Earthing and Health
Q: What are the health benefits of Earthing?
A: Earthing has many health benefits. Hundreds of anecdotal stories as well as a dozen or so research studies have reported that contact with the Earth is powerful medicine. Reports include:
- Earthing can significantly reduce inflammation thereby relieving pain.
- Earthing generates a blood-thinning effect which can improve blood circulation and may help reduce blood pressure.
- Earthing restores a natural electrical state in the body, promoting a healthy shift away from sympathetic (stress) tone to parasympathetic (calming) mode. This shift in the nervous system can make a big difference for those suffering with anxiety and sleep problems.
Q: How does Earthing affect the body’s ability to heal?
A: The simplest explanation is that aches and pains and other disturbances in our bodies are often caused by inflammation. Electrons from the Earth have natural anti-inflammatory effects and are conducted relatively fast throughout the body, which is a good conductor. One of the most profound discoveries in modern biomedicine is that many of the chronic and debilitating diseases of our time have the same cause: chronic inflammation. Scientists now realize that many of our aches and pains arise from small regions in the body where an inflammatory response has taken place, but the inflammation has not completely stopped after the healing process. A low level of chronic inflammation can continue for years, damaging normal tissues and wasting energy. Many scientists believe that the human immune system evolved over a long span of time during which we were in virtually constant barefoot contact with the Earth. We believe that the immune system began functioning less efficiently as humans increasingly separated themselves from the Earth. One recent example is the advent of shoes with insulating soles about 50 years ago. Chronic disease, inflammation, and insomnia have skyrocketed ever since and the loss of connection with the Earth may be one totally overlooked cause.
Q: In your clinical studies, the physiological effects of Earthing have been almost immediate. Can you explain this?
A: The body is a good conductor of free electrons. It is a repeated observation that Earthing produces beneficial effects very rapidly. When people are grounded through the feet (either by standing barefoot on the Earth or via grounded EKG patches in experiments), they sometimes feel a tingling sensation moving up the legs. We associate this with the apparent movement of electrons up into the body. In our research, we have “clocked” the speed of this activity. We figure it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to reach sites of pain and inflammation and then begin neutralizing the inflammation. When a study participant says that pain has started to ease we regard this as a sign that the electrons have arrived at the pain site and have started to “go to work.”
Electrons may even be attracted to those sites because of they have a negative charge and free radicals, involved in the inflammatory process, have a positive charge. Once the free radicals are neutralized, we hypothesize that they stop their destructive actions on healthy tissues, leading to an abatement of pain, sometimes quite fast.
We also think that as soon as a person comes in direct contact with the Earth the electrons inside the body “feel” the effect of the ground potential through the Earth’s electric field. We discuss this—the so-called “straw-bead” effect—in Appendix B of our “Earthing” book. The body settles and equalizes electrically to the ground potential almost instantaneously. The information that a new potential has been established in the body is transmitted, also almost instantaneously, to the autonomic nervous system which then responds by “adjusting” electrical activities throughout the body. Muscle tension and skin conductance, and maybe also brain waves, are adjusted in a few seconds at the most.
Q: Earthing can improve quality of life, but what about aging? If stress causes premature aging, do you think we can add years to our lives by reconnecting with the Earth?
A: We don't know the answer to that question, however Earthing looks promising as a powerful anti-aging strategy. Many researchers have documented the deterioration of the immune system as we age. The name for this is immunosenescence. A prominent medical theory states that one of the causes of general deterioration during aging is free radical damage, technically known as oxidative stress, and resulting in injury to cells. Since Earthing greatly reduces oxidative stress it is expected to increase life expectancy and improve health. There is no question that maintaining a functionally “young” immune system is an excellent strategy for preserving the quality of life and slowing senescence.
Q: How many minutes or hours a day do I need to be Grounded in order to feel results?
A: When you come in direct contact with the Earth there is an immediate and natural shift in your body. We have measured these in the laboratory and the changes point to the body functioning better. People with pain often feel relief in varying degrees—from a little to a lot, and to even disappearance of the pain—just by planting their bare feet on the ground outside for a half hour or so twice a day. Sleeping Grounded through the night produces many beneficial results, such as better and deeper sleep, more energy during the day, and less pain. Again, the degree of benefits run from slight to dramatic, from immediate to gradual. Some chronically ill people benefit from additional Grounding hours during the day, such as by being barefoot or using an Earthing™ mat or body band.
Q: How long does it take to relieve my symptoms?
A: Everybody is different and symptoms are different with different causes. Earthing does not cure anything. Contact with the Earth helps restores the body’s natural electrical balance and reduce stress and inflammation. By doing these things, Earthing can have both short-term and long-term effects, and sometimes quite dramatic and quick. We have had many reports of improved sleep and decreased stress after only one or two nights of sleeping Grounded. If the cause of sleep difficulties is long-term insomnia with underlying health issues, improvement often takes more time.
