CAN GROUNDING / EARTHING BETTER YOUR HEALTH?
"It is now well established that the energy on the surface of the earth is mainly electrical. The central theme of this book is that we draw this electrical energy into our body in the form of free electrons through our bare feet. These electrons resonate at a variety of frequencies and the frequencies reset our biology, providing the body with electrical energy and behaving as anti-oxidants. Our research on Earthing has uncovered what is perhaps the most simple and natural remedy against proliferating, painful, and often deadly conditions, including the disease of aging, created by various kinds of inflammation." From Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? on the website of the Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine
"Whilst grounding is often undertaken in industry as a matter of good practice in situations where the risk of excess charge exists, little thought is usually given to the biological effects that such measures may have, or possible benefits that may arise from the more widespread application of electrostatic and other ‘electromagnetic hygiene’ measures in hospitals and the general built environment. Research, which is still in its infancy, indicates that grounding the human body... can significantly enhance biological functioning." Researchers from London's Imperial College a review (Grounding & Human Health: A Review) in a 2011 issue of the Journal of Physics: Conference Series
When speaking of the electricity in your house, car, or appliances, a ground wire allows excess electricity built up within a circuit to be shunted to the the ground or earth (ground wires have historically been known as "earthing" wires) before building up to the point of critical mass where it does something bad. Another example, a lightning rod, will always be attached to a wire that runs all the way to the ground. In similar fashion to non-biological systems; for decades there have been scientists who have shown that excess electricity --- particularly in the form of positive (+) charges --- can and should be bled from the body, and that negative charges could be gained, simply by putting your feet or body in contact with the ground / earth. Follow along as I explain this in just a bit more detail, showing you something very very cool in the process.
Although I first heard of Grounding / Earthing a number of years ago, after recently re-reading Becker's seminal Body Electric, it made me start wondering about Grounding, which is frequently referred to as Earthing. What exactly is Grounding / Earthing and how does it work? The premise of Becker's book (Becker was an orthopedic surgeon who did a great deal of research for the military before being blackballed for some of his amazing non-pharmaceutical discoveries) is that the body is first and foremost an electric organism. In other words, it's the electrical system that controls and rules over the chemical system and not vice versa (interesting in light of our nation's out-of-control propensity for CHEMICAL REMEDIES --- pharmaceutical drugs --- as well as what BJ and AT were telling their patients and followers well over a century ago).
Our bodies are great conductors of electricity (you can prove this to yourself by grabbing hold of a live spark plug). We are not only made up of water, a great conductor of charges when it contains ions (charged metals), but each and every cell contains these ions. There are negatively charged ions (aka anions --- molecules that have more electrons than protons) such as phosphorus (P-) and chloride (Cl-). It's important to remember that because of their extra electron, anions can act as electron donors. Likewise, there are positively charged ions (cations) such as sodium (Na+), iron (Fe+), potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg++), calcium (Ca++), as well as any number of others. While these all have obvious functions (for instance iron is what makes up the "heme" portion of the oxygen-carrying molecule hemoglobin), there are endless numbers of functions that are less well known by the general public.
An in-depth study of physiology will show that most bodily functions, including nerve function, are run by ion pumps --- the body using energy to pump ions a certain direction in order to create a resting potential so that when needed, depolarization can take place and ions move in the opposite direction, allowing various bodily functions to take place. There is no question that our body is indeed "electric". The question, however, that we must answer is whether or not electrical fields coming from outside the body can affect normal physiology on the inside, and even more importantly, is there anything at all that can be done to modify or change it.
The pics below are all from NASA and show the magnetic fields created by the earth and its interaction with the solar system (click the pic on the left to see how intricate and complex this system really is). The truth is, everything, whether living or non-living, organic or inorganic, has both a VIBRATIONAL FREQUENCY as well as a magnetic field. Everything has an electronic pulse. In fact, just days ago our airwaves (EMF's themselves) were buzzing with the fact that the earth has a distinct hum that can be heard (with special equipment) on land as well as at the bottom of the ocean.
