- The Healing Benefits of Grounding the Human Body
- 6 Questions Answered About Grounding Mats
- How does a grounding mat work?
- Is it important for health to walk on natural surfaces such as grass and dirt?
- Does the body’s electric current correspond to stress level?
- Is there any solid research on grounding mats?
- Can grounding therapy help with anxiety and depression? Autism? Alzheimer’s?
- Can grounding therapy help with insomnia?
- What on Earth is Earthing? Everything You Need to Know About This Wellness Trend
- Are we getting sick because of our lack of connection to the planet?
- Can earthing reduce potential harm from free radicals?
- Earthing may help reduce some of the damage your screen-time is causing
- There are a bunch of diseases that might be improved by earthing
- Is there enough evidence to suggest this practice is beneficial?
- Grounding the Human Body: The Healing Benefits of Earthing
- Increase in Illness
- Losing Touch with the Ground
- Healing Benefits of Grounding
- Improved Circulation
- How to Reconnect to the Earth
- Suggested Further Reading
- What Is Grounding and Can It Help Improve Your Health?
- Walking barefoot
- Lying on the ground
- Submersing in water
- Using grounding equipment
The Healing Benefits of Grounding the Human Body
By Marty Zucker, Gaetan Chevalier, PhD, Clint Ober, Paul J. Mills, Deepak Chopra, MD
The Earth is a gigantic battery that contains a natural, subtle electric charge—a special kind of energy present in the ground. For safety and stability, almost everything in the electrical world is connected to the ground, whether it is an electric power plant or your refrigerator. That’s what the term “grounded” means.
Being grounded also applies to people. When you are electrically grounded, when you maintain your body at earth’s electric potential, you feel:
Overall, you feel good. If you have pain, you have less of it, or maybe none at all, when electrically grounded to the earth.
Many people live with daily pain and constant stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. They feel out-of-sorts, not centered, strong, or solid. Doctors often can’t find the cause and resort to prescribing medications that produce side effects fatigue, poor mood, and headaches.
There has been an increase in the number of people suffering from autoimmune diseases in the U.S. Fifty million people in the U.S.—75 percent of whom are women—are suffering from:
· Inflammatory bowel disorders
Researchers don’t know the specific causes behind the steep increases in a diversity of illnesses. Some say it is because people are eating more unnatural foods than ever and that the ingredients in these foods could be harmful, others point to increased exposure to environmental pollutants.
While certain lifestyle approaches such as meditation and yoga can help, there are limitations to their effectiveness for many of these illnesses.
We are bioelectrical beings living on an electrical planet. Our bodies operate electrically. All of our cells transmit multiple frequencies that run our heart, immune system, muscles, and nervous system.
With the exception of humans living in industrialized societies, all living things on our planet are connected to the ground’s electrical energy. In industrialized societies, we rarely go barefoot outside or wear natural leather shoes that allow us to absorb the ground’s energy.
For the last 50 years or so, most people have been wearing plastic soled shoes that act as a barrier to the Earth’s energy, insulating them from electrical contact with the Earth. People also generally don’t sleep on the ground anymore.
They live and work above the ground, even far above the ground in high-rises.
The truth is, we are disconnected, ungrounded, touch with the Earth. Might this disconnection be a factor in the onset of some illnesses?
Healing Benefits of Grounding
Scientific research over the past decade indicates that our bodies can be protected and helped—and that we feel better—when we are electrically connected to the Earth. That is, when we are grounded. Here are three examples of benefits that have been reported in scientific research studies (these studies are listed at the end of this article):
1.Decreased Levels of Inflammation and Pain
Being grounded can help relieve inflammation.
In a small pilot study of 12 subjects, results indicated that grounding the human body during sleep reduces night-time levels of cortisol and resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile.
In one case, medical thermal imaging was used to image a 44-year-old woman with chronic back pain. Images taken after being grounded while sleeping for four nights, as compared to before grounding, showed a reductions in inflammation, at which time the woman also reported:
· 30 percent reduction in pain
· 70 percent reduction in pain interfering with sleep
· 30 percent reduction in morning stiffness and soreness
After four weeks of continued grounding while sleeping, she reported:
· 80 percent reduction in pain
· 70 percent reduction in morning stiffness and soreness
By eight weeks, she reported that her pain was gone.
