What is Earthing?
Earthing is coming into skin contact with the earth. Sometimes people refer to it as grounding. In a more New Age sense, it’s a way for reinforce your connection to the Earth Mother and to feel her healing energies.
In a more scientific sense, it is coming into contact with the free electrons in the ground helping to neutralize free radicals (having some of these are good, having too many is bad), which damage healthy cells by stealing electrons and eliminating static electrical charge. This can cause things like low grade inflammation throughout the body. Although, we can fight this inflammation with the proper diet that is rich in vitamins, coming in contact with the earth can easily help us to remove these free radicals.
The Earth naturally has a negative charge and over time our bodies build up a positive charge. Direct skin contact with the earth can neutralize the charge in our body.
There have been devices, like mats, sheets and shoes that have been made to transfer the energy from the ground into your body.
Upcoming scientific research supports the concept that the Earth’s electrons may have multiple benefits including reducing pain, better sleep, a shift from sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest) tone in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and a blood thinning effect.
Some Science on Earthing, Sleep and Pain
Evidence for Earthing is controversial, but there have been a few small studies that address sleep and pain (chronic and acute).
When 60 people were given either a grounded or faux grounded mattress to sleep on the majority of people who received the grounded mattress reported improvements in time to fall asleep, quality of sleep, waking up feeling rested, reduced muscle stiffness and pain, reduced chronic back or joint pain, and an improvement in overall wellbeing.
A second study of 12 people who slept on a conductive mattress pad for 8 weeks found that cortisol secretion levels normalized after 6 weeks. What does this mean? It indicates that their stress hormone, the dreaded cortisol, was lower, meaning their body was experiencing less stress.
A study looking into the muscle soreness that you get after a workout or DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) found that men who slept on a grounded mattress had white blood cell counts indicating lower levels of inflammation and they reported feeling less pain.
So How Do you Earth?
The easiest way to try earthing is to go outside barefoot.. obviously. But for those of you who this may might not be able to get outside safely, there are a few products out there that can let you do your earthing inside:
An earthing mat can be used while you’re sitting at your desk to limits the amount of EMFs that your body is exposed to.
Earthing mats also come with different uses:
On top of your mattress
Yoga Mat types for on the go naps
An Earthing sheet can be used on your bed.
Earthing and grounding can be a great way to reduce stress. Although a lot of the health benefits are controversial at this time, the stress relief that you feel from just getting outside and taking off your shoes can’t be matched.
1. Ober C. Grounding the human body to neutralize bioelectrical stress from static electricity and EMFs. ESD Journal, http://www.esdjournal.com/articles/cober/ground.htm, January 2000.
2. Ghaly M, Teplitz D. The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2004;10(5):767–776.
3. Ober C, Sinatra ST, Zucker M. Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? Laguna Beach, Calif, USA: Basic Health Publications; 2010