What is Earthing (grounding)?
Science has long known that the surface of the Earth contains a natural electric charge, felt by some people as a pleasant tingling when walking on wet grass in the morning or along the wet sand at the beach.
New research has produced convincing evidence that direct contact with the Earth’s electrons (the source of negative electric charge in nature) stabilizes and rejuvenates the body by recharging and thinning our blood, enhancing immune function, and powerfully and dramatically reducing inflammation, pain, and stress. The degree to which the body shifts into a healing state is substantial, and of great medical significance.
In today’s society, most people have lost contact with the Earth and its healing power. We wear shoes with synthetic soles that block the Earth’s energy, and we live and work elevated from the ground. Our disconnection with the Earth is an ignored reason for the current epidemic of chronic inflammation, pain, and disease.
A powerful remedy, the research shows, is Earthing (also known as grounding), that reconnects us to the Earth: by being barefoot outside, or, more practically, using conductive grounding mats, bands, and patches while you sleep and sit indoors.
Earthing is a simple lifestyle addition involving no effort. It can be life-changing, and the change felt within minutes.
How can I experience Earthing benefits?
Earthing is easy and it is a good idea to make it a regular part of your life.
You can go barefoot (sit, stand, walk, run) outside on the Earth or swim or wade in the ocean/a lake/river for a half-hour or more a day. On land, conductive surfaces for grounding include soil, grass, sand, gravel, and rock. Concrete is also conductive. Moist surfaces are more conductive than dry. You cannot ground yourself on asphalt, vinyl, and wooden surface; they are not conductive.
As most people don’t have the time or the desire to go outside barefoot. Most “practice’ grounding inside, while sitting or sleeping. It is so easy to do. Actually there is nothing to do. You can conveniently ground yourself with grounding products available at Grounded Wellness.
Research on Earthing started in 2000 and led to the development of grounding mats, body bands, and patches for indoor use. Consider them as “barefoot substitutes” that allow you to be connected inside to the Earth outside.
What can I expect to feel when I start Earthing?
Everybody is different. Many people feel better right away. They sleep better. Have more energy and less pain. But some individuals can feel temporary symptoms of detoxification as the body starts to function more efficiently. These are generally people with some disease or with chronic inflammation and pain who have not been grounded for many years.
For further details, please read the Earthing Institute article 'New to Earthing'.
Is Earthing a new concept?
Not at all. Throughout practically all of history, humans have walked barefoot on the Earth. They have sat and slept on conductive animal skins, and fashioned those skins into footwear. All this ordinary activity has enabled our predecessors to absorb the Earth’s natural healing energy which prevented the build-up of inflammation in their bodies.
During the late 1880s, a back-to-Nature movement in Germany featured walking barefoot and sleeping directly on the Earth for which many positive health claims were made. For more on this movement, refer to the Earthing book. You can also read in the Earthing book how Clint Ober rediscovered this forgotten way of life in the late 1990s.
In this high-tech age is Earthing really important?
Yes, more than ever, given the global epidemic of pain conditions and inflammation-related diseases worldwide, along with insomnia and chronic fatigue. Earthing is a natural, simple, and yet remarkably profound strategy with the potential to normalize many functions throughout your body. It eliminates what we consider to be a societal-wide grounding deficit, a wholly overlooked cause of epidemic pain and inflammation, and chronic disease and dysfunction. Earthing reduces chronic inflammation and stress, both primary causes of disease and poor sleep. It broadly elevates your quality of life ˗ how you feel, and even how you look ˗ to a surprising level.
Is Earthing OK for people who take different medications?
We recommend you first have a conversation with your doctor. Earthing makes the physiology function more efficiently, and this improvement has the potential to affect medication dosages. For instance, we know that Earthing has a blood thinning effect, may improve thyroid function, blood sugar, and blood pressure, and thus medication dosages may need to be closely monitored and possibly adjusted. However, such interactions have not been measured in studies. For that reason, we strongly advise informing your doctor and following his or her guidance. Please read the Earthing Institute report on Earthing and medication.
Do I have to be concerned about being hit by lightning during a thunderstorm if you are grounded in your home?
Lightning is a massive natural phenomenon that is unpredictable and challenging to totally protect against. Homes are rarely hit by lightning. When this happens, the lightning usually takes the path of least resistance to the ground, such as large conductive systems like the plumbing pipes, electrical wiring network, or telephone and cable TV lines, all of which are directly grounded to the Earth.
