Health Impact News Editor
Have you heard of the concept of “grounding” or “earthing” and wondered if there were any facts to back up the health claims? Well, two recent studies, one from last year and one here in 2013, suggest that there is some science behind the health claims surrounding the concepts of “grounding” or “earthing.”
Grounding or earthing is described as “having direct physical contact of the human body with the surface of the earth.” The premise is that modern lifestyles separate us from direct contact with the earth, via our buildings and footwear, and the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the earth which we need for optimal health.
A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health reviewed several research studies around the concept of earthing: Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons
The study looked at the history of earthing, including the environmental design of buildings and homes to promote more “grounding.” The authors of the study conclude:
Earthing research, observations, and related theories raise an intriguing possibility about the Earth’s surface electrons as an untapped health resource—the Earth as a “global treatment table.” 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, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed 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.
A study published here in 2013 looked at blood viscosity and cardiovascular risk factors. It was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease
This study is interesting, because it focuses on real factors contributing to heart disease, realizing that LDL cholesterol is increasingly falling out of favor as being a true indicator of cardiovascular disease risk. Understanding that blood viscosity and aggregation are major factors in hypertension and other cardiovascular pathologies, including myocardial infarction, the study was designed to examine the effect of earthing on red blood cell clumping:
Subjects were grounded with conductive patches on the soles of their feet and palms of their hands. Wires connected the patches to a stainless-steel rod inserted in the earth outdoors. Small fingertip pinprick blood samples were placed on microscope slides and an electric field was applied to them. Electrophoretic mobility of the RBCs was determined by measuring terminal velocities of the cells in video recordings taken through a microscope. RBC aggregation was measured by counting the numbers of clustered cells in each sample.
They found that there was clearly less clumping of red blood cells after 2 hours of grounding than before grounding.
The authors noted that while statin cholesterol lowering drugs are often used for modulating blood viscosity, they have serious side effects, including death. Earthing, on the other hand, has no side effects, and has positive results:
Increased blood viscosity in the general population may be a predictor of cardiovascular events because of its influences on hypertension, thrombogenesis, ischemia, and arthrogenesis. Unfortunately, blood viscosity has become a forgotten risk factor and is rarely measured in clinical practice. Interventions that reduce blood viscosity and RBC aggregation are important. Statins appear to be effective for modulating blood viscosity, but can have serious side-effects including death. Moreover, some patients have statin intolerance. The use of a safe effective anti-inflammatory strategy that is not dependent on isoprenoid inhibition is therefore desirable.
Grounding or earthing the body is virtually harmless. To date, there has been no systematic study of the effects of grounding on BP. However, there are anecdotal reports that patients using blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin (Coumadin®), need to have their clotting time monitored when they begin to make more frequent conductive contact with the earth. When physicians recommend evidence-based, harmless, and simple natural interventions, alleviation of human suffering and improved quality of life can be realized. The findings in this pilot study indicate that grounding has a safe and significant effect on zeta potential and that further study is warranted.
These studies do not surprise me at all. “Energy” medicine has a long history in non-Western cultures, particularly in Traditional Chinese Medicine which has given us acupuncture, meridian points, and much more in a system of healing that is thousands of years old. Modern medicine is primarily chemical based, recent in history, and designed for patents and profit. The focus is on man-made medicines, rather than Designer-based natural modalities found in nature. So, most of the research funding goes into man-made medicines that can be patented for profit. The authors of these two studies probably do have some profit motive since they declare they are shareholders in some company, but hopefully more research into the field of earthing will result in healthier products being designed to keep us better grounded to the massive amounts of free electrons the earth can supply, and presumably lead us to a healthier lifestyle.
Copyright 2013 – Health Impact News. Article and image by Brian Shilhavy. Permission to republish granted with full reference and link back to this article as the original source.
1. Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons, Journal Environmental Public Health. 2012; 2012: 291541.
2. Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease, Journal Alternative Complementary Medicine. 2013 February; 19(2): 102–110.