Medical thermal imaging has shown decreased inflammation in minutes. In a study conducted by the California Institute for Human Science instantaneous changes in brain waves and muscle tension were documented when the Earth connection was introduced.
Clearly, lasting changes in stress, sleep, pain and body rhythms occur when we are connected to the Earth for longer segments of time on a repeated basis. Nighttime sleep, when the body is most receptive to healing, is the most beneficial time.
In a general sense, just as you can’t direct healthy food, air, or water to create specific desired results in one function or part of your body, the body takes in the natural energy of the Earth and uses it as needed. You may experience benefits for certain issues you were not even expecting improvements in and there may be no change in other areas. Generally, the longer you use Earthing, the more benefits and vitality that become apparent.
Q: I feel better when I sleep Grounded. What happens if I stop sleeping Grounded?
A: We have heard from many people over the years who experienced relief and improvements and then stopped Earthing. Their gains began eroding. We advise people to make Earthing part of a healthy lifestyle routine and keep Grounding themselves. Don’t stop. We all evolved connected to the Earth. Staying connected may be the difference between feeling good and feeling bad. Earthing is not just for regaining well-being, but also for maintaining it.
Q: I just started sleeping Grounded and feel a bit strange. What could that be from?
A: Initially, some people may feel some temporary discomfort or even flu-like signs, pain or achiness. In practically all cases, this experience is fleeting. This effect stems from a normalization of the body’s “electrical system.” As that process gets underway, the body’s ability to release accumulated toxicity may improve and you could feel that as transient discomfort. Typically, after some initial adjustment, those individuals start feeling better and more energized. The feeling might last a few days at the most but it will go away. If you are uncomfortable, stop using the device for several days and then begin again. In the majority of cases, no discomfort is felt at the beginning.
Q: Are there people who sleep Grounded and don’t feel anything, or for whom Grounding doesn’t work?
A: Everybody benefits in some way, but we are all different. The benefits can come quickly and dramatically, such as less pain and better sleep, or subtly and gradually over time. Often people who are very ill feel the difference more dramatically. Someone with radiant health and who sleeps well may not feel any difference, however, connecting to the Earth is helping to preserve and perpetuate the precious commodity of good health. We regard Earthing as a natural form of anti-aging medicine, whether you feel it or not.
Q: I purchased a bed sheet and noticed tingling in my feet for the first few nights. Should I be concerned?
A: Many people feel tingling in the beginning. It’s a sign that the circulation is improving.
Q: I’ve got pain. How can this help me?
A: Go outside and stand, sit, or walk on the ground barefoot for at least a half hour or so. In that time you may notice that your pain is less. We believe this effect comes from the electrons that flow into your body from the Earth. Inside the body they act to reduce inflammation. There are also “barefoot substitutes,” Earthing™ products you can sleep on, work on, and sit on inside your home or place of work. Think of them as extension cords connecting you in your house or office to the Earth outside.
Q: Do the Grounding products need to go where my pain is?
A: Because our bodies are highly conductive, if any part of your body is in contact with the earth, or an Earthing™ device, all of your body is Grounded. However, we have noticed that having the Earth connection near the location of an injury or pain may speed the decrease in inflammation that causes pain.
Q: I have two stents. Could sleeping Grounded do any damage to the stents?
A: Not any more than sleeping or walking barefoot on the Earth would cause damage. Earthing™ devices simply deliver the subtle energy of the Earth inside to where you live and work. The energy helps restore the natural electrical balance in your body.
Q: Can Earthing™ products be used by somebody who has a pacemaker?
A: There is no evidence that Earthing interferes with the function of a pacemaker. Earthing is the same as walking barefoot on the Earth. Many people with pacemakers sleep Grounded and experience the benefits of their medical device and Earthing. To our knowledge, no one with a pacemaker was advised not to walk barefoot outdoors. Just check with your doctor initially and monitor yourself for any symptoms.
Q: Can you use the Earthing™ products if you have knee and hip replacements?
A: No problem.
Q: I live in a warm climate where we are reluctant to go out barefoot due to parasites in the soil like hookworm and roundworm). The soil never gets cold enough for the parasites to die off.
A: If being barefoot outside is risky, use the Earthing™ products inside. The best opportunity to gain the many benefits of Earthing is to sleep Grounded.
Q: Can I get too much of the Earth’s energy by sleeping grounded every night?
A: Throughout most of history we walked barefoot and slept on the ground. We were directly connected to the Earth almost 24/7. That’s what our bodies are used to. The combination of insulative shoes and elevated beds has separated us from the natural electric frequencies of the Earth. We believe this separation has contributed to the great increase in chronic diseases and inflammation.
Our body knows exactly what to do with what the Earth provides for us. When we connect to the Earth the amount of the electrons we absorb is driven by the amount our body needs to balance the electrical charge of our body. It is always the perfect amount.