Earthing, interchangeably called “grounding,” is the process of making contact with the Earth with your body (usually with the feet). It’s said to have a multitude of health benefits, and while this sounded crazy to us initially, there’s a growing amount of medical research proving the surprising benefits of this practice.
In this article we’ll review some of the medical findings on the health benefits of earthing, broken down into different sections by health condition.
A medical review in the Journal of Inflammation Research found that grounding has the potential to reduce and totally alleviate inflammation caused by injury.
The researchers reviewed several case reports, including an 84 year old diabetic woman whose non-healing wound healed after two weeks of daily 30-minute grounding sessions. The woman reported her pain to be gone after the two-week period as well.
Another report from this study, complete with medical infrared imaging, documents a 33-year old woman who suffered from chronic knee pain for over 15 years due to an injury sustained as a teenager. After only 4 weeks of daily 30-minute grounding sessions, she was able to play soccer and reported that for the first time in 15 years she felt no instability and little pain. After 12 weeks, her pain had diminished by 90% and after 6 months she was able to complete a half-marathon.
Another medical study from 2019 measured its effects on pain. The study used a fake and a real grounding device (which provides similar electric current to the Earth) to control the placebo effect, and measured pain scores of participants. The subjects that used the real grounding mat experienced diminished pain, and this effect was more notable for subjects with higher pain to start with.
It’s important to note that these studies are early-stage and not particularly well designed in our opinion. We would be curious to see the results of an earthing approach compared to a conventional pain medication in a future medical study.
With anxiety and depression rates rising across the developed world, and the well-documented risks of many common treatments, many consumers are searching for a more natural option for mood enhancement.
Earthing has been studied for its potential to improve mood, and the researchers in the linked study found that the practice did improve “pleasant” and “positive” feelings more than the placebo after a 1-hour grounding session. However, it didn’t reduce anxiety more than the placebo.
One medical trial published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine tested earthing as a way to solve sleep disturbances in 12 patients.
Circadian cortisol rhythms were normalized in all patients, and sleep quality improvements were reported by all participants. It’s important to note that this wasn’t a study controlled with a placebo group, so the results are relatively weak but are still interesting.
In the most astounding study we’ve seen yet on grounding, it was found to significantly reduce blood viscosity in a medical study from 2013.
This is important because blood viscosity can be a predictive factor for cardiovascular incidents like heart attacks.
This was a study with a small sample size, that has yet to be replicated, but if future medical trials confirm that earthing can ormalize blood viscosity it would be an amazing scientific development.
Another study was done measuring earthing’s impact on blood pressure, which is one of the most important cardiovascular risk factors.
Patients in the study had high blood pressure, and used earthing devices for 10 hours a day in their homes for three months. At the end of the trial, the average systolic blood pressure decrease was 14.3%, which is significant and a better result than most leading blood pressure medications.
We’re not suggesting that earthing is superior to blood pressure medications, as this study wasn’t placebo-controlled and has yet to be replicated. We’re just highlighting how impressive this early-stage research is.
How Does Earthing Work?
If you’ve read to this point, you’re probably curious about how earthing actually works. Sure, it’s natural, but what exactly is occurring biologically to cause these potential health benefits?
Currently it’s just a hypothesis, but most of the research studies we linked above settle on the same conclusion: that electrons enter the body through the Earth’s surface and are able to neutralize damaging free radicals in a more efficient manner than dietary antioxidants.
This continual free radical scavenging is what causes the process of earthing to significantly reduce chronic inflammation, and may be one reason our ancestors had such lower incidence of chronic disease than modern humans (though the main reason is certainly lifestyle factors like diet and exercise).