Welcome to my blog post ‘Grounding: What Is It? Why Do It? How Do You Do It?’.
You may also be interested in the section of my blog dedicated to biohacking, click here, in particular:
- What Are The Health Benefits Of Cold Exposure
- Psychobiotics: Probiotics For Mood And Mental Health
- Optimise Health With Sauna Therapy At Home
What Is Grounding?
Grounding, also referred to as earthing, refers to direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth, such as with bare feet or hands, or with various grounding systems (1).
A brilliant book on the topic can be found on Amazon here.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Grounding?
Anecdotal reports that walking barefoot on the Earth enhances health and provides feelings of well-being can be found in the literature and practices of diverse cultures from around the world.
However, recently, researchers have been studying the physiological effects of grounding from a variety of perspectives. This research has led to more than a dozen studies published in peer-reviewed journals. The research has opened a new and promising frontier in inflammation research.
Grounding reduces or even prevents the cardinal signs of inflammation following injury: redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function. Rapid resolution of painful chronic inflammation was confirmed in 20 case studies using medical infrared imaging.
As well as having anti-inflammatory benefit grounding appears to (1):
- Improve sleep
- Normalise the day–night cortisol rhythm
- Reduce pain
- Reduce stress
- Shift the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic activation
- Increase heart rate variability
- Speed wound healing
- Reduce blood viscosity
- Improve mitochondrial function and thus energy
These findings indicate that mitochondria in the grounded subjects are not producing as much metabolic energy, probably because there is less demand due to more rapid achievement of homeostasis
How Does Grounding Work?
The main hypothesis is that connecting the body to the Earth enables free electrons from the Earth’s surface to spread over and into the body, where they can have antioxidant effects. Specifically, we suggest that mobile electrons create an antioxidant microenvironment around the injury repair field, slowing or preventing reactive oxygen species (ROS) delivered by the oxidative burst from causing “collateral damage” to healthy tissue, and preventing or reducing the formation of the so-called “inflammatory barricade” (1).
It has also been hypothesised that electrons from the Earth may prevent or resolve so-called “silent” inflammation.
One route these electrons may take is via acupuncture points and meridians. The meridians are known to be ‘low resistance pathways’ for the flow of electrical currents. Another pathway proposed in the research is via the mucous membranes of the respiratory and digestive tracts, which are continuous with the skin surface (1).
What Is A Grounding Mat?
Various grounding systems are available that enable frequent contact with the Earth, such as while sleeping, sitting at a computer, or walking outdoors. These are simple conductive systems in the form of sheets, mats, wrist or ankle bands, adhesive patches that can be used inside the home or office, and footwear.
These applications are connected to the Earth via a cord inserted into a grounded wall outlet. For the footwear applications, a conductive plug is positioned in the shoe sole at the ball of the foot, under the metatarsals, at the acupuncture point known as Kidney 1.
From a practical standpoint, these methods offer a convenient and routine, user-friendly approach to grounding or earthing. They can also be used in clinical situations.
Grounding: The Most Powerful Antioxidant
Modern lifestyle factors such as insulating footwear, high-rise buildings, and elevated beds separate most humans from direct skin connection with the Earth’s surface.
An earth connection was an everyday reality in past cultures that used animal skins for footwear and to sleep on.
Researchers suggest that ‘the process of killing pathogens and clearing cellular debris from injury sites evolved to take advantage of the body’s constant access to the virtually limitless source of mobile electrons the Earth provides when we are in contact with it.’
Antioxidants are electron donors, and the best electron donor, we strongly believe, is right under our feet: the surface of the Earth, with its virtually unlimited storehouse of accessible electrons.
Electrons from the Earth may in fact be the best antioxidants, with zero negative secondary effects, because our body evolved to use them over eons of physical contact with the ground.
Our immune systems work beautifully as long as electrons are available to balance the reactive oxygen species (unstable molecules) used when dealing with infection and tissue injury. Our modern lifestyle has taken the body and the immune system by surprise by suddenly depriving it of its primordial electron source. This planetary separation began accelerating in the early 1950s with the advent of shoes made with insulating soles instead of the traditional leather.
The disconnection from the Earth may be an important, insidious, and overlooked contribution to physiological dysfunction and to the alarming global rise in non-communicable, inflammatory-related chronic diseases.
A lack of electrons can also de-saturate the electron transport chains in mitochondria (where energy is created) , leading to chronic fatigue and slowing the cellular migrations and other essential activities of the cells of the immune system.
Grounding is a simple, natural, and accessible health strategy against chronic inflammation, warranting the serious attention of clinicians and researchers.
The living matrix (or ground regulation or tissue tensegrity-matrix system), the very fabric of the body, appears to serve as one of our primary antioxidant defense systems. As this report explains, it is a system requiring occasional recharging by conductive contact with the Earth’s surface – the “battery” for all planetary life – to be optimally effective..
- The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases: click here.
- Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons: click here.
- Earthing the human body influences physiologic processes: click here.
- The neuromodulative role of earthing: click here.
- Integrative and lifestyle medicine strategies should include Earthing (grounding): Review of research evidence and clinical observations: click here.
- The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Bodyworkers’ Pain and Overall Quality of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial: click here.
- Earthing (grounding) the human body reduces blood viscosity-a major factor in cardiovascular disease: click here.
- Electric Nutrition: The Surprising Health and Healing Benefits of Biological Grounding (Earthing): click here.
- Grounding after moderate eccentric contractions reduces muscle damage: click here.
- Effectiveness of Grounded Sleeping on Recovery After Intensive Eccentric Muscle Loading: click here.
- Pilot study on the effect of grounding on delayed-onset muscle soreness: click here.
- The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress: click here.
- Earthing the human body influences physiologic processes: click here.