What Is Earthing?
Earthing (also called “grounding”) is the electrically conductive contact of the body with the surface of the Earth, like when walking barefoot on grass.
Conductive devices such as earthing mats, sheets, or pads are now sold specially designed for grounding while indoors.
The Journal of Environmental and Public Health recently published a paper citing 33 different studies on earthing stating “This paper reviews the earthing research and the potential of earthing as a simple and easily accessed global modality of significant clinical importance.”
Here’s Why Earthing Is So Important:
The earth’s surface is negatively charged. It has a virtually infinite supply of freely moving electrons. The human body is at its best when it is grounded to the earth’s surface- it evolved that way.
For example, electrical charge in the bloodstream has a profound effect on blood viscosity, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a New York based cardiologist researching the health effects of grounding explains this phenomenon: “The surface of red blood cells carries a negative electrical charge that maintains spacing of the cells in the bloodstream. The stronger the negative charge, the greater the potential of the cells to repel each other, the better (thinner) the viscosity of the blood, and the better the flow.” Earthing actually helps thin the blood and there are numerous reports of people having to lower their blood thinning medication or stop taking it completely once they began earthing on a regular basis. (source)
Grounding also greatly reduces blood viscosity after exercise, in part helping to counteract exercise-induced inflammation. Many athletes sleep in earthed or grounded sheets in order to heal their joints and muscles more quickly.
Here’s another reason the human body needs access to the earth’s negative charge: To combat free radicals
Here’s the backround: Our immune systems use white blood cells (known as neutrophils) to release reactive oxygen molecules to oxidize and destroy pathogens and damaged cells. Oxidization is the loss of electrons during a reaction by a molecule, atom, or ion. These reactive oxygen molecules are known as free radicals.
Free radicals are atoms or molecules that are highly reactive with other cellular structures because they contain unpaired electrons.
When free radicals oxidize important components of the cell, those components lose their ability to function normally, and the accumulation of such damage may cause the cell to die. Once a free radical finds it’s missing electron, it is neutralized and is no longer contributing to the inflammation in the body.
This process works great when the free radicals attack dead, dying, or diseased cells. But sometimes in their quest to find a free electron and neutralize, they can steal an electron from an atom or molecule in a healthy cell, damaging it in the process. That damaged cell then needs to be removed, and the immune system sends another neutrophil to process it, starting the entire cycle over again. This is how chronic inflammation (which causes chronic pain and promotes many health disorders) is set in motion: Free radicals can continue to ravage the body’s healthy cells in search of the one thing they are missing, an electron. (source) This can cause electron deficiency (negative charge deficiency) in the body.
Interestingly, antioxidants like vitamins C and E protect the body against the destructive effects of free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron-“stealing” reaction. This is why they are called antioxidants (remember, the process of stealing an electron is called oxidation). The antioxidant nutrients themselves don’t become free radicals by donating an electron because they are stable in either form.
Other types of free radicals:
Another type of “electron stealing” molecule (also sometimes called a free radical) is the positive ion. Negative and positive ions are atoms and molecules with either negative or positive charges (meaning they contain an uneven amount of electrons and protons). Negative ions are excellent for the health, positive ions are harmful. More information here. Earthing helps deal with the deleterious health effects of positive ions as well.
Free radical-generating substances can be found in fried “food’, alcohol and other drugs, smoke, pesticides, and other pollutants of air and water. The earth has an infinite supply of freely moving electrons, so when a person is grounded, those electrons naturally flow from the earth to the body, providing the electrons that the body needs to help neutralize the effects of these free radicals.
Here’s another reason why the human body needs to be grounded: To combat the effects of EMR (electromagnetic radiation):
EMR is generated by appliances and power lines. The body is supposed to be at very low voltage (like the earth) and being near electricity generating appliances increases the voltage in the body. Earthing balances the body and allows excess voltage to drain away. Here’s more information here on why EMF’s are harmful and many ways you can keep yourself safe from them while still functioning in the real world. If you buy an earthing device get a multimeter because you can literally see your body’s the voltage grounding out to neutral when you hold the multimeter in one hand and ground yourself to the earthing device with the other.
