Earthing and How It Works
Significant evidence is building up from research around the world that the body does not like being unplugged from the earth due to synthetic shoes and surfaces. This is a ridiculously simple yet logical factor in modern life, especially for city living. Bare-foot groups have even started up in cities internationally and on social media. The astounding factor, is that it could be one of the key factors in a huge array of systemic and chronic modern day health issues.
If you haven’t looked into it, this is a snap shot of the fundamentals from Clinton Ober’s book “Earthing”, co-authored with Stephen T. Sinatra M.D. (cardiologist) and Martin Zucker (health and alternative medicine author).
Being connected to the electrical charge and electron rich flow of the earths surface seems to be an intimate aspect of balance and regulation of practically every function and system in our electro-chemical bodies, including nervous systems, metabolic regulation, blood and heart health, hormonal and electrical cycles tied in with cycles in nature. The functioning of organisms such as bacteria and mitochondria that make up much of our mass is also being explored with building evidence of earthing as a health factor at this foundational level of longevity. Both mental and physiological balance and functioning is indicated along with improved alertness, energy and longevity.
Some of the basic benefits are:
- Rapid reduction of inflammation
- Reduction or elimination of chronic pain
- dynamic blood flow improvement improving multiple body functions and health
- Reduced stress
- increased energy
- improved sleep and feeling rested when awakening including improvement to disrupted circadian cycles
- Accelerated healing form injuries and surgery
Research and control group tests that discussed revealed the above benefits in the range of 80-100% of participants! (pp.43-48). Other tests show normalisation in the amount and rhythms of cortisol (the stress hormone) production.
The huge connection between many chronic and terminal illnesses with chronic inflammation is changing approaches to treatment through the health professions. The long list of conditions (p.65) include; allergies, Alzheimers disease, ALS and MS, Anemia, Arthritis, Asthma, Autism, Cancer, Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes types 1 & 2, Fibromyalgia, Intestinal disorders like Crohn’s and IBS, kidney failure, Lupus, general pain, Pancreatitus, Psoariasis and eczema.
Experiments also show a calming effect on brain frequencies and a normalisation in muscle tension (p79,80). An electro-physiology experiment on acupuncture points showed that grounding generated readings indicative of reduced inflammation and energised internal organs. The study suggests particular electron-transfer occurs in the highly conductive water-control meridians related to kidney and bladder including the major K1-UB meridian that has points related to all organs.
Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Nervous System Function
Grounding in quoted studies activated the parasympathetic nervous system (that calms body processes) while increasing respiration, stabilising blood oxidation and inducing a slight rise in heart rate. Continued increase in efficiency of oxygen update revealed an increase in metabolic activity. These physiological benefits emphasis how our bodies have evolved to utilise the energy of the earth as an integral part of its cycles, the regulation and balance of systems and biological processes.
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a well known part of recovery in sports, and ongoing studies showing less inflammation and faster recovery and healing means many sports medicine practitioners are using grounding with athletes during and after training and events.
Experiments on looking at the immune response following vaccination led Polish researchers to suggest earthing could be a primary factor in regulating endocrine and nervous systems (pp.87-100).
Dr. Steve Sinatra links earthing to low cardiovascular diseases in barefoot cultures and generations and cites his studies, observations and experiments that show “across-the-board benefits for common cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, and diabetes.”
Before and after blood studies show autoimmune system (ANS) changes and Zeta Potential (the electrical charge of blood cells) increases which allows for blood vessels to separate and blood viscosity to normalise. Clumping of cells and thick clotting blood is observed with many people with cardio vascular issues & diabetes. Diabetes is a modern scourge that impacts an estimated 3.4 million people a year and this number is increasing. Various doctors and studies in the book discuss significant results for diabetics, citing earthing as a missing link in the approach to improving or reversing this condition (pp.123-127; 129,130). The significant and rapid counteracting of inflammation and increasing blood flow from earthing provides significant and fast improvements.
HRV (Heart Rate Variation) factors also increase which is indicative of better physiological adaptation to stress and general internal and external changes.
Dramatic improvement and even reversal of kidney damage and dysfunctions is also covered in the book for people with diagnosed conditions and even those already on dialysis. The effect of earthing on sleep, improved circulation and electrodynamics of blood, normalising of cortisol (the stress hormone) along with less inflammation and pain are likely contributors to improved blood pressure for many people with issues commencing regular earthing (p.135).
Other benefits discussed are improvements for Depression(p. 48,135,154); (pp. 148,149,169) much is added from researchers as well as testimonials on the disappearance of such inflammatory related chronic conditions like allergies, arthritis (p. 170), and back pain(p.177); inflammation of blood vessels, jet lag, Lupus, and MS (Multiple Sclerosis) (p.180-185); sleep apnea and stress relief (p.190); women’s issues like PMS, menstrual pain, menopausal symptoms (pp.204- 220); and, sports injury healing and recovery (p.221).
While earthing is not a claimed cure for autism, its observed to have a calming effect, improve sleep patterns, promote better speech and socialisation. This may be linked to recent autism studies showing links with brain inflammation and immune system dysfunction (p.172).
The Umbrella Effect of Earthing
Our skin is a great conductor for the flow of abundant and energised electrons from the earth’s surface (negatively charged). This endless source of electrons are not only used in antioxidant processes in our bodies to reduce free radicals and inflammation, grounding also provides a shield of energy around us at the same charge as the earths surface to lift the strong positive charged area (+ 350 volts) above the earths surface above our heads (p76,77).
General Health and Longevity
As an added note – latest research on health and longevity is finding much depends on the exchange of information between microbiota (micro-organisms) in our food, in our body (gut, deep in the skin and bacteria derived organelles in our cells for example) and how that impacts energy processing and metabolism. With the improvements of earthing on metabolism and other specific physiological changes observed, future research on any improved behaviour and health of needed bacteria in our bodies may shed even more light on how it effects so many benefits to all aspects of health.
ATP production in the mitochondria is a key to heart health, energy production as well as the rate and efficiency of cellular repair and reproduction. Various researchers and specialists are advocating that earthing has an impact on this core process to a healthy long life through its many benefits as well as supercharging the electrons being utilised in the ATP production line (p.142, 143). More research is needed on this.
The calming effect on the mind and physiological systems, the balancing of hormone/endocrine systems and the connection it gives to the earth make earthing a great part of general therapeutic wellbeing and as a benefit to mindful presence and meditation practices.
Connecting to the Earth
So if you or a loved one have any of the above health issues or you want to utilise earthing to further strengthen you health, vitality and resilience, then go barefoot wherever and whenever possible on grass, soil, sand (especially moist for conductivity) and gravel. Even concrete can have enough conductivity, depending on insulation under it, to have a positive impact. Vinyl and wooden surfaces do not conduct. A half hour to forty minutes are enough to activate many of the measured physiological improvements. Salt water wading is great as it is highly conductive. Fresh water is good although not as conductive. A barefoot walk in the grass for fifteen minutes can shake off jet lag or a headache.Alternatively, there are now earthing products to have you earthed or grounded during sleep or at the work desk. Look online at ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding’ sites for bed, desk and floor pads, bedsheets, patches for specific areas of pain and even grounded shoes.
Happy bare footing!
Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! By Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra M.D. and Martin Zucker (Basic Health Publications Inc., 2014).
Photo credit: Riccardo Palazzani – Italy on Visualhunt.com/CC BY-NC-SA