‘Earthing’ – important discovery or mumbo-jumbo?

‘Earthing’ or ‘grounding’ has been getting a lot of attention of late in certain communities, so about a week ago I decided to take a look. Here, in summary is what I’ve learned.

What is ‘earthing’?

Earthing is the practice of connecting the body with earth by touching skin to a conductive material such as grass (preferably wet), wet sand, a river, lake or sea.

Why would you want to do that?

When the body loses contact with the earth it can carry a positive voltage relative to the Earth. Some people believe this is not good for health and wellbeing. Earthing the body returns the voltage to zero which is, supposedly better for us.

Is there any ‘science’ to it?

Actually, yes. First of all, some theory…

During the normal processes of metabolism the body generates what are called ‘reactive oxygen species’ which are commonly referred to as ‘free radicals’. These compounds appear to be important, at least in part because they have the ability to attack and destroy unwanted things within the body including bacteria and viruses. However, too many free radicals are a bad thing, and have been implicated in chronic disease and well as the very process of ageing.

Free radicals are involved in the process known as inflammation, which is part of the healing process. However, low-grade inflammation throughout the body may lead to pain and other problems in the muscles and joints, and is also believed to be a key driving factor in many chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In short, we want free radicals, but not too many.

Free radicals lack sparks of energy known as ‘electrons’. One way to quell them is to give them electrons, and these can be supplied by nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, and plant substances known as ‘polyphenols’ (found in, among other things, tea, coffee, cocoa and apples). However, substances we eat and drink are not the only way to get electrons into the body: earthing does this too. If the body has a positive charge on it, earthing allows electrons to flow into the body where, in theory, they can neutralise overblown free radical and inflammatory damage.

Carrying a positive charge may well affect the body in lots of different ways, which means that earthing may offer a range of wellbeing benefits.

Any studies?

There is indeed some evidence that earthing can help people. For example, in one study earthing was studied in 60 people suffering form sleep disturbances and chronic muscle and joint pain for at least six months [1]. Subjects were randomly divided for the month-long study in which both groups slept on earthed mattresses. Half the pads were properly earthed and the other half while the other half were “sham” grounded (not actually earthed).

Most 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, sleep apnea, and hypertension while sleeping grounded. Here’s a table which summarises the results:

Other ‘blinded’ experiments have found earthing can induce significant changes in a range of objective parameters including heart rate, brainwave activity and skin conductance. You can access a pdf of a review article about earthing by clicking the following link earthing review article.

My own personal experience

I decided to give earthing a try.

First some background: On 3rd January this year I vaulted over a high gate and landed on some steps the other side, twisting my right ankle as I did this. I’ve had pain in this ankle ever since. Not enough to stop me walking, but running has been out of the question. Rushing down the stairs (as I like to do) has also been quite uncomfortable. I’ve also had a pain in the top of my left foot. Not sure when this started, but I first noticed it at least several weeks ago.

My earthing experiment started with me sitting with my bare feet on damp grass on 14th April. I lasted 20 minutes. Later in the day I noticed that the pain in my left foot and ankle had disappeared completely (and they have not returned since).

Another odd thing is that for the preceding few days I had been brewing an ingrowing toenail on my right big toe. I used to get these a lot when I younger, but they’ve been rarer since I’ve gotten older. The normal course for these is to get steadily worse over several days and then I’d perform a bit of DIY surgery (don’t ask) to relieve the issue. The morning after my first earthing escapade, I noticed that my ingrowing toenail had utterly resolved on its own.

That day I put my bare feet on the grass again, this time for 30 minutes. And then some earthing kit that I’d ordered arrived in the post and I’ve been using ever since (primarily an earthing mat which I put my feet on when I work).

OK, so the near miraculous resolution of my foot and ankle troubles could have been due to a lovely placebo response. I’m comfortable with this, if that’s the case (though I’ll never know). But one of my experiences I think points away from the improvement being purely placebo: For several months now I’d also had a niggly pain in my left elbow which is most noticeable when I wake up. While my ankle and foot pain (and ingrowing toenail) resolved, my elbow pain did not. This does not in any way disprove my foot/ankle improvement was not a placebo response, but the likelihood of it being placebo is diminished by the experience with my elbow I think.

Further reading

One of the biggest proponents of earthing is Clint Ober. He’s co-authored a book (Earthing – the most important health discovery ever?) which is worth a look for those who want to dig deeper and learn more.

References:

1. Ober C. Grounding the human body to neutralize bio- electrical stress from static electricity and EMF. ESD Journal January 2000.

79 Responses to ‘Earthing’ – important discovery or mumbo-jumbo?

  1. Kristjan 18 April 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    When I first started reading I thought this was an April fool’s joke or something.

    Then I finished the article, read the pdf and did some Googling. I’m going to try this out, initially by going barefoot for a little while every day.

  2. Jean 18 April 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    We have an original (1841) quarry tiled floor laid on earth in our dining room. If I am lucky I might be able to earth myself without going outside!

  3. Christine 19 April 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    To relieve and prevent the problem of ingrown toenails, simply cut a small “v” in the top of the nail when you trim them. This way they grow away from the sides of the nail bed. Much better than scary do-it-yourself surgery, doc!

  4. Chris 19 April 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    The book you mention came to my attention several months ago but I treated the subject matter with scepticism and deferred purchase. Then I gave my right elbow a severe wrench several weeks ago and it was the residual and persistent pain from this that provided the incentive to reconsider ordering the book. There had been some moderate recovery that flat-lined, it was painful in use. After ‘earthing’ the pain halved overnight but then progress seemed to flat-line again. But I have persisted with earthing and well on in the second week I detect further progress.

