What sorts of EM frequencies are emitted by the human body? Are there any processes in the human body that produce Radio/Microwaves or uv/x-rays/gamma rays?

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    $\begingroup$ have you googled this at all? $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2017 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @aaaaaa's comment but the downvote is a bit much in light of the user's newness to the site, IMO. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Dec 28, 2017 at 8:40
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    $\begingroup$ i will upvote when @bobiscool add results of some research and mention may name in comment (so i can see). $\endgroup$ Dec 28, 2017 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ io9.gizmodo.com/… This confirms part of my question, radioactive isotopes can be mistaken for needed materials in the body. $\endgroup$
    – bobiscool
    Dec 30, 2017 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @bobiscool: aaaaaa would not get your comment unless you use his username. I added your link to my answer and found a paper and discussion that also support the premise of your question. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Jan 2, 2018 at 6:35

1 Answer 1


According to this author (1) the human body emits radiation, mostly in the infared region. Human body temperature generally exceeds that of its surroundings and so there is a net flow of heat from the body into the environment, some due to convection and some due to thermal radiation.

This Czech paper suggests (2) human EM emission in a particular low-frequency band (0.5 - 30 Hz), but the writing is awkward and I do not think this is peer-reviewed.

A more comprehensive Russian paper (3) discusses, among other things, emission of photons (light!) from human skin. The energy of this light is not very high (1-3eV, which is 1-3 times $1.602~ \text{x}~ 10^{-19}$ Joules), but it's not nil.

This interesting topic has been studied extensively and this is a quick glance. Am adding the link furnished in a comment by OP above which does suggest that the body can emit energy via radioactive decay.

Also, this link (4) based on the paper by Toohey below discusses radioactive emission by humans in some detail, including radioactive decay of potassium-40. There is apparently a mechanism by which ambient gamma radiation can interact with atoms in cells (photoelectric effect) to produce x-rays, which are emitted from the body.

(1) Olivia Lee, Hong Kong Observatory, Sept. 2010

(2) Lipkove, Cechak, Human Electromagnetic Emission in the ELF Band,Measurement Science Rev. vol. 5 sec. 2, 2005

(3) Ignativ et al., Fields in the Electromagnetic Spectrum Emitted From the Human Body..., J. Health, Medicine and Nursing, vol. 7, 2014

(4) Toohey RE, Keane AT, Rundo J. Measurement techniques for radium and the actinides in man at the Center for Human Radiobiology. Health Phys. 44(1):323–341; 1983.

  • $\begingroup$ Do the neural processes which produce electrical "noise", such as that detected by ECGs and EEGs, produce any EM radiation at all, or are they not coherent enough for that? $\endgroup$ Dec 28, 2017 at 10:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Watercleave: The short answer is, only locally (doesn't radiate). See, for example, quora.com/At-what-distance-can-brain-waves-be-detected. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Dec 28, 2017 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ 1-3eV light sounds like infra-red radiation (heat dissipation basically). Not sure about photons of visible part of the spectrum though. However, there is intrinsic fluorescence so that photons get emitted when tissue is being hit by photon of shorter wavelength $\endgroup$ Dec 28, 2017 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @aaaaaa: visible spectrum emission was news to me and was surprised that reliable measurements could even be made of energies this small (on a human--vs. some purely mechanical system). $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Dec 28, 2017 at 17:54

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