The Importance of Earthing

  • 6 Dec 2010
  • Reading time 10 mins
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What is it about being in nature that seems to make you feel better? We all need air, water, nutrients and sunlight but accumulating evidence shows that we also need earthing. That is, to ‘plug in’ to the earth, for example by being barefoot. Perhaps you have an experience of this from walking barefoot on the beach, or in your garden.

If you think about it, all electrical devices are ‘earthed’ which allows an exchange of electrical charge (electrons) with the earth. Every day the earth receives something like 50,000 lightning strikes and, consequently, has a supply of ‘free’ electrons that change the electrical charge of your body if you make contact for long enough.

Our ancestors will have been ‘grounded’ naturally all day long because we would have either walked barefoot or worn leather shoes, which allowed the conductive exchange of anti-inflammatory, anti-aging electrons with the earth and connection to earths rhythms. Today we wear insulated shoes with rubber or plastic soles, disconnecting us from the earth. The earth is a rich source of ‘negative’ ions, called electrons, while we, especially in disease states, have more positive ions. The body has many oxidative processes even with a normal healthy metabolism and thus an accumulation of positive ions. In any inflammatory process, generally accompanied by pain, antioxidants seek to restore the balance by providing free electrons to neutralise the multitude of oxidising free radicals. Earthing provides these free electrons directly.

Could it be that connection with the earth, the exchange of ions that effectively ‘ground’ you, and a synchronisation with the earth’s electric potential and frequency has a direct effect on health?

Physiological Changes from Earthing
Consider these experiments, published last year in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine1.  Each experiment involved ‘grounding’ people usually overnight, literally as you would do an electric device – by means of a copper plate connected to the earth. (You can now get sheets containing a network of conductive threads that plug into the electrical socket or outside rod, thus earthing you. (For socket earthing you need an earthed mains socket which is true for most of Europe and can be easily tested.) Some trial subjects were ‘earthed’, others were not, without them knowing which group they were in. So these were ‘double blind’ trials that set out to measure if earthing produces any biological changes.

Twelve, who had diabetes, were either ‘earthed’ or acted as the controls. Blood sugar levels were measured at the start, after 24 hours and 72 hours. There was no change in the control group but the glucose levels of the earthed participants dropped from 10.6mmol/l down to 8.8 after 24 hours and 7.4 after 72 hours. (A healthy blood sugar is below 6). No change was seen in the control group.

Another twelve had their thyroid hormone levels measured with or without grounding. The earthed participants had an increase in the active thyroxine (T4) levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) compared to the controls. These shifts are consistent with better thyroid function, although these volunteers didn’t have hypothyroidism.

The experimenters also found that ‘earthing’ changes the balance of electrolytes, that is charged mineral particles, in the blood.

Another experiment has found that red blood cells don’t clump together because earthing changes the electrical potential of cells, which helps to keep them apart and ‘free flowing’, which is associated with better circulation, lowered blood pressure and less risk of blood clots2.

Earthing Improves Sleep and Reduces Pain
The effect of earthing on sleep has been studied3. Of 61 people those ‘earthed’ reported less time taken to fall asleep, better quality of sleep, feeling more rested, less muscle stiffness, back or joint pain or pain overall. For example, 74% of those ‘earthed’ reported less back or joint pain compared to none in the control group.

A study of twelve people over six weeks measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol and also melatonin, which is not only vital for sleep but a powerful antioxidant4.  As you can see in the graph below earthing normalised cortisol levels, which should be low in the night and increase as you awake, and also raised melatonin levels.

Case histories and extensive thermography studies have demonstrated rapid reduction in inflammation and pain when patients are ‘earthed’ overnight. For example, consider the thermographs taken below of a 49-year old woman with chronic neck and upper back pain, restless legs during the night, who would wake up stiff and sore. The arrows in the thermographs indicate areas of poor circulation. In the top right image, the fingers appear to be missing because their temperature has become the same as the room.

After four nights of ‘earthing’ she reported a 65% reduction in pain, a 75% reduction in restless legs during sleep and an 80% reduction in waking stiff and sore. As the thermographs show her circulation has dramatically improved.

The effects of earthing are systemic and can be reflected in both internal and external changes. This is illustrated from positive changes in a psoriasis sufferer after 2 months use of the earthing mat.

User feedback on Earthing
I was sufficiently impressed by the clinical studies, and user reports that I decided to try it out on some of my clients who suffer from pain, by having them sleep on an ‘earthed’ sheet or with their feet on a pad during the day. Here’s what they say:

“I’ve been suffering from unexplained joint pain for months. Since sleeping with my feet on the earthing sheet the pain has ......

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