    There is content in the book which suggests contact can be made via the soles of the feet (which are particularly replete with nerve endings – for this purpose?), and there’s also content that indicates there may be benefits from site specific contact as, say, in the case of a wound or strain. At night I sometimes bond via the ankle, but in this second week I’ve use a bonding plug, curly cord, a croc clip, and conductive material (a helix of copper wire wound) around the elbow to establish contact closer to this problematic site. I now have restored functionality, no wince factor, and only a modicum of pain.

    If the benefits arise quickly the effect is striking, reassuring and easier to associate with this unlikeliest sounding of ideas. If the benefits are cumulative and come slowly it’s easier to wonder if they would have come along just the same and in the absence of earthing. But variously people do report quite diverse qualitative ‘benefits’. I’ve noticed them too. Just maybe, Dr Briffa, that left elbow might respond to some localised ‘treatment’, and just maybe it will respond more in a cumulative setting rather than overnight. I hope it improves, yet if it does we’ll still be left ‘wondering’.

    @Jean. Quarry tiles and stone flags ought to to be sufficiently conductive to bestow benefits – even through socks, and even through natural leather or suede soled footwear. Man-made linings (like acrylic ‘fur’) and foam insoles are going to limit conductivity. Barefoot is best, definitely, but in 1841 people still had regular conductive contact with ground, even in the home, and that illustrates how quickly this issue may have become quite acute. Jean, you are fortunate.

  5. Gary 19 April 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    Good job I learned how to run barefoot from the master, Barefoot Ted, last weekend. Now all that’s left to do is get out there and do it! It would be nice if my back pain and my toenail miraculously heal up in a similar way…
    Earthing in Southern California is a lot easier with their weather- here, the experience can be a little cold and damp, but still worth doing – and now we know why it feels good.

  6. Nigel Kinbrum 20 April 2012 at 1:02 am #

    As a former Electronic Engineer, I have to say “Hmmm”. The human body is like a big bag of salt water i.e. it’s very conductive. Therefore, charges cannot build up in one part of the body relative to another. On a microscopic scale, protons (a.k.a. hydrogen ions) flow along gradients and perform vital functions e.g. produce ATP.

    Not wearing shoes some of the time is probably very good for foot health.

    When I’m at home, I wear socks but not shoes. When I’m on the sofa surfing the internet, I’m in contact with an earthed lap-top. I’m therefore naturally grounded most of the time.

  7. Jean 20 April 2012 at 11:57 am #

    @Chris. I am indeed fortunate to live in a lovely old cottage. Your comments make me feel luckier than ever. Thanks!

  8. Dr John Briffa 20 April 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Nigel

    Therefore, charges cannot build up in one part of the body relative to another.

    I don’t thing the ‘earthers’ claim that positive charges can vary throughout the body, more that the body’s overall charge can be positive relative to the earth’s charge.

  9. Nigel Kinbrum 20 April 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    When I was at school, we did a physics experiment where we stood on a plastic chair and was charged to ~500,000V by a Van de Graaff generator. This made our hair stand on end and produced giant and rather painful sparks to earthed objects. It didn’t make us feel ill.

    I believe that taking shoes off has a beneficial effect. Wear shoes with a bare copper wire run from the sole inside the shoe to underneath the shoe to see if earthing with shoes on also works.

  10. kris 20 April 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Thanks for this article — I have been wondering about “earthing” for the last few weeks, and wasn’t sure what to make of it at all. I love being barefoot, but find it very challenging in this climate. Also, our new home has wooden floors, which feel very nice underfoot, but which I understand to be worthless with regards to earthing, as far as I understand — so I should be getting a lot less “earth” than last year in my previous home. I can’t say I feel much of a difference, but entertaining the thought alone that the new house could be detrimental is rather scary!

    When I’m at home, I wear socks but not shoes. When I’m on the sofa surfing the internet, I’m in contact with an earthed lap-top. I’m therefore naturally grounded most of the time.

    Awesome! If this has the same effect, I will gladly safe myself the expensive equipment…. ;)

  11. Helen 20 April 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but I’m in the ‘Hmmm’ camp too.

    I didn’t wear shoes often (or any thing much – hey, it was the 60s!) until I was seven and I led very much an outdoor existence – the advantages of a rural upbringing. Still, the flat feet, knock knees, and other problems gave me some aggro even then. Nowadays, like Jean, I still live in a rural area – fully-clothed, apart from occasional sock & leather clog use in cold weather. I can spend any amount of time barefoot on the knackered old stone flag floor of our kitchen, which is also laid directly on earth. I am riddled with joint and muscular problems!

    But whatever works for other people is fine by me.

  12. tcmh 20 April 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    At the risk of sounding a bit thick and having never heard of, or done any research into Earthing, is this similar to the way stroking a cat is supposed to help because it gives off negative ions?

  13. ValerieH 20 April 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    I borrowed the Earthing book from the library. There is some before and after thermography photos that were persuasive. I bought a kit from them which includes earthing sheet and a pad. I have not noticed a difference. I think it makes sense otherwise. Because I don’t notice a difference it feels superstitious to me to use them.

  14. Feona 20 April 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Just looked at a couple of earthing websites. Hmmmm – someone’s on a nice little earner. $200.00 for an ‘earthing mattress’????

  15. kris 20 April 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    When I’m at home, I wear socks but not shoes. When I’m on the sofa surfing the internet, I’m in contact with an earthed lap-top. I’m therefore naturally grounded most of the time.

    Ooops. The bf -also an electonic engineer- says there is no way holding my laptop (plastic surface, europlug) would earth me. Pity. Well, I guess as good an excuse as any to go barefoot more.

  16. Susan Wallace 21 April 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Would walking on a beach be as good as walking on grass?

  17. Sherry 21 April 2012 at 1:06 am #

    By all means get out in the fresh air. If possible, do some gardening while you`re there. I`m sure you`ll feel better for it, probably pick up some beneficial bacteria, but I`m not convinced by this Earthing Theory. Sorry.

