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Grounding & Earthing. Could doing yoga while grounding be the ultimate health solution?

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

Incorporating grounding and earthing into yoga asana practice is an area of great interest to me. Research is continuously uncovering the benefits of nature connected lifestyles. The connectedness to all life forms through a woven network of microscopic organisms carrying electrical charges to the earth is undeniable. What’s more yogic activities like meditation and asana practice when connected to the earth have increased health benefits taking their medicinal benefits to an entirely different level. This is one of the reasons I’m delivering outdoor yoga.

As a child I often played in the front garden, I grew up in a suburban court in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne so sitting on the front lawn under the silver birch trees and playing under the sprinkler in summer was almost daily. On weekends as a child we played in apple fields in Warrandyte at my grandparents farm and even played with scorpions, bugs and ants on the ground along the winding driveway up to the old federation farm house. Contact with the earth and it’s creatures was routine and very much taken for granted compared to today’s lifestyles and how children play. I remember as a child walking to primary school, I always ran my hands along the trees branches and bushes all the way to school, as if to collect energy from them like a old style tram connected into the electrical wiring overhead.

These days when I walk daily I make contact with plants and trees as I walk. Often stopping to press me hands against the bark. It’s only in the last decade or so that I understood the significance of this very simple practice of what was for me unintentional grounding. In the article below I’ve extracted some of the most relevant findings supporting the benefits of grounding, published in the Journal of Environment and Public Health ‘Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons’, which explains the research and benefits.

Environmental medicine generally addresses environmental factors with a negative impact on human health. However, emerging scientific research has revealed a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health: direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth.

Modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact. The research suggests that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness.

Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being. Earthing (or grounding) refers to the discovery of benefits—including better sleep and reduced pain—from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.

Environmental medicine focuses on interactions between human health and the environment, including factors such as compromised air and water and toxic chemicals, and how they cause or mediate disease. Throughout the environment is a surprisingly beneficial, yet overlooked global resource for health maintenance, disease prevention, and clinical therapy: the surface of the Earth itself. It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The surface of the planet is electrically conductive (except in limited dry areas such as deserts), and its negative potential is maintained by the global atmospheric electrical circuit [1, 2].

Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth’s negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems. Moreover, oscillations of the intensity of the Earth’s potential may be important for setting the biological clocks regulating body rhythms, such as cortisol secretion [3].

It is also well established that electrons from antioxidant molecules neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS, or free radicals) involved in the body’s immune and inflammatory responses. The National Library of Medicine’s online resource PubMed lists 7021 studies and 522 review articles from a search of “antioxidant + electron + free radical” [3]. It is assumed that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely neutralise free radicals thereby reducing acute and chronic inflammation [4]. Throughout history, humans mostly walked barefoot or with footwear made of animal skins. They slept on the ground or on skins. Through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground’s abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive [5]. Through this mechanism, every part of the body could equilibrate with the electrical potential of the Earth, thereby stabilising the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells.

Modern lifestyle has increasingly separated humans from the primordial flow of Earth’s electrons. For example, since the 1960s, we have increasingly worn insulating rubber or plastic soled shoes, instead of the traditional leather fashioned from hides. Rossi has lamented that the use of insulating materials in post-World War II shoes has separated us from the Earth’s energy field [6]. Obviously, we no longer sleep on the ground as we did in times past.

During recent decades, chronic illness, immune disorder’s and inflammatory diseases have increased dramatically, and some researchers have cited environmental factors as the cause [7]. However, the possibility of modern disconnection with the Earth’s surface as a cause has not been considered. Much of the research reviewed in this paper points in that direction.

In the late 19th century, a back-to-nature movement in Germany claimed many health benefits from being barefoot outdoors, even in cold weather [8]. In the 1920s, White, a medical doctor, investigated the practice of sleeping grounded after being informed by some individuals that they could not sleep properly “unless they were on the ground or connected to the ground in some way,” such as with copper wires attached to grounded-to-Earth water, gas, or radiator pipes. He reported improved sleeping using these techniques [9]. However, these ideas never caught on in mainstream society.

