I’ve been self-testing an innovative new way (inspired by a very old way) of reducing stress and improving sleep lately and I now feel like I have enough personal data to pass on my results to you.
Basically, there is a simple thing we can do each day that helps keep stress levels (and cortisol levels) in healthy ranges, can improve sleep and also reduce inflammation.
I first encountered the idea of “Grounding” or “Earthing” when I read the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever. I’d seen information about this theory before but hadn’t looked into it.
At first I was skeptical that something so simple could work but after researching it and reading the book, it seemed at least plausible that it would work. I also ran the idea by some electrical engineer friends and a friend who has done research in the biomedical field and they confirmed that there was some science to back it up.
Basically, the theory is that our bodies are meant to come into contact with the Earth (a “grounding” force) on a regular basis. Positive electrons in the form of free radicals (ever heard of those guys?) can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the ground balances this out as it is a negative grounding charge.
Our bodies and cells have electrical energy, and especially with the high prevalence of Electromagnetic waves, Wi-Fi and mobile phone waves, many of us have a high amount of positive electrons built up in our bodies.
It Used to Happen Automatically
Throughout history, humans have spent time outdoors much more than we do in modern time and have been in direct contact with the soil. From walking on the ground barefoot, to gardening or tilling the soil, humans have always touched the earth… until recently.
Now, we live in houses, wear rubber shoes, are exposed to EMFs daily and don’t often come into direct contact with the ground.
Have you ever noticed that you sleep better on a beach vacation after walking in the sand or being in the ocean? The sand and ocean water and both naturally conductive materials and both help ground the body and remove excess positive electrons. For the same basic reason that we ground electrical outlets to avoid the build up of excess positive charge, our bodies need the same ground effect.
What is Earthing?
According to the book “Earthing” the practice of earthing basically involves coupling your body to the Earth’s surface energy by walking, sitting or sleeping outside in direct contact with the Earth or using a device that creates the same response while indoors.
When in direct contact with the Earth, your body becomes suffused with negative charged free electrons and equalizes to the same electric energy level as the earth.
According to emerging research, Earthing can be beneficial in:
- Reducing inflammation by defusing excess positive electrons
- Reducing chronic pain
- Improving Sleep (I can vouch strongly for this!)
- Increasing Energy (I noticed this also)
- Lowering stress and promoting calmness by reducing stress hormones.
- Normalizing biological rhythms including circadian rhythm
- Improving blood pressure and blood flow
- Relieving muscle tension and headache (I noticed this)
- Lessens menstrual and female hormone symptoms
- Speeds healing- used in some places to prevent bed sores
- Can eliminate jet lag
- Protecting the body from EMFs
- Shortens recovery time from injury or athletic activity
- Reducing or eliminating snoring
- Helping support adrenal health
Who Uses It?
Many on the Tour de France, supposedly including Lance Armstrong used an earthing recovery bag to speed recovery and increase sleep quality while on this endurance race. Various Olympic swimmers, runners, and triathletes have reported using Earthing and various professional athletes have used Earthing methods as well.
Well known doctor and natural health proponent Dr. Mercola has reportedly been using an Earthing Mat for years and even Dr. Oz has gotten on board recently!
Does Science Back it Up?
There have been some preliminary studies on the effects of grounding on cortisol levels and inflammation (PDF) and I’m confident that research will continue in this area. What fascinates me most is the testing done in thermographic imaging, which basically shows a heat map of the body. Heat patterns can signal inflammation in the body.
The above thermographic image was taken of a woman who complained of stiffness and chronic pain. The first picture was taken before earthing, and the second, after just 30 minutes of earthing.
The possibility of grounding or earthing resolving inflammation is exciting, as many chronic diseases cause and stem from inflammation in the body. Either way there is nothing to lose by trying earthing, and the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever is filled with first hand stories of those who have benefited, as well as research and information from doctors, a cardiologist and an electrical engineer.
My Own Experience
I was certainly skeptical at first but figured I had nothing to lose by trying to electrically ground myself. I make a point to walk barefoot outside each day and purchased an earthing mat to use while I was sleeping, as this is the body’s peak repair time.
To my surprise, I noticed the first night I used the earthing mat that I feel asleep much easier and had no trouble falling back asleep after waking up to nurse the baby. My husband didn’t believe me until he slept on part of the earthing mat one night and had a noticeable improvement in sleep quality.
I had been sleeping great for about a month and had been falling asleep easily until one night when I was tossing and turning and couldn’t fall asleep for a couple of hours. The next morning,I realized that the earthing mat had come unplugged!
From what I’ve read, reactions to earthing/grounding can vary drastically. Some people will notice a difference immediately while others take a few days or weeks. Others won’t feel any changes but measures of cortisol levels will show improvement. In general, it seems that the more inflammation one has, the more of a difference will be noticed from grounding.
How to Try It
Obviously, walking outside barefoot is the easiest and cheapest way if you are able. To work, you must be barefoot and in contact with rock, dirt or water. The beach/ocean is possibly the best place as not only are sand and salt water extremely conductive, but salt water is also very high in magnesium. Perhaps this is why many people seem to sleep better on vacation at the beach!
- An earthing mat can be used under your arms or feet while on a computer to reduce the amount of EMFs you are exposed to.
- An earthing mat is easy to bring when traveling.
- A half size earthing sheet can be used on any bed size.
Personally, I use this mat while on my computer (it is under my desk) and an earthing sheet under back each night (needs skin to skin contact) every night and have noticed definite changes.
The basic concept is:
“The grounding mat (or sheet) is an amazing invention that allows you to do earthing while you’re inside a building. It just plugs in to the grounding wire port of a normal 3-prong outlet or a grounding rod (US and Canada only). The earth’s natural electrons flow right up through the ground wire and onto the mat, even if you’re in a high rise. The mat comes with an outlet tester you plug in to see if the outlet is configured correctly.”
Best Deal I’ve Found
The best place I’ve found to get an earthing mat is here and it comes with: 10″ x 20″ mat made of durable conductive carbonized rubber, one 12′ wire, conductive fabric cover, tester to see if your outlet is configured correctly, and full instructions for getting setup, using the mat, and caring for it. There is also a kit that contains a half size earthing sheet that can be used on any bed size.
Both kits also contain a copy of the book – Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?
Of course, the cheapest and easiest way is to spend some time outside barefoot….
Ever tried earthing/grounding? Think it’s crazy? Weigh in below!