  18. Ros Thomas 21 April 2012 at 2:03 am #

    Walking on the earth, anywhere would be good. Personally, I’d rather walk on the beach!
    I started reading the book in January. My dog, Crystal, had been having problems with bad skin and had started “chewing” her legs and scratching incessently, so that she was nearly bald. The vet had told us that she was “allergic” to something in the park and so we had reduced our walking there. Keeping mainly to concreted areas and not walking regularly.
    On page 22 it states “The dog who is kept too long in the same habitation as his master and does not get to contact the Earth, as Nature intended, is keeping the vet very busy.”!!!
    So, we started to change our habits.
    Now I have a healthy, happy dog and I have lost weight, a dress size. We walk in the park twice a day, maybe 3 times, and feel the earth beneath our feet. My knees are much better too – some of you will say because of the weight loss – I do not intend to stop. We have to travel for an hour to reach a beach, so I envy all you who have access to such a wonderful, uplifting part of the world.

  19. Feona 21 April 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    I see my previous comment could be misinterpreted. I’m not saying the concept of earthing is tosh, simply that it’s so easy to go barefoot for a while and enjoy it, so why on earth would you need to spend money on specific products? (And I’m barefoot as I write this, which does indeed feel good, as usual).

  20. Dr John Briffa 22 April 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Feona

    I see your point, but some people may benefit from being grounded during sleep and also, for some people, it’s simply impractical to walk barefoot outside due to, say, weather conditions.

  21. Richard 22 April 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Less might be more… going barefoot too much (especially in cold conditions) may be detrimental to health. On the bottom of our feet is the acupuncture point Kidney 1 and that is a direct line to our kidneys and reproductive system. You may have heard of the old wives tale about getting a chill in your kidneys if you walk on a cold stone floor? Well there may be something in it… a friend of mine trying to get pregnant was told by her acupuncturist to keep her feet warm for that reason (e.g. rest them on a hot water bottle). Also some running can positively stimulate Kidney 1 but too much pounding the streets can wear ‘them’ out prematurely!

  22. Margaret Ranken 23 April 2012 at 11:30 am #

    So washing up (in my stainless steel sink) is a health-giving activity.

  23. Tom 24 April 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Trying not to be cynical about this John but it’s a struggle!

    One thing I don’t understand is this – any other unbalance of electrical charge is resolved almost instantly, i.e. touching someone after being charged using a Van de Graaf etc. so why this supposed need to extended periods (“half an hour barefoot on wet grass”)? Surely you will be “earthed” the second your feet touch the wet grass, or indeed your hand touches a metal railing etc? The hokey methods suggested (buying a special “earthing mat”) rather than just touching grounded metal objects when you see them doesn’t make any sense to me. With all the other insults our bodies take, I just struggle to believe that from an electrical charge point of view, going barefoot for 20 minutes will do anything beneficial at all.

    Of course, from a psychological point of view, it would do wonders!

  24. Martin Zucker 24 April 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Dr. Briffa’s comment is right on the mark:
    “…some people may benefit from being grounded during sleep and also, for some people, it’s simply impractical to walk barefoot outside due to, say, weather conditions.”
    As co-author of the Earthing book I have been repeatedly amazed at the simple yet profound impact that reconnecting with the Earth has. You can call it tosh or woo-woo or whatever you want, but please check it out before you do. There is growing science here and a growing number of health professionals who are recognizing that, as strange as it seems, the surface of the Earth is endowed with bountiful healing energy. We mostly live insulated and isolated from this energy because of rubber/plastic soled shoes. We mostly don’t walk barefoot anymore and we don’t sleep on the ground. A fascinating discovery has been showing that the Earth’s surface energy is, in a sense, a global treatment table. Jump on it. Walk on it. Sit on it. If you can’t or won’t go the barefoot route, because of weather or wimpishness, then use some of the Earthing products that connect you to the Earth inside your home and office. Check out the Earthing book. It’s a great story of discovery of a totally overlooked health factor. For those individuals who say they don’t get results with Earthing, there could be a number of reasons for it. You can find more information about that in the Earthing reports at http://www.earthinginstitute.net
    Martin Zucker, co-author of the Earthing book

  25. George Super Boot Camps 26 April 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    The vote for going barefoot gets another one from me!

    I love going barefoot, and do it as much as is feasible. Which in the winter is not very much! But now that it’s starting to get warm again (although not by much!) I have started walking around my locality barefoot.

    A side benefit of doing this is that I also help toughen my feet up, which I find useful in preventing blisters when doing hill runs or distance runs.

    On a totally different note, I remember a lesson taught whilst at 6th Form College by my Physics tutor. He made the point that there’s no such thing as ‘voltage’, we’re actually talking about ‘potential difference’. It would be like saying ‘ampage’ when talking about current, or wattage when talking about power (which,yes, you do hear every so often). Volts are a measure of potential difference, amps are the measure of current, and watts the measure of power.

    Voltage sound better than potential difference though!

    Here’s to some more grounding…
    George

  26. Helen 26 April 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    About 3 weeks ago whilst out running along the Thames, I noticed that the grass path was very soft and therefore took my trainers and socks off and ran in bare feet. It was amazing! Not only did I feel totally energised but it gave me an amazing high (such that when I returned home I tried to persuade my bemused family to immediately return to the spot with me to try it again!) As a result I have been trying to spend as much time as possible unshod but I agree it is hard in this climate!

  27. Sue Gooch 26 April 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    I have read a fair bit of this book and found it very interesting. I love to try alternative ideas so I have bought a sheet with a domestic earth connector as there is no way I can have a wire dangling down the front of my house.

