Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 2014, 4, 293-308
Published Online December 2014 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/jcdsa
How to cite this paper: Chevalier, G. (2014) Grounding the Human Body Improves Facial Blood Flow Regulation: Results of
a Randomized, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 4, 293-308.
Grounding the Human Body Improves Facial
Blood Flow Regulation: Results of a
Randomized, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study
Developmental and Cell Biology Department, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, USA
Received 27 September 2014; revised 28 October 2014; accepted 3 November 2014
Copyright © 2014 by author and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).
Earthing (grounding) refers to bringing the human body in direct contact with the negative elec-
tric charge of the earth’s surface by barefoot exposure outdoors or using special conductive indoor
systems that are connected to the Earth. To determine if earthing improves facial blood circula-
tion/flow, a double-blind study was designed with forty subjects either grounded or sham-grounded
(27 grounded subjects and 13 sham-grounded subjects acting as controls) for at least one hour in
a comfortable recliner chair equipped with conductive mat, pillow, and patches. The grounding
systems were either grounded or sham-grounded via a wire to the ground port (third hole) of a
power outlet. A Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging camera was used to continuously record changes
in facial blood flow non-invasively. Facial blood flow regulation clearly improved among grounded—
but not sham-grounded—subjects. The results demonstrate, for the first time, that even one-hour
contact with the earth restores blood flow regulation to the face suggesting enhanced skin tissue
repair and improved facial appearance with possible implications for overall health. Further stu-
dies, using larger comparison groups, longer monitoring times, and more measuring methods, are
warranted in order to confirm the novel influence of the Earth as a protector of skin health and
Earthing, Grounding, Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging, Facial Blood Flow
Earthing (or grounding, both words will be used interchangeably) is a practice whereby individuals are put in
direct contact with the surface of the Earth. It includes walking barefoot outdoors, swimming in oceans and
lakes, or sleeping, working and relaxing indoors with bare skin in contact with conductive mats, bed sheets, pil-
lows, body bands and patches in order to maintain the body at Earth’s electric potential. Unlike past cultures,
most people today, particularly in industrial societies, rarely are in contact with the surface of the Earth. They
wear shoes with synthetic soles that insulate them from the Earth’s electric charge, and they no longer sleep on
the ground. The Earth’s negative electric surface charge is a virtually limitless reservoir of free electrons that is
constantly replenished by the global atmospheric electric circuit  . The Earthing hypothesis states that
when direct skin contact is made with the Earth’s surface or a grounded system indoors, the body’s electric po-
tential equalizes with the Earth’s potential thereby maintaining the body’s access to the Earth’s negative surface
charge (electrons). This contact with the Earth naturally prevents buildup of static electric charge on the body
 and allows the body to store a supply of electrons  .
Published research indicates that Earthing yields a broad array of intriguing positive changes within the phy-
siology and the bioelectrical construct of the body. Multiple reported benefits include improved sleep, decreased
pain, a normalizing effect on cortisol, reduction of stress, diminished damage to muscles caused by delayed on-
set muscle soreness (DOMS), lessening of primary indicators of osteoporosis, and improved thyroid function,
glucose regulation, immune response, and blood fluidity. A review of documented benefits of Earthing was pub-
lished in 2012 .
Besides treatments such as plastic surgery (face lift), injections of botox, concentrated platelets and restylane,
increasing blood flow to the face is seen as a major natural way to rejuvenate the skin of the face. There are a
number of treatments to increase blood flow. Some use creams containing specific ingredients and others use
direct skin stimulation (massages, ultrasound and lasers), chemical peel and dermabrasion -. While these
treatments give results, they may have important short term or long term side effects; also some of these proce-
dures require intensive post-treatment care and/or prolonged downtime. For example, many procedures designed
to induce a controlled form of skin wound to promote dermal matrix remodeling and collagen synthesis require
significant post-treatment care and may lead to complications, such as infection, pain, erythema, bleeding, oozing,
burns and scaring . Earthing, by comparison, is not a treatment per se. but a simple practice requiring little or
no effort, which can be introduced easily into one’s daily life.
