Earth or ground yourself to protect yourself from electromagnetic pollution and boost your health (reduce inflammation and stress)
The science behind grounding/earthing
Studies have shown that grounding or earthing can alleviate inflammation, improve heart rate variability (HRV), blood viscosity, cortisol dynamics, sleep, and autonomic nervous system (ANS) balance and reduces the effects of stress as well as boost academic performance at school. In short, when walking barefoot outside, negatively charged particles in the earth neutralise positive particles in your body, which can have a negative effect on your health. Read the scientific research supporting the claims for grounding and earthing at the bottom of this blog.
The benefits of grounding/earthing
Studies suggest that earthing or grounding can help with a host of health issues (watch the video about the scientific research about earthing) and these are:
• Blood markers of inflammation decrease (Patients hooked up to imaging studies show decreased inflammation all throughout the body, especially in areas where there was heightened inflammation)
• Blood sugar levels stabilise
• Metabolism speeds up naturally
• Pain decreases
• Improves mood
• Reduce stress and balance your autonomic nervous system
• Stress decreases and boosts feelings of calmness
• Hormones stabilise, and normalise the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol
• Speed up wound healing
• Sleep improvement and feelings of restfulness upon waking
• Raise your heart rate variability, HRV (your heart’s ability to respond to stimuli)
• Increase the structure of the water in your cells
• Reduce the severity of the inflammatory response after intense workouts and reduce muscle stiffness and soreness
• Thin your blood (see the warning below if you’re on thinning blood medication)
• Improved circulation
• Earthing or grounding helps with electro-smog and dirty electricity
• Boosts your antioxidants (when you walk barefoot, free electrons are transferred from the earth into your body, and this grounding effect is one of the most potent antioxidants).
• Electro-smog reduction. Another benefit to grounding is the reduction of the unwanted voltage induced on your body from electro-smog in your environments, such as that from power stations, wi-fi networks and other electromagnetic fields and dirty electricity.
• Kids behaving and performing better at school. Teachers have been reporting that children learn better when they’re grounded. The Finnish education system is one of the best in the world and one rule for the kids in classrooms is NO SHOES to ground them. One school in the UK applied this principle and noticed a huge improvement in students’ performance. Following the example set in Scandinavia, a decades-long study involving 25 schools around the world found that children were more engaged in a ‘shoeless’ classrooms and behaved better and obtain better grades than peers with footwear as well as bullying in schools was also markedly reduced. Professor Stephen Heppell, the led researcher with the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice at Bournemouth University, said: “Children are much more willing to sit on the floor and relax if they have no shoes on.”
There is strong scientific support for the above claims of grounding (over 20 studies – read below). Research suggests that obesity, dementia, cancer and viral infections, as well as other chronic conditions, have one thing in common: inflammation.
Grounding alleviates inflammation and pain
Inflammation has been recognised as the key component of most if not all, common chronic diseases. According to Graham Rook, emeritus professor of medical microbiology at University College London, inflammation has three jobs to do: kill off any infection, clear up the mess and help to repair the damage. Inflammatory chemicals can also get into the brain, where they can activate resident immune cells called microglia, which produce more inflammatory substances as a result. ‘That leads to increasing levels of toxic molecules within the brain, while levels of other chemicals, such as serotonin (important for regulating mood), decrease,’ says Golam Khandaker, a psychiatrist at Cambridge University. ‘This is very relevant for something like depression, where the problem is feeling low in mood and not being able to think straight.’ That is probably why a daily aspirin can be reduced the risk of depression by 40% in elderly men with a history of the condition.
Inflammation thrives when your blood is thick and you have a lot of free radical stress and a lot of changes in your body. Grounding effectively alleviates inflammation because it thins your blood and infuses you with negatively charged ions.
WARNING: are you on thinning blood medication?
If you’re on thinning blood medication, consult your doctor before grounding (see below Is grounding / earthing safe?)
Grounding helps thin your blood by improving its zeta potential, improving the energy between your red blood cells. Research has demonstrated it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your bloodstream and transform your blood.