When grounded, the diurnal rhythm of the stress hormone, cortisol, begins to normalize.
Cortisol is a vital part of our body’s stress response system and helps control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism and inflammation, and assist with memory formulation.
A study that examined the diurnal rhythm of cortisol after sleeping grounded showed a normalization of the rhythm. In addition to a normalization of the rhythm, participants in this study also slept better and woke up feeling more refreshed.
When we are grounded our circulation improves, aiding in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in the body, including better blood flow to the face. These were findings of a study that used a laser speckle contrast camera to quantify facial blood flow in response to one hour of grounding.
How to Reconnect to the Earth
While the research on grounding is relatively new, the practice is timeless. Past societies went barefoot or wore leather footwear made from hides that allowed the energy of the Earth to rise up into their bodies. They were grounded.
In modern society, most of us have lost our electrical roots, so to speak. We are disconnected and this disconnection may be a seriously overlooked cause of human pain and discomfort and the steady rise of chronic illness worldwide.
The good news is we can easily get grounded. Weather and schedule permitting, go barefoot for a half-hour or more, go outside and see what a difference that makes on your pain or stress level. Sit, stand, or walk on soil, grass, sand, or concrete. These are all conductive surfaces from which your body can draw the Earth’s energy. Wood, asphalt, and vinyl are not conductive.
For many people, however, there isn’t time in their busy days to go out barefoot. There are, fortunately, indoor options. Investing in grounding products, such as grounding mats or chairs, can be used to remain electrically grounded to the earth while sleeping, relaxing, or working.
Ideally, you want to sustain the grounding experience and make it a part of your daily routine.
Further Reading and References to the findings discussed in this article.
Brown R, Chevalier G, Hill M. Open Access J Sports Med. 2015 Sep 21;6:305-17. doi: 10.2147/OAJSM.S87970.
Oschman JL, Chevalier G, Brown R. J Inflamm Res. 2015 Mar 24;8:83-96. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S69656.
Chevalier G. Psychol Rep. 2015 Apr;116(2):534-42. doi: 10.2466/06.PR0.116k21w5.
by Georgia Kinch
When was the last time you walked through the grass barefoot, allowing the soles of your feet to connect with Earth’s surface? In today’s culture, keeping your feet protected with sturdy shoes is the norm. But there are some people who believe that such contact between our bodies and the Earth is essential to our health and wellbeing.
The process is referred to as “earthing” or “grounding”, and the idea is that the Earth’s surface contains free electrons that can be transferred to human bodies via direct contact, and that these electrons then act as antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals in our bodies to reduce inflammation and prevent disease.
The idea of earthing is nothing new, as the practice began with our ancient ancestors who often had no choice but to walk barefoot and sleep directly on the Earth. Today, the practice is most common among people who follow a holistic health approach, which emphasizes the interaction between our body and the environment.
There are countless websites and books that provide information on earthing, including the website Barefoot Healing: Australian Earthing Specialists, which makes the claim: “Earthing outdoors is easy, just touch your bare feet to the grass for at least thirty minutes or go barefoot at the beach and notice how fast stress and pain reduces and energy improves!” .
The reason that the belief in earthing is extraordinary is because behind such substantial claims, there is little clinical evidence to prove that earthing is actually an effective health practice.
Despite a lack of concrete evidence, believers of earthing do put forth a convincing set of assertions.
Some of the benefits that supposedly come from earthing include: Defuse the cause of inflammation, reduce/eliminate chronic pain, improve sleep, increase energy, normalize the body’s biological rhythms, improve blood pressure, lessen menstrual symptoms, and dramatically speed healing time (just to name a few) .
A review of earthing research conducted by the Developmental and Cell Biology Department at the University of California at Irvine found that reconnecting the body to the Earth’s surface electrons actually may result in significant improvements in sleep disturbances and chronic plain.
One of the studies reviewed involved randomly assigning subjects with sleep or pain disorders to sleep on conductive carbon fiber mattress pads, half of which were connected to the Earth’s surface, and half of which were not.
The subjects who were connected to the Earth’s electrons reported a significant improvement in quality of sleep, feeling rested upon waking, muscle stiffness and pain, and general well-being when compared to the control subjects . The review concluded that more research does need to be conducted, but that earthing very well may be an essential element in the quest to increase human longevity.