At the end of the last century, experiments initiated independently by Ober in the USA [10] and K. Sokal and P. Sokal [11] in Poland revealed distinct physiological and health benefits with the use of conductive bed pads, mats, EKG- and TENS-type electrode patches, and plates connected indoors to the Earth outside. Ober, a retired cable television executive, found a similarity between the human body (a bioelectrical, signal-transmitting organism) and the cable used to transmit cable television signals. When cables are “grounded” to the Earth, interference is virtually eliminated from the signal. Furthermore, all electrical systems are stabilized by grounding them to the Earth. K. Sokal and P. Sokal, meanwhile, discovered that grounding the human body represents a “universal regulating factor in Nature”.

Earthing (also known as grounding) refers to contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems, some of them patented, that transfer the energy from the ground into the body. Emerging scientific research supports the concept that the Earth’s electrons induce multiple physiological changes of clinical significance, including reduced pain, better sleep, a shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic tone in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and a blood-thinning effect. The research, along with many anecdotal reports, is presented in a new book entitled Earthing [12].

Sleep and Chronic Pain.

During the research study grounded subjects described symptomatic improvement while most in the control group did not. Some subjects reported significant relief from asthmatic and respiratory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, sleep apnea, and hypertension while sleeping grounded. These results indicated that the effects of earthing go beyond reduction of pain and improvements in sleep.

Sleep, Stress, Pain, and Cortisol.

A pilot study evaluated rhythms in cortisol correlated with changes in sleep, pain, and stress (anxiety, depression, and irritability), where monitored subjects with complaints of sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress were grounded to Earth during sleep in their own beds. They monitored sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress. The majority of subjects with high- to out-of-range night- time cortisol secretion levels experienced improvements by sleeping grounded. Results reported were participants falling asleep more quickly, and waking up fewer times at night and positively affected morning fatigue levels, daytime energy, and nighttime pain levels.

Daytime functional impairment consistent with the diagnosis of insomnia often correlates with major depression, generalised anxiety, substance abuse, dementia, and a variety of pain and physical problems. The direct and indirect costs of chronic insomnia have been estimated at tens of billions of dollars annually in the USA alone. In view of the burdens of personal discomfort and health care costs, grounding the body during sleep seems to have much to offer the public health system and individuals.

Earthing Reduces Electric Fields Induced on the Body.

Voltage induced on a human body from the electrical environment was measured in this part of the study. It showed that when the body is grounded, its electrical potential becomes equalised with the Earth’s electrical potential through a transfer of electrons from the Earth to the body.

This, in turn, prevents an AC electric potential at the surface of the body and from producing the electric charges of the molecules inside the body. The study confirms the “umbrella” effect of earthing the body explained by Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman in his lectures on electromagnetism [16]. Feynman said that when the body potential is the same as the Earth’s electric potential it becomes an extension of the Earth’s gigantic electric system. The Earth’s potential thus becomes the “working agent that cancels, reduces, or pushes away electric fields from the body.” This effect clearly showed the “umbrella effect” described above. The body of the grounded person is not subject to the impact of electrons and electrical systems. This study demonstrates that grounding essentially eliminates the ambient voltage induced on the body from common electricity power sources.

Physiological and Electrophysiological Effects

The research showed upon earthing, about half the subjects showed an abrupt, almost instantaneous change in the left hemisphere (but not the right hemisphere) of the brain.

All grounded subjects presented an abrupt change electrical activity in right and left upper trapezius muscles. Earthing decreased blood volume pulse. Earthing the human body showed significant effects on electrophysiological properties of the brain and musculature and on the blood volume pulse, and overall stress levels and tensions and a shift in nervous system balance.

Immune Cell and Pain And Muscle Soreness

In the fitness and athletic world following excessive physical activity, acute inflammation in overtaxed muscles is usually treated with massage, hydrotherapy, acupuncture which can reduce pain. Grounding research demonstrated Earthing alters measures of immune system activity and pain. In comparison, the grounded subjects had only a slight decrease in white blood cells, indicating little inflammation, and, for the first time ever observed, a shorter recovery time. Brown later commented that there were “significant differences” in the pain. [12].

Heart Rate Variability.