How does grounding/earthing work?
In short, negatively charged electrons in the Earth neutralize free radicals in your body as well as calm down the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for stress). According to the article by Dr Mercola about earthing works because “Your immune system functions optimally when your body has an adequate supply of electrons, which are easily and naturally obtained by barefoot contact with the Earth. Research indicates that electrons from the Earth have antioxidant effects that can protect your body from inflammation and its many well-documented health consequences. For most of our evolutionary history, humans have had continuous contact with the Earth.” Rubber and plastic-soled shoes work as electrical insulators and, therefore, will block the beneficial and unlimited flow of electrons from the earth to your body and neutralise any static electrical charge flowing through you. In scientific literature, the term Electron Transfer Technology (ETT), is used as another term for ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding’ – coupling the human body with the earth’s frequencies. You can think of the Earth as a kind of battery that balances your energies.
Grounding reduces the induced electric field
Grounding has been found to have a significant impact on reducing the voltage induced on the body by the surrounding electrical environment, a crucial factor in our modern world. A 2012 review highlighted this effect, stating:
“Applewhite, an electrical engineer and expert in the design of electrostatic discharge systems in the electronic industry, was both subject and author of the study.4 Measurements were taken while ungrounded and then grounded using a conductive patch and conductive bed pad … Each method (patch and sheet) immediately reduced the common alternating current (AC) 60 Hz ambient voltage induced on the body by a highly significant factor of about 70 on average. The study showed that when the body is grounded, its electrical potential becomes equalized with the Earth’s electrical potential … This, in turn, prevents the 60 Hz mode from producing an AC electric potential at the surface of the body and from producing perturbations of the electric charges of the molecules inside the body. The study confirms the ‘umbrella’ effect of earthing the body explained by Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman in his lectures on electromagnetism. Feynman said that when the body potential is the same as the Earth’s electric potential (and thus grounded), it becomes an extension of the Earth’s gigantic electric system. The Earth’s potential thus becomes the ‘working agent that cancels, reduces, or pushes away electric fields from the body.'”
There is strong scientific support for grounding (over 20 studies – read below)
Watch this comprehensive video about grounding (and it’s benefits and the scientific evidence behind it)
Watch The Earthing Movie: The Remarkable Science of Grounding (full documentary below – or a short version https://vimeo.com/205264910/3eed01480b)
A short version of DOWN TO EARTH | The Earthing Movie 15 min Short Film
Is grounding / earthing safe?
For thousands of years, humans have had continuous contact with the Earth – shoes are a fairly new invention. There are no known major contradictions to natural grounding when walking barefoot on grass or beach.
WARNING: So far, I’ve found only one contradiction to grounding and that is if people are on thinning blood medication (such as Coumadin, as it may thin the blood too much) they need to be careful and consult their doctor.
Grounding via electrical earth in your electrical system
If you’re going to set up the earthing via your electrical cables – check for dirty electricity and other factors (electrical wiring, metal spring mattresses, metal beds, etc) which can affect the grounding and if you can get the clean earthing effect. Also, in Northern America, electrical earthing is different from the European one and needs to be checked with a mains earth present tester. To be on the safe side, I do recommend checking if the grounding effect is for you with something called body voltage check. Also, be mindful of how you feel when grounded via electrical earth in the electrical system. Grounding directly to the ground outside your home or workplace is ideal, but it still requires checking a specialised earth ground tester as well so you know if it really works. I personally don’t use any grounding mats – and don’t recommend a DIY approach to it. I do ground myself every day by having a 20-minute bath (in the morning and evening) and I’ve checked with the body voltage measurement that I am fully grounded in my bath. Also, people are different and can react differently to artificial grounding via earthing mats/sheets, etc (some couples sleeping in the same bed might have completely opposite reactions to artificial grounding via electrical cables for all kinds of reasons). Ideally, you need to calibrate it onsite with body voltage measurements then you know for sure if it’s working and it’s for you. But if you feel it’s not making you sleep better – listen to your body – and stop using the electrical grounding mode.