While subjective responses and anecdotal success stories may be enough to convince some, there are plenty of non-believers in the supposed benefits of sticking your bare feet in the ground. The main argument against earthing is that the explanation of electron transfer doesn’t quite make sense from a scientific point-of-view.
An article, eloquently titled “’Earthing’ Is a Bunch of Crap”, explains that from a chemistry-standpoint, electrons are electrons, and there is no significant difference between an electron that comes straight from the Earth and one that comes from any other synthetic material.
The author also states that while there is an interaction between our bodies and the Earth’s electrons, it lasts such a short time that no enduring effect could be expected.
He gave the example of what happens when you shuffle your feet across a carpeted floor (losing billions of electrons) and then touch a metal doorknob (instantly getting them all back): “It’s simply not possible to build up and maintain a significant charge imbalance between your body and the rest of the world, because everything we interact with contains electrons, and they move back and forth between objects all the time” . So, when you look at earthing through a scientific-lens, it really is hard to believe that the Earth’s electrons are of much more value than those of our own floors at home.
With little scientific evidence to back it up, why are there still such avid supporters of earthing? Several cognitive processes seem to be at play, with the most influential one being the confirmation bias.
When someone has a specific belief about how an event will play out, they tend to focus on the evidence that supports their belief while ignoring evidence that contradicts it. This is often seen in the medical field and is known as the Placebo Effect.
In the case of earthing, believers go into the practice with the hope that they will experience the health benefits that it is known for.
With such expectations in mind, the body can actually trick itself into producing those effects on its own, and when the participant notices those changes, they ly will attribute the success to earthing.
At a time when death by chronic disease is at an all-time high, it’s unsurprising that so many people are turning toward alternative methods of medicine to maintain or restore their health.
Believers of earthing typically belong to the holistic health community which, in general, has been growing in popularity for several decades.
According to The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, approximately 38% of adults and 12% of children in America are using some form of complementary medicine .
While earthing is by no means a part of traditional medicine, it does belong to the group of practices that is becoming more socially accepted as an effective way of maintaining health. As more people begin to support and practice integrative medicine, it can be expected that earthing will be socially reinforced and gain more popularity.
While earthing is difficult to validate from a scientific point-of-view, the testaments from those who practice it are quite inspiring.
The idea that we can improve our health by reconnecting with nature is intriguing for many, but the Placebo Effect makes it almost impossible to determine whether the health benefits do indeed come from earthing, or if they come from our desire for earthing to work.
Regardless, earthing appears to be a holistic trend that will continue to grow. Perhaps the next time you’re feeling sluggish, try taking a walk in nature and see what happens for you!
 What Is Earthing? (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2018, from http://www.barefoothealing.com.au/v/what-is-earthing/22
 Chevalier, G., Sinatra, S. T., Oschman, J. L., Sokal, K., & Sokal, P. (2012, January 12). Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from
 Orzel, C. (2014, May 28). “Earthing” Is a Bunch of Crap. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from
 The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. (2017, September 24). Retrieved April 12, 2018, from
6 Questions Answered About Grounding Mats
It’s no secret that exploring the great outdoors offers a myriad of health benefits, from increasing serotonin and vitamin D levels to decreasing stress and anxiety.
There are some who even believe that getting back to nature — specifically while barefoot — can help neutralize the electric charge that runs through our bodies. The theory is that when our skin touches the earth, the earth’s charge can help reduce a number of ailments.
This practice is known as “earthing.” While it’s not always possible to sink your toes into the sand or take a stroll around your backyard, sans footwear, grounding mats are another option for supposedly replicating this same result.
Whether grounding mats are legitimate, however, is still up for debate.
To get a better idea of the science, or lack thereof, behind these mats, we asked two medical professionals — Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, associate professor and holistic healthcare practitioner, and Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI, a nurse educator who specializes in complementary and alternative medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, and cardiology — to weigh in on the matter
Here’s what they had to say.
How does a grounding mat work?
Debra Rose Wilson: A grounding mat is meant to replace the direct contact with the earth that we would get if we walked barefoot. In current Western culture, we seldom walk barefoot outside.
The earth’s surface has a negative electric charge, and when it comes in contact with human tissue, there is an equalization. The body can take on extra electrons and build up a static electric charge. This is called the Earthing hypothesis.