How To Ground Yourself
You don’t have to buy anything in order to ground yourself:
A great way is to be barefoot on the earth. Barefeet on wet grass or unpainted concrete works (but not asphalt). Taking a walk on the beach is ideal because the wet sand increases conductivity between your feet and the earth. And of course swimming in the ocean- nothing beats being grounded by all that salt water. But when being barefoot outdoors isn’t possible, you can ground yourself indoors.
You can buy sheets or pads that are grounded (they have tiny conductive material such as silver woven or embedded in them.) These are sold by companies like Earthing.com or Tylson.com. The best way to ground your sheet or pad is to attach it to a grounding rod. This is just a long metal rod implanted in the earth which is attached to a wire that attaches to the pad or sheet. You don’t have to worry about lightning striking the rod or the wire and somehow electrocuting you. That’s not how electricity works. Electricity always wants to go to ground and it will choose the path of least resistance to get there. Lightning is not going to take an extra trip through a wire and up into your grounding device and you and then travel all the way back the same way in order to get to ground when it could just go straight to the ground in the first place. If lightning did for some freak reason hit the wire or the rod, it would travel directly to ground and not to you.
If you cannot use a grounding rod for whatever reason, attach it to the cold water pipe under your sink (cold water pipes are always grounded. I use the cold water pipe method and it works great). Do not ground your device through the ground in your electrical socket. Many earthing companies (including the ones in this article) sell a plug that grounds the device through the third hole of the electrical socket (the ground) but that isn’t a good idea. Ask a professional electrician and they will tell you that there is a chance that if there was a short somewhere in the home electrical system, the electricity could flow through the ground wire and then into your grounded device and to you, thus causing electrocution. If the quickest way to ground is through your device and you, then yes you could be electrocuted. Any company who says otherwise is lying or ignorant. So just don’t ground your devices through your electrical socket.
These earthing companies do include a 100K Ohm resistor in their devices but resistors have been known to short and fail. Plus, a 100k Ohm resistor is not a very powerful resistor at all (dry human skin is for example has a resistance of 100k Ohms).
I’m not sure why companies are selling them but just stick with the grounding rod or cold water pipe method.
Also, if you’re using a plugged in electrical device near your grounding device (like say you’re using a charging laptop while you’re in contact with an earthing product) make sure you use a ground fault interruptor so that in the event of a short the electricity doesn’t go to ground through you.
Earthing.com and Tylson.com have good earthing products. Tylson has a hassle-free one year warranty and their devices are compatible with earthing.com connectors. Their customer service is BY FAR superior to earthing.com’s. Earthing.com’s products are of a slightly higher quality. There are a few other manufacturers as well.
It is important not to wash the silver threaded grounding sheets with any kind of natural detergent because the oils degrade the silver. Just use a non perfumed regular detergent. Also, don’t use dryer sheets as they coat the silver fibers thus rendering them useless.
Here’s the earthing.com website for more info.
Here’s the tylson.com website for more info.
*I don’t financially gain in any way by mentioning these products or companies. This article is not a substitute for medical advice.
Note: It is also possible to build your own earthing devices for very cheap. There is a lot of information about this online.
Here’s are peer reviewed scientific studies published by respected medical institutions showing the relationship between earthing and improved health
Happy Earthing 🙂
Earthing may also increase the body’s ability to detoxify, which is the actual cleaning out of our organs and tissues of dead bacterial debris and their resultant endotoxins, dead cells, viruses, heavy metals, and other toxins.
The list of detox symptoms is long but can include fatigue, joint or muscle pain, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, irritability, and headaches.
If you notice any of these when you begin earthing, it’s recommended to just go slow. It’s important to gradually build up the duration and amount of the body that is Earthed, so you don’t get slammed with a Herxheimer or detox reaction.
For example, Lee Cowden, M.D., a well-known integrative physician and natural Lyme practitioner, directs Lyme patients to Earth for 15–30 minutes a day, building up to 3 hours while awake. Once a patient can Earth for 3 hours in the day, he says the patient can then try sleeping Earthed overnight.
If you don’t have any serious ailments, just earth for the length of time that intuitively feels right. Some folks just start sleeping on the sheet all night and feel great. Others may need to build up to that.