The present double-blind study was designed to determine if Earthing for one hour produced measurable
changes in facial blood flow (FBF). Based on previous studies, the hypothesis is that there will be a marked in-
crease in FBF in grounded subjects vs. ungrounded subjects, as measured by the Laser Speckle Contrast method.
Confirmation will suggest that Earthing is an effective and natural way to rejuvenate facial skin and appearance.
2. Materials and Methods
This pilot study was approved by BioMed IRB of San Diego, California (http://www.biomedirb.com/) and was
conducted at a single center: Total Thermal Imaging, La Mesa, California.
Forty (40) participants were recruited with an average age and standard deviation (SD) of 54.8 ± 9.8 (details in
Table 1). Subjects were randomly assigned to 2 groups: Group A, with 27 grounded individuals; Group B, with
13 sham-grounded individuals (the control group). Subjects were scheduled in the order they signed up to participate.
Exclusion criteria were:
Below the age of 18 or above 70;
Taking pain, anti-inflammatory medication, sedatives or prescription sleeping medication (less than 3 days
prior to testing);
Taking psychotropic drugs or diagnosed with mental disorder;
Recent surgery (less than 3 months);
Documented life threatening disease (such as cancer and AIDS);
Consumption of alcohol within 48 hours of participation;
Use of recreational drugs;
Table 1. Age and gender distribution of subjects.
Female Male Female Male
No. of Subjects 20 7 9 4
Average Age 54.2 55.6 58.7 47.8
Age SD 10.2 12.1 6.48 8.73
Previous utilization of Earthing products or similar grounding products;
Going barefoot outside more than once a week and for more than half hour.
All potential subjects not fitting one or more of the exclusion criteria above were eligible to participate (i.e.
there was no specific inclusion criterion).
Grounding equipment included conductive mats, pillows, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
patches (Earthing.com, Palm Springs, California, USA).
2.3. Earthing (Grounding) Method
Subjects were grounded with the use of a grounding mat, pillow and conductive patches connected, via con-
ducting wires, into the ground port (third hole) of an electric power outlet. For sham-grounded subjects, con-
ducting wires were similarly connected to the ground port, but modified into an open circuit to block conduction
with the Earth’s surface. The facility’s grounding system was tested and found to be fully functional. All groun-
ding wires contained a built-in 100 kΩ resistor for surge protection.
2.4. Measurements and Instrumentation
Changes in FBF were documented with the Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) technique, also called Laser
Speckle Contrast Analysis (LASCA)  , that delivers real-time, high-resolution blood flow videos (MoorFLPI-2
Speckle Contrast Imager, Moor Instruments Ltd., Axminster, UK; website:
http://us.moor.co.uk/ product/ moorflpi-2-speckle-contrast-imager/291).
The LSCI camera illuminates a selected area of tissue with low intensity laser light to produce a high contrast
random interference effect known as a speckle pattern. The image processing software uses the fact that high
perfusion produces rapid variation in the laser speckle pattern, which is integrated by the charge-coupled device
(CCD) camera to produce an area of low contrast (seen as blurring of the speckle pattern in the video image).
Conversely, low perfusion causes little variation in the speckle pattern and as a result a high contrast area of
well-defined speckle is produced in the video image. Contrast is quantified and the resulting flux is color-coded
to produce a perfusion image -. The LSCI camera measures to a maximum skin depth of approximately
1mm, thus covering mainly superficial skin blood flow .
The LSCI camera uses a near-infrared laser diode emitting at a wavelength of 785 nm and a 568 × 760 pixels
CCD camera to capture blood flow over an area of up to 80 × 120 mm2 (the working distance of the camera for
providing reliable images is between 15 and 45 cm). Researchers and manufacturers generally agree that be-
cause of the nature of the flow in capillaries and connecting small blood vessels and the effect of varying skin
color and structure, it is not appropriate to use absolute flow units such as ml/100 gm/minute. To justify the use
of these units it is necessary to calibrate for the particular tissue type and site of the measurement, which is im-
practical except in special circumstances and not appropriate for normal day-to-day measurements. Conse-
quently, arbitrary units are used for flux (blood flow) in common with most manufacturers’ recommendation
The LSCI camera has the capability of recording up to 25 images per second (called frames per second, or
FPS) in standard resolution mode (152 × 113 pixels) and 1 FPS in high resolution mode (568 × 760 pixels) and
to put them in a video file. In the present study, an intermediate frame rate of 10 FPS with an averaging period
of 10 seconds was used. With this setup, each recorded image represents the average of 100 consecutive frames.