The U.S. National Safety Council reports that odds of dying from a lightning strike during a lifetime is 1 in 180,746, and almost the least probable event in a list of multiple causes for death. This information suggests that being hit by lightning is rather unlikely. However, follow standard lightning safety guidelines as directed by the weather authorities in your country if you live in a lightning-prone area. Disconnect your Earthing device and don’t use it during lightning and thunderstorms.
What’s the difference between the Earth’s electric charge and the electricity used in homes?
A big difference. The Earth’s electric field is mainly a continuous static electric field (with zero frequency, except for small fluctuations at very low frequencies; less 30 Hz) that has influenced life on the planet throughout time. By comparison, home wiring systems use alternating current (AC; 50 or 60 cycles per second). Unless at very low frequency and low power, AC is foreign to our biology. AC, and other forms of man-made environmental electromagnetic fields (EMFs), are being researched as possible factors in a variety of health-related conditions. Many people are sensitive to EMFs. Studies show an “association,” but not cause and effect, with some health issues although the case for more than an association is getting stronger the more research is done on the subject
How much “current” is actually being transferred from the Earth's surface via the wire to a grounding product?
There is no constant measurable current flow beyond the instant equalization charge transferred to the body when a person becomes grounded to the Earth either outside barefoot or inside with an Earthing product. Once the body is thus grounded, the rate of influx changes, and the body will continue to absorb enough electrons needed to maintain the same electrical potential as the Earth and to restore what is lost as a result of metabolic processes. As the body continues in a grounded state, it appears to draw electrons as needed to maintain a “topped up” homeostatic level that compensates for any attrition of internal electrons. In contact with the Earth, it would seem hard for the body to develop an electron deficiency, and, theoretically, chronic inflammation. The number of electrons absorbed by the body to reduce metabolic and immune response free radicals would also vary significantly between people depending upon their lifestyle and activity. Preliminary results from an ongoing research study indicates that this current is very low, typically less than a nano-ampere (one billionth of an ampere).
What is the difference between Earthing and the use of magnets?
Although the use of magnets produce some therapeutic effects when properly applied, magnets cannot provide free electrons, nor can they connect the body with the natural beneficial frequencies of the Earth. Earthing technology used inside your home or office connects you with the Earth’s electrons in the same way as if you were barefoot on the ground outside.
Can I wear any type of footwear and still be grounded?
No. Most footwear today is made with plastic/rubber composite soles that do not conduct the Earth’s electric energy. You need thin leather/hide soles (with nothing else to cushion the shoe or moccasin), which used to be the primary footwear materials in the past, specially made for grounding the body. Leather itself isn’t conductive, but the foot perspires and the moisture permits conduction of the energy from the Earth through the leather and up into the body if the leather is thin enough. In addition, moisture from walking on damp ground or sidewalks could permeate up into the leather soled shoe. Thickness of the sole can also be a factor: a very thick leather sole may not allow the moisture through.
It is important to note also that a grounded shoe will only provide grounding benefits on surfaces that are conductive, such as grass, soil, sand, gravel outside and unsealed, unpainted concrete built directly on the Earth inside.
Are we grounded in water – the ocean, a lake, a swimming pool, a bathtub?
Pure water (distilled, snow), with no minerals or salts dissolved in it, is a poor conductor of electricity. When certain minerals, such as salt, are added to pure water, the water becomes conductive as a result of dissolution that breaks the salt into its components, electrically-positive sodium and negative chlorine. Ocean water is full of dissolved salts and minerals, and represents a superb conductive medium for grounding.
Lakes and rivers contain less minerals and salts than the ocean in general but they are still good conductors. Whether you are standing on the lake or river bottom, or floating or swimming on the surface, you will no doubt be grounded.
Mineral hot springs are famous for their healing and relaxing effects.This is believed to be due to the mineral content of the water. As an added benefit, since the water is conductive, you are grounding when you soak in hot springs.
Swimming pool? It is hard to say unless you have a salt water pool and the water is in contact with some metal part, like a drain pipe going into the ground. Normal tap water in a pool would be conductive, but again whether you are grounded or not depends on whether the water has contact with a metal fixture connected to the ground.
In your home, bathtubs and showers involve tap water that contains minerals and salts and so it is conductive. If you take a bath and there is a metal part in contact with the water and that metal part is also in contact with some metal pipe going down into the ground, you are grounded! The same is true with showers. If the water you use to shower comes from metal pipes in contact with the earth, the water you shower with is grounded and will ground you. If plastic pipes are used, you will not be grounded.
What is the best floor in a house for grounding purposes?
