- Updated on October 29, 2020
Proofread by Samson Hui Proofreader on July **, 2019
When the human body is electrically grounded — a practice commonly known as “Earthing” — free electrons are able to enter the body and normalize its electrical voltage. As recent clinical studies have proven, Earthing helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain and stress, dramatically improve sleep in insomniacs, and support nerve, muscle, and immune function.
For people who are not usually grounded, just standing barefoot on a patch of grassy earth (wet earth is better) for 30 minutes can increase one’s Control Pause (i.e., CP, a measure of body-oxygen levels) by 2 to 5 seconds. My students have reported even better results when they are grounded during sleep. In the long run, an average Buteyko student can achieve up to a 5 to 10 secs. improvement in morning CP (meaning larger body O2 levels, and a fresher feeling in the morning) due to the correct application of Earthing.
In people with chronic disease (usually a CP less than 20 secs.), excessive grounding can trigger an immediate cleansing reaction, which could potentially be dangerous. Therefore, as in the case of breath retraining, in cases of serious health conditions, Earthing requires a good knowledge of temporary restrictions and safety rules.
Earthing is a powerful natural practice that was endorsed by Dr. Buteyko and his colleagues. However, at that time, they suggested that the main benefits of barefoot activities were due to the stimulation of nerve endings on the soles of feet. This also plays a role in grounding’s regulation of the nervous system; however, Buteyko and colleagues hadn’t yet considered Earthing’s electrical benefits.
Earthing is not a substitute for a poor lifestyle. To increase CP to healthy levels (greater than 40 secs.), the following factors are still required: breath awareness, ample exercise with nose breathing, correct posture throughout the day, prevention of supine sleep, clean air, good thermoregulation, an empty stomach (for nearly all people) before going to bed, in addition to many other factors. All together, a healthy lifestyle will yield a high body O2 result first thing in the morning, which translates to a positive mood and increased energy for the rest of the day.
This grounding documentary on YouTube gives an overview of the main principles, benefits, and biological effects of Earthing on inflammatory conditions. The video features Clint Ober (the man who has popularized grounding by organizing several research studies on its health effects), as well as many other people and doctors who testify to how grounding can improve health.
How does grounding work?
When the body is electrically insulated — for e.g., on synthetic carpet in a second floor apartment — it has a tendency to accumulate a positive electrical charge (up to many 100s or even 1,000 Volts). On the other hand, the Earth has a slightly negative charge (i.e., not a deficiency, but an excess of electrons). Many dietary antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and so on, are able to deactivate free radicals (or reactive oxygen species, molecules that can damage cells) by donating free electrons to the free radicals. When one is connected to the Earth, a similar effect occurs: electrons enter the body and reduce free radical activity.
As long as the body is electrically connected with Earth — typically through direct physical contact — the Earth can provide an unlimited source of free electrons, squelching inflammation and normalizing the work of the nervous and muscular systems.
That said, there are several ways the body can accumulate a large positive charge:
– insulation of the body due to wearing modern insulating rubber shoes, walking on wood and carpet floors, and sleeping on elevated beds;
– triboelectricity due to wearing synthetic clothes and walking on carpets;
– induced body currents due to large outer electrical and magnetic fields caused by ordinary electric cables, home appliances, cell phones, laptops, iPads, iPods, and many other objects.
Depending on their presence and magnitude, these factors can lead to an electron deficiency, fueling chronic inflammation, pain, abnormalities in the transmission of electrical signals in the nervous system and muscles, and other pathological effects. Earthing, however, restores a natural flow of electrons and reduces or eliminates these and other problems.
Grounding and exercise in the past
The graph below explains why modern people, compared to people a hundred years ago, have lower results for the body oxygen test: They tend to breathe more.
We also know that several generations ago, people were more often electrically connected to Earth, due to barefoot walking, sleeping on the skins of animals (which are conductive), and wearing leather shoes.
Earthing is one of the key factors, together with a lot of physical exercise while nose breathing, that contributed to the slow and easy breathing (and higher body O2 levels) in people living generations ago.
This image to the left links to the most popular book on Earthing today: Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? by Clint Ober. You can purchase this book in paperback, audio, or Kindle format. This was the most interesting book or manuscript that I’ve read in many years.
You may also check out these additional references:
How to ground yourself: This web page provides easy and simple methods for grounding (Earthing) yourself during the day and/or sleep.
For a review of clinical studies related to the effects of Earthing, go here: Earthing benefits.
If you decide to test the effects of Earthing on yourself, right below here, you can find a test that I teach to my students. How to do this test, is provided in the next paragraph as bonus content.
Ground yourself during sleep for three consecutive nights and measure the next morning CP. Compare these results with previous nights, as well as the following nights grounded, and monitor your symptoms. Students often can achieve a 2 to 5 sec. higher morning CP due to Earthing during sleep.
– Read this page in Spanish: Beneficios de ponerse a tierra: Más O2 en las células.