There is ample evidence to suggest that we are being bombarded by EMF's (Electro-Magnetic Fields) that are at least on some level, adversely affecting our NORMAL PHYSIOLOGY. While this is itself a topic for another day, suffice it to say that in similar fashion to DRUG SIDE EFFECTS, some people will be affected far more than others. Numerous governmental agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) have "trust us" propaganda pieces on their websites (What Are Electromagnetic Fields?) that have experts talking from both sides of their mouths about the exponential increase in human EMF exposure being "proven" completely safe.
"Low-frequency electric fields influence the human body just as they influence any other material made up of charged particles. When electric fields act on conductive materials, they influence the distribution of electric charges at their surface. They cause current to flow through the body to the ground. Low-frequency magnetic fields induce circulating currents within the human body. The strength of these currents depends on the intensity of the outside magnetic field. If sufficiently large, these currents could cause stimulation of nerves and muscles or affect other biological processes. No obvious adverse effect of exposure to low level radio-frequency fields has been discovered."
This last sentence is simply not true. And as Dr. Becker can attest, bucking the corporations that supply power to the grid is not any different than bucking BIG PHARMA, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Food, or any number of other multinational corporate conglomerates that are in many ways tied to our government (or at least to the corrupt politicians that run the government) at the hip (HERE'S AN EXAMPLE). If you care to do your own research on EMF's, you will find enough information (much of it rather freaky) to keep you reading for months.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ELECTRICITY, IONS, AND THE REACTIVE OXYGEN SPECIES KNOWN AS FREE RADICALS
To way oversimplify things, positive charges tend to come from bad things / bad habits --- TOXICITY, POLLUTION, too much time around electronics, computers, and EMF's, too much time indoors, not enough fresh air, SMOKING CIGARETTES, ACIDIC FOODS, along with any number of others (a common one that is often overlooked is OVER-TRAINING). Just remember that the same things that cause Free Radicals cause inflammation, and that they are intimately related to each other. Here's an interesting tidbit for those of you who have been following the material I've been publishing on ALUMINUM found as ADJUVANTS in most vaccines --- it's extremely positively charged (Al+++). Oh, for the record, MERCURY is Hg++. Which brings us to a topic everyone should be at least somewhat familiar with; Free Radicals.
Some of you who had a little to much fun back in the sixties might have some confusion concerning what I am saying it means to be both "radical" and "free". Put your bong away and switch gears for a moment. Also known as Reactive Oxygen Species or ROS, FREE RADICALS wreak havoc on the body because they create positive charge. Writing for the May 27 2016 issue of Live Science (What Are Free Radicals?), Jesse Szalay wrote (I am cherry-picking for time and space as I always do)....
"The body is under constant attack from oxidative stress. Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these atoms, called free radicals, scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Free radicals are associated with human disease, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and many others. They also may have a link to aging, which has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage. Substances that generate free radicals can be found in the food we eat, the medicines we take, the air we breathe and the water we drink... and include fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides, and air pollutants."
In other words, Free Radicals are molecules that are missing an electron. This loss means that in most cases, these molecules will be positively charged. Because opposites attract and Free Radicals are always prowling around, looking to get their electron back any way they can, they take electrons wherever they can find them, trying all sorts of low-down sneaky tricks in order to steal them back.
The process of stealing electrons from other molecules is what we call oxidation (this is why OXYGEN can be good or bad, depending on the situation). Too much oxidation going on in your body and you end up with "OXIDATIVE STRESS" and the endless damage associated with it. Oxidation is what causes metal to rust or an apple to turn brown once you've cut it in half. It also causes any number of disease processes, including CANCER, which can be set in motion by chain reactions in CELL MEMBRANES, created by one cell stealing electrons from the next, stealing electrons from the next, etc, etc.
