Its practice now often includes astrology though purists eschew it.

Do powerlines cause disease?

There is much evidence to suggest that there may be health risks associated with powerlines. A recent report by the Government's Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation has admitted there is an increased risk of childhood leukaemia associated with elevated magnetic fields.

In addition to the dangers from magnetic fields produced by powerlines, leading UK expert, Professor Denis Henshaw of Bristol University, has recently published research on the effects of the electrical fields generated. The electric field strength near each powerline cable is often sufficient to ionise the air. The corona ions produced attach themselves to and electrically charge small particles (aerosols) of pollutants in the air. According to research carried out at the New York University Medical centre, electrically-charged aerosols are 5 or 6 times more likely to remain in the lungs compared to electrically-neutral pollutants, thus increasing the risk of disease.

What is geopathic stress?

Geopathic stress is a term usually used to describe naturally occurring electrical and magnetic fields that are unhealthy or detrimental to humans.

Zones of geopathic stress can be caused by the magnetic field generated by underground streams or piezzo-electric effects from geological pressures.

Are mobile phones or base stations dangerous?

There is a probability that prolonged use of mobile phones could be a health risk. Radiation from GSM handsets can have a heating effect on brain tissue (like microwaving your food) as well as non-thermal effects. They emit low intensity, pulsed microwave radiation at frequencies similar to natural biological electrical activities such as alpha and delta brain waves!

The findings of the Government-sponsored Stewart Report are slightly confusing as it states, "The balance of evidence to date suggests that exposures to RF radiation below the NRPB and ICNIRP guidelines do not cause adverse health effects to the general population." But then goes on to say, "There is now scientific evidence, however, which suggests that there may be biological effects occurring at exposures below these guidelines" and also "...gaps in knowledge are sufficient to justify a precautionary approach."

Cell phone base stations are receiving a lot of adverse publicity throughout the world, with many campaigns to stop their construction. These antennae generally have a comparatively low power output so should not cause too much concern as long as care is taken with their siting. The most worrying development is that cellular phone companies are now saying that they need masts every few hundred metres throughout urban areas - antennae that are likely to be stuck on the side of buildings or on lamp-post sized masts at the right height to irradiate you in your first floor bedroom or office!

Can Ecopraxis cure disease?

Ecopraxis is not a cure for medical problems. You should always consult a qualified medical practitioner if you are unwell in any way. However, it does aim to identify and remedy possible causes of heath risks in your environment.

Does astrology have a part to play in Ecopraxis?

Feng shui uses Chinese astrology as one of its key aspects and some practitioners of vaastu shastra use Indian astrology. Throughout the world there traditions and ceremonies concerning key dates in the construction of a building (topping out and laying of the foundation stone are common examples). So traditionally there may be some significance in considering the important dates in a building's construction.

However, looking at the astrology of the occupants of a building is likely to yield more useful results than applying it to the construction date of the building. Astrology can give an indication of the nature of a person and the influences at play in their life, so it can be a useful tool at times.

But, as we are fond of saying, you are more likely to suffer from stress from clutter than from being "born under a bad sign"

Radon - how do I know my house is safe?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas which results from the decay of radio-active elements in the earth. In some circumstances it can be trapped and concentrated in a building where it can be harmful to health.

You can find out if you are in an area of high risk from Radon by looking at the maps on the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB)web site. You will also find details of how to get your home or workplace tested (free to homes in high risk areas).

Sheep door photo © 2000 D Smith