The rapid change in skin conductance reported in an earlier study led to the hypothesis that grounding may also improve heart rate variability (HRV), in a double-blind study was designed participants had statistically significant improvements in HRV that went way beyond basic relaxation results (which were shown by the nongrounded sessions). Since improved HRV is a significant positive indicator on cardiovascular status, it is suggested that simple grounding techniques be utilised as a basic integrative strategy in supporting the cardiovascular system.

Diabetes and Thyroid

In one experiment grounding during a single night of sleep resulted in statistically significant changes in concentrations of minerals and electrolytes in the blood serum: iron, ionized calcium, inorganic phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Renal excretion of both calcium and phosphorus was reduced significantly. The observed reductions in blood and urinary calcium and phosphorus directly relate to osteoporosis. The results suggest that Earthing for a single night reduces primary indicators of osteoporosis.

Earthing continually during rest and physical activity over a 72-hour period decreased fasting glucose among patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. A single night of grounding produced a significant decrease of thyroid-stimulating hormone which suggests an earthing influence on hepatic, hypothalamus, and pituitary relationships with thyroid function. The thyroid hormones affect almost every physiological process in the body, including growth and development, metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate. Clearly, further study of earthing effects on thyroid function is needed. Subjects in pain participating in grounding trials reported reduction to the point that it was almost unnoticeable. The results strongly suggest that earthing is a natural solution for patients with excessive blood viscosity, an option of great interest not just for cardiologists, but also for any physician concerned about the relationship of blood viscosity, clotting, and inflammation. The results are significant in light of the extensive research showing that lack of sleep stresses the body and contributes to many detrimental health consequences. Lack of sleep is often the result of pain. Hence, reduction of pain might be one reason for the benefits just described. Pain reduction from grounding has been confirmed in a controlled study. Earthing is the first intervention known to speed recovery. Painful conditions are often the result of various kinds of acute or chronic inflammation conditions which can benefit from grounding.

Could the answer to many health issues be located right beneath our feet? 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, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed heart rate, blood disorders, 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.

Read the full research text here.

Article details.

Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons

Gae ́tan Chevalier,1, 2 Stephen T. Sinatra,3 James L. Oschman,4 Karol Sokal,5 and Pawel Sokal6

1 Developmental and Cell Biology Department, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA

2 Earth FX Inc., Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA

3 University of CT School of Medicine, c/o Optimum Health Building, 257 East Center Street, Farmington, CT 06040, USA 4 Nature’s Own Research Association, Dover, NH 03821, USA

5 Department of Ambulatory Cardiology, Military Clinical Hospital, 85-681 Bydgoszcz, Poland

6 Department of Neurosurgery, Military Clinical Hospital, 85-681 Bydgoszcz, Poland

Correspondence should be addressed to Gae ́tan Chevalier, Received 15 June 2011; Accepted 4 October 2011

Academic Editor: Gerry Schwalfenberg

Article research

G. Chevalier, S. T. Sinatra, and J. L. Oschman are indepen- dent contractors for Earthx L. Inc., the company sponsoring earthing research, and own a small percentage of shares in the company.


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Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Journal of Environmental and Public Health Volume 2012, Article ID 291541, 8 pages doi:10.1155/2012/291541

Review Article

Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons

Gae ́tan Chevalier,1, 2 Stephen T. Sinatra,3 James L. Oschman,4 Karol Sokal,5 and Pawel Sokal6

1 Developmental and Cell Biology Department, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA

2 Earth FX Inc., Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA

3 University of CT School of Medicine, c/o Optimum Health Building, 257 East Center Street, Farmington, CT 06040, USA 4 Nature’s Own Research Association, Dover, NH 03821, USA

5 Department of Ambulatory Cardiology, Military Clinical Hospital, 85-681 Bydgoszcz, Poland

6 Department of Neurosurgery, Military Clinical Hospital, 85-681 Bydgoszcz, Poland

Correspondence should be addressed to Gae ́tan Chevalier, Received 15 June 2011; Accepted 4 October 2011

Academic Editor: Gerry Schwalfenberg

Copyright © 2012 Gae ́tan Chevalier et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

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