    Well it’s been a strange experience so far. Light tingling when I settle in bed, the odd muscle spasm in different body bits, a globus lump in my throat sensation and feeling very unsettled. It has been 4 nights so far and it is taking me a while to get off to sleep. I seem to be sleeping more deeply but still waking at least once a night and I am dreaming more. I am a little disappointed as poor sleep was one of the reasons I decided to try it out. I don’t plan to give up any time soon lol. I walk barefoot as often as I can now indoors but the flooring is either wood or Lino except for the slate in my utility room. I have always loved being barefoot and managed half an hour or so along the beach on Sunday, my husband thinks I’m nuts, not that I care, I am doing this for me.

    I intend to keep a diary and will update here too if anything significant changes.

  28. Chris 26 April 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    Read “Healing is Voltage” by Dr Tennent…

    “Every cell in the body is designed to run at -20 to -25 millivolts. To heal, we must make new cells. To make a new cell requires -50 millivolts. Chronic disease occurs when voltage drops below -20 and/or you cannot achieve -50 millivolts to make new cells. Thus chronic disease is always defined by having low voltage. This book tells you how to measure your voltage in each organ, how to correct it, and how to determine why your voltage dropped enough to allow you to get sick.”

    It perfectly explains why earthing works.

    Must read.

  29. Claus B Henriksen 28 April 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Hi Sue,
    I am selling the products in Denmark and my advise to you is to use the product ‘step by step’.
    Peoplereact diffently to earthing/grounding and I suggest that before you sleep on the sheet all nigh, you wrap the sheep around you an hour a day for a week and then may three hours a day the following week. Don’t give up. Walking barefoot on the ground is good for us and so is earthing.

  30. Sue G 30 April 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Thanks for that Claus, I wish I’d known sooner! I have found it quite a mixed experience and not a particularly beneficial one. I can still feel like a fine current and I haven’t experienced the “falling asleep” more quickly and am still not sleeping through the night. I find it quite unsettling to be honest In fact last night was particularly uncomfortable so I have taken the sheet off the bed and will try what you suggest!

    I don’t want to give up as I have found that my back doesn’t ache like it did and the rotator cuff injury to my shoulder has improved quite a bit. As it’s a longstanding problem that is a bonus.

  31. Frederica Huxley 4 May 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    The other interesting effect of grounding is that it neutralises the EMF circulating in our houses from bluetooth, wireless, fluorescent tubes, etc. Also, until the weather improves, you do not have to spend a lot of money buying grounding equipment – http://www.groundology.com supplies grounding bands from £25, post paid!

  32. Richard Schiffer 6 May 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Well I’ve tried it and apparently it works. The quality of my sleep actually improved, that was the most notable change I saw. The next change I noticed few days later was that some patches of ball spots I normally would try to cover up by combing my hair in a particular direction to cover them was gone. Generally I’m a tensed person so maybe that’s why I felt noticed the changes. The products to me is what I think give people to reasons to call it a ripoff and you know what? They may be right.

  33. Christopher Palmer 8 May 2012 at 12:24 am #

    Dr Briffa, some important points have arisen in the thread, .. if you don’t mind, may I attempt to address them?

    I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but I’m in the ‘Hmmm’ camp too.

    Excellent points, Helen. ‘If people come to see ‘Earthing’ as ‘therapeutic’ or as a panacea for all ills then that would not just be wrong but also misleading. Arthritis is a condition which sure looks like one of the diseases of civilisation and it is one in which ‘inflammation’ is generally accepted for having a part. ‘Inflammation’ arises for many reasons; stress, exposure to pollution, and dietary factors may be involved. ‘Earthing’ theory is promising for lending plausible physiological ‘weight’ to why inflammation is problematical in numerous conditions. It is worth reading into authors who have something to say on dietary factors and inflammation. Briffa, Sears, Challem, and Groves are foremost in mind.

    is this similar to the way stroking a cat is supposed to help because it gives off negative ions?

    There’s a lot to compare with ions, ionised air, and the supposed benefits of ionisers. Rubbing a scrap of rabbit pelt on acetate rod ionises the rod so school-kids can ‘fish for confetti’. I don’t know about stroking a live cat but if the person petting the cat gains something what’s the consequence for the cat? In the 007 movie(s) how sincere was Blofelds expression while he petted that white moggy?

    why on earth would you need to spend money on specific products?

    You don’t have to. But our level of ‘isolation’ has trended from 0% to nigh on 100% in only a few centuries. Much of the ground lost in that trend occurred in a few decades. I wouldn’t like to put a figure on the % when isolation becomes critical as the level of such criticality is going to vary with other critically important factors. For most people living in a western and developed setting escaping ‘isolation’ for enough % of the day is going to be problematical. Advocates see ‘sleep’ as presenting a most convenient opportunity. Why on ‘Earth’ would you want to spend so much money on products that now result in 100% isolation at work, in the home, and while travelling between them, when indications now reveal the folly in this.

    On the bottom of our feet is the acupuncture point Kidney 1 and that is a direct line to our kidneys and reproductive system.

    Ober and his co-authors discuss kidney point 1 and make mention that the nerve endings on the soles of the feet are likely an inclusive and functional part of the sympathetic nervous system. When my wife grounds her feet she reports a sensation of ‘warmth’. As her partner that is a secondary benefit! If acupuncture taps into the sympathetic nervous system with fine conductive wires it may be a an explanation of why acupuncture is seen to work. Perhaps -ve ions are attracted to wires in which a +ve charge is induced by the body?

    So washing up (in my stainless steel sink) is a health-giving activity.

    If your s/s sink is bonded to ground as it should be (there will be a bonding wire evident underneath) then time spent washing up may be a short relief from the ‘isolation’ created by the usual fabric and furnishing of the home, footwear, vehicular transportation, or the workplace. A dishwasher conducting its’ cycle would generate an EMF, as other appliances can, that would induce voltages in the body that the proponents deem unhealthy. If we’re grounded we’re ‘shielded’ in part from these EMFs.

