When we are walking barefoot outside feeling the grass beneath our feet and the sand between our toes, or even warm pavement radiating heat into our skin, we can feel stress and worry melt away. That’s often why we seek out these areas for reprieve from our normal routines and environments. Being in touch with nature feels good physically and emotionally. Emerging research shows that this skin-to-surface contact, known as grounding, has meaningful health benefits such as more restful sleep, better resilience to stress, and reduced pain.
Why Does Grounding Feel So Good?
Direct physical contact with the Earth puts us in touch with the vast supply of electrons on the Earth’s surface. This skin-to-surface contact is something that we humans are separated from in our busy modern lives. This dis-connect from nature can significantly contribute to illness and dis-ease, which is why scientists and physicians are paying more attention to grounding. A once overlooked area of environmental science, grounding is a simple, yet profound and accessible way to support optimal health and wellbeing.
How Does Grounding Work, Exactly?
Also known as earthing, grounding refers to the discovery of benefits that arise from skin-to-surface contact that allows for the transfer of Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body. How does that work?
Scientists have established that the Earth’s surface possesses a continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. (Electrons are negatively charged particles). This makes the surface of the planet electrically conductive, except in very dry areas such as deserts. The Earth’s surface holds a consistently maintained negative potential energy supply.
Research shows the Earth’s Negative Energy Potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment that is beneficial for normal functioning of all body systems. Basically, the Earth’s negative potential supports the way your body’s internal systems work. Even more interesting: fluctuations in the intensity of the Earth’s potential appear to influence our biological clocks, helping to regulate diurnal body rhythms that affect hormone production (including the hormone cortisol, a.k.a. the stress hormone). When our skin is bare, we can be beneficially connected to the Earth at the level of the electron!
The Back to Nature Movement
Perhaps the first noted modern medical inquiry into grounding was in the 1920s when Germany launched a back-to-nature movement after medical doctor G.S. White investigated the practice of sleeping grounded. His observations came from patients who had trouble sleeping and who reported they could only sleep properly when they were “on the ground or connected to the ground in some way.” This included copper wires attached to grounded-to-Earth water, gas, or radiator pipes. He reported patients having more restful sleep using these techniques.
Fast forward to the late 20th century when American and Polish physician-scientists independently recorded that the human body’s bioelectric, bioenergetic, and biochemical processes could be affected by Earth’s Negative Energy Potential. They wrote that grounding the human body connects us to nature’s regulating influence on human physiology, which could have a profound effect on healing from chronic illness.
Health Benefits of Grounding
Though science has documented many probable lifestyle factors contributing to the rise in chronic health conditions, meaningful research in recent decades has been given to the healing effects of time spent in nature and specifically in contact with the Earth’s surface electrons. Reconnecting to this source can promote intriguing physiological changes as well as subjective reports of enhanced well-being:
- Easier to fall asleep
- Enhanced quality of sleep
- Feeling more restful upon waking
- Reduced muscle pain and stiffness
- Reduced joint pain and stiffness
- Improvement in chronic back pain
- Improvement in symptoms of PMS
- Sustained daily energy
- Enhanced mood (likely due to improved sleep)
- Lower waking cortisol levels
- Improvement in subjective well-being
- Enhanced emotional regulation
- Feeling less stressed
Feeling less anxious or depressed has also been reported in subjective assessments of the effects of sleeping while grounded. It is likely that these mood/emotional state improvements are due to experiencing enhanced quality of sleep.
Can You Ground Yourself Indoors?
If you are an urbanite, or someone who is just not getting outdoors as often as you’d like due to obligations or weather, you can use conductive systems indoors to provide the benefits of grounding.
Earthing/grounding systems mimic the negative energy field that the Earth provides naturally. There are universal grounding pads that you can sit, stand, or lay down on. These can be used while working, sleeping, meditating, practicing yoga, or engaging in a hobby. As contrary as it may sound, there are also apps that use quantum resonance technology to encode sound and visual stimuli to help people ground to the earth’s frequencies.
If you are interested in grounding products, be sure to do your research. If you are in need of guidance for selection and appropriate use of grounding tools for a health concern, please speak with a holistic physician who is knowledgeable about the science of grounding.
Check out this documentary to learn more about the science of grounding/earthing and the amazing health journey of one couple and their young daughter. The Earthing Movie: The Remarkable Science of Grounding.
Chevalier, G., et al. “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons.” Journal of Environmental and Public Health 2012 (2012): 291541. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/291541
Jeffrey, S. “How to Ground Yourself | 9 Powerful Grounding Techniques.” Scott Jeffrey, January 31, 2017. https://scottjeffrey.com/how-to-ground-yourself/
Findlater, C. “Earthing/ Grounding – Charlotte Findlater – Biophilic Designer.” Charlotte Findlater, August 5, 2021. https://www.charlottefindlater.co.uk/earthing-grounding/
BetterEarthing.com. “What is Earthing Grounding and Can It Transform Your Health?” https://betterearthing.com.au/what-is-earthing/
Jamieson, A., et al. “Grounding and Human Health.” J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. (2011) 301 https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/301/1/012024