A grounding mat mimics the electric current of the earth and allows a person to bring the experience into a home or office. Most of the biochemical reactions in the body involve electron transfer.
That said, this isn’t for everyone. There is the potential danger of drawing current from other sources, so be aware of unground electrical sources near you. This could cause a potentially dangerous electrical shock.
Debra Sullivan: Grounding or earthing mats create an electrical connection between your body and the earth. The idea is to replicate the physical connectivity one would make by walking barefoot on the ground. This connection allows electrons to flow from the earth and into your body to create a neutral electrical charge.
Since humans spend the majority of time either indoors or wearing rubber-soled shoes outdoors, we barely spend time having physical contact with the earth. These mats allow for this connection when indoors and re-creates that equilibrium of electron charge.
Grounding mats are meant to bring a connection to earth indoors. The mats usually connect via a wire to the ground port of an electrical outlet. The mats may be placed on the floor, on a desk, or on a bed so the user can put their bare feet, hands, or body on the mat and conduct the earth’s energy.
Is it important for health to walk on natural surfaces such as grass and dirt?
DRW: Being out in nature has multiple health benefits in itself. People report a great sense of well-being when they walk barefoot. There have been reports on improvement in blood glucose, osteoporosis, immune function, blood flow, and stress reduction.
Reduction in inflammation has been measured as have the benefits to muscle recovery from exercise and platelet counts.
DS: As research continues to show that grounding has positive impacts on the human body, it is understandable that walking on natural surfaces while barefoot would be beneficial. However, there is a reason we created shoes to protect our feet, so use caution when walking barefoot.
It is possible to walk on grass and dirt and create an electrical connection while wearing shoes. It will, however, require finding leather soled shoes or specially designed grounding shoes.
Does the body’s electric current correspond to stress level?
DRW: From a holistic perspective, everything effects everything. When we are stressed, we enter a state of unbalance. Changes occur at a cellular level.
DS: While I was unable to find evidence of electric currents corresponding to elevated stress levels, this review shows that when a grounding mat was used during sleep, it lowered stress levels.
That said, more research will need to be conducted to show whether or not those are correlated.
Is there any solid research on grounding mats?
DRW: There is mounting evidence of the benefits of grounding mats. There are implications for sleep, biological clocks and rhythms, and hormone secretion.
It is well understood how electrons from antioxidants deactivate free radicals. We know these free radicals play a role in immune function, inflammation, and chronic disease.
A 2011 publication reported four different experiments examining grounding and its effect on human physiology. Electrolytes, thyroid hormone levels, glucose levels, and even immune response to immunizations improved with grounding.
Walking barefoot outside — weather and ground surface permitting — does have benefits, and those benefits transfer to grounding mats. Grounding mats are often used in these studies.
I am looking forward to seeing more research and, in the meantime, I encourage you to walk barefoot and mindfully set aside your stress.
DS: Research on grounding or earthing does show solid evidence of increasing your overall health through better sleep or lower inflammation or even better blood flow.
This research is typically done while a subject is sleeping, but some effects were even measured while subjects were awake. It took as little as an hour to make an impact.
Can grounding therapy help with anxiety and depression? Autism? Alzheimer’s?
DRW: There has not been enough research to speak to autism and Alzheimer’s, but theoretically, anyone would benefit from connecting with the earth. The stress reduction of walking barefoot, interacting with nature, and mindfully walking will benefit your health.
For those with anxiety and depression, actively interacting with nature, exercising, and being mindful of the moment are all well studied approaches to moving through these conditions. A 2015 study found mood was improved after an hour of grounding.
More studies are needed before we can understand the impact, but, in the meantime, it can’t hurt.
DS: Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, but one of these is due to lack of sleep caused by insomnia. Grounding while sleeping has been shown to help regulate sleep and provide a subjectively better night’s rest.
Since insomnia is also shown to relate to depression and dementia, ground therapy has potential to help with those issues as well.
Can grounding therapy help with insomnia?
DRW: There have been measured positive effects of using grounding to enhance the depth and length of sleep, reducing pain, and reducing stress.
One of the first studies on this came out in 2004 and found that grounding improved sleep and reduced cortisol levels, a stress hormone.
DS: Approximately 30 percent of the American population experiences sleep disruptions.
Grounding has been shown to help with every aspect of the sleeping process: improved morning fatigue, less nighttime pain, higher daytime energy, decreased cortisol levels, and falling asleep faster.
