Okay, I admit it, I’m a recent convert to ‘grounding’ technology, not because my dear old hippy dad convinced me, but because it genuinely works.
What is Earthing or Grounding?
It’s simple really. In our quest to sterilise everything in our immediate vicinity, to take every precaution against dirty nature, we have cut ourselves off from a rich source of helpful ions.
We are naturally conductive creatures, hence the need to protect ourselves from the dangers of electrocution. More than 67% of our bodies are made up of electrolyte infused water. Every cell can pass a weak electric signal to the next through that solution in a matter of milliseconds.
To maintain that conductivity, we keep well hydrated and absorb essential nutrients and minerals from our diets. Without these critical salts, our conductivity declines, and ill health sets in.
Every body, even healthy ones, can become inflamed. Often it is the result of illness, injury or stress of some sort. For example, if you get a bacterial infection, the body’s response is to identify a foreign particle in the system which activates your immune system. That tends to be in the form of releasing hormones like histamine which dilates the blood vessels so that more blood cells can rush in and fight the infection. Those immune cells also stimulate extra fluid production, especially in the mucosal linings, to help flush away viruses and bacteria. That in turn often makes the areas red, warm to the touch and swollen.
Histamine and another hormone, bradykinin also irritate the nerves in that region, triggering pain receptors. Those messages to the brain inform you that an area hurts, prompting you to protect it from further injury.
In most cases, short term inflammation occurs just long enough to see off the injury or disease, but there are occasions when this inflammatory response fails the body it is trying to protect. Chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, where many joints throughout the body are permanently inflamed or Psoriasis, a chronic skin complaint, occur when the immune system mistakenly fights against its own cells.
Low-level chronic inflammation can cause serious problems if it’s left unchecked for too long. With the immune system set to unleash a full-on assault to perceived or none existent threats, white blood cells are allowed to swarm without anything to do. This can, eventually, lead to them attack healthy tissues.
It is the oxidative products from fighting the inflammatory response, that can do long-term harm; chemicals not just from our muscles and joints, but from neural issues such as anxiety and stress too. According to C. Vida et al, Department of Physiology, Madrid Complutense University, “anxiety can be a situation of chronic oxidative stress and inflammation, especially in the brain and immune cells, and this accelerates the rate of aging.”
How does Earthing help?
In a similar way to eating foods rich in anti-oxidants, earthing or grounding provides an instant rush of negative ions to flood the body from a single touch. These are attracted to the free positive ions, or free radicals, neutralising their potential to cause inflammation and pain (J.L. Oschman).
Dr Laura Koniver MD, writes extensively on the topic of grounding. According to her research, and evaluations of other medical papers, after just a few seconds of grounding yourself with the Earth, an immediate and measurable effect occurs. Firstly, muscle tension and the ambient voltage of the entire body decreases.
After a few minutes, skin conductance and brain wave activity alter, along with a noticeable decrease in pain intensity. With just ten minutes of grounding, we see changes in blood viscosity.
This is a big one, with far-reaching consequences. According to Dr Gaetan Chevalier et al, from the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, the effects of grounding on blood viscosity in humans, positively impacts risks of cardiovascular diseases by altering the electrical charge (or zeta potential) on the surface of red blood cells which in turn reduces blood clumping.
With circulatory systems fully optimised, oxygenation and essential nutrients can access every part of the body with greater efficiency, stimulating balance at a metabolic level; for example, blood sugar and hormone regulation.
Just one night of grounding can make a measurable difference to bone density, thereby decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. With efficient blood flow, all the minerals necessary for bone health can be transported to where it’s most needed. After several days of regular grounding, the body’s ability to heal from injury and stress is accelerated, reducing the exposure to damaging inflammatory chemicals.
The Impact on Aging.
Theoretically speaking, the long-term benefits of reducing inflammatory responses over decades could have a dramatic effect on the rate of ageing. With improved healing times and healthier organ systems, simply grounding the body could reduce risks of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, and many other inflammatory conditions.
In effect, we are providing the body with access to an abundance of free electrons. They carry a negative charge and drive up the pH of any solution towards an alkaline state. Inflammation tends to do the opposite, making our body chemistry more acidic. The grounding, or receiving electron ions, helps to neutralise that acidic state, bringing our metabolism back to balance.
When you look at it in these terms, it makes perfect sense. You wouldn’t tolerate acid reflux in your throat, you would find ways to neutralise the burning effects, yet we allow our organs and tissues to build up with lactic acid and other acidic waste products of metabolism without seeking a remedy.
Our brains have an inbuilt system of waste removal, conducted during our sleep. Cerebral spinal fluid washes away the toxic build-up of metabolic waste chemicals during deep sleep cycles. The rest of our body has to make do with the circulatory and lymphatic drainage systems, both of which need to function optimally to support organ and tissue health. That relies on non-sticky red blood cells and healthy viscous blood.
What’s being done?
Thankfully, there are lots of scientific studies researching the positive impact of grounding on a regular basis. P. Sokal et al, from the Department of Neurosurgery, in the Military Clinical Hospital, Poland (2011), conducted a study on the neuromodulative effects of earthing. Their paper states: “The earthing which changes the density of negative charge in electric environment of the human body, influences physiological processes… it helps to restore the natural, electric status of the electrical environment of the organism thus the nervous system.”
Other scientists, such as M. Ghaly and D. Teplitz measured the stress chemical cortisol in relation to sleep and pain after grounding. There are too many exciting research studies to mention, but all point to the same conclusion; grounding ourselves is free and highly beneficial.
Unfortunately, few medical doctors see this as a way forward with regards to actual preventative steps for conditions and diseases. Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting earthing, medical practitioners seem to prefer handing out drugs as a long-term symptom suppression rather than addressing the root causes. Until such a time when the General Medical Councils advise radical reduction of inflammation using free electrons from the earth, very little will change.
What can you do?
The beauty of these findings is that you can take matters into your own hands. Even a short amount of time spent in direct contact with the earth can have a positive effect. Obviously, the more time spent grounding yourself the better, but accommodating that in our busy lives is tricky unless you are willing to pay for some of the indoor methods.
· Make a pact with yourself to go outside for ten minutes every day and touch the grass or leaves on a tree or any stones, soil or vegetation that is in contact with the earth. It’s not enough to walk across the lawn with rubber-soled shoes on. It must be skin contact.
· If you have a pet, they are excellent intermediaries. Stroke or cuddle a dog or cat that is in direct contact with the ground.
· If you can’t get outside, run water over your hands from the tap. Most indoor plumbing has conductive metal pipes running through the ground picking up free electrons and the water carries the charge too.
· Buy a grounding sheet woven with silver thread for your bed. These come with a detachable connecting wire that when plugged into the mains, only connects with the earth cabling for your house. There are lots of other products made from this material, such as sleeping bags, pillowcases and more robust materials for computer mouse mats and dog beds too. They can, however, be expensive. (If you choose to create a DIY method of grounding yourself, please do the research carefully and take care.)
Thankfully, concrete, although a man-made compound, will still conduct electrons, so if you can’t get outside, you may have a basement with a concrete floor or you could even dangle your bare feet down to a doorstep for a little while to give you the boost you need.
Try it for yourself and see what it does for you. For me, I was able to fully inflate my lungs for the first time in twenty years. The inflammation disappeared after just one night on a grounding pillow. The wheezing and coughing returns whenever the pillowcase is in the wash. My dad is one happy hippy now that the pain from his arthritis is vastly reduced, all thanks to his grounding bed sheet. I hope that it will help you too.
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