The question now becomes, how in the world can we increase the amount of negative charge / negative ions in our bodies, while preventing electron theft by positively charged free radicals? Can anyone say antioxidants? ANTIOXIDANTS are essentially electron donors (the most powerful in your body being GLUTATHIONE). By giving away their extra electron, they allow the Free Radical to pair the electrons in its outer shell (their outermost orbit of electrons), thereby neutralizing its ability to do damage. Antioxidants are usually thought of as certain foods that act as methyl donors (this is where the electrons come from --- BIOTRANSFORMATION). The thing is, there are any number of ways to potentially increase the number of electrons in your body, thereby increasing the amount of negative electric charge. Some of the more popular include a WIDE ARRAY OF SUPPLEMENTS, ion foot baths, and drinking ionized or "structured" water. There is one, however, that most people are unaware of --- something known as grounding or earthing.
STUDIES ON GROUNDING / EARTHING
- CAN ELECTRONS BE ABSORBED FROM THE EARTH, BE TRANSFERRED THROUGHOUT THE BODY, AND THEN ACT AS ANTIOXIDANTS? DR. JAMES OSCHMAN, a FASCIA and CONNECTIVE TISSUE specialist, has spent decades answering this question. With advanced degrees in biophysics and biology from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as experience working in labs at Cambridge, Case-Western Reserve, University of Copenhagen, and Northwestern, Oschman has the credentials to back up his claims. In his amazing 2003 paper, The Living Matrix Connective Tissue Concept, Oschman said this of fascia's EXTRA-CELLULAR MATRIX (he was partially quoting research from the early 1940's). "Proteins are semiconductors rather than insulators, as had been thought previously. In essence, our bodies are composed mainly of materials that are similar in properties to the substances that make possible our modern computers, cell phones, televisions and so on. If a great number of atoms is arranged with regularity in close proximity, as for instance, in a crystal lattice, the electrons cease to belong to one or two atoms only, and belong to the whole system. A great number of molecules may join to form energy continua, along which energy, viz., excited electrons, may travel a certain distance. This means that the human body contains free or mobile electrons that can move about within the fabric of the body. These electrons are energetic and can therefore transfer energy and information from place to place." This is part of the premise for fascia acting as a SECOND NERVOUS SYSTEM. In a 2007 study (Can Electrons Act as Antioxidants? A Review and Commentary) Dr. Oschman concluded, "It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. The most reasonable hypothesis to explain the beneficial effects of earthing is that a direct earth connection enables free electrons to flow from the earth to the body. Current biomedical research has led to an inflammation hypothesis that is establishing chronic inflammation as the culprit behind almost every modern chronic illness. It is proposed that free or mobile electrons from the earth can resolve chronic inflammation by serving as natural antioxidants." Long, bullet point, but incredibly important!
- GROUNDING AND SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE: A 2011 issue of Integrative Medicine carried a study (Emotional Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Grounding, and Improved Autonomic Tone: Clinical Applications) by an MD and Ph.D team that came to some interesting conclusions concerning HRV --- the standard medical method of measuring SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE --- and electron flow. "Grounding or earthing is defined as placing one’s bare feet on the ground (especially when humid or wet), whether it be dirt, grass, sand, or concrete. It is known that the earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. This study showed a positive trend in HRV that kept improving all the way to the end, suggesting a greater benefit with time. In patients who experience anxiety, emotional stress, panic, fear, and/or symptoms of autonomic dystonia, including headaches, cardiac palpitations, and dizziness, grounding could be a very realistic therapy. These patients may see positive effects most likely within 20 to 30 minutes and in almost all cases in 40 minutes. Negative emotions such as panic, depression, anxiety, & hostility have all demonstrated reduced HRV. Grounding has the potential to help support HRV, reduce excessive sympathetic overdrive, balance the autonominc nervous system, and, thus, attenuate the stress response." Did you catch that? If you didn't read it again as these findings are nothing short of amazing.