This setup has the advantage of eliminating very short-term (<1 sec) artifacts while at the same time enhancing
durable blood flow features and real FBF changes over time. Blood flow analysis was conducted using appro-
priate computer software (MoorFLPI Review V4.0, Moor Instruments Ltd., Axminster, UK) installed on a stan-
dard desktop computer.
For each image recorded in the video, the analysis software averages the blood flow of the entire face to give
a mean FBF value (or flux). The mean FBF values are then processed by the analysis software to generate a
graph of mean FBF value over time (with a time increment of 10 seconds between recorded images).
Each subject was tested in one individual session. Each grounding or sham-grounding session lasted approx-
imately one hour, during which time the subject sat in a comfortable recliner chair. The reclining angle of the
chair was adjusted to a comfortable 30 degrees in respect to the plane of the floor. The chair back and seat were
covered with a grounding mat. A grounding pillow was placed at the head position, with a Styrofoam pad posi-
tioned under the pillow on each side to help stabilize the head and minimize movements. Patches were placed on
both palms and soles (total of four patches). The connector ends of the wires from the patches, pillow, and mat
were inserted into the jacks of a connector box placed next to the chair. The box, in turn, was connected by a
single wire to the ground port of an adjacent power outlet. To allow or interrupt the conduction, a switch was in-
stalled in the middle of that single wire, between the connector box and the ground port. Once the subject was
comfortably installed, the camera was positioned and turned on to record the subject’s session.
The first ten minutes of each session was dedicated to collecting baseline measurements. After ten minutes,
the switch was flipped allowing conduction in the single wire connecting to the ground port. However, the wires
used to connect the mat, pillow and patches to the connector box did not permit grounding during the sham-
grounding sessions. For both grounded and sham-grounded sessions, the grounding switch was turned off after
at least one hour.
A double-blind procedure prevented researchers, study coordinators/technicians, and subjects from knowing
whether an individual subject was actually grounded or sham-grounded. To accommodate the double blinded
study design calling for about twice as many grounded subjects than sham-grounded subjects, three different
colored-coded wires connecting the patches, pillow, and mat to the connector box were utilized. Wires with red
and yellow tags permitted grounding; wires with the blue tag did not. The wires’ color for a particular session
was randomly selected by the study coordinators.
Varying individual responses of the subjects dictated presenting only individual cases and space constrains to
limit results presentation to three grounded subjects (A, B and C) and three sham-grounded (control) subjects
(D, E and F). The results of these subjects were representative of the specific group results and are presented
below according to age (youngest to oldest) for each group.
Linear regression analysis was applied to several graphs when appropriate. Curve smoothing was performed
using the central moving average method with 5 points. Both regression analysis and curve smoothing were
performed using Microsoft Office Excel 2003 SP2 software.
For each subject, two FBF images are presented first. The first image was extracted from the video just after
an initial relaxation period or at 20 minutes after the start of the session when no clear relaxation period could be
identified. The relaxation period is the time it takes for FBF to stabilize to a low value at the beginning of a ses-
sion (corresponding to the time it takes for a subject to relax). The second image was extracted towards the end
of the session for the sham-grounded session. After the relaxation period, peaks in blood flow were observed
only among grounded subjects. For these subjects, the second image was taken at the highest point of the highest
peak after the relaxation period.
Secondly, raw graphs of FBF values over time as calculated by the analysis software are presented. Each time
a subject moved the head, a dip in mean FBF value (flux) can be seen, which is a movement artifact not related
to the real mean FBF value. Blue arrows were added to these graphs to indicate when such movement artifact
Thirdly, the raw graphs were corrected for artifacts when needed and smoothed. Each dip in mean FBF value
was replaced by the average of the mean FBF value immediately before and after the dip and then smoothed ac-
cording to the procedure already described. Additionally, linear regression analysis was performed when a clear
linear tendency could be found.