Wood or vinyl are not conductive. Floors made of these materials will not ground you. If your floor has unsealed concrete or stone built directly on the Earth, it is likely to be conductive and ground you.
Unsealed/unpainted tile directly attached to a concrete slab would likely permit grounding as well. But tiles with a glazed finish will likely not, nor tiles applied on plywood or some other kind of wood, plastic, or vinyl under-structure. Conductivity will also be negatively affected if petrochemical bonding material has been used to adhere the tiles.
If I start grounding and feel a bit strange, what does that mean?
Most people start to feel relief or more energy pretty quickly. But initially some people may feel temporary discomfort or even flu-like symptoms, cramps, or soreness. From our experience of many years, we found that these effects result from a more efficient functioning of the body’s own self-healing and detoxification mechanisms (this is assuming no defective functioning of your home grounding system). The discomfort could last a few days, weeks or even longer for people with very compromised health. As the discomfort fades away, you start feeling better and more energized.
If too uncomfortable, just cut down on the time you spend grounding. If still too much, stop grounding and then begin again with shorter exposure. Gradually increase your exposure so your body becomes accustomed more slowly to the Earth’s energy. For more information, please refer to the Earthing Institute article on 'New to Earthing'.
Should I be concerned if I feel some tingling when starting to ground myself?
People sometimes report feeling a tingling sensation in their body when they start grounding. If that is the case for you, unless you have a defective grounding system in your home, you are simply feeling the electrons coming into your body and equalizing it with the Earth’s potential, providing a natural, healing energy. The tingling accompanies an initial re-energizing, re-synchronizing, and normalizing effect, and the impact of this on inflammation and inflammatory damage in the body. Earthing reduces inflammation and inflammatory damage. That is why you are more likely to feel that sensation if you have inflammation in your body. A similar tingling effect is sometimes felt by people when walking barefoot on the wet sand at the beach.
For most people, the sensation usually diminishes and goes away after 15-30 minutes or so during the initial Earthing session, and then generally decreases in time with subsequent grounding. It may be felt again once you resume Earthing after stopping for some time. Everyone is different so you may feel some variation.
And don’t worry: you are not being electrocuted! See the Earthing Institute article on the safety of Earthing indoors here.
Continued tingling could mean a person is electro-hypersensitive and/or has a significant level of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in the room where he/she is grounding. In both cases, limiting exposure to EMFs is recommended.
Such individuals sometimes report feeling strange energy in the beginning and some even say they feel ill. The energy they feel when grounded is simply the Earth’s natural energy.
These sensations may also be part of an adjustment/healing/detoxification process as the body normalizes and inflammation goes down. If the feeling is too uncomfortable, we recommend decreasing the Earthing time. Resume at a later time but only with perhaps a half hour, or even less, twice a day barefoot outside or in contact with an Earthing mat or band inside your home. Very slowly increase your exposure. In this way, you may often be able to work your way gradually to sleeping grounded. Just go very slowly and at your own pace. Some electro-hypersensitive people have found that they receive positive benefits just from minimum grounding.
Feeling warmer after I start grounding? What’s going on?
Grounding often generates warmth in the body in general and in the extremities as a result of better circulation. We have seen people quickly develop a rosier color in their skin. Some people are surprised to find out that they feel very warm when in bed and that they sweat a lot. Generally, these are people with a tendency to feel cold often and need a lot of sheets to feel warm in the bed. The normalization of their body temperature means that they can use less sheets and still feel a nice warmth when at bed.
People often say they sleep better after they start Earthing. Is that true for everybody?
Sleep is so subjective, and the quality often relates to life’s stresses. No matter how grounded somebody is, stressful situations can readily impact sleep. Drinking caffeine or alcohol in the evening can also interfere with sleep. However there is research to show how grounding can resynchronise cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile to positively impact sleep.
Once I start grounding, what happens if I stop?
Over the years, we have heard from many people who experienced relief and improvements from grounding and then they stopped Earthing. Their gains began eroding.
We advise people to make Earthing part of a healthy lifestyle routine and keep grounding. We all evolved connected to the Earth. In our experience, staying grounded often makes the difference between feeling good and feeling bad. Earthing is thus not just for regaining well-being, but also for maintaining it.
Can a person do too much Earthing?
No, our body evolved in contact with the surface of the Earth. Up to quite recently in human history (a century ago or so) people were constantly in contact with the surface of the Earth. Today with, plastic soled shoes, homes with wood floors and synthetic carpets, cars with rubber tires, we are very rarely in contact with the surface of the Earth if at all.