- GROUNDING, SLEEP, AND STRESS: Back in 2004, the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine (The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress) had some promising observations for those of you with INSOMNIA, FIBROMYALGIA, and other sleep-disturbing illnesses. "Measurable improvements in diurnal cortisol profiles were observed, with cortisol levels significantly reduced during night-time sleep. Subjects' 24-hour circadian cortisol profiles showed a trend toward normalization. Subjectively reported symptoms, including sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress, were reduced or eliminated in nearly all subjects. Results indicate that grounding the human body to earth ("earthing") during sleep reduces night-time levels of cortisol and resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile. Changes were most apparent in females. Furthermore, subjective reporting indicates that grounding the human body to earth during sleep improves sleep and reduces pain and stress." So not only did the researchers see an objective difference, the subjects reported a subjected difference as well --- they felt better and slept better.
- GROUNDING HELPS SOME PEOPLE WITH CARDIAC CONDITIONS: In a 2013 study done by Oschman and another researcher, along with 2 MD's, including Dr. Sinatra who can be seen in the embedded video below (Earthing/Grounding the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—A Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease), the authors concluded, "Increased blood viscosity in the general population may be a predictor of cardiovascular events because of its influences on hypertension, thrombogenesis, ischemia, and arthrogenesis. Statins appear to be effective for modulating blood viscosity, but can have serious side-effects including death. Grounding is the most desirable and suitable intervention for both reducing blood viscosity and reducing inflammation simultaneously. Attenuating inflammation and reducing blood viscosity will help physicians address primary and secondary prevention issues Grounding may represent one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions to help reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events." Another study, this one from a three year old issue of the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications (Grounding the Human Body Improves Facial Blood Flow Regulation: Results of a Randomized, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study) used a special camera to measure blood flow in the face via thermal imaging. "The very Earth we live on possesses a form of easily accessible and beneficial natural electric energy that has been found to positively influence human physiology in various ways. Previous studies have indicated improved cardiovascular dynamics. This study further supports those findings by documenting a clear improvement in autonomic nervous system regulation of facial blood flow in grounded subjects but not in sham -grounded subjects." Here's the deal folks; if you can modulate INFLAMMATION via Grounding / Earthing, think about what might be possible for a WHOLE ARRAY OF DISEASES. How cool would it be for something this simple to help keep you off STATIN DRUGS?
- GROUNDING HELPS RESOLVE INFLAMMATION AND AUTOIMMUNITY: Oschman was back for the attack with a study published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Inflammation (The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Inflammation, the Immune Response, Wound Healing, and Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases). "Voluminous current research correlates inflammation with a wide range of chronic diseases. Our working hypothesis features this scenario: mobile electrons from the Earth enter the body and act as natural antioxidants; they are semi-conducted through the connective tissue matrix, including through the inflammatory barricade if one is present; they neutralize ROS and other oxidants in the repair field; and they protect healthy tissue from damage. We know from medical infrared imaging that inflammation begins to subside within 30 minutes of connecting with the earth via a conductive patch placed on the skin. Secondly, metabolic activity increases during this same period. We suspect that the “filling” of the charge reservoirs is a gradual process, possibly because of the enormous number of charged residues on the polyelectrolytes, and because they are located throughout the body. When charge reservoirs are saturated, the body is in a state we refer to as “inflammatory preparedness”. This means that the ground substance [think fascia here], which pervades every part of the body, is ready to quickly deliver antioxidant electrons to any site of injury via the semiconducting collagenous matrix." In an age of out of control inflammation and corresponding national EXPLOSION OF AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, Grounding / Earthing is a breath of fresh air --- literally.
