Pain, disease, and other disturbances in our bodies are often caused by chronic inflammation. Such inflammation is, in turn, caused by positively charged molecules called free radicals. When you make direct contact with the Earth, either by being barefoot outside or via a conductive sheet or mat indoors, the negatively charged electrons from the Earth are absorbed into your body and reduce the free radicals and inflammation. This is our theory and it is supported by our research and feedback from thousands of people who use Earthing products.
This benefit of Earthing is very important because medical research has found that many of the chronic and debilitating diseases of our time have the same cause: chronic inflammation. Scientists now realize that pain and disease arise in our bodies where an inflammatory response has taken place, but the inflammation has not completely stopped after the healing process. A low level of chronic inflammation can continue for years, damaging normal tissues and wasting energy.
The human immune system evolved over a long span of time during which we were in virtually constant barefoot contact with the Earth. In our modern society, humans no longer walk barefoot. We wear shoes that insulate us from the Earth’s energy. In recent decades the incidence of chronic diseases, allergies, auto-immune conditions, and insomnia has skyrocketed in modern societies. One overlooked reason for this situation is that the immune system began functioning less efficiently as humans increasingly separated themselves from the Earth’s energy.
The body is a good conductor of free electrons. It is a repeated observation that Earthing produces beneficial effects very rapidly. When people are grounded through the feet (either by standing barefoot on the Earth or via grounded EKG patches in experiments), they sometimes feel a tingling sensation moving up the legs. We associate this with the apparent movement of electrons up into the body. In our research, we have “clocked” the speed of this activity. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to reach sites of pain and inflammation and then begin neutralizing the inflammation. When a study participant says that pain has started to ease we regard this as a sign that the electrons have arrived at the pain site and have started to “go to work.”
Electrons may even be attracted to those sites because electrons have a negative charge and free radicals, involved in the inflammatory process, have a positive charge. Once the free radicals are neutralized, we hypothesize that the destructive action on healthy tissues is abated, leading to a reduction of pain, sometimes quite fast and dramatic.
As soon as a person comes in direct contact with the Earth the electrons inside the body “feel” the effect of the ground potential of the Earth’s electric field. We discuss this − the so-called “straw-bead” effect − in Appendix B of our “Earthing” book. The body settles and equalizes electrically to the ground potential almost instantaneously. The information that a new potential has been established in the body is transmitted, also almost instantaneously, to the autonomic nervous system, which then responds by “adjusting” electrical activities throughout the body. Muscle tension and skin conductance, and maybe also brain waves, are adjusted in a few seconds at the most.
We don’t know the answer to that question, however Earthing does look promising as a powerful anti-aging strategy. Many researchers have documented the deterioration of the immune system as we age. The name for this is immunosenescence. A prominent medical theory states that one of the causes of general deterioration during aging is free radical damage, technically known as oxidative stress, and resulting in injury to cells. Since Earthing greatly reduces oxidative stress and inflammation it is expected to increase life expectancy and improve health. There is no question that maintaining a functionally “young” immune system is an excellent strategy for preserving the quality of life and slowing senescence.
Throughout most of history we walked barefoot and slept on the ground. We were directly connected to the Earth almost 24/7. That’s what our bodies are used to. Our body knows exactly what to do with what the Earth provides for us. When we connect to the Earth the amount of the electrons we absorb is governed by the amount our body needs to balance the electrical charge of our body. It is always the perfect amount.
When you come in direct contact with the Earth there is an immediate and natural shift in your body. We have measured these changes in the laboratory and they clearly indicate that the body is functioning better. People with pain often feel relief in varying degrees − from a little to a lot, and to even disappearance of the pain − just by planting their bare feet on the ground outside for a half hour or forty minutes twice a day. Sleeping grounded through the night produces many beneficial results, such as better and deeper sleep, more energy during the day, and less pain. Again, the degree of benefits run from slight to dramatic, from immediate to gradual. Some chronically ill people benefit from additional grounding hours during the day, such as by being barefoot or using an Earthing mat or body band. From the thousands of cases that Clint Ober and others have observed over more than fifteen years, the more severe the health problem the more dramatic the improvement seen with grounding in general. Even in end-of-life situations associated with pain, it has been reported that individuals generally have less pain.