Dr. Debra Rose Wilson is an associate professor and holistic healthcare practitioner. She graduated from Walden University with a PhD. She teaches graduate-level psychology and nursing courses.
Her expertise also includes complementary therapies, obstetrics, and breastfeeding. Dr. Wilson is the managing editor of a peer-reviewed international journal.
She enjoys being with her Tibetan terrier, Maggie.
What on Earth is Earthing? Everything You Need to Know About This Wellness Trend
Slowly making its way into a mainstream discussion is a practice so simple and straightforward that the suggestion it might have hidden benefits is often greeted with skepticism and incredulity. Can just walking barefoot in the grass really reduce your risk of a whole host of conditions, from anxiety to inflammation to digestive disorders?
Earthing, also known as grounding, has been shown to have a positive impact on our health.
The idea is that giving the body direct exposure to the Earth’s electrons can help balance the body’s electrical currents and neutralize free radicals, thereby reducing disease and chronic conditions.
There is a massive supply of electrons available on the Earth’s surface; simply stepping on grass, dirt or sand is said to transfer these to the human body and help promote health.
Earthing is studied in a field of medicine called Environmental Medicine.
Environmental Medicine focuses on interactions between human health and the environment, including factors such as compromised air and water and toxic chemicals and how they cause disease.
Exposure to the Earth’s electrical activity might be the next big factor to consider when it comes to understanding how our environment impacts our well-being.
Are we getting sick because of our lack of connection to the planet?
We spend a lot of time indoors, standing on carpeted, concrete floors; when we are outside, we wear rubber-soled shoes and tend to avoid contact with our bare skin to nature, especially in urban environments. Research suggests that our disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness.
Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.
Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth’s negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems.
Exposing ourselves to the Earth’s electromagnetic currents might help clarify signals running through and around the body.
The human body itself is a complicated bundle of electrical currents, and when these currents are running smoothly, bodily functions tend to run more smoothly. Think back to elementary school science class: When a circuit is grounded, the signal is unimpeded and electricity moves freely. In the same way, the human body’s circuits might benefit from being stabilized by grounding them to Earth.
Also, our circadian rhythms also rely on specific electrical currents functioning well. Studies have suggested that the natural wavelengths of Earth’s potential may play a role in setting our biological clocks, which regulate our sleep/wake cycle and cortisol production.
When we are not connected to the planet, our natural rhythms may fall balance, and imbalance creates disease.
Particularly when it comes to improving sleep (which has also been shown to reduce symptoms of chronic pain, stress and anxiety), earthing may stabilize and improve the bioelectrical function underlying all of these, meaning it could help us sleep and feel better.
Can earthing reduce potential harm from free radicals?
Free radicals are reactive oxygen molecules that can damage human tissue.
Essentially, free radicals seek out molecules from which they may steal electrons to become stable. If human cells are the only options around, they’ll take from those first, causing inflammation and an immune response to this “attack.”
When we eat antioxidant-rich foods, we provide our tissue with some defense in the form of other molecules that can take the brunt of the force from free radicals.
It seems that earthing can help neutralize free radicals by creating an influx of spare electrons in the body, which free radicals will gravitate toward and make use of, rather than attacking our tissue.
The result is a decrease in inflammation. Uninflamed cells are happier, healthier, better functioning cells.
Earthing may help reduce some of the damage your screen-time is causing
We spend every minute of our days surrounded by electromagnetic activity. The sun, cell phone towers, our desktop screens, Wi-Fi in the subway station… everything around us creates a bombardment of electricity that—while still debatably detrimental to our health—undoubtedly causes changes in our functioning and electromagnetic activity.
Earthing may help to neutralize the effects of these external forces by allowing us to become a part of the greater Earth-based electrical system; think of walking barefoot on sand as adding yourself as a conductor in a circuit. The Earth’s potential then cancels or reduces the effects electric fields have on the body, allowing the grounded body to be less affected by the constant changes and surges of electrical systems surrounding them.
Somewhat related to the impact of office environments, earthing has also been shown to elicit positive changes in stress levels (scored by changes in heart rate, blood pressure and autonomic nervous system activation), meaning it might be a good antidote to the other non-electromagnetic stresses of your 9-to-5.
