These days we are hearing a lot about the new buzz word “digital detox.” Presumably it is referring to the need to take a break from our often obsessive commitment to any, or all of our tech toys, which are now a part of modern daily life.

As we all know, it is virtually impossible to opt out of the digital age permanently, since almost everything runs on new technologies. But it is possible to take stock of how we are using these aids, and how they might be affecting our health.

These days doctors are reporting seeing a significant increase in ailments related to cell phone and computer use. These complaints range from head, neck, and shoulder pain, caused by bending the head at an unusual angle to secure the phone near our ears, to dry, inflamed eyes, lower back pain, headaches and hand pain, all resulting from excessive use of computers and tablets, both at home and at work.

Flat screen TVs, stereo systems, big, or portable, DVDs, and CDs all have their health effects too, affecting our eyesight, our hearing, our sleep patterns, our relationships and our mental outlook. So, the impact of technological advances really affects the entire spectrum of our daily life.

So, apart from becoming a hermit, how can we protect ourselves from this digital onslaught, and how can we make sure it has minimal impact on our health?

Enter “digital detox.” Like any other detox, a digital detox can be extreme or mild. It can range from taking a vacation to places that have no digital signal, that don’t allow TVs, cellphones, or other portable devices, to just deciding to turn off your cell phone and computer and tablet at home, over the weekend. Try turning off the TV and stereos, and spending the time relaxing indoors, or outside in nature. Any or all of these choices will help your body, and mind, to detox, and to relax.

Eating a healthy, organic diet of locally sourced foods, will also help to double this effect. For those who need to be more active, going for a walk, having a relaxing massage, doing meditation, yoga, or tai chi, or having a rebalancing acupuncture session, will help the body and mind to rejuvenate.

Making a choice to opt out of the digital world for a few days to a couple of weeks a year, is not only a wise decision but a health conscious decision too. Because, whatever advertisers are telling us to the contrary, it has not been long enough to know the true impact of the digital world is having on our overall health.

So, at this point, it is better to be proactive in caring for our health, rather than wait to discover previously unknown, negative consequences. Removing all digital devices from the bedroom, keeping them as far away from your body as possible, and taking a yearly digital detox will go a long way in helping to protect you.

Dr. Hyun Ku Lee has a practice in Solvang and Beverly Hills. He can be reached at 693-5162 or email dr.hklee@hotmail.com .

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