What is Grounding?
In short, earthing or grounding is putting the body in direct and uninterrupted contact with the earth. This means that skin needs to touch soil, sand, water, or a conductive surface that is in contact with the earth.From a scientific perspective, the idea is that the earth has a mild negative charge to it. Over time, especially in modern life, our bodies build up a positive charge. Direct contact with the earth can even out this positive charge and return the body to a neutral state.Many people don’t have this contact with the earth anymore, and some experts wonder if this is a contributor to the (many) rising health problems we face today. As a population, we wear rubber shoes and live indoors. In theory, many of us could go years without directly touching the earth at all, even if we’re outside.Over time, the theory is that this positive charge builds and can lead to health problems.
Benefits of Grounding
Reducing chronic pain
Lowering stress and promoting calmness by reducing stress hormones.
Normalizing biological rhythms including circadian rhythm
Normalizing blood pressure and blood flow
Relieving muscle tension and headache
Improving menstrual and female hormone symptoms
Speeds healing- used in some places to prevent bed sores
Reducing jet lag
Protecting the body from effects of EMFs
Shortening recovery time from injury or athletic activity
Helping support adrenal health
Where’s the Proof?
This is where the controversy begins. Critics claim that there isn’t any evidence to back up this practice and that it could even be dangerous. Proponents cite anecdotal evidence and a few small studies.So who is right? There actually are a couple of small scale studies that looked at the effects of earthing or grounding. One study examined 60 people with chronic pain and sleep troubles. Half of the participants slept on a grounded sheet to simulate earthing. The other half slept on a placebo sheet.
The participants who slept grounded reported reduction in chronic pain, respiratory problems, arthritis, apnea and hypertension while the control group did not.Another much smaller study found that earthing reduced blood viscosity, which is a risk factor in heart disease. There have also been some preliminary studies on the effects of grounding on cortisol levels and inflammation and I’m confident that research will continue in this area. Unfortunately, all of the studies on earthing are relatively small and poorly run. Hopefully future research will shed some light on the effectiveness (or not) of earthing, but for now, the strongest evidence seems to be anecdotal.
See For Yourself
Obviously, walking outside barefoot is the easiest and cheapest way to ground yourself or practice earthing. If you are close to an ocean or swimmable natural body of water, this is another great way.To work, the skin must be in direct contact with rock, dirt or water. The beach/ocean is possibly the best place as not only are sand and salt water extremely conductive, but salt water is also very high in magnesium. Perhaps this is why many people seem to sleep better on vacation at the beach!
Those who can’t or don’t want to spend time outdoors can accomplish some of the same results indoors. There are various products to make indoor grounding easy:
An earthing mat can be used under your arms or feet while on a computer to reduce the amount of EMFs you are exposed to. It is also easy to bring when traveling.
A half size earthing sheet can be used on any bed size.