There are a bunch of diseases that might be improved by earthing
The illnesses afflicting the developed world’s population tend to be of the autoimmune, inflammatory and chronic variety; less often are we getting sick from bacterial infection, but rather from irregularities and overreactions happening within our systems. There is evidence to suggest that changed environmental factors may be the cause.
Emerging research supports that exposure to the Earth’s electrons can reduce pain, improve sleep and thin blood, which can improve blood pressure in high-blood pressure subjects or heart patients.
earthing has also been shown to reduce primary indicators of osteoporosis, blood glucose fluctuations, irregular heart activity and immune function, including symptoms of autoimmune conditions lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Plus, here’s some great news if you’ve been hitting the ClassPass studios hard: Shown in a study that used electrical currents to balance the body, grounding yourself on the Earth may reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after intense exercise. Compared to control groups, in the days following a workout, grounded exercisers showed a decrease in white blood cells, indicating less inflammation, and, for the first time ever observed, a shorter recovery time.
Is there enough evidence to suggest this practice is beneficial?
Asking if there’s enough evidence to support earthing is fair; after all, there’s something a little hippie-dippy in the idea that wandering around in the grass could cure everything from lupus to heart disease.
Earthing studies done to date have been relatively small in scope and preliminary in their findings.
If having more electrons and being more in line with the Earth’s negative charge really is important for good health, can we be certain that exposure to these electrons will have the long-lasting benefits we hope?
While research is still ongoing and the study of this practice is relatively new, there are few downsides to being outside more, especially with direct contact with nature.
Being outside, away from screens and electricity, and allowing ourselves to move, breathe and be in nature might be just what the doctor ordered, whether or not the transfer of electrons is the most significant healing action that takes place.
Grounding the Human Body: The Healing Benefits of Earthing
The Earth is a gigantic battery that contains a natural, subtle electrical charge—a special kind of energy present in the ground. For safety and stability, most everything in the electrical world is connected to it, whether it is an electric power plant or your refrigerator. That’s what the term “grounded” means.
Being grounded also applies to people. When you are electrically grounded, you feel:
- Less tense
- Less stressed
Overall, you feel good. If you have pain, you have less of it, or maybe none at all, when grounded.
Increase in Illness
Many people live with daily pain and constant stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. They feel out-of-sorts–not centered, strong, or solid. Doctors often can’t find the cause and resort to prescribing medications that produce side effects fatigue, poor mood, gastro-intestinal upset, and headaches.
There has been an increase in the number of people suffering from autoimmune diseases. Fifty million people in the U.S are suffering from diseases including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disorders
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers don’t know the specific causes behind the steep increases in a diversity of illnesses. Some say it is because people are eating more unnatural foods than ever and that the ingredients in these foods could be harmful.
While certain lifestyle approaches such as meditation and yoga can help, there are limitations to their effectiveness for many of these illnesses.
Losing Touch with the Ground
You are a bioelectrical being living on an electrical planet. Your body operates electrically. All of your cells transmit multiple frequencies that run, for example, your heart, immune system, muscles, and nervous system.
With the exception of humans living in industrialized societies, all living things on our planet are connected to the ground’s electric energy. In industrialized societies, you rarely go barefoot and walk around outside or wear natural leather shoes that allow you to absorb the ground’s energy.
For many decades, people have increasingly been wearing rubber and plastic-soled shoes that act as a barrier to the Earth’s energy, insulating them from electrical contact with the Earth. People also generally don’t sleep on the ground anymore, as many cultures have done throughout history.
They live and work above the ground, even far above the ground in high-rises.
The truth is, you’re disconnected. You’re ungrounded. You are not in touch with the Earth. Could this disconnection be an overlooked factor in the increase of illnesses noted earlier?
Healing Benefits of Grounding
Scientific research over more than a decade indicates that your body can be protected and helped—and that you feel better—when you electrically reconnect to the Earth. That is, when you are grounded. Here are three examples of potential benefits that have been reported in these studies:
1. Decreased Levels of Inflammation and Pain
Being grounded can help relieve inflammation. The following images show a 44-year-old woman with chronic back pain, as monitored by thermography, a commonly used imaging method in medicine.
The left image was taken before grounding. The red patterns represent “hot” areas of pain and inflammation.
