Earthing – 5 Ways Earthing Can Help Fight Disease
A movement called Earthing or Grounding is increasingly taking the holistic health world by storm and once you realise the benefits of Earthing, you’ll be practising it as often as you can, for as long as you can, trust us.
When was the last time you walked barefoot outside? On grass, sand or bare earth, earthing is in essence your bodily contact with the earth and its many healing benefits. While taking a still outside, barefoot and digging those toes into the soil or sand may sound a little “hippy” or “out there” there’s some serious evidence to suggest this can be beneficial to your overall health by reducing free radical damage (or oxidative stress as it’s sometimes known) and reducing pain, inflammation and promoting much better sleep.
What is Earthing?
Earthing is the act of putting the body in direct contact with the earth, which means the bare skin is directly touching the earth’s soil or water. This is by no means a new practice with our ancestors practising this for millennia before modern day living disrupted our natural contact with the earth however, in recent years innovators such as Clint Ober have re-discovered the process and now actively encourage us to get back in touch with the earth and start feeling the benefits.
Earthing Types and Products
There are 2 main ways to practice earthing, Indoors and Outdoors.
Outdoor earthing, of course, doesn’t require any products and doesn’t cost a penny however, it can be time consuming and it’s not always the most pleasant way to be grounded, especially if the wind is howling or the rain is coming down in sheets. It is considered to be best the easiest and best way to earth yourself but for those times when you can’t get outdoors, there are many ways you can practice earthing inside.
Indoor earthing requires the use of products that include;
Earthing Sheets :
Earthing sheets have a grounding wire that connects between the sheet and your electrical outlet. This connects you to the earth while you sleep. The major benefit of using earthing sheets is there’s no change to your routine and you’re continuously receiving the benefits for as long as you’re in bed.
Earthing mats are a great product to use while you work and it is claimed that they vastly reduce EMF (electric and magnetic field) exposure and enable you to have a connection between you and the earth with no change to your daily routine.
Most modern shoes are made with a synthetic sole, meaning our connection to the earth is lost due to the non-conductive material. Earthing shoes have a natural leather sole, meaning the porous material allows some connection to the earth.
These elastic bands are worn around the wrists or ankles and most people wear them while cooking or doing housework etc to get them the connection to the earth.
How does earthing work?
The best part about earthing (or grounding) is that it’s super simple and can be completely free. It requires nothing but your bare body and willingness to try something that might seem “a bit out there.”
You might be a bit sceptical about this phenomenon, so let’s explain more about the basics of how earthing works and provide some solid earthing science:
Your body runs through a type of electrical current. As the Journal of Environmental and Public Health states:
It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems which may be important for setting the biological clock, regulating circadian rhythms and balancing cortisol levels.Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Your body is naturally able to absorb electrical charges from the earth since your skin acts like a “conductor.” Your feet, specifically certain points in the balls of your feet, are believed to be especially good at receiving the earth’s electricity. But because of our modern way of living like always wearing shoes and living most of our lives above ground in our homes or offices, we’re losing touch with the earth’s natural “electrical” force.
“The human body is electrical first and chemical second,” according to earthing expert Clint Ober. The brain, heartbeat and neurotransmitter activity, for example, all rely on electrical signals, so when our electricity is off, so can be certain aspects of our health.
The idea is that by being in touch with the planet, the electrical force coming off the earth is able to help lower inflammation and fight free radicals. In fact, the term “earthing” has even earned a patent as a natural method for reducing disease-causing inflammation.
5 Benefits of Earthing
According to Dr Axe here are the 5 benefits of earthing you can start experiencing.
1. Reduces Inflammation
To put it simply, it’s thought that the influx of free electrons from Earth’s surface help to neutralize free radicals and reduce both acute and chronic inflammation and accelerated ageing. Experts on earthing and grounding believe that this practice can help improve circulation, which means you’re better able to distribute nutrients throughout your body and also carry waste and toxins out. In fact, enhanced circulation can have a tremendous effect on the body in many ways — from boosting energy levels to reducing swelling.
According to a report published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, “Inflammation is now recognized as an overwhelming burden to the healthcare status of our population and the underlying basis of a significant number of diseases. The elderly generally bear the burden of morbidity and mortality, which may be reflective of elevated markers of inflammation resulting from decades of lifestyle choices.”
How does earthing help stop inflammation? Inflammation, which triggers disease for so many people, is largely believed to be caused by a lack of electrons in your tissues.
When your body senses that you’re “under attack” or sick, it delivers reactive oxygen species (ROS) to the site of injury, which is another way of saying that it triggers an inflammatory response in an attempt to heal and defend you. When this takes place, some free radicals can leak into surrounding tissue and damage otherwise healthy parts of your body by increasing swelling, pain, heat and redness.
The reason we want to eat plenty of high-antioxidant foods is the same reason we want to practice earthing. Antioxidant electrons in your body help ensure damage from free radicals doesn’t get out of control and lead to high levels of inflammation and faster ageing, just like anti-inflammatory foods do. Basically, the free or mobile electrons from the earth can resolve chronic inflammation by serving as natural antioxidants!
