If you are considering Earthing, also called Grounding, as part of your total health and fitness plan this article is for you! It has been proven that the body reacts to the presence of environmental electric fields. Human beings, like all animals, are electrical beings by nature and the earth is a continually charged electric field. Whether or not Earthing can benefit all human beings in a significant way is still being debated by medical experts and scientists.
In this article we will provide you with an overview of the topic of Earthing, but in no way should replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Use this information to formulate your own questions and take them with you when you visit your doctor. Keep in mind that since this kind of therapy is relatively new in some parts of the world and sometimes includes products in the marketplace being sold for profit. The subject is unfamiliar for some and often controversial.
What is the basis for Earthing therapy claims?
It’s no big secret that the Earth is one large electrical object and we are a big part of it. All living organisms need electrical energy in some way to live. A nervous system is electrical and there is electrical activity taking place in every cell of your body.
Some say Earthing or grounding is a “fringe science” and likely not worth your time or financial investment. Others claim that Earthing provides an array of health benefits. The therapy involves being in direct physical contact with the ground or with a device connected to electrical ground.
The discovery is not really new. Some online sources connect a 19th century back-to-nature movement in Germany, which claimed many health benefits from being barefoot outdoors even in cold weather as being an early part of the movement. Others connect the work of Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman with the Earthing movement. In his lectures on electromagnetism, Feynman said that when the body potential is the same as the Earth’s electric potential (and thus grounded), it becomes an extension of the Earth’s gigantic electric system. The Earth’s potential thus becomes the “working agent that cancels, reduces, or pushes away electric fields from the body.”
The technique seems to be catching on. Professional athletes willing to experiment with techniques to give them any edge in competition are already trying earthing procedures to speed recovery and increase sleep quality.
According to natural health proponent Dr. Joseph Mercola, the “immune system functions optimally when your body has an adequate supply of electrons, which are easily and naturally obtained by barefoot contact with the Earth.”
Grounding electrical fields of energy
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power. Non-ionizing radiation is described as low-level radiation, which many maintain is harmless to humans. The department’s web site does acknowledge that ionizing or high-level radiation (such as X-Rays) is proven to have the potential to cause cellular and DNA damage in human beings and other animals. The question remains if cumulative energy fields brought into our modern lives may add up to damage in the long run.
The U.S. Library of Medicine states that “Environmental medicine generally addresses environmental factors with a negative impact on human health. However, emerging scientific research has revealed a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health: direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth. Modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact.”
Research suggests that this disconnect caused by modern housing, lack of greenspaces, and shoes that act as insulators may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and a host of other problems.
Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has the potential to promote physiological changes in the body. Earthing (or grounding) is all about discovering what the benefits might be, including better sleep and reduced pain. The benefits come from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.
How does Earthing work?
Just as the sun gives provides warmth and vitamin D, the Earth provides an energy that promotes life on this planet. Advocates of Earthing or Grounding are calling this energy “vitamin G” although it is not a vitamin, just a simple way to describe energy from the ground. When a person’s bare feet or skin comes in contact with the earth, free electrons are taken up into the body. These electrons could be referred to as nature’s biggest antioxidants and help neutralize damaging excess free radicals that can lead to inflammation and disease in the body.
The Earth is a conductor of free electrons and the human body is composed of mostly of water and minerals which in combination are excellent conductors. We are designed to absorb the flow of electrons from the Earth and the best way to do that is through direct skin contact. The Earth’s energy is said to assist the body in repair, thereby promoting health and wellbeing, vitality and better sleep. It is also said to balance the body’s normal biological rhythm.
Common Benefits Linked To Earthing include:
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce chronic pain
- Improve sleep
- Increase energy
- Lower stress
- Balance hormones
- Thin the blood
- Lower blood pressure
- Relieve muscle tension
- Relieve headaches
- Speed healing time
- Reduce jet lag
Earthing and the Modern Lifestyle
Our connection to nature, the planet, and the universe is so important and yet we live in a high tech world that often removes us from these things. As a result, many of us have become disconnected from nature and the Earth we live in.
