There are huge number of articles out there claiming that earth emits some sort of electromagnetic waves. When they are disturbed, it causes geopathic stress to humans which causes various illnesses.

The Geopathic Stress is said to be physically detected as seen in this video, with dowsing rods and the presence of ants and cockroaches.

Is there any truth to it?

  • 1
    It certainly sounds ridiculous. The woman in the video is using dousing rods, which have long been discredited for any purpose other than unburdening fools of their money. I don't think it's a duplicate, though. Can you post more links to articles about it? It's a little hard to tell exactly what it's supposed to be. – iamnotmaynard Jun 2 '15 at 17:38
  • Popperians would ask whether it is falisifiable. "Ants love negative energy" LOL. The ability to detect a visible crack in the pavement was about the weakest demonstration of dowsing I've ever seen! There isn't much scientific support for dowsing en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowsing#Scientific_reception – Dikran Marsupial Jun 2 '15 at 18:23
  • Horsecrap sense... tingling... – GordonM Jun 3 '15 at 10:47
  • Related. – HDE 226868 Jun 3 '15 at 12:42

By the very definition offered in the article:

Geo means Earth and Patho means suffering. It means suffering from the earth which causes stress in the form of illness.

The Earth has no nervous system and is not scientifically known to suffer, although we can certainly imagine it doing so. That's a feature of human psychology, which is what this boils down to: psychosomatic illness.

The locus classicus for "geopathic stress" is a 1993 article by an alternative medicine practitioner named Jane Thurnell-Read. She defines it as "the general term for energies emanating from the earth that cause discomfort and ill health in human beings," and compares it to concepts such as ley lines, dowsing, and feng shui.

To back up her original terminology, Thurnell-Read cites a Weimar period dowser named Gustav Freiherr von Pohl as well as an article called "Cancer in the light of geophysical radiation" in a 1927 issue of an American journal called Cancer. Neither of these people used the term "geopathic stress". Furthermore, common sense would tell us that the earth is not a dangerous substance that emanates radiation so much as a large, solid thing that intercepts radiation, which is why atomic bomb shelters and nuclear waste storage facilities are located underground. [edit: As pointed out in comments above, the earth does emit heat and very low levels of gamma radiation. Heat is more concentrated in some parts of the earth than others but generally it is described as heat and not as "geopathic stress".]

There could possibly be "energies" emanating from the earth unknown to science, that somehow remain reliably in place for years despite plate tectonics and other underground shifts, and by other unknown factors cause discomfort and stress in human beings, but neither Thurnell-Read nor anyone else has explained the mechanism by which this might work, which prevents anyone from falsifying her claim. She admits, "I have used case studies for illustration throughout this book. Unfortunately these do not convince the scientific mind. When I talk to my scientific friends, they tell me I am citing anecdotal evidence." (Geopathic Stress & Subtle Energy, 2006)

By the admission of the person who invented the term, this is not a falsifiable claim, and is therefore pseudoscience. People who claim that certain arrangements of objects or types of electromagnetic waves make them sick are far more likely to have psychological stresses, for which dowsing, feng shui or other practices may serve as unscientific therapy.

  • On top of that, I would point out that it is not like no known cause or remedy existed for illnesses... – nico Jun 3 '15 at 13:22

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