The right image shows a sharp reduction in inflammation after four nights of sleeping grounded, at which time the woman reported:
- 30 percent reduction in pain
- 70 percent reduction in pain interfering with sleep
- 30 percent reduction in morning stiffness and soreness
After four weeks, she reported:
- 80 percent reduction in pain
- No sleep interference
- 70 percent reduction in morning stiffness and soreness
By eight weeks, she said her pain was gone.
2. Reduced Stress Levels
When grounded, the diurnal rhythm of the stress hormone, cortisol, begins to normalize.
Cortisol is connected to your body’s stress response and helps control blood sugar levels, regulates metabolism, helps reduce inflammation, and assists with memory formulation.
The figure below shows the results of a study that examined the effects of being grounded while sleeping over the course of eight weeks.
In addition to a normalization of the cortisol rhythm, participants in this study also slept better and woke up feeling more refreshed.
When you are grounded, your circulation improves, aiding in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in your body, including better blood flow to your face. The image below, taken with a laser contrast camera, shows significant facial blood flow improvement within a half-hour of grounding.
Improved facial circulation (right image) after 20 minutes of grounding, as documented by a Speckle Contrast Laser Imager (dark blue=lowest circulation; dark red=highest circulation). Image Source: Scientific Research Publishing
How to Reconnect to the Earth
While the research on grounding for your health and well-being is relatively new, the practice is timeless. Past societies went barefoot or wore leather footwear made from hides that allowed the energy from the Earth to rise up into their bodies. They were grounded.
Here’s the bottom line: You have lost your electrical roots, so to speak. You’re disconnected, and this disconnection may be a seriously overlooked cause of human pain and discomfort and the steeply rising incidence of chronic illness worldwide.
The good news is, you have the potential to reconnect. Weather and schedule permitting, go barefoot for a half-hour or so outside and see what a difference that makes on your pain or stress level. Sit, stand, or walk on soil, grass, sand, or concrete. These are all conductive surfaces from which your body can draw the Earth’s energy. Wood, asphalt, and vinyl are not conductive.
Ideally, you want to sustain the Earthing experience incorporate this healing energy into your daily routine.
For many people, however, there isn’t time in their current busy schedule to go out barefoot. So, there are also indoor options. Invest in grounding products—which can be used while sleeping, relaxing, or working—such as conductive:
- Bed pads
- Floor and chair mats
- Body bands
- Patches to place on your body where it hurts
Whatever route you take, get grounded and feel vibrant.
Suggested Further Reading
If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, read any of the following:
1. Grounding after moderate eccentric contractions reduces muscle damage.
Brown R, Chevalier G, Hill M.
Open Access J Sports Med. 2015 Sep 21;6:305-17. doi: 10.2147/OAJSM.S87970.
2. The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Oschman JL, Chevalier G, Brown R.
J Inflamm Res. 2015 Mar 24;8:83-96. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S69656.
3. The effect of grounding the human body on mood. Chevalier G.
Psychol Rep. 2015 Apr;116(2):534-42. doi: 10.2466/06.PR0.116k21w5.
What Is Grounding and Can It Help Improve Your Health?
Share on Pinterest
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.
Grounding, also called earthing, is a therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth.
This practice relies on earthing science and grounding physics to explain how electrical charges from the earth can have positive effects on your body. This type of grounding therapy isn’t entirely the same as the technique that is used in mental health treatment.
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind grounding energy, the risks and benefits of using earthing techniques, and how to perform grounding.
Grounding is currently an under-researched topic and there are very few scientific studies on the benefits. However, the most recent scientific research has explored grounding for inflammation, cardiovascular disease, muscle damage, chronic pain, and mood.
The central theory from one review study is that grounding affects the living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells.
Electrical conductivity exists within the matrix that functions as an immune system defense, similar to antioxidants. They believe that through grounding, the natural defenses of the body can be restored. Further research expands on this idea.
In a small study on grounding and heart health, 10 healthy participants were grounded using patches on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet.
Blood measurements were taken before and after grounding to determine any changes in red blood cell fluidity, which plays a role in heart health. The results indicated significantly less red blood cell clumping after grounding, which suggests benefits for cardiovascular health.
Another slightly larger study examined the role of grounding on post-exercise muscle damage. Researchers used both grounding patches and mats and measured creatine kinase, white blood cell count, and pain levels before and after grounding.