Everybody is different and symptoms are different and with different causes. Earthing does not cure anything. Contact with the Earth helps restores the body’s natural electrical balance and reduce stress and inflammation. By doing these things, Earthing can have both short-term and long-term effects, and sometimes quite dramatic and quick. We have had many reports of improved sleep and decreased stress after only one or two nights of sleeping grounded. If the cause of sleep difficulties is long-term insomnia with underlying health issues, improvement often takes more time.
Medical thermal imaging has shown decreased inflammation in minutes after people are grounded. In a study conducted by the California Institute for Human Science, instantaneous changes in brain waves and muscle tension were documented when the Earth connection was introduced.
Clearly, lasting changes in stress, sleep, pain and body rhythms occur when we are connected to the Earth for longer segments of time on a repeated basis. Nighttime sleep, when the body is most receptive to healing, is the most beneficial time. In a general sense, just as you can’t direct healthy food, air, or water to create specific desired results in one function or part of your body, the body takes in the natural energy of the Earth and uses it as needed. You may experience benefits for certain issues you were not even expecting improvements in and there may be no change in other areas. Generally, the longer you continue to use Earthing, the more benefits and vitality you can expect to see.
Over the years, we have heard from many people who experienced relief and improvements and then stopped Earthing. Their gains began eroding. We advise people to make Earthing part of a healthy lifestyle routine and keep grounding themselves. Don’t stop. We all evolved connected to the Earth. Staying connected may be the difference between feeling good and feeling bad. Earthing is not just for regaining well-being, but also for maintaining it.
Go outside and stand, sit, or walk on the ground barefoot for at least a half hour. In that time you may notice that your pain is less. We believe this effect comes from the electrons that flow into your body from the Earth. Inside the body they act to reduce inflammation. There are also “barefoot substitutes,” that is, Earthing products you can sleep on, work on, and sit on inside your home or place of work. Think of them as extension cords connecting you in your house or office to the Earth outside.
Our bodies conduct the Earth’s energy. If any part of your body is in contact with the Earth, or an Earthing product, all of your body becomes equalized with the energy of the Earth. We have observed that applying Earthing products, such as Earthing patches, near or on the site of an injury or pain may accelerate the decrease in local inflammation and pain.
Earthing indoors is the equivalent of being barefoot outdoors. We have no evidence that either would cause damage.
There is no evidence that Earthing interferes with the function of a pacemaker. Earthing is the same as walking barefoot on the Earth. Many people with pacemakers sleep grounded and experience the benefits of their medical device and Earthing. To our knowledge, no one with a pacemaker was advised not to walk barefoot outdoors. Just check with your doctor initially and monitor yourself for any symptoms.
Most dramatic results are felt by those who are sick and depleted. But…keep this in mind: Earthing is remarkably holistic. It affects the whole body. Even somebody in good health stands to gain benefits because Earthing impacts inflammation, blood, the immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and the body’s countless electrical systems. We are, after all, bioelectrical beings.
For someone healthy like you, there are likely many subtle things happening. Sleeping a bit deeper. Feeling a bit more rested. A bit more energy. And looking better. Signs of better health. When you connect with Mother Earth, she turns on a switch that allows the body to run and heal itself more normally and efficiently.
No studies have been done to determine this possibility. Earthing research has demonstrated improved circulation and oxygen uptake, and, in a general sense, this implies improvements in the physiology.
No specific studies on this have been done. We have heard from many people whose blood pressure numbers have improved, and who have better control of their blood pressure, after starting Earthing. Some have been able to lower the dosage of their medication under the supervision of their doctors. If you take medication, and wish to start Earthing, you should always consult with your physician.