The Science of Earthing Grounding and its Impact on Pain and Inflammation

The Science of Earthing (Grounding) and its Impact on Pain and Inflammation

What if I told you that standing on the earth, without the insulation of your shoes, would send a flow of electrons through your entire body, helping to get rid of pain and inflammation?

It’s hard to believe that something so simple, can be so powerful.

Skeptical? Well, let me explain the science.

Our bodies create and use electricity

Where do we get the energy that we need to breathe, to walk, or to run? What powers the muscle cells to make a contraction? What powers the heart to pump blood? What powers all cells so that they can function properly?

Ultimately, we get our energy from the sun, but we need to be able to convert the sun’s energy to a type of energy that we can use to power our bodies. That starts with plants.

Plants capture the sun’s energy, by making carbohydrates out of the atoms of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and H2O (water), and the by-product they release is the oxygen we breathe.

When we consume and break down plants, (or animals that eat plants), electrons are released and paired with oxygen. This releases molecules of ATP, which is the energy molecule that powers our movements.

All the elements we take in, such as oxygen, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium have a specific amount of electrons. Those charges, whether positive or negative, react with other atoms and molecules. Our bodies generate and use electricity through these interactions.

Unpaired electrons (free radicals) cause damage to your body

In order for molecules or atoms to be stable, they need to have a balanced number of electrons. When a molecule or atom has an unpaired electron, it becomes what is known as a free radical. These free radicals want to pair, and will steal electrons from other atoms, often in a domino-like chain reaction.  This causes damage to the cells, protein, and can even mutate DNA.   This is what is called oxidation, or oxidative stress.

Oxygen contains two unpaired electrons. When 2 oxygen atoms bond, they form a free radical known as a reactive oxygen species (ROS).

A certain number of free radicals are important. For instance, our white blood cells (the “first responders” to infections), go to the site of the infection, and release a shower of free radicals (an oxidative burst), to destroy harmful bacteria.

But in today’s society, with our exposure to unhealthy foods, stress, pesticides, viruses, toxins, radiation, etc., we increase the amount of free radicals in our bodies.

Other examples of oxidation (free radical damage) are when an apple or avocado browns after it is exposed to oxygen, or when metal corrodes or rusts.

Inflammation is an electron deficiency

When free radicals attack cells and tissue, the body’s immune system responds by transporting various cells and certain chemicals to the location of the injury so that the healing process can happen. This is what the inflammation process is. While many people see inflammation as a negative effect, it’s actually part of the body’s protective healing process.

However, when unchecked numbers of free radicals are permitted to continuously attack or eat away at tissue,  you get chronic inflammation.

Research has revealed that unrestricted free radicals in the body leads to chronic disease, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurological and pulmonary diseases.

Antioxidants to the rescue!

Antioxidants are electron donors. They are molecules that deliver electrons to free radicals, thereby neutralizing them.

This is why we are told to eat foods rich in antioxidants. Herbs and spices, leafy greens, berries, walnuts and olive oil are excellent sources of antioxidants.  Other electron donors are vitamins C and E, selenium and other trace minerals, as well as natural compounds such as bioflavonoids, carotenoids, and curcumin.

Standing barefoot on the earth can provide you with an endless supply of electrons …. (antioxidants).

Electrical engineers know the surface of the earth has an abundance of electrons. This is why your cable, refrigerator and many other appliances have a “ground” connection. (That is the 3rd prong in an electrical plug.)

WARNING: Do not insert your finger into an electrical socket!

When you are grounded, there is a transfer of free electrons from the earth that move into the body.

Here’s the Proof

Let’s start with a few images.

Image 1: Tissue damage causes increased heat. In thermography, this shows up as the violet and red colors. Notice high levels of inflammation in the arms, and how this person’s fingers are not registering in the ‘Before Grounding’ pictures due to very poor circulation.

After 5 nights of grounding, this person has reduced inflammation and improved circulation.