How and where to practice grounding
When it comes to grounding, connecting any part of your skin to the Earth offers benefits. However, there is a specific area that holds great potential: the centre of the ball of your foot, known as Kidney 1 (K1) in acupuncture. Kidney 1 is an acupuncture point that has a conductive connection to all the acupuncture meridians in your body. Exercising barefoot outdoors is an excellent way to incorporate grounding into your daily routine. It not only allows you to connect with the Earth but also accelerates tissue repair and alleviates muscle pain associated with intense physical activity.
The ideal locations for walking barefoot are beaches near or in the water. Saltwater is an excellent conductor, and it enhances the grounding effect. Additionally, our bodies possess some conductivity due to the presence of charged ions (electrolytes) dissolved in water. Consequently, our blood and other body fluids act as good conductors.
A close second option is a grassy area, especially if it is covered with dew or bare soil. Ceramic tiles (I do recommend these for homes and workplaces) and unsealed concrete are also good conductors, allowing electrons to pass through. However, painted concrete restricts the flow of electrons. Materials like asphalt, wood, rubber, and plastic are insulators that prevent the transfer of electrons and are unsuitable for barefoot grounding.
While any amount of grounding is beneficial, research indicates that it takes approximately 80 minutes for the Earth’s free electrons to reach your bloodstream and bring about the most significant advantages. Therefore, it is ideal to aim for 80 to 120 minutes of grounding each day to reap the benefits of this practice fully. But any time, even a short grounding session, will have some benefit.
There are five basic ways to earth yourself to benefit from it
Surfaces that allow for good grounding include sand, grass, bare dirt, untreated concrete, brick and ceramic tiles. The best results you get when the earth or surface is wet for the best conductivity. Leather-soled shoes also allow you to ground while walking, whereas rubber-soled shoes disconnect you from the earth and block beneficial electron transfer. Dr Laura Koniver, a physician and author of the recently released The Earth Prescription (2020), recommends grounding for around 30 minutes a day but other researchers (Chevalier, et al 2012) suggest about 80 minutes to get the full effect.
1) Walk barefoot whenever you can (not very practical), but even touching a tree for a few minutes can make a difference. (If you can do your exercises outdoor on the grass – grounding helps too. I’ve had my Pilates personal training done in a park, and I felt a significant difference). Unfortunately, modern rubber shoe soles insulate us from the health benefit of earthing. Leather shoe soles are much better at conducting earth’s frequencies.
Touching metal water sockets or metal radiators will have a grounding effect since they’re usually grounded. Also, washing dishes will have a grounding effect because you’ll be in contact with water and sink, which is most likely grounded. I like washing dishes – it’s my meditation/mindfulness practice.
If you have a garden, you could make a labyrinth to walk around. Labyrinths can have healing, meditative properties, so combining walking barefoot in a labyrinth is a double whammy.
Another option, which I do under the right conditions is to walk barefoot on snow – only for a minute or so. Over the years, I’ve built up my tolerance to it, but I only do it on fluffy snow and when it’s not too cold and for a very short time.
2) Earth your bed or your desk (requires some knowledge and testing equipment – a body voltage meter can determine how much electricity is induced when lying in bed or sitting in a chair and how much the electric charge is reduced by grounding. Also, checking the ground/earth wire in the electrical socket is essential for it to work well. Checking dirty electricity is important, too, since it can affect the grounding process. Read above if grounding/earthing is safe.
3) Have regular, 10-20min baths in the evening (my favourite). People who are electrosensitive discovered that they had fewer symptoms when they were having baths because they were naturally earthed. Please note that if your bath is plastic and the pipes are plastic, the grounding effect might be non-existent. Add some Epsom salts or magnesium (magnesium is depleted from our bodies when we get stressed) to your bath. Also, touching a radiator or a metal water tap will most likely have a grounding effect since most radiators and water taps are earthed.
