A reader recently asked about a holistic practice commonly referred to as “ground” or “grounding”. The question was as a portal to my past. I was first exposed to the concepts behind this therapy when I studied holistic medicine in Arizona many years ago. In essence, grounding is, presumably, a therapeutic process that allows a connection to the earth. A popular theory behind the healing power is known that the electrons in the Earth’s surface can be passed to the physical body when a person walks barefoot or sleeping on the natural ground. An expert in the field of earth, Dr. James L. Oschman, describes the exchange in this way, “The most reasonable hypothesis to the beneficial effects of ground to declare that a direct grounding both daily (daily) electrical rhythms and free electrons can flow from the earth to the body.” Hypothesis and the proposed mechanisms are useful insofar as they go. But the real question in my mind is whether there is some serious science that these allegations and claims many of the suppliers of raw products supports.
The first question that logically comes to mind is why an influx of electrons would have a beneficial effect in the human body. Dr. Oschman believes that direct exposure to electrical rhythms of the earth can help promote a normalizing effect on hormone production, sleep patterns and stress. An interesting side drawing is a further theory, that ‘free and mobile electrons from the ground may cause chronic inflammation can be solved by serving as a natural anti-oxidants. “If accurate, these biochemical changes, of course, have many advantages for the achievement of a large part of the world. (1,2,3)
I was able to two peer review, published studies on earth to find – one from January 2010 and another in October 2004. These scientific studies were conducted by two separate research facilities and were deemed worthy enough to be printed in a prestigious medical publication, The Journal of alternative and complementary medicine. The results of these scientific studies will form the primary basis for my opinion about his grounding.
A total of 28 men and women took part in the most recent study of a grounding device. Their ages ranged from 18 – 80 years old. The controlled study was a double-blind protocol, meaning that both participants and the researchers do not know when using the experimental device or the inactive / placebo device.
- Study, the volunteers were asked to sit on a deck chair, or a standard which is provided with (not visible) ground technology, – which is usually made of metal threads.
- The measurements were taken before, during and after “treatment” that changes in blood oxygen, pulse rate, perfusion index, respiratory and skin conductance indicated.
When the members resting on the grounded lounge chair it showed a decrease in skin conductance (an indicator of stress reduction) and an increase in respiration. There were also significant changes noted in the blood of oxygen during the grounding, changes in perfusion index (circulation) and heart rate. Collectively, these reactions were suggestive that “Grounding of interest can be for relaxation, health maintenance and disease prevention.” Additional research was spurred by the authors of the study. (4)
An 8-week study in 2004 the effects of an earth bed investigated in 12 volunteers who suffer from pain, insomnia and stress. The bedding is used in the study was described as a “with the aid of an conductive mattress”. Multiple saliva were baseline and week 6 of the experiment tested for concentrations of cortisol, a stress hormone. The questionnaires were also used to subjective changes in pain to determine the sleep quality and stress. Both daytime and nighttime cortisol decreased significantly after sleeping on the grounded bed. A trend toward normalization of the 24 hour cortisol was generally observed. The volunteers reported that almost all of the pain, sleep and stress symptoms were greatly improved or eliminated by 8 weeks point. It is also interesting to note that the female participants showed the most benefit from this therapy. The reason why a clear at this time. (5)
Source: New York Magazine April 21, 2008 (link)
Right about now, some of you roll your eyes in disbelief. I realize that grounding may seem a relatively “new agey” type of practice. The use of an earth bed or chair may, in fact, fall into this category. But, in my opinion, the idea of reconnecting with the ground is not so farfetched. The man is not wearing tennis shoes and sleeping on foam bedding NASA tested for as long a period of time. These inventions are certainly useful, but they are far from natural. I’m not saying we all have our clothes, mattresses and sneakers closed and claim a Stone Age way of life. But I think it’s important to remember that there may be some positive practices of our distant past that can be applied to the present. An example is walking barefoot as practical and safe. In addition to any grounding effect, it can walk barefoot to promote healthier feet and joints. (6,7,8)
I’m a “wait and see ‘attitude toward the grounding products to determine. There is a hint of promise, as indicated by the seemingly real physiological changes caused by these products. But that’s about all those at Currently it can be said on their behalf. The many distributor and manufacturer claims far greater than what is arguably documented in the scientific literature. For now, I feel much more comfortable to recommend spending more time in contact with the ground in a natural environment – are , or walking barefoot in the park or beach, etc. If this topic interests you, you might consider trying it out for yourself. see how non-commercial grounding makes you feel. The worst case scenario is that you are likely to expose yourself to more fresh air and sunshine. Fortunately, that’s not a side effect that justifies much concern.