Earthing. Also known as grounding. Have you heard of it? I wasn't quite sure about this natural supposed health benefit. Are there actual benefits to grounding or is this yet
another trendy fad or gimmick in order to sell stuff. So... I did a little research and here's what I found.
It is believed that when you have conductive contact with the earth, known as earthing or grounding, there is an electrical exchange or transfer of energy that aids in decreasing inflammation, pain and other chronic disease symptoms (1). In the past, years ago when we did not live in such an industrialized society, humans were much more grounded with the earth. We walked barefoot or wore hyde shoes instead of rubber, synthetic and plastic materials like we do today. We also slept close to the earth, on the ground, versus today where we sleep on a mattress most likely made with synthetic materials, and oftentimes accompanied by a bed frame of yet another non-grounding material. To top it off, and we don't think about this too often, most of us sleep with our beds flush up against a wall where our pillow and head are just inches away from electrical wiring that trails up and down behind those walls connecting all of the light switches and outlets in that room. Today we are working and playing in a world filled with toxins and electromagnetic field pollution separated from the earths own magnetic energy.
The studies are small and there definitely needs to be more quality research, however here are a few examples of the claimed benefits of grounding:
Stress reduction - due to the reduction of cortisol levels and other stress hormones. High stress hormones, including cortisol, are known to increase inflammation and disrupt sleep (2).
Better quality sleep - due to the normalization of cortisol and our natural circadian rhythm (3).
Decrease in inflammation - it is theorized that the earths free electrons neutralize the free radicals within our body reducing both inflammation and aging (4).
Pain reduction - according to this pilot study participants reported a reduction in pain after intense exercise while practicing grounding techniques during recovery. This is thought to be due to decreased inflammation in the body when practicing grounding (5).
Osteoporosis - a study showed that during just one single night of grounded sleep there were significant changes in the concentration of minerals and electrolytes, including the reduction of excretion of calcium and phosphorus, which is directly related to osteoporosis.(6) Although not an answer, it is interesting to see what grounding may be able to do in relationship to electrolytes and the management of osteoporosis. More research needed.
Diabetes and Thyroid - other grounding studies show effects that could potentially help manage diabetes and thyroid conditions. One study showed a decrease in fasting blood glucose when grounding was applied over a 72 hour period to those with type 2 diabetes. And another study showed changes in the hormones that regulate your thyroid - free tri-iodothyronine (free T3), thyroxin, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). More specifically a reduction in free T3 and thyroxin, along with an increase in TSH. Interesting stuff. Again, small studies, but more research is ongoing.(7)
There are all kinds of ways to ground/earth yourself. The most natural being to walk, for about 30 minutes a day, barefoot outside on the actual ground - soil, grass, or sand. No asphalt, wood or vinyl as these are non-conductive. Or lie directly on the sand when you are at the beach. Of course businesses are catching on and there appears to be a growing commercial component to grounding. You will find companies now selling equipment such as grounding beds, mats, bands and more.
All in all I could not find a downside to grounding and, let's face it, who doesn't like to walk barefoot on the warm beach sand or the cool grass of summer? Just thinking about it I can feel my body relax and the tension release. I say give the natural grounding techniques a try but perhaps save your money on the earthing gadgets at this time, until further research is attained.
Happy grounding and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Have you tried grounding yet? xx