    Surely you will be “earthed” the second your feet touch the wet grass, or indeed your hand touches a metal railing etc

    Good point! As entity the body is undoubtedly quite conductive while in the strictest sense we ought to regard it as semi-conductive. However, the traits of that ‘entity’ may not fully explain the workings of biochemical and bio-electric at the level of physiological function and sympathetic nervous system. We know nerves transmit electricity while we also know neural transmission is not instantaneous and happens quite slowly. The body may be ‘earthed’ the second hands or feet touch a source of ‘ground’ but it seems unlikely all aspects of our physiology would be. In the physiological and neural setting we couldn’t maintain those all important proton gradients if the physiology were highly conductive. At that level high degrees of impedance and latency would seem to be present. The proponents submit observations that suggest benefits are detectable after 20 – 40 minutes. So if you do discharge yourself the bodies discharge of static is nigh on instantaneous while total discharge of our physiologic ‘engine room’ may take a while longer.

    The products to me is what I think give people to reasons to call it a ripoff (sic) and you know what? They may be right.

    Nah! The products represent a reasonable investment in hardware to overcome something that has become a great injustice and insult to human physiology. If you’re lucky, it is possible to counter high levels of ‘isolation’ without investing anything in hardware, but it’s likely not that practicable. The real rip-off is the cost of treating these diseases of civilisation with ineffective methodologies as borne by high levels of taxation or medical insurance premiums. Healthcare is an industry in which the primary agenda is profit; concern for the welfare of the patient runs well down the order. Agreed, the cost of ‘Earthing bags’ and sheets may seem high but some ESD equipment can suffice. I use an antistatic wrist-band as an ankle-band while sleeping. It’s all readily available ESD equipment. Together with the coily cord and a UK bonding plug the hardware cost me @ £20 of which £4 is tax. The chancellor taxes me £4 VAT for adopting a practice that will save the state money! (^”@^$ !!)

    I don’t thing the ‘earthers’ claim that positive charges can vary throughout the body, more that the body’s overall charge can be positive relative to the earth’s charge.

    They are not explicit, for sure, but I detected inferences that voltages can differ – and I detected ‘something’ when I tested myself with a multimeter. It is the implications of the ionospheric gradient and ‘ungrounded’ high-rise living or working that could be most serious whilst remaining, for now, the most equivocal. It’s in Appendix B, right Mr Zucker?!

    Check out the Earthing book. It’s a great story of discovery of a totally overlooked health factor.

    Very true, I was inspired and humbled.

  34. Frederica Huxley 8 May 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    @ Christopher – interesting concept of our isolation from the earth, with reference to the effects of free electrons on our wellbeing . I would add that not only have we also isolated ourselves from the sun, but increasingly we are ‘nourished’ by pseudo food. Is it any wonder why so many of us succumb to major illnesses?

  35. Christopher Palmer 13 May 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    A suitably comprehensive review paper has been published in the ‘Journal of Environmental and Public Health’:

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

    to be found at the following url ..

    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/291541/

  36. Eric Rowland 13 May 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Hello there! So glad I found this site. I have just recently become interested in the principles of earthing, and must say that I have noticed benefits already. I found that I slept particularly well when I made the earthing connection to the sole of my foot. Also, I too injured my ankle (about seven years ago) and have suffered pain ever since. The discomfort is now very much diminished and I find that I can once more put my body weight on the ankle.
    I have been fortunate enough to purchase, via ebay, a carbon-fibre sheet, 10 feet X 5 feet, by Less emf Inc., which should be arriving any day now. It was a remnant, and a very reasonable £42 including pp.
    By the way, there is a set of 5 videos (should be 6, but someone appears to have hi-jacked the sixth) on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te4WPdIsBtQ Well worth viewing.
    I’ll report back later to let you know how I am getting on.

  37. Christopher Palmer 13 May 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Frederica!

    “I would add that not only have we also isolated ourselves from the sun, but increasingly we are ‘nourished’ by pseudo food. Is it any wonder why so many of us succumb to major illnesses?”

    Absolutely. Uncanny! And here’s how the authors of the above review paper put it .. ..

    “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.”

    Yes, we have departed from making suitably expedient use of vitally important natural capitals. Alarmingly we have also departed from sustainable and expedient use or optimisation of important natural cycles and capitals in agriculture. How we departed from those vital health giving and security engendering connections takes a bit of explaining and requires unusual deftness in the use of words. It has to do with ‘selection pressures’ that are more acute under the influence of the attributes of a certain kind of money. Ultimately you cannot engender sociological security via a medium of exchange that must ‘net to nothing’ within the global setting.

  38. Eric Rowland 14 May 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    @Christopher. Many thanks for the interesting and informative link. Fascinating stuff.

  39. Sue Gooch 14 May 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    I am still struggling with this. I stopped using the sheet on the bed because I couldn’t sleep! I have followed Claus’s advice and sit in it instead during the evening, this doesn’t provoke the same reaction as sleeping on it. I can still feel the slight tingle, I still experience the globus in my throat but I don’t feel as disturbed. I did this for a week, building up the time without any problem so I put the sheet back on the bed.

    What a night! I was so badly disturbed that I had to remove the sheet in the early hours, after which I managed to sleep for several hours. I am wondering, I sleep on a water bed, would this matter or make a difference? Having invested the money I don’t want to abandon this especially as I love the concept and the reasoning. Has anyone any suggestions?

  40. Tina 15 May 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Hey ‘sue, I be tit is making a difference. Any chance you could use some other sort of mattress, maybe a guest bed or spare mattress on the floor just to experiment with? I believe I’ve come across stuff that says that water beds are particularly bad for not earthing you, so maybe that explains the bad sleep usually. No idea why it gets worse with an earthing sheet!

