I woke up this morning feeling a little funky. Which is rather unusual for me, as I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky person, and it’s Friday for God’s sake. Why would I be blue? As I was lying in bed mustering up the energy to get my ass out of it and get the day started, I considered why I might suddenly be in a rather cerulean state of mind.
And then it came to me—sunspots. WTF? (You are no doubt asking yourself.) Yes, you read the last word of the first sentence correctly. Sunspots.
With this latest Coronal Mass Ejection from AR1520, it appears we here on Earth may be in the midst of the beginning of a Solar Max as predicted by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 2006. And according the Ms. Diepati in an interview that same year for the NASA Science News, “The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one.”
In his article “Solar Storm Warning” the author Dr. Tony Phillips further explains, “If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958.
That was a solar maximum. The Space Age was just beginning: Sputnik was launched in Oct. 1957 and Explorer 1 (the first US satellite) in Jan. 1958. In 1958 you couldn’t tell that a solar storm was underway by looking at the bars on your cell phone; cell phones didn’t exist. Even so, people knew something big was happening when Northern Lights were sighted three times in Mexico. A similar maximum now would be noticed by its effect on cell phones, GPS, weather satellites and many other modern technologies.”1
It’s About the Rhythm—Circadian That Is
Here’s the funny thing (or perhaps not so), the solar storms produced by these nasty little fuckers (okay big fuckers)—the sunspots—not only have the potential to wreak havoc on our iDevices. They can potentially do the same to our brains (and those of other animal species). Why? The associated fluctuations in the magnetic field of the planet. These minute changes in the Earth’s magnetic field affect animals in any number of ways. According to Hazel Muir in her article “Animal Magnetism” in NewScientist “Many creatures, including some birds, amphibians and reptiles, navigate by sensing tiny changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. Sea turtles, for instance, can sense changes as small as a tenth of a microtesla—less than 0.2 per cent of the typical geomagnetic field.”2
And it’s not only birds, amphibians and reptiles that are susceptible to fluctuations in this field. These fluctuations affect humans as well. There have been several studies that have linked solar activity to depression and suicide3. What may be the link between the solar storms and the brain storms we humans experience as a result? The epithalamus. The hypothalamus and thalamus along with the pineal gland form the epithalamus. These three structures of the brain represent (sort of) the trinity of human body’s control system.
And what does the epithalamus influence? It directs any number of functions of the human body but the most common are the body’s temperature, thirst, hunger, fatigue, sleep, sexual desire and biological clock (circadian rhythms). Disorders of the pineal gland (epithalamus) are associated with depression, peptic ulcers, and sexual dysfunction.4
Surviving the Brain Storm
What may be the key in this cosmic soup causing depression, irritability and diminished libido during solar storms is melatonin. While little is known about the pineal gland the one thing scientists are sure about in regard to this mysterious little gland is that it produces melatonin. For those who are sensitive to surges in the Earth’s geomagnetic field (as I am) and feel a little funky as a result, the most likely reason is a decrease in melatonin from the effects of the storm. So what can we do to cope in the short-term as the storm passes through?
According to kinesiologist Deborah K Bates there are several natural corrective measures we can take to restore proper functioning of the pineal gland and these include:
- Stress management techniques such as meditation and relaxation. (Tratak meditation, also known as candle gazing, can stimulate the pineal gland and help produce higher levels of melatonin. As a daily practice, light a candle and use the candle flame to focus the eyes)
- Daily doses of natural light
- Massaging the third eye area, located in the slight indent between the eyes on the forehead. Massage upward and outward in a half-inch radius for 30 seconds.
- Eating foods high in potassium such as brown rice, avocado, broccoli and banana
- Taking regular breaks from computers, televisions and artificial lighting
- Massaging pressure points in feet – pad area of the big toes
- Massaging pressure points in hands – pad area of thumbs
- Avoiding bright light at night, for example, watching TV in bed
- Reducing [further] exposure to electromagnetic fields, such as electric blankets
- Sleeping in complete darkness so your body produces more melatonin. For instance, your bedside clock might emit too much light.
- Avoiding use of melatonin-lowering substances such as caffeine, tobacco, alcohol
- Consuming foods high in melatonin or the melatonin precursor tryptophan, such as oats, sweet corn, rice, ginger, tomatoes, bananas, barley, Japanese radish, spirulina, soy, cottage cheese, chicken meat/liver, turkey, pepitas, almonds and peanuts.5
Good luck weathering the storm!