Chronic inflammation slowly builds up in our bodies and we develop all kinds of auto degenerative, auto immune, and inflammation-based diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cardio-vascular problems, Alzheimer’s, etc. Because so many people have not been in contact with the surface of the Earth for so long, and because they have now serious health conditions, they need to start slowly to prevent discomforts when the body’s energy systems, including the immune system, the hormonal system, and the repair and detoxification mechanisms increase in activity creating potentially what is called a “healing crisis”. In order to avoid that possibility, people with compromised health need to start slowly and increase exposure to the surface of the Earth very slowly. Maybe starting with 15 minutes at a time and increasing slowly over a period of time that is dependent on their capacity to feel comfortable while grounded. There is no limit on how much time a healthy person can be grounded. For them too much Earthing is impossible. Still even these people need to ground every day to stay healthy. We recommend for them to be grounded at least one hour every day.
Everybody benefits in some way, but we are all different. The benefits can come quickly and dramatically, such as less pain and better sleep, or subtly and gradually over time. Often people who are very ill feel a dramatic difference. Someone with radiant health and who sleeps well may not feel any substantial difference, however, connecting to the Earth is helping to preserve and perpetuate good health. Earthing is regarded as a natural form of anti-aging medicine, whether you feel it or not.
Are there people who don’t feel anything, or for whom grounding doesn’t work?
Throughout most of history we walked barefoot and slept on the ground. We were directly connected to the Earth almost 24/7. Our body knows exactly what to do with what the Earth provides to us. When we connect to the Earth the quantity of electrons we absorb is governed by the amount our body needs to balance the electrical charge of our body. It is always the perfect amount. It uses up electrons in many metabolic processes, including the basic process of cellular energy production, so there is always an ongoing demand. If you are grounding yourself on a routine basis, you are, in a sense, topping up your tank. And if you ground yourself routinely for many, many hours each day then you will likely find that it is very hard to develop chronic inflammation, the cause of most common chronic disease.
There are some people who tell us that Earthing does not work for them because they feel no benefit. These are normally relatively health people. However, grounding is needed by everyone to stay healthy, no exception. An unhealthy person is likely to feel some strange sensations at the beginning and for some time, depending on their condition. We regard these sensations generally as part of an adjustment/healing/detoxification process as the body normalizes and inflammation goes down. If the feeling is too uncomfortable, stop sleeping or working grounded. Re-start your grounding by spending a half hour or forty minutes, or even less, twice a day barefoot outside or in contact with an Earthing mat or band inside your home. Then very slowly increase your exposure. In this way, you may often be able to work your way gradually to sleeping grounded. Just go very slowly and at your own pace. Some electro-hypersensitive people have found that they receive positive benefits just from minimum exposure to Earthing.
If you don’t think Earthing is working for you, please read the Earthing Institute report on the subject.
How does Earthing help me feel better and heal faster?
Pain, disease, and other disturbances are often caused by chronic inflammation. Such inflammation is, in turn, caused by positively charged molecules called free radicals. When you make direct contact with the Earth, either by being barefoot outside or using an Earthing product indoors, electrons from the Earth enter your body and reduce the free radicals and inflammation. At this point, the concept is theoretical, but supported by our research and feedback from thousands of people who use Earthing products.
In any case, the effect of Earthing is significant because medical research has found that many of the chronic and debilitating diseases of our time have the same cause: chronic inflammation. Scientists now realize that pain and disease arise in our bodies where an inflammatory response has taken place, but the inflammation has not completely stopped after the healing process. A low level of chronic inflammation can continue for years, damaging normal tissues and wasting energy. The human immune system evolved over a long span of time during which we were in virtually constant skin contact with the Earth. In our modern society, humans no longer walk barefoot. We wear shoes that insulate us from the Earth’s energy. In recent decades the incidence of chronic diseases, allergies, auto-immune conditions, and insomnia has soared. One overlooked possibility for this alarming increase is that the immune system is functioning less efficiently as most humans today live ungrounded.
How fast does Earthing work in the body? What about symptom relief?
Earthing has been repeatedly observed as producing beneficial effects quickly. Keep in mind that the body is a good conductor of free electrons. When people are grounded in experiments with the use, for instance, of conductive patches placed on the bottom of the feet (simulating standing barefoot on the Earth), they sometimes feel a tingling sensation moving up the legs. We associate this with the movement of electrons from the Earth up into the body. People say they often feel the same sensation when walking barefoot along the wet sand at the beach.