Image 2: Thick blood cuts off oxygen flow and is an independent risk factor of heart disease. What you see in this image are drops of blood taken before and after forty minutes of grounding.   Notice how the clumping is decreased after grounding.

Earthing has been shown “to reduce acute and chronic inflammation, blood glucose in patients with diabetes, red blood cell (RBC) aggregation, and blood coagulation. It also has been shown to produce symptomatic improvement in chronic, muscle and joint pain, a reduction in overall stress levels and tensions, a boost in positive moods, an improvement in heart rate variability, and an improvement in the immune response.”

Links and Excerpts of Various Studies on Earthing

Grounding’s impact on muscle injuries:

[1] Grounding produced changes in creatine kinase and complete blood counts that were not shared by the sham-grounded group. Grounding significantly reduced the loss of creatine kinase from the injured muscles indicating reduced muscle damage.

Earthing’s impact on the brain:

[2] Earthing significantly influences the electrical activity of the brain.

Earthing’s impact on skin tissue repair:

[3] The results demonstrate, for the first time, that even one-hour contact with the earth restores blood flow regulation to the face suggesting enhanced skin tissue repair and improved facial appearance with possible implications for overall health.

Earthing’s impact on stress:

[4]  In 2006 Chevalier, Mori and Oschman published a double-blinded study documenting the effects of earthing on 58 healthy ‭ ‬adult ‭ ‬subjects. ‭ ‬Earthing ‭ ‬produced ‭ ‬statistically ‭ ‬significant and nearly instantaneous reductions in overall stress levels ‭ ‬and ‭ ‬tensions ‭ ‬in ‭ ‬the ‭ ‬body ‭ ‬as ‭ ‬measured ‭ ‬by ‭ ‬electroencephalograms, ‭ ‬electromyograms, ‭ ‬and ‭ ‬blood ‭ ‬volume ‭ ‬pulse.

[10]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.

The effect of grounding on mood:

[5] Earthing (grounding) refers to bringing the body in contact with the Earth. Health benefits were previously reported, but no study exists about mood. This study was conducted to assess if Earthing improves mood. 40 adult participants were either grounded or sham-grounded (no grounding) for 1 hr. while relaxing in a comfortable recliner chair equipped with a conductive pillow, mat, and patches connecting them to the ground. This pilot project was double-blinded and the Brief Mood Introspection Scale (comprising 4 mood scales) was used. 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.

Earthing’s impact on inflammation:

[6]  An experimental injury to muscles, known as delayed onset muscle soreness, has been used to monitor the immune response under grounded versus ungrounded conditions. Grounding reduces pain and alters the numbers of circulating neutrophils and lymphocytes, and also affects various circulating chemical factors related to inflammation.

Earthing and diabetes:

[7]  Earthing the human body during rest and physical activity has a direct, beneficial effect on the regulation of blood glucose.

Earthing and thyroid function:

[8]  …thyroid function is influenced by Earthing, as documented by a significant decrease of free tri-iodothyronine and an increase of free thyroxin and thyroid stimulating hormone. Through a series of feedback regulations, thyroid hormones affect almost every physiologic process in the body, including growth and development, metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate.

Impact of distance from earth’s surface in cardiovascular disease:

[9]  Trend analyses showed that disease prevalence increased by floor level, for all three outcomes. When we investigated block apartment residents alone, the trends disappeared, but one association remained: higher odds of venous thromboembolism history on 6th floor or higher, compared to basement and 1st floor.

Emerging evidence shows that

contact with the Earth—whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems—may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed heart rate variability (HRV), hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease. The research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity.

How to get grounded

Standing or walking barefoot outside is a great way to get grounded. Keep in mind, however, that asphalt is synthetic, and not conductive. Cement is conductive, but not as conductive a walking in the grass. Walking on the beach, or swimming in sea water is a great way to get connected to the earth.

There are also now devices that hook into the ground connection of a home outlet, which is the lower rounded prong. Some people have chosen to use the grounding sheets on their beds, which allows them to stay grounded through the night. Find out how to get the best night sleep you’ve ever had.