▷ Are you grounded? The benefits of earthing and earthing mats
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Are you grounded?  The benefits of earthing and earthing mats

Written by Melissa Lind and updated on April 21, 2014
baby feet in grass

Shocking isn’t it? Have you ever been “shocked” when you touched a metal object?  Used to happen to me all the time when I was a kid, wearing rubber-soled shoes on department store carpet.  Touch the clothes rack and ZAP.  We called it “static electricity” but never really thought further about it.  In truth, the buildup of positively charged electricity within your body may be causing stress and harm but there is something you can do about it and it is called “earthing.”

baby feet in grassEnergy buildup

We all use electricity within our bodies.  Muscle contraction, nerve signal transmission, hormone release; many body functions use the exchange of electrically charged ions to work. A buildup of charged energy, or static electricity causes slowing or even “freezing” of these systems.  A buildup of positive energy charge is most common and can result in excess “free radicals,” actually positively charged ions – these cause oxidative stress, a degenerative process – also known as “aging.”

Throughout our lives we are exposed to electric energy.  We work around electrical gadgets, hold cell phones to our heads, wear Bluetooth headsets, are constantly in the presence of Wi-Fi, microwaves, radio waves, electromagnetic waves….  Many of us spend our days in physical contact with a computer.

Aside from our own body processes, positively charged energy builds up in our systems and contributes to oxidative stress.  In fact, we actually build up a positive energy charge.  This is why on occasion, when you touch a metal object – a car, a clothing rack, a metal appliance – you may get a “shock” as the positive energy is suddenly discharged through the metal.  This is sudden grounding.

Body damage

This may be part of the reason for an increase in diseases of inflammation of which the list is simply too long to mention, decreased immune functioning, insomnia, exhaustion, hormonal dysfunction, anxiety – again the list is endless.

We have seen a huge surge in the number of “anti-oxidant” supplements to reverse damage caused by free radicals or oxidative stress.  Anti-oxidants are thought to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce the effects of aging
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Increase speed of healing and tissue recovery

But just as you ground appliances, computers, large electrical equipment – you may need to ground yourself rather than taking a supplement.

Natural grounding

We used to spend a great deal of time in direct contact with the earth.  We walked barefoot, slept on the ground and bathed in the river.  This direct earth connection allowed any built up electrical charge to be grounded into the earth naturally and slowly.

We progressed to wearing shoes – made of leather which became damp with wearing.  We slept on leather mats, traveled by horse – still spending a good deal of time in direct contact with the earth and allowing for an electrical discharge.

Today we wear shoes with soles of synthetic materials – rubber, plastic, vinyl – which are natural “insulators,” insulating us from direct contact with the earth.  If you spend any time walking on the beach – you will notice a feeling of calmness, the relaxing of your muscles, decrease in tension, better sleep when on vacation… This may be because you are “grounded” when you walk barefoot on the beach, or on the lawn, or in the park.

Today, especially in America, we simply don’t spend enough time in contact with the earth.  European cultures, even some modern day – often encourage a barefoot walk in the morning and many parks are set up for walking barefoot across the grass.  America is not the same and we are suffering for it.

Even walking barefoot on a concrete slab would work – but how many of us have tile or stone floors, directly grounded to the earth?  Most of us live on carpet, vinyl or composite flooring, even real wood but kept dry and coated with urethane.   None of this allows for a discharge of energy.

Earthing

The answer may be in grounding ourselves, a practice also called “earthing.”  Earthing is accomplished through the use of a grounding or earthing mat.  This is a specially-designed mat which is actually grounded with an electric cord.  The cord uses an electric outlet’s grounding system to discharge your electric build-up just like you ground electrical equipment.

Earthing mats can be purchased for floor use – the ball of the bare foot is one of the best places to discharge the energy from the body.  Earthing mats can also be purchased for desktop use – using your arm or hand to discharge the energy.  Grounding mats are constructed to sleep on to discharge energy as you sleep.

You can actually make grounding mats or “sheets,” if you are so inclined – with some particular metal containing fabric and a few electrical supplies.  (Be sure to get complete instructions before you try.)

Earthing benefits

earthing thermal image

Source: EarthingOz.com.au

The use of an earthing mat has been shown by thermal imaging to reduce an electrical charge within a body to near zero.  This in turn, decreases inflammatory processes which show up as “heat” on a thermal image.  Before grounding pictures are largely red and orange showing a hotter temperature while after earthing pictures are largely blue and green, showing slight temperature decreases as energy is discharged through the mat.

The practice of earthing may have benefits such as:

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced chronic pain
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased stress levels and muscle tension
  • Improved biological rhythms – including the circadian rhythm
  • Increased body healing

All of this can help improve sleep, eliminate headaches, regulate the menstrual and other hormonal processes, support adrenal function, improve mood levels, speed recovery after exercise or injury – again, the list is endless but this time in a good way.

About the author

    Melissa Lind

    Melissa Lind holds a degree from the University Of Texas College Of Pharmacy and has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare field including pharmacy practice, clinical research and community college instruction. Melissa has been freelance writer and health-blogger, specializing in health and lifestyle topics since 2006 and has been published on sites such as eHow.com, Livestrong.com and Livewell.com.

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