4) Get Helios3 – geopathic stress harmoniser (very easy to install – just plug it into the socket or use a USB version for your computer/car/travels) which adds Schumann resonance/waves – which is the heartbeat of the Earth to your environment and boost the ambient earthing effect. Read more about electrosensitivity
5) Ceramic tiles. If you’re building or redecorating your home or workplace – consider ceramic tiles, which, when grounded properly will provide a natural grounding surface so you can enjoy earthing at your home or workplace. I highly recommend it. I’ve tested many houses which have tiles and the earthing effect was sometimes stronger than in their gardens.
Indoor grounding techniques
In the past, walking barefoot and sleeping on the ground were common practices. However, modern living has distanced us from direct contact with the Earth. This disconnection can lead to an accumulation of electric charge in our bodies, which can have negative consequences. The farther we are from the ground, the higher our charge. This has been accurately calculated: for every meter (3.28 feet) above the ground, our bodies accumulate 300 volts of charge. If we find ourselves in an elevated indoor environment, such as a second-story bedroom, the average charge can reach 1,000 volts, potentially increasing the risk of health problems. Research from 2009 even discovered a 40% higher risk of stroke among individuals residing in multistory homes.
Fortunately, there are ways to ground ourselves while indoors or at higher elevations:
1. Grounding pad or sheet: Use a grounding pad or sheet to connect your mattress to the ground while you sleep. This method ensures a direct connection between your body and the Earth.
2. Grounding mat: Keep your bare feet on a grounding mat while working. Grounding mats are effective if you have access to a grounded electrical outlet, especially beneficial in high-rise buildings. A grounded outlet can be identified by its three-prong design, including a ground port at the bottom. Make sure your skin directly contacts the mat without any clothing barrier.
3. Grounded yoga mat: Practice indoor yoga on a grounded yoga mat. Research indicates that performing yoga on a grounded mat indoors can help reduce blood viscosity and exercise-induced inflammation, providing similar benefits to walking barefoot outside.
4. Faucet contact: While shaving or brushing your teeth, touch the faucet with one hand while using the other. This contact with a conductive element can help discharge accumulated charge.
5. Airplane grounding: When flying, remove your shoes and rest your feet (bare or with socks) on the steel struts of the chair in front of you. This physical connection with the metal structure can help ground you during the flight.
6. Ceramic tiles: if you have any ceramic tiles anywhere in your home/workplace, you’re most likely to be grounded automatically there when walking barefoot (but do check with the body voltage kit, just to be sure). Also, some types of other flooring material can have a grounding effect (obviously, this needs to be checked with the body voltage kit again), but wood and carpets most likely won’t ground you.
By implementing these grounding techniques, you can maintain a balanced electrical state even while indoors or at higher elevations, promoting well-being and potentially reducing health risks.
Earthing as a way of boosting your earth luck and feng shui luck
Classical feng shui suggests that there are three types of luck: heaven luck, human luck and earth luck, which is governed by feng shui. By being grounded or earthed, our bodies become conduits for life force or chi and we’re more able to materialise and physicalise our dreams and goals. Read more about What is Luck? Top Feng Shui Tips to Boost Luck in any Area of your Life – and using Scientific Principles
Watch this short video about grounding/earthing and the research behind it and how much earthing one needs to do a day to experience health benefits
Also, watch The Earthing Movie
History of grounding/earthing
Clint Ober, author of Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? investigated the effect of wearing non-conductive synthetic-soled shoes on our connection to the earth’s negative charge. He was also aware of dumbing down our senses when wearing shoes. The soles of our feet have more than 200,000 receptors. This sensory information is used by our bodies to soften or stiffen our joints and alter our posture as a protection mechanism against injury and to maximise the efficiency of our movement.
Grounding/earthing has an antioxidant effect that helps alleviate inflammation in your body. When your body is grounded, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons in your body. Unhealthy lifestyle choices (sugar, smoking, electromagnetic smog, stress, high cholesterol, high uric acid levels) can make your blood hypercoagulable, i.e. thick and slow-moving, which increases the risk of having a blood clot or stroke. Earthing helps thin blood by improving its zeta potential – blood cells get a more negative charge, which in turn helps them repel each other to keep blood thin and less likely to clot. This process can significantly reduce the risk of stroke. Research suggests (Chevalier, et al 2012) that it takes about 80 minutes, or 40 minutes over two grounding periods, for the free electrons from the earth to reach your bloodstream and transform blood. So if you can ground yourself for about 1.5 to two hours to get the full effect. Walking barefoot is one way, but there are other ways too (see above), such as having a (long) bath, tiled flooring, etc.
