DOMS and Earthing
“Ooh-Ah”, are the all-too-familiar cries when you have a bad case of DOMS. What is DOMS though you may well be thinking? Well, ever intensely ached the day after a vigorous workout? This is DOMS, and the findings that Earthing (also known as Grounding), can help to potentially decrease it needs for greater awareness.
DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It usually lasts 24-48 hours after intense training, or from exercises that are unusual for the person performing them. It is said to come from micro-tears in muscle fibres, which then results in inflammation and pain.
People take hot baths to try and ease this condition. Some, in desperate need of help, may even have a massage. However, studies have shown Earthing to be the thing that offers the quickest recovery time.
Before highlighting this published research, we first need to understand what Earthing is and the theory behind it.
What is Earthing?
According to The Earthing Institute, Earthing is all about the natural healing power of “the very Earth itself.” It balances in us an essential electrical connection. By being negatively charged, the Earth replenishes our bodies and cancels out the positive ions. The latter is said to be responsible for causing inflammation and pain.
The human body is said to act like a sponge as it absorbs the Earth’s electrons. They move throughout the body from top to bottom. Whilst not being a wonder cure for all our mental and physical health ills, Earthing nevertheless is seen as being essential for our overall well-being.
The Benefits of Earthing
Benefits of Earthing
The beneficial claims about Earthing are based on “success stories” of people, as well as some 20 years of research. Evidence points towards Earthing helping a whole number of things.
- Improves sleep
- Reduces chronic inflammation
- Reduces pain
- Reduces stress in the body
- Cardiovascular health benefits
- Improves mental health
Vitamin G deficiency?
What could be simpler than achieving all this by just walking barefoot on the grass or soil outside? Or, how about a spot of gardening perhaps where you fully immerse your hands in the earth?
However, what with modern-day living today, many people are now said to be vitamin G deficient. By this we mean that many of us no longer have a natural connection to the earth. Some of us live in flats, we wear shoes that have synthetic soles which block the energy, and we no longer sleep on the ground.
To get around this modern-day living issue, companies such as Get Grounded, sell indoor Premium Earthing Sheets and Multipurpose Earthing Mats. With the appropriate technology, both mimic the energy exchange between the earth and the body.
The sheets mean you can embrace the benefits of Earthing whilst asleep in bed. Conversely, the mats can be used whilst at work, or perhaps say when you are relaxing at home.
DOMS and Earthing
Having now identified what Earthing is, let us now briefly look at some evidence that supports the claim that it can also help decrease DOMS. We need to understand why it has become so intrinsic to an emerging number of cyclists, swimmers, and powerlifters.
In 2010, Dick Brown, PhD, conducted a Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness. 8 healthy male participants aged between 20 and 23, were exposed to a weighted exercise which caused DOMS in their calves. Only half were grounded, with the other 4 being sham grounded.
The results were measured in the form of blood sampling, magnetic resonance imaging, pain tests, and saliva cortisol sampling. Significantly, the grounded group recorded a higher pain threshold. However, the bigger breakthrough perhaps was how the ungrounded group recorded a higher white blood cell production, which indicates a greater inflammatory response.
These results were then confirmed in two further studies on DOMS and Earthing. In the second, it showed a marked decrease in creatine kinase. This is an enzyme that gets released into the blood from skeletal cells and heart muscles when they are damaged.
The third study concentrated on cycling exercises. It found that being grounded whilst cycling, “significantly reduces the level of blood urea, an indicator of muscle and protein breakdown.”
Could Earthing encourage greater exercise?
Going forwards, these studies could be highly significant in both the professional and recreational sporting worlds. Less pain equals greater training, which in turn could lead to better performance. Less pain also has the potential to encourage many more people to actively participate in regular exercise. This therefore will help to improve the mental and physical well-being of vast amounts of people.
Greater research needs to be done on DOMS and Earthing to further support these breakthrough claims. Only then will the undecided and unconvinced amongst us be further won over. Nevertheless, the evidence so far makes for a very compelling case. The evidence points to a future where people are willing to embrace the earth that they walk on.