  41. Tina 15 May 2012 at 8:00 am #

    My hubby and I argue about concrete slab floors. He says they are made of natural stuff so will still earth, I say no because they are man made into something far from natural and anyway I don’t feel the same benefits from being barefoot indoors on our slab compared to beinng outdoors. who is right? :)

  42. Chris 15 May 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Sue G, for what it is worth the subject is so new that it is open to conjecture; we’re all fumbling around a bit in the dark. But natures’ example gives a clear indication that ‘connected’ is natural and ‘isolated’ is not.
    I began sleeping grounded about one month ago and my patterns of sleep did alter without being so disrupted as the experience you describe. I was more conscious of the time passing and aware of ‘glancing at the clock’ but I was relaxed about it. I noted being less groggy if ‘nature called’ in the middle of the night, but despite sleeping a little lighter I woke feeling agreeably rested.
    Now I have read your accounts I’ve come to realise I still feel the benefits but otherwise sleep is now back to normal. The lighter aspect of my sleep seemed to last just over 2 weeks. I had some vivid dreams, and again the experience now seems more ‘normal’.
    Barefoot on lino, wooden boards, carpet, or laminate flooring is ‘isolated’.
    Water-bed? Hmm, I have no experience, and I do not know if the water-mass will be earthed, but if it has an element to heat the water then I expect it would be. Why not visit http://www.earthinginstitute.net/ and email the question?
    Are you satisfied your electrics are A1? Is the wiring old and fused or modern with MCB ‘trip switches? If you plug the bonding plug into certain sockets have you established the sockets have good ground and no faults?
    You don’t have to earth yourself during sleep. Try to make time and build up time during wakeful hours.
    There could be two aspects to a process of adjustment, and these are no more than educated guesses on my part, hence offered only in good faith! The contrast, in your case, between isolated in day and grounded at night might not suit you just yet, or the restoration of the kinds of balances the ‘earthers’ suggest could depend upon contact may just be taking longer to settle down. It maybe if you progressively build up daytime % then introducing night-time % may be less disruptive. If you have a holiday, and more time for the beech, maybe try the sheet at night then.
    Or perhaps ‘Earthing’ is like the Emperors new clothes and you’re one of those who hasn’t been taken in!? In which case I would be gutted!

  43. Sue Gooch 19 May 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    First Tina, in the book, concrete is rated ok as it is made from natural products, sand and cement, whilst tarmac is not.

    Chris, thank you for your thoughts. Harking back to the book, it is suggested that even having electric lamps/radios etc. plugged in beside your bed exposes you to a current from them even if they aren’t switched on. The water bed has a heating element inside it as you mentioned, which is always on as the water is kept heated so I am even more curious about any counter effects this may produce.
    Instead of the bed, I am sitting on the sheet with bare legs in the evening. My sleeping has definitely improved with some nights no waking. Last night was a fail funnily enough, no sheet and a very modest amount of red wine triggered ectopic beats, feelings of anxiety and a dream that woke me with the old palpitations. I wasn’t awake as long as I have been in the past though.
    The electrics in the house are reasonably modern, in the bedroom, an extension less than 10 years old, they are up to date so I am confident that the earth works, indeed I feel the tingle so I am pretty sure it is fine.
    My shoulder and elbow have been more settled too, time or coincidence, but I notice my ankles ache sometimes on rising. This again could have another cause, my propensity for walking round in “barefoot” shoes. Not beneficial from an earthing point of view alas, because they have kevlar soles but meant to be good for oh, you know, all the usual things lol.
    I don’t intend giving up, I feel sure I have benefited even from spending a couple of hours in the evening “plugged in”. I will try the bed again at weekends when I don’t sleep on the waterbed and when I can usually manage some barefoot walking along the beach.

  44. Martin Zucker 6 July 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    Sue
    By your description, you would seem to fall into the category of folks who are “electro-sensitive” and thus “feel” the energy from the Earth more than others. In those cases, we advise to start slow, maybe with an hour a day of exposure to the subtle Earth energy, and gradually increase exposure until after an adjustment period your body is able to handle the energy and you can sleep grounded through the night. The benefits you also describe in your last commentary are pretty good and should put a smile on your face. More calmness. More energy. Better sleep. Less joint pain. Try to find that in a pill! The point is that connection with the Earth, whether by being barefoot outdoors or sleeping/working/relaxing indoors on an Earthing product, restores a natural electrical state in your electrical body. That type of restoration has a holistic, systemic effect, so you can feel the benefits many different ways, depending on what is going on in your life and your body. Please visit our website at http://www.earthinginstitute.net and check out the Earthing reports and FAQs. We have a lot of information there and I’m constantly adding more. The science on Earthing is really in a beginning stage. But it is so, so exciting and promising. It’s all about reconnecting disconnected beings to the Earth. The dividends are truly magnificent. Bravo to you for sticking with it. You’re reaping the benefits. If you have any questions, we’re always happy to try to answer them at info@earthinginstitute.net
    Cheers
    Martin Zucker, co-author of the Earthing book

  45. Sue Gooch 7 July 2012 at 12:15 am #

    I thought I might add a modest update. I now use the sheet all the time and am happy to report that I seem to have settled in with it, and disturbance seems to have settled. I take it away with me where possible although I do take it off the bed in hotels in case they think I am strange :o)
    I sleep better than I did and although I do still have disturbed nights, they are fewer and I can deal with them much easier, that is with less anxiety. I feel better through the day too. The book indicated that a water bed does not interfere with the sheet at all.

    Went on a cruise ship for 9 days and didn’t take the sheet as there wasn’t an earth socket. I managed some barefoot walking where possible and some swimming so hopefully that kept me going.

    I have also bought a pad to use at my computer as I tend to spend quite a lot of time sitting at it. I can feel a tingle when I rest my hand.

    On the whole, as I am not particularly a sick or ailing person with no chronic diseases, I can’t claim that earthing has suddenly changed my life in a big way. I do believe it has had an effect though, better and longer sleep with less wakefulness, less irritating joint pain and I feel much calmer. Perhaps in a few years time if/when I am still fully mobile and fighting fit, I can claim earthing to be responsible. Who knows? I am glad I invested in the sheet and pad and that is unlikely to change.