- GROUNDING AND EXERCISE RECOVERY: A team of eight Polish researchers writing in a 2013 issue of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Differences in Blood Urea and Creatinine Concentrations in Earthed and Unearthed Subjects during Cycling Exercise and Recovery) revealed, "One group was earthed in the first week during 30 minutes of cycling exercise and during recovery, and a second group was earthed in the second week. A double-blind technique was applied. Blood samples were obtained before each training session, after 15 and 30 minutes of exercise, and after 40 minutes of recovery. Significantly lower blood urea levels were observed in subjects earthed during exercise and relaxation." Why is this big? Urea in the form of something known as BUN or Blood Urea Nitrogen is a metabolic marker of muscle breakdown. Although athletes want to stress their muscles (THINK WEIGHTLIFTERS HERE), they want to limit how much they are actually breaking them down. Nitrogen is toxic to the brain and is cleared from the body via turning it into urea, where it is filtered by the kidneys. High BUN levels, besides being indicative of poor kidney function, can provide an idea of how much muscle an athlete is breaking down in their training. If you can continue to train at a high level with less tissue degradation, it means less energy and metabolic resources will be needed for regeneration and repair.
- GROUNDING PREVENTS MUSCLE DAMAGE: When it comes to muscles and the many ways they can be injured (HERE and HERE), any sort of simple, low tech remedy is welcome. In 2010, a group of three researchers published a double-blinded study called Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness. After looking at groups of men that were grounded and groups that were not, the authors determined that, "Forty-eight markers were measured. In 30 of these markers, a consistent pattern emerged; over the 3-day testing period, one or the other group was always above or below the other group. 36% showed differences of 10% or greater and 21% showed differences of 20% or greater. Both subjective and objective pain measurement had a strong, positive relationship with the grounded subjects. Grounding appears to be the first intervention with the potential to reduce the time of recovery and improve muscle function....." The same team got together at the University of Oregon and Cal State Irvine two years ago to research and publish a paper called Grounding After Moderate Eccentric Contractions Reduces Muscle Damage that ended up in Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, which stated, "Following eccentric contractions, skeletal muscle fibers suffer damage including myofilament disorganization, membrane disruption, sarcomere damage, Z-line streaming, degradation of muscle protein, leakage of muscular enzymes into the plasma, and degradation of calcium-sensitive pathways. The injuries to the muscle cells result in a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The structural damage leads to an inflammatory response which increases histamines, which sensitize free nerve endings in the muscle tissue and cause pain and swelling. The inflammatory response also attracts neutrophils to the injury site where they generate free radicals that participate in the immune response but can also further damage the muscle cells." As you might imagine, there were significant differences between the two groups.
- GROUNDING AND DEPRESSION: Knowing what we know about the relationship between body acidity, inflammation, free radicals, and the SAD (STANDARD AMERICAN DIET), we can't be shocked by the results of another Cal State Irvine study carried in the April 2015 issue of Psychology Reports (The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood), which looked at "40 adult participants were either grounded or sham-grounded (no grounding) for 1 hr. Pleasant and positive moods statistically significantly improved among grounded-but not sham-grounded-participants. It is concluded that the 1-hr. contact with the Earth improved mood more than expected by relaxation alone." What have I been showing you for years? That CLINICAL DEPRESSION along with any number of other psychological issues are caused by inflammation. This is one more study showing that inflammation can be potentially curbed by Grounding / Earthing.
OK; I'M CONVINCED!
IS THERE MORE TO THIS THAN TAKING MY SHOES OFF AND GETTING IN THE RIVER?
You can even use your concrete floor as long as it is actually on the ground, although concrete can be extremely cold, not to mention BRUTALLY ROUGH on feet and the rest of the kinetic chain (KNEES, HIPS, SPINE, and even the NECK). In the past I've mentioned the MICROBIOMAL benefits of GARDENING (organically of course), or you could lay or even nap on the ground (be aware that although most shoes act as insulators, leather soles actually act as electron conductors). The real question is what are you going to do when the weather gets cold, like it does here for a few months out of the year.
As far as cold weather goes, there are a number of companies that offer relatively inexpensive products such as earthing mats, earthing sheets, or small TENS-looking devices that you put on your feet while you kick back in your easy chair. Although I would strongly urge you to get as much of your Grounding as possible outdoors, remember that every study I showed you today was done with some sort of device, usually the TENS-like creatures mentioned above. Also remember that this is just another piece of the pie that you can use to help solve your own chronic health issues. For the WHOLE ENCHILADA, just click the link.