Just as the sun gives us warmth and light, the Earth provides us with fresh air, water, food, and a surface to live on. Throughout history humans walked, sat, and slept on the ground, cultivated their land with bare hands, and spent a lot of their time naturally grounded. In some parts of the world, this is still the case, but in some cities, this doesn’t happen often. The leather-soled shoes of our ancestors have been replaced with insulated rubber and plastics. We sleep in beds and homes off the ground. Plastics, synthetic fabrics, asphalt, tar, carpets, vinyl have all been introduced and block this natural connection.
The Dangers of Wi-fi and Mobile Phones Everywhere
In addition to the ways we disconnect from nature, we have more and more things that act as a barrier to natural electrical fields. We now find ourselves in a sea of electronic radiation from power lines, car computers, household appliances, mobile phones, wi-fi, internet, and entertainment devices, microwaves, cell towers, and the list goes on. Although some maintain that this energy has little or no effect on the human body, others conclude that being constantly bombarded with excess free radicals does damage to our tissues and cells over time. Especially when you add in the influence of all these electrical devices together.
Grounding advocates say the earths energy helps to knock these excess free radicals down so that your body can heal and repair naturally.
How To Begin Earthing Yourself
Everybody is different, and no two people will get the same results when undertaking a fitness or diet program. It is the same with Earthing. Your results will depend on your own DNA to begin with, your medical history, and your unique lifestyle circumstances. Getting started may surprise you. Research has shown that in just seconds after simply connecting the bare feet to earth, in a park, or in your own back yard, the body’s electrical charge begins to change, and muscles relax. Within 30 minutes, you may notice a real difference with a reduction in pain and stress levels. This is your indication that you are on the right track to balancing your body and the benefits will increase over time as you continue your Earthing as often as possible and at least once a day.
Ways to Ground Indoors
There is a science to all this and new research is developing ways to help people “ground themselves” by use of mats or other products that connect to the ground wire that is already part of your home’s electrical system.
This indoor connection is linked to how free radicals work. Free radicals are involved in the process known as inflammation, which is part of the healing process. However, low-grade inflammation throughout the body may lead to pain and other problems in the muscles and joints and is also believed to be a factor in heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Free radicals lack sparks of energy known as ‘electrons’. One way the body deals with this is to give them electrons, and these can be supplied in natural food, by nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E. Healthy food and drink are not the only way to get electrons into the body. If the body has a positive charge on it, earthing allows electrons to flow into the body where, in theory, they can neutralize overblown free radical and inflammatory damage.
The grounding mat (or sheet) is an invention that allows you to do earthing while you’re inside a building. It just plugs in to the grounding wire port of a normal 3-prong outlet or a grounding rod (US and Canada). The earth’s natural electrons flow right up through the ground wire and onto the mat, even if you’re in a high rise. The mat typically comes with an outlet tester to plug in to see if the outlet is working correctly.
Keep A Journal of Your Earthing Experiences
As you begin your therapy, keep a journal to record how you feel before and after every session. Remember that it is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The surface of the planet is electrically conductive and negative potential is maintained (i.e., its electron supply replenished) by the global atmospheric electrical circuit.
Do your own research and record it in your journal along with your experiences. Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth’s potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems. New studies are being published on the topic every day and exciting discoveries show increasing evidence for the Earth’s ability to set biological clocks.
The National Library of Medicine’s online resource PubMed lists 7,021 studies and 522 articles you can review at any time on your own computer. These articles explore the idea that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely reduce acute and chronic inflammation. These articles also review how humans mostly walked barefoot or with footwear made of animal skins in historical documentations. Our ancestors slept on the ground or on skins. Through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground’s abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive.
You may also wish to read up on this interesting topic and there are already books available in bookstores and at your local library. These books provide an important overview of emerging scientific research that supports the concept that the Earth’s electrons induce multiple physiological changes of clinical significance. Some of the books may focus on one particular benefit of Grounding, including reduced pain, better sleep, or blood-thinning and reduced blood pressure. Stay with credible sources, and when searching for any product online that makes a health claim, read reviews and be cautious.
In the meantime, you may be encouraged to know that recent studies confirm the “umbrella” effect of earthing the body that was explained by Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman in his lectures on electromagnetism.
If you are already a yoga participant, consider doing your exercises out in the grass when possible and when weather permits. Enlist the company of a friend, whether you think they might benefit from Grounding or not. Just having a companion for your exercise will increase your comfort and pleasure in the process.
Now get out there and enjoy the benefits of earthing by walking barefoot on grass, dirt, ocean, or beach.