  46. Jonathan 10 August 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    It’s easy to make a DIY Earthing device. The instructions are at http://www.naturesplatform.com/earthing.html

  47. Chris Bennett 8 September 2012 at 1:01 am #

    I have only been earthing for three days now. About half an hour a day on the concrete slabs out in my back garden. My wife thinks I am mad or have turned into a hippy but out of all the alternative ideas I have looked at this has had the biggest effect or placebo effect as the sceptics would say.
    I have for the past few years being suffering with a pain under my left rib. I was worried it could be a kidney or pancreas problem but my gp as gps do said it was just ibs( gps answer for everything). Well in trying to improve my health I have cut out all fizzy drinks and tried to follow a diet of fresh fruit, veg, meat and dairy. From this I have noticed small improvements. But when I started earthing I instantly noticed results.
    On the first day I must have earthed for about an hour and a half. I felt so relaxed.I didnt notice anything else but later when I went work my feet felt like they were tingling for a couple of hours.
    And now I have not noticed a pain under my left rib for two days which is progress.
    This is very subjective but for me the proof will be in the long term. I do think alot of my problems have being stress and inflamation which earthing is meant to help.
    The great thing about earthing is you can try it for free but in the uk this will be harder in winter so I am tempted to try earthing mats I will just have to see how it goes in the longer term.

  48. mark lycett 14 January 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Hi, I have been earthing for two years now, I simply made attached a 6 inch square stainless steel mesh to a cable then connected the cable to the earth pin on a plug. I sleep on it every night. my girlfriend thought I was mad at first but the benefits for me have been amazing. 15 years of chronic lower back pain, clicking in my lower neck and years of anti inflammatory drugs have all gone. I would recommend it for every one whether your ill or not, the get up cost £3.00 from eBay. £3.00 to lose everything to gain.

  49. Carol 17 February 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Mark Lyccett, How exactly did you make it and what did you have to purchase. I would like to have a go before buying the more expensive items. Thanks

  50. WILLIAM 20 March 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Have been using an earthing mat for the past three nights under my shoulder blades. Was given it by a friend who thought it may help with my left shoulder which had restricted movement and daily dull pain for the past 18 months – I slipped down stairs and jarred my left shoulder. I’m sceptical of “alternative therapies”, especially when companies are selling associated products at expensive prices. However, I have to say that even after the first nights sleep with mat I noticed an appreciable improvement in joint pain and movement, In addition a nagging pain that had been in my upper back for last ten years or so has gone and have no cramping in toes which was a very minor problem for the past few years. Maybe I was just willing it to work and by coincidence it did – maybe so for the shoulder pain but not for the less dramatic cramping in toes that I was prone too. I’m going to continue using it as I feel I’m getting some benefit from it. Last thing – have slept much better too.
    In the past I’ve been first to dismiss so called mumbo jumbo quack therapies but earthing so far has worked for me. Hope it continues.

  51. Sue Gooch 3 May 2013 at 10:14 am #

    I’m glad you are getting good effect from it. I really wouldn’t be without my sheet unless I was on holiday by the sea and could “go direct” instead :) I still sleep so much better than I did and my back is so much more flexible, I certainly don’t groan when I bend over etc.

    The reason I gave earthing a try was because I felt the principle was sound and Mr. Ober has gone to a great deal of effort to work out his theories including using scientific research and it is all documented. It’s not a cure as such, just a way of helping you to help yourself. It makes sense to me and the proof of the pudding etc.

  52. mark lycett 5 May 2013 at 10:04 am #

    Hi, Carol , sorry for late reply only just seen message. I used the flex off a old washer. Removed the fuse and disconnected the live and neutral wires and cut them off. The only wire connected is the green and yellow earth. I then bought a piece of stainless mesh 150mm square off eBay and attached the other end of the flex to it( the green and yellow earth cable only). I put some duct tape around the sharp edges. It takes about five minutes to do. Just plug it in and your done.

  53. Eric Rowland 8 May 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    For those interested, Clinton Ober’s book ‘Earthing’ may now be downloaded, free, at
    http://mercola.fileburst.com/PDF/EarthingBook.pdf

  54. SueG 9 May 2013 at 6:47 am #

    Has he made it free himself or is this some kind of pirate version? The book isn’t that expensive and I was happy to pay for it, the authors have done a lot of work after all for our benefit if we choose to believe it.

  55. Claus B Henriksen 9 May 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Dear Sue G,

    You may choose to believe it. My experience as a danish distributor (http://barfodet.dk) tells me that the discovery by Clint Ober is revolutionary. Earthing, the gift of Mother Earth, is not only healing, it is preventive and probably the best anti-aging ‘remidy’ around.
    We call it anti-flammaging.

  56. SueG 9 May 2013 at 11:18 am #

    I certainly believe Claus :o) I have a sheet and a pad and have derived great benefit from both. Even my cynical husband can feel the tingle from the sheet and I know some areas of his health have improved. It makes such sense to me that I don’t feel I will ever step back from it.

  57. Eric Rowland 9 June 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    @SueG. I assume the book link is OK, as it is being sent out by Joseph Mercola.
    Glad to see that you are impressed with the earthing protocol, by the way.
    I am earthed even as I type. Great stuff!

  58. Paula 20 June 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I love my earthing sheet. My sleep quality has improved enormously and my last set of blood work showed an improvement in my fasting glucose levels which is consistent with reports of improvements in diabetics (I’m not). I gave one to my parents as a present and they love it too – reporting improvements in sleep and respiratory problems that arose as a result of smoke inhalation in a fire a few years ago.

