An introduction to earthing and its benefits
Earthing, also known as grounding is a technique used to electrically reconnect to the Earth. Grounding the human body like our ancestors used to allows us to sync our bodies to the planet we live. Walking barefoot and sleeping outside with just an animal hide are some of the ways that they connected with the planets surface.
It is believed that it can provide a lot of health benefits as the constant electric charge of the earths surface provides a limitless supply of free or mobile electrons. Some of these include improved blood flow, reduced inflammation in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, reduced stress and enhanced immune system.
In the world we live in today, scientific research often points to the negative impacts of being outdoors with compromised air quality. They also point to toxic chemicals in the air and water. Such is society that the negative is given far more attention and Creedence than the positives. You only need to look at the recent coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic to see that bad news sells.
Doomsday theories, death counters and wall to wall coverage with so called experts wheeled out to sow the seed that the planet is doomed. People inherently are pessimists, so it pulls on the strings in their brains and reinforces positive bias. The media has a lot to answer for sowing the seeds of doubt into our minds, our children’s minds.
We prefer to view things much more favourably and re-establishing contact with the earth is one way we can change the tide in our favour again. Next time there is a clear sky and a full moon, try sleeping on outside on an earthing sheet or grounding mat, and I’m certain you will feel invigorated. Let the stress of daily life wash away and soak in the natural energy the planet has to offer.
Earthing helps with arthritis and chronic pain
Many recent studies have been conducted to find a causal link between earthing and the treatment of many issues. To break it down for you the suggestion is that rapid resolution of inflammation takes place because the Earth’s surface is an abundant source of excited and mobile electrons. Research also suggests that skin contact with the surface of the Earth allows Earth’s electrons to spread over the skin surface and into the body.
The working hypothesis features this scenario: mobile electrons from the Earth enter the body and act as natural antioxidants. They are semi-conducted through the connective tissue including through the inflammatory barricade. This in turn neutralises ROS (reactive oxygen species) and other oxidants in the repair field, which protect healthy tissue from damage. Studies then looked at patients to see what effects there were on a range of conditions.
One of the first published grounding studies examined the effects of grounding on sleep and circadian cortisol profiles. The study involved 12 subjects who were in pain and had problems sleeping. They slept grounded for 8 weeks, and during this period, their diurnal cortisol profiles normalised, and most of the subjects reported that their sleep improved and their pain and stress levels declined.
The results of the experiment led to these conclusions: 1) grounding the body during sleep yields quantifiable changes in diurnal or circadian cortisol secretion levels that, in turn, 2) produce changes in sleep, pain, and stress (anxiety, depression, and irritability), as measured by subjective reporting. Recent research also showed that prolonged chronic stress results in glucocorticoid receptor resistance. The results of this are a failure to regulate inflammatory responses, which can thereby increase risks of a variety of chronic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis.
Another study conducted recently has shown increases in neutrophils following injury. This happened in both grounded and ungrounded subjects. Neutrophil counts were always lower in the grounded subjects however. As the number of neutrophils increases, lymphocytes are expected to decrease. In the study, the lymphocyte count in the grounded subjects was always below the ungrounded subjects.
So what does this all mean? Normally, neutrophils rapidly invade an injured region. Their aim is to break down damaged cells and send signals through the cytokine network to regulate the repair process. Neutrophils’ production of ROS and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) is termed the “oxidative burst”. While ROS clear pathogens and cellular debris so that the tissue can regenerate, ROS can also damage healthy cells adjacent to the repair field. This causes what is known as “collateral damage”. The fact that the grounded subjects had fewer circulating neutrophils and lymphocytes could indicate that the original damage resolved more quickly, collateral damage reduced, and the recovery process accelerated. This would explain the reduction in the cardinal signs of inflammation (redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function) following acute injury. It also shows the rapid reduction of chronic inflammation.
While it is hard to definitively prove the benefits, more and more research is being carried out every day. The socio medicine and natural medicine community are very strident on this. Sometimes in life things are not always black and white, they are hard to quantify. Science and the current scientific construct can only take us so far. At times you have to trust what you and your body feels, and there are far too many coincidences to simply discount these hypotheses. It is important to always keep an open mind and try things for yourself.
Wellbeing is a mindset and outlook, as much as it is a provable and tangible thing. Many studies have considered similar views in regards to mental health for example. A lot of life’s problems can be resolved by having as little or no stress as you can and maintaining a positive view. Activities like yoga and meditation are rapidly increasing in popularity, once these were also maligned. The world is coming round to new theories and ideas, sometimes there is more than one answer to the problem.