Blood work indicated that grounding reduced muscle damage and pain in participants. This suggests that grounding may influence healing abilities.
This research is supported by a recent study on grounding for pain reduction and mood improvement. Sixteen massage therapists alternated between periods of grounding and no grounding.
Before grounding therapy, physical and emotional stress and pain were common side effects of their physically demanding jobs. After the earthing therapy, pain, stress, depression, and fatigue were all reduced among participants.
Most of the studies on grounding are small and rely somewhat on subjective measures, such as self-reported feelings, mood, or even self-administered treatment.
Some studies also rely on blood markers, such as those that detect inflammation, but the size and shortage of these studies suggests that more research is needed.
There are many types of grounding. All of them focus on reconnecting yourself to the earth. This can be done through either direct or indirect contact with the earth.
Have you ever been outside on a warm summer day and felt the urge to run barefoot in the grass? One of the easiest ways to ground yourself to the earth is to walk barefoot.
Whether this is on grass, sand, or even mud, allowing your skin to touch the natural ground can provide you with grounding energy.
Lying on the ground
You can increase your skin-to-earth contact by lying on the ground. You can do it in the grass by the park or on the sand at the beach.
If you’re going to ground yourself in this way, be sure to take the proper precautions and never lie somewhere you could be injured.
Submersing in water
According to advocates for grounding, water may be used to ground in the same way the physical earth is used for grounding.
They suggest simply wading in a clear lake or swimming in the ocean as a way to ground yourself. As always, be sure to stay safe when swimming, especially in murky or deep waters.
Using grounding equipment
When going outside to ground yourself isn’t an option, there are alternatives. One method of earthing involves connecting a metal rod to the ground outside and then connecting the rod to your body through a wire.
If you’re not comfortable using a metal rod to ground yourself, there’s other grounding equipment available. This equipment is an effective way to incorporate earthing therapy into your daily life and includes:
- grounding mats
- grounding sheets or blankets
- grounding socks
- grounding bands and patches
You can find grounding mats, sheets, blankets, socks, and bands online.
There’s not much research on the benefits of grounding. However, people have reported improvement for conditions such as:
- Chronic fatigue. In the study on massage therapists, many reported a decrease in their fatigue levels after four weeks of treatment with grounding mats.
- Chronic pain. The study on grounding for exercise recovery found that those who used grounding patches reported lower pain levels.
- Anxiety and depression. In one small study, it was shown that even 1 hour of grounding therapy can significantly improve mood.
- Sleep disorders. The massage therapists also experienced an improvement in sleep length and reduce sleep disturbances with grounding therapy.
- Cardiovascular disease. Results of one treatment study found that long-term self-administered grounding therapy helped to reduce blood pressure levels in participants with hypertension.
As mentioned above, many of these studies are small and require further research. Still, some health professionals believe that the benefits of grounding therapy may come simply from feeling you’re reconnected to nature. Regardless, there is little harm.
Many of the grounding techniques performed in nature, such as walking through the grass or swimming at the beach, are relatively safe.
However, there may be a risk of electrocution when using grounding rods, mats, or similar equipment. When using these types of earthing equipment, be mindful and follow all directions to avoid an electric shock.
In addition, conditions chronic fatigue, pain, and anxiety may have underlying medical causes that need to be addressed. Always visit your doctor for these types of conditions first before relying on grounding therapy as the first line of treatment.
how to practice grounding
Grounding can be performed both outdoors and indoors, depending on the technique you choose to use.
- Outdoors. When you’re outside, you can easily ground yourself by allowing the bottoms of your feet, palms of your hands, or entire body to touch the earth. Walk in the grass, lay in the sand, or swim in the sea. These are all easy ways to naturally reconnect.
- Indoors. When you’re inside, grounding yourself requires a bit more effort and in most cases, equipment. Use a grounding sheet or socks while you sleep. Use a grounding mat in your home office chair. This equipment has been thought to help ground you throughout the day.
Grounding or earthing is a therapeutic technique that focuses on realigning your electrical energy by reconnecting to the earth. There’s little research behind grounding but smaller studies have reported benefits for inflammation, pain, mood, and more.
Grounding can be performed inside or outside, with or without grounding equipment. No matter how you choose to perform grounding, make sure that you’re always aware of your surroundings outside and use earthing equipment safely to reduce risks.