  59. LuAnneJ 18 July 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    While I haven’t yet tried earthing officially yet, all the testimonies about it make it seem like a no brainer that it’s something we should all do. It sounds like it’s similar to exercise in that we should take the time to spend barefoot outdoors for our own health, and if we can’t do that at least invest in an earthing mat. Or do both!

  60. brian 23 July 2013 at 9:57 am #

    It works, I was bitten by something in the garden yesterday and my wrist swelled up like a balloon. I earthed the bite with an old antistatic wrist band and a length of wire to the radiator, and the swelling has gone right down. (p.s. you can’t use standard anti-static products as the cables usually have a 1 megohm resistor inbuilt).

  61. Eric Rowland 25 July 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Brian. I think you will find that all commercially-sold earthing sheets, pads and bands have an inline safety resistor built into the grounding lead. This value is usually between 100,000 ohms and 1 megohm. I spent a good deal of my working life in the electronics industry, and I can assure you that body-earthing devices perform quite effectively with these resistors in place. I must admit, though, I don’t use them myself, but manufacturers have to cover their backs.

  62. Brian 26 July 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Your point is valid, as I too worked in electronics for many years so am very familiar with ESD devices. They are designed to safely discharge high static voltages, with the resistor there to stop you getting a nasty ‘belt’ when discharging.

    However for Earthing in this context we are talking about low level AC voltages (1-4V typically), and you will find that a normal ESD strap will not allow the body voltage to return to zero, the small voltage and minimal current flow maintains the potential across the resistor. I know this to be the case as I first tried it with one of my anti-static straps, and then hard wired to a radiator.
    Also I find that earth in mains can be floating up to 1 volt above a true earth, depending on the quality of the installation,so I prefer to not use mains earth if I can.

    Let the quest for truth and knowledge continue!

  63. Eric 9 August 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Sorry about the delay in replying, Brian. As an aside, people have spoken of the dangers of being struck by lightning during a thunderstorm while earthed (on this forum, I think) but I would like to point out to them that practically every domestic electrical appliance in a house is directly connected to earth, washing-machines, fridges kettles etc. I think one would have more chance of winning the lottery than being electrocuted. I, for one, am quite happy to take a risk with those odds. In fact, I think it’s negligible.
    As a matter of interest, in addition to having an earthing sheet on the bed, I have constructed a mouse mat using a small piece of sheeting folded double to give it substance. Works perfectly.

  64. Brian 10 August 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Heh, true, one doesn’t need to spend a fortune – my first device was a sanded down baking tray connected to the radiator in my office that I rest my feet on when working.
    Sorts my back out after a hard days digging in the garden!

  65. Susan 22 August 2013 at 3:18 am #

    We stopped using the half sheet for some reason (washed it and put it away?) and recently moved across the country. A month into our new house found me with nagging all-over-body pain from osteoarthritis, not to mention I had had bi-later hip arthroplasty 2 months ago. Anywho…Remembered the sheet and then after a long hot epsom salt bath I got under the covers on top of the earthing half-sheet and woke up able to walk perfectly fine.

    My recovery didn’t last, though. Not feeling as good, but as I type I have the sheet in the wash. Does anyone have any other ideas as to why my success lasted only one day?

  66. Brian 23 August 2013 at 10:26 am #

    It would be worth checking all of the connections seeing as it’s been a while, but you would need either a continuity tester or an AC voltmeter (or know someone who has one!).

    Also the sheets don’t last forever and really should only be hand-washed in a mild detergent, certainly no oxy-action type stuff or fabric softener, but testing it will prove if it still works or not.

  67. Chris Young 18 December 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    Yes earthing appears to have health benefits…but is it the earth’s free electrons or the myriad frequencies that make up the dirty electricity we find on the north american grid?or both? (…shades of 1930s Rife machine?)Europe has a Delta config hence no dirty electricity! Our Y config here allows excess “dirty”grounded neutral current to leave the utilities line travel down ground rods through terra firma back to the dynamos…stopping off and entering your homes via plumbing and grounding electrode! Dirty elec also enters via ur utility line & is also created by all of us and our electrical devices. See book Dirty elec Professor Milham? We just dont know we need more data,I for one have benefited from earthing but these frequencies must be addressed, are they detrimental? Maybe a study where they are filtered out just like we can filter them from structures? Would this give us a “true ground/earth” a “clean ground? Who knows maybe it is a combo of these harmonic freqs and the Earths Electrons…We shall see. YOUNG ELECTRIC L# 918160

  68. Vivian 22 December 2013 at 9:03 am #

    I am very interested in the principal and considering an earthing sheet. Has anyone had any blood thinning benefits which is my main reason for getting one? Nothing, nothing seems to thin the blood, double doses of Omega 3, Cardio aspirin etc.

  69. Cosmo 1 February 2014 at 9:30 am #

    If you want to make your own earthing shoes, there is a short tutorial about how i actually made some with just shoes, copper wire, foil tape, and some insoles I had http://earthingforum.com/diy-earthing-techniques-f29/diy-earthing-shoes-t1.html

    Well worth a look at if you want to ground out your shoes :)

  70. Michael 14 February 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Can someone advise if I will get the same effects if I walk on bare earth/beach/grass field at night instead of during the day? I work long hours and the sun is already down by the time I finish work. Thank you very much

    • Brian 14 February 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      It works whether the lights are on or off – so yeah go ahead as long as you can see where you are going!

    • Eric Rowland 14 February 2014 at 8:02 pm #

      @Michael. I can’t see any reason why the time of day should affect the outcome. I earth throughout the day and night with no problems.

  71. michael 21 February 2014 at 7:42 am #

    Thanks Brian & Eric. I will definitely give it a try.

  72. DAG 28 March 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    I am now going into my fourth year and wouldn’t be without it! I used to suffer from severe allergy stuff but since ‘grounding,’ the most I will ever have is a day of sneezing and/or some itchy eyes for day and thats it. I’ve gotten others who suffer from allergies to try and they are still on it.

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