The belief about earthing’s benefits is that electrons can be absorbed from the bottom of your feet when they’re touching the ground, and then these can move anywhere in your body where free radicals are forming. The antioxidant electrons help cancel out free radicals and, therefore, halt damage to DNA and other forms of “oxidative stress.”
2. Help to Reduce Stress Hormones
Chronic stress can kill your quality of life, as you’ve probably experienced firsthand. But luckily, time spent in nature can really help reverse certain feelings of stress and anxiety.
One double-blind study that investigated the effects of earthing on 58 healthy adults used conductive adhesive patches placed on the sole of each participant’s foot to read their electrical signals. The subjects were exposed to 28 minutes in the unearthed condition followed by 28 minutes with the earthing wire connected. Controls were unearthed for 56 minutes.
After earthing, about half the subjects showed “an abrupt, almost instantaneous change in root mean square (rms) values of electroencephalograms (EEGs) from the left hemisphere of the brain.” These changes are believed to signify positive changes and lower stress reactions.
Nineteen of 22 earthing participants also experienced decreased blood volume pulses (BVP). After considering the effects on electrophysiological properties of the brain and musculature as recorded using EEG, EMG and BVP readings, the findings suggest significantly higher reductions in overall stress levels and tensions results in the earthing participants compared to the control group.
3. Helps You Sleep Better
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine demonstrated that connecting the human body to the earth during sleep (earthing) normalizes the daily cortisol rhythm and improves sleep patterns. This is because of the effects that stress hormones have on your natural circadian rhythm, energy and ability to sleep soundly.
It’s proposed that the earth’s “diurnal electrical rhythms” set the biological clocks for hormones that regulate sleep and activity. We’ve all had the experience of tossing and turning in bed, unable to fall asleep due to racing thoughts.
When our bodies are not in line with the natural rhythms of the earth, including the patterns of light and darkness or “electrical” charges, our sleep and immunity suffer. The indoor lifestyle that many of us lead might be one reason for rising cases of chronic fatigue syndrome.
One 2006 study published in the Journal of European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics observed the patterns of patients’ cortisol levels before and after grounding. They found that their cortisol rises and dips were scattered and somewhat unpredictable in the adults before they practised earthing.
After earthing, their levels of cortisol were more in line with the natural rhythms of the earth and sun; they had higher cortisol early in the morning when we naturally need more to feel alert and awake, then they had lower cortisol at night time when we need to unwind in order to fall asleep for the night.
Electrically and chemically speaking, poor sleep is often a symptom of high stress hormones like cortisol. By lowering our reaction to stressful events in our lives, we can fall and stay asleep more easily. And sleep is crucial for healing the body on the most basic level — raising our immunity, giving us enough energy for proper digestion, fighting food cravings or weight gain and supporting a healthy mindset.
4. Helps Increase Energy
Many people have found that earthing or grounding can improve their energy or fight low-grade ongoing fatigue. This can be one side effect of getting better sleep but also be due to improvements in hormones and lower levels of inflammation.
For example, many studies point to the fact that higher cortisol levels rob the body of energy. Physiological stress and cortisol have a close relationship; stress impacts cortisol, and cortisol can further increase stress responses. This cycle can lead to fatigue and sleep problems, even cravings for low-nutrient foods, sugar and excess calories that further lead to low energy levels.
5. Reduced Pain
Inflammation is a major source of pain since it increases swelling, stiffness, reduced mobility and malformation. Inflammation in the joints and tissues are the main cause of pain associated with chronic conditions like arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), for example, is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that usually involves pain in multiple joints as well as symptoms like fatigue, fever, weight loss, eye inflammation, anaemia and lung inflammation. In someone with RA, the body releases enzymes that attack its own healthy tissue, therefore destroying the linings of joints.
By lowering inflammation, it’s very possible to help combat pain caused by chronic autoimmune disorders, injuries, headaches, menstrual problems and so on.
One 2010 pilot study compared the pain levels of adults who were grounding compared to a control group following intense exercise that caused muscle soreness. The results showed that grounding the body to the earth altered measures of immune system activity and pain.
Among the ungrounded men, there was an expected, sharp increase in white blood cells (a sign of an inflammatory response) and a greater perception of pain after exercise. In comparison, the grounded men had only a slight decrease in white blood cells, indicating less inflammation, and experienced shorter recovery times.
What are the Dangers of Earthing?
Of course, you have to be careful of where you’re walking barefoot and watch out for any hazardous materials (such as glass or sharp rocks) that may be present where you’re grounding.
Are there any earthing mat dangers? Some sources recommend avoiding the use of indoor grounding products like mats in high voltage environments to reduce the likelihood of becoming a conductor for the grounding path. To decrease this occurrence, unplug or ground any electrical devices that contribute to high voltages and turn off unnecessary circuit breakers.
Always follow product instructions carefully and consult with your healthcare provider before using indoor grounding products if you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are currently taking medication.