Book Reviews

DIY Digital Detoxification: How to Reclaim and Rewire Your Brain

reclaim your mind, and overcome the modern struggle with tech

Digital detoxification refers to a period of time when a person voluntarily refrains from using digital devices such as smartphones, computers, and social media platforms. But, why would anyone voluntarily avoid the very things that seem to make our life better?

Because science has shown us clearly in recent years, that how we interact with our digital world not only contributes to our worldview in unhealthy ways, but it actually changes our brains and makes it function differently in less healthy ways.

So, okay, even if we realize that from time to time, maybe, we need to lighten up a bit on our technology use, isn’t digital detoxification – digital poisoning – a bit of an over statement?

Alarmingly no, not at all, when you consider that only a few minutes on your cellphone causes your blood brain barrier to leak and allow into your brain the very toxic (poisonous) elements that it is designed to keep out.

The blood-brain barrier is a critical structure in the brain that separates the flow of blood through the brain from the brain matter itself. Blood contains toxins being carried to excretory organs and also certain brain-poisoning molecules like albumin. Exposure to extraordinarily small RF levels may open’ the blood-brain barrier, making it ‘leaky’ and allowing toxins and molecules to cross directly into the brain, which in turn causes nerve cell damage and neuron death.

How Your Digital Media Rewires Your Brain

Several studies by veteran EMF researchers, have shown (since as early as 2003) that two-hours of daily exposure to cell phone GSM radio/microwave (aka RF) results in leakage of albumin, which is lethal to brain tissue, across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and in neuron damage. Neuronal albumin uptake was significantly correlated to occurrence of damaged neurons when measured at 28 days post-cellphone-exposure.

These researchers expressed concern that dependence on cellphones may result in reduced brain reserve capacity that might be unveiled by other later neuronal disease or even the wear and tear of aging and that after years of daily use, a whole generation of cell phone users may suffer negative effects, perhaps as early as middle age.

Learning how to Live Safely with Our Technology is Crucial to our Brain

The good news is that through our technology choices, our habits in using them, and conscious decisions to take regular technology get-aways and even longer digital-detox vacations, along with basics like eating and sleeping properly, we can not only prevent the subtle damage that heavy technology use does to our brains but we can build a better brain. In fact we can reverse the damage and actually rewire our brains, to be more capable human connection, compassion, and better decision making.

Digital Detox is more than a buzzword, it is a very real antidote for the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual toll that technology use takes on us. And the reasons why may surprise you.

Several of the surprising upshots of rampant technology use include skyrocketing teen depression, decreasing levels of essential empathy in our population, decreasing mental abilities particularly decision making, increasing relationship dissatisfaction, and increasing levels of social detachment and general unhappiness.

The book Brain Wash, Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships and Lasting Happiness, by father and son Doctors David and Austen Perlmutter, guides us through the reasons for these problems, serious problems that in our digital mental haze we may not even know we have, and the practical do-it-yourself antidotes to them.

The book Brain Wash, Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships and Lasting Happiness, by father and son Doctors David and Austen Perlmutter, guides us through the reasons for these problems, serious problems that in our digital mental haze we may not even know we have, and the practical do-it-yourself antidotes to them.

The idea, first and foremost, is to create boundaries that safe-guard your brain, by giving it regular breaks from the incessant impact of digital technology, including the influence posed by its distracting nature. This plan will overhaul your use of digital devices so that you will get what you need from technology while limiting its ability to hijack your brain.

The Do-It-Yourself Digital Detox Method

  • Review and turn off nonessential notification (push notifications, badges, emails etc) on your smart phone and computer.
  • Review and delete unnecessary apps from your cellphone
  • Make a ‘do not disturb feature’ the default option on your phone and computer
  • Use ‘airplane mode’ during meals, during conversations, and while sleeping
  • Avoid sleep disturbing blue light in your bedroom during sleep hours, and avoid it during pre-sleep hours. Alternatively, use a “night-mode app” that cuts out blue light from your devices when you must use them after dark.
  • Determine whether social media and online shopping is really essential for your business and personal life. If not, plan regular periods of abstinence, or substantially limit your time on these platforms by scheduling the minimum amount of time you need to accomplish your goal.
  • Create and adhere to specific times allocated for responding to text messages, emails and phone calls. Be strict (refer to the T.I.M.E. tool)
  • Think of this digital detoxification time as an opportunity to get caught up on real-world conversation, books, socializing, and trying a new hobby.
  • Other important components of the Brain Wash method, include dietary and lifestyle changes that work with the digital detox to achieve lasting change and well being

Want to reclaim your mind, and overcome the struggle with Tech

Manage your digital exposure by remembering the four characteristics of healthful technology use. Get in the habit of asking yourself, is it:
TIME RESTRICTED
INTENTIONAL
MINDFUL
ENRICHING

This brief promo video on Amazon provides a quick description of the book. And find the Podcast link below for a 40 minute Podcast interview by Dr Frank Lipman, discussing with the authors how, based on the latest science, the book reveals the mental hijacking that undermines each and every one of us, and presents the tools necessary to think more clearly, make better decisions, strengthen bonds with others, and develop healthier habits.

About the Authors

David Perlmutter, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He is a frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by institutions including the World Bank, Columbia University, New York University, Yale, and Harvard, and serves as an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including: the Linus Pauling Award for his innovative approaches to neurological disorders; the National Nutritional Foods Association Clinician of the Year Award; and the Humanitarian of the Year award from the American College of Nutrition. He maintains an active blog at Dr Perlmutter.com and is the author of Grain Brain, Brain Maker, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, The Grain Brain Cookbook, and Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten.

Austin Perlmutter, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician. He received his medical degree from the University of Miami and completed his internal medicine residency at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland Oregon. His academic interests center on studying the effects of burnout and depression as well as preventive care and chronic disease management.

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Patricia Young

Patricia Young is the author of several books that you'd find if you were wandering in the self-help section of your bookstore. Among the far ranging subjects her work has covered, one of the most popular topics with her audiences is health self care, which led to her "self-helpful" writings on biological protection from EMF, a lifeline for today's technology users adrift in the rising sea of Electromagnetic exposure.

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