Research on earthing/grounding
Grounding health benefits have been known for more than 100 years (of course, early humans didn’t have shoes, so that was a default way of walking), firstly popularised by German back-to-nature movements in the 19th century. In the 20s, in America, doctors recommended sleeping while ‘grounded’, because they believed that charges in the air were stopping people from sleeping well. So they suggested that patients with insomnia should lie on the ground or use copper wires attached to grounded pipes to ‘connect’ to the earth’s negatively charged particles.
The NHS and mental health charity Mind recommends grounding techniques, such as walks, to help people deal with flashbacks, nightmares or PTSD — with barefoot being optional. “Walking outside (barefoot, if you want to) is one of a range of strategies we recommend to ground yourself.” said mental health nurse Jo Hemming. “Studies show grounding supports a reduction in anxiety and increases well-being and resilience. Practise and repetition is key, though, because it’s not an overnight cure.”
There is strong scientific support for grounding (20 studies), such as this 2011 study published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine (Alternative Complementary Medicine 2011 Apr; 17(4): 301–308.), which states:
“Earthing of an electrically insulated human organism during night rest causes lowering of serum concentrations of iron, ionized calcium, inorganic phosphorus, and reduction of renal excretion of calcium and phosphorus.
Earthing during night rest decreases free tri-iodothyronine and increases free thyroxine and thyroid-stimulating hormone. The continuous earthing of the human body decreases blood glucose in patients with diabetes.
Earthing decreases sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, total protein, and albumin concentrations while the levels of transferrin, ferritin, and globulins α1, α2, β, and γ increase. These results are statistically significant …
Earthing the human body during relaxation and during physical activity is responsible for the increasing glucose utilization by the cells in NIDDM. Lack of contact with the Earth may cause opposite effects and may be the reason for several disorders (diabetes, obesity, and hypertension).
Our experiments have shown that contact of the human body with moistened surface of the Earth via a copper conductor can influence calcium–phosphate homeostasis. The effect of earthing of the human body in a recumbent position on calcium–phosphate homeostasis is opposite to that which occurs in states of weightlessness.”
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.
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.
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.
Earthing (grounding) the human body reduces blood viscosity-a major factor in cardiovascular disease. Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Delany RM. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):102-10. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0820.
Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons. Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P.J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:291541. doi: 10.1155/2012/291541. Review.
The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress. Ghaly M, Teplitz D. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Oct;10(5):767-76.
Medical Thermography CASE STUDIES, Dr. William Amalu, President, International Academy of Clinical Thermography, Clinical Earthing Application in 20 Case Studies. Researcher: William Amalu, DC, DABCT, FIACT
Menigoz, W., Latz, T.T., Ely, R.A., Kamei, C., Melvin, G. and Sinatra, D. 2020. Integrative and lifestyle medicine strategies should include Earthing (grounding): Review of research evidence and clinical observations. Explore 16(3), pp.
152–160. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2019.10.005
Müller, E., Pröller, P., Ferreira-Briza, F., Aglas, L. and Stöggl, T. 2019. Effectiveness of grounded sleeping on recovery after intensive eccentric muscle loading. Frontiers in Physiology 10( JAN). doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00035.
A review of all the Earthing research conducted to date can be found here at the online website of the Journal of Environmental Health and Policy at http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/291541/
11:35, August 8, 1969, The Beatles crossed the Abbey Read to be captured for their famous LP cover. Paul McCartney started the trend of grounding or earthing by walking barefoot.
Other celebrities that embraced grounding are Gwyneth Paltrow and Oliva Colman, who accepted an award barefoot at a London ceremony.