In the research, the speed of this activity has been “clocked”. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to reach sites of pain and inflammation, such as a shoulder. A painful knee would respond faster as it is closer to the grounded feet. When a study participant says that pain has started to ease we regard this as a sign that the electrons have arrived at the pain site and are “going to work.”
The influx of electrons gives a powerful boost to the body’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses. Like reinforcements, it is believed they rapidly neutralize free radical molecules that create chronic inflammation, arresting the destructive action on healthy tissues, and leading to a reduction of pain.
Medical thermal imaging has shown decreased inflammation in minutes after people are grounded. You can see examples of such decreased inflammation in several thermal imaging studies on Earthing, for example here and here.
There is an instant and natural shift in your body when you become grounded. We have measured the changes in the laboratory and they clearly indicate that the body is functioning better. People with pain often feel relief in varying degrees − from a little to a lot, and to even disappearance of the pain − just by planting their bare feet on the ground outside for a half hour or forty minutes. Sleeping grounded through the night produces many beneficial results, such as better and deeper sleep, more energy during the day, and less pain. Again, the degree of benefits vary from slight to dramatic, from immediate to gradual.
Everyone is different. Symptoms are different. Causes are different.
Some chronically ill people benefit from additional grounding hours during the day, such as by being barefoot or using an Earthing mat or body band. From the thousands of cases that Clint Ober and others have observed for years, the more severe the health problem the more dramatic the improvement seen with grounding in general. Even in end-of-life situations associated with pain, it has been reported that individuals generally have less pain.
We have had many reports of improved sleep and decreased stress after only one or two nights of sleeping grounded. If the cause of sleep difficulties is long-term insomnia with underlying health issues, improvement may stretch out. In a study conducted by the California Institute for Human Science, instantaneous changes in brain waves and muscle tension were documented with grounding.
Clearly, lasting changes in stress, sleep, pain, and body rhythms occur when we ground ourselves routinely.
Earthing does not cure anything. It restores a natural electrical balance in the body and reduces stress and inflammation. Earthing can thus have both short-term and long-term effects.
Can Earthing add years to my life?
We think it has powerful anti-aging potential. Many researchers have documented the deterioration of the immune system as we age, a decline called immunosenescence. A prominent medical theory states that one of the causes of general deterioration during aging is free radical damage, technically known as oxidative stress, and resulting in injury to cells. Since Earthing greatly reduces oxidative stress and inflammation it would be logical to think it could increase life expectancy and improve health. There is no question that maintaining a functionally “young” immune system is an excellent strategy for preserving the quality of life and slowing senescence.
Can I get too much of the Earth’s energy by sleeping grounded every night?
The body is most receptive to healing during sleep, so this is the most beneficial time for grounding.
But just as you can’t direct healthy food, air, or water to create specific effects in one function or part of your body, grounding allows your body to receive the natural energy of the Earth and then uses it as needed. You may experience benefits for certain issues you were not even expecting improvements in and there may be no change in other areas. Generally, the longer you continue to ground yourself, the more benefits and vitality you can expect to see. Some people with compromised health will find that sleeping grounded the hole night gives them strange sensations such as itching, tingling, rashes, etc. These are symptoms of detoxification and to mitigate these effects, it is usually best to go slow and start grounding for short periods of time, 30 minutes for example. Then you can slowly increase the duration until your body tolerates a whole night of sleeping grounded.
How can Earthing help with pain?
Primarily, by reducing inflammation. The Earth has analgesic properties. Go outside and stand, sit, or walk on the ground barefoot for at least a half hour. In that time you will likely notice that your pain is less. There are also Earthing products you can use indoors while sleeping or sitting. Think of them as extension cords connecting you in your house or office to the Earth outside. One of the best products to help with pain is the “magic pain patch” mentioned in the Earthing book. You can also read it here.
Can grounding help stroke patients?
No studies have been done to determine this possibility. Earthing research has demonstrated improved circulation and oxygen uptake, and, in a general sense, this implies improvements in the physiology. Our hypothesis is that earthing improves the function of mitochondria, the power house of all cells. Helping mitochondria produce more energy, it is expected that all body repair mechanisms will function better. See for example this article and this article.
Can grounding help blood pressure?
We have heard from many people whose blood pressure numbers have improved, and who have better control of their blood pressure, after starting Earthing. Some have been able to lower the dosage of their medication under the supervision of their doctors. A study published in 2018 by a cardiologist showed that grounding patients with hypertension improves blood pressure. You can find this study here.
If you take medication, and wish to start Earthing/grounding, you should always consult with your physician.