Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Syncing your bare toes into wet grass, dirt, sand, or water is the latest trend in wellness. Known as “earthing” or “grounding,” when skin comes into contact with the ground, the human body becomes a sponge that soaks up negatively-charged electrons from the earth. This practice is quickly earning recognition as a novel way to protect your health and combat many issues we may have with our bodies.
Some of the benefits include:
Grounding Neutralizes Free Radicals - (necessary for life and are used by our body's cells to kill invading bacteria.)
Free radicals are generated through inflammation, infection, cell damage, trauma, stress, and our toxic environments. They force our immune system to respond to these threats. An active immune system produces more free radicals and soon our body is attempting to put out fires, but it has insufficient resources to do so. Additionally, industrialization and our increasingly technological world have thrown us into a labyrinth of electromagnetic fields, which disrupt the electrical balance of our cells. An abundance of free radicals, instable charges, or inflammation and immune activation are responsible for some of our most threatening chronic conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic pain syndromes, and autoimmunity.
Grounding is a simple, inexpensive means by which most of us can combat these destructive forces. The negative electrons absorbed from the earth quenches the free radicals, supports the immune system, and puts out the fires. Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman described an umbrella affect created when we “earth.” He claimed that grounding equalized the electronic potential between the body and the earth, so the body becomes an extension of the earth’s magnetic field. This potential “cancels, reduces, and pushes away electrical fields from the body.”
Grounding Improves Sleep, Pain Management, and Stress
Grounding appears to improve sleep, help manage pain, and normalizes cortisol (a stress hormone) to reduce the stress response.
The nervous system is an electrical system of the body and influences all these activities. An influx of negative electrons from the earth has been shown to calm the nervous system by shifting the autonomic nervous system from the sympathetic, “fight-or-flight” branch toward the parasympathetic “rest-and-digest” branch.
Sleep and stress reduction are vital for managing pain, and decreasing the risks of many chronic health conditions. In a blind pilot study of 60 subjects suffering from sleep disturbances and chronic muscle and joint pain for at least six months, grounded each night for one month. This one month of grounding produced a 74 to 100 percent improvement in quality of sleep and feeling rested upon waking, lessening in muscle stiffness and pain, chronic back and joint pain, and improvement in general well-being. Grounding helps to establish a normal cortisol level at night, which improves sleep, pain, and stress.
Grounding Improves Inflammation and Immunity
New studies also show that grounding positively affects the inflammatory response and the immune system, which could have far-reaching health benefits. We already know that grounding improves cortisol levels. Since a high cortisol, associated with chronic stress, leads to systemic inflammation in the body, grounding can certainly improve inflammation as it normalizes cortisol.
The influx of free negative electrons from the earth also combats positively charged free radicals generated by inflammatory factors as they respond to injury, infection, trauma or stress. As grounding neutralizes free radicals, the immune response calms. Healing proceeds at a faster rate in the absence of destructive free radicals. When the body is deficient in negative electrons, cells and tissue are vulnerable to destruction, leading to free radicals, systemic inflammation, and chronic immune activation. This environment increases risks for cancer, autoimmunity, infections, chronic pain conditions, and a general decline in health.
There are many very interesting studies online regarding grounding and its effects on our health. Here is a link to one of the many studies and reports regarding the below noted issues: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30982019/
Chronic fatigue – studies on clients whose massage therapists used grounding mats reported a decrease in their fatigue levels after four weeks of treatment.
Chronic pain - Studies have shown that clients who have used grounding patches for exercise recovery reported lower pain levels.
Anxiety and depression - Studies have shown that even 1 hour of grounding therapy can significantly improve mood.
Sleep disorders – Studies have shown that clients have experienced an improved sleep length and reduced sleep disturbances when their massage therapist used grounding therapy.
Cardiovascular disease - Studies have found that long-term self-administered grounding therapy helped to reduce blood pressure levels in participants with hypertension.
HOW TO PRACTICE GROUNDING
Grounding can be performed both outdoors and indoors, depending on the technique you choose to use.
Outdoors. When you’re outside, you can easily ground yourself by allowing the bottoms of your feet, palms of your hands, or entire body to touch the earth. Walk in the grass, lay in the sand, or swim in the sea. These are all easy ways to naturally reconnect.
Indoors. When you’re inside, grounding yourself requires a bit more effort and in most cases, equipment. Use a grounding sheet or socks while you sleep. Use a grounding mat in your home office chair. This equipment has been thought to help ground you throughout the day. Earthing Canada has a great selection and where I purchased the grounding sheet for my bed.
It is also helpful to know that leather, metal, cotton, and non-stained concrete are conductive. However, pavement, wood, plastic, rubber, synthetic or insulated materials will block the healthful negative charges from the earth.