3.1. Grounded Subjects
3.1.1. Subject A—Female, Caucasian, 33
Subject A came with an overall body pain level at 3 (on a scale from 1 to 10). Most of the entire neck/back/
arms/ forearms/thighs/legs dropped to a 1 level after one hour of grounding. Figure 1 shows two FBF images as
recorded by the camera. The left image was taken at 11 minutes and 50 seconds (710 seconds, equivalent to
frame 71, with each frame equal to 10 seconds) which corresponds to the end of the relaxation period. The right
image was taken at 45 minutes and 10 seconds (2710 seconds, frame 271), corresponding to the highest mean
FBF value of the highest peak after relaxation. Each time she moved her head, a dip in blood flow can be seen
(movement artifact) in the top graph of Figure 2, which shows unprocessed mean FBF values (flux) over time.
These dips are noted using blue arrows. The bottom graph of Figure 2 shows the same graph but corrected for
artifacts and smoothed. Each dip was replaced using the method previously described and then smoothed. From
Figure 2, it can be seen that mean FBF decreased for about 12 minutes (corresponding to the relaxation period),
remained more or less stable for another 28 minutes (with periodic peaks and troughs) and started to increase
after that. The peaks and troughs produce a rhythmic fluctuation in mean FBF with a periodicity of 4 minutes
and 20 seconds (260 seconds, corresponding to 26 periods of 10 seconds, as noted in the figure) that started after
the relaxation period.
3.1.2. Subject B—Female, Caucasian, 49
Figure 3 shows FBF images of Subject B at 20 minutes (left image), corresponding to the end of the relaxation
period, and 39 minutes and 20 seconds (right image), corresponding to the high value of the highest peak after
relaxation. Figure 4 shows mean FBF values (flux) over time. In the top graph, which shows unprocessed mean
FBF values, only one movement artifact was noted, indicating a very stable position for the entire session. The
bottom graph shows mean FBF over time corrected for the artifact and smoothed. After the initial relaxation pe-
Flux at 11 minutes 50 seconds (frame no 71) Flux at 45 minutes 10 seconds (frame no 271)
Figure 1. Subject A FBF images at 11 minutes and 50 seconds (left image) and 45 minutes and 10 seconds (right
image). The flux intensity scale is shown below each image (dark blue = lowest flux; dark red = highest flux). There
is a clear increase in FBF in the right image compared to the left image, especially around the eyes and the cheeks.
Descriptive statistics for the left image: Mean Flux = 118.8; SD = 59.2; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 1129. Descriptive
statistics for the right image: Mean Flux = 162.4; SD = 105.9; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 1053.
Figure 2. Top graph: Subject A unprocessed graph of mean FBF (in arbitrary units) over time. Red lines and
numbers show the times at which the two images of Figure 1 were extracted from the video. Blue arrows
point to dips in flux caused by movement artifacts. The green line at 60 shows the time the grounding period
started (10 minutes). Bottom graph: Same graph of mean FBF over time corrected for movement artifacts and
smoothed. A rhythmic pattern of flux increases and decreases can be observed every 260 seconds (4 minutes
and 20 seconds).
riod, no systematic increase in FBF is seen with time, only a rhythmic pattern of means FBF increases and de-
creases with a periodicity of 16 minutes (960 seconds).
3.1.3. Subject C—Female, Caucasian, 55
Figure 5 shows FBF of Subject C at 28 minutes and 40 seconds (left image), corresponding to the end of the re-
laxation period) and 56 minutes and 40 seconds (right image), corresponding to the high value of the highest
peak after relaxation. The top graph of Figure 6 shows unprocessed mean FBF values over time, wherein no
movement artifact was noted, indicating very stable head position. The bottom graph of Figure 6 shows the
same graph but smoothed (no artifact correction needed). Mean FBF started to increase about 40 minutes in the
session. On top of that systematic increase, a rhythmic pattern of mean FBF fluctuations can be seen this time
with a periodicity of 530 seconds (8 minutes and 50 seconds). It is interesting to note that the rhythmic fluctua-
tions started before the relaxation period was completed.
020 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 280 300
Flux (arbitrary units)
Flux at 20 minutes (frame no 120) Flux at 39 minutes and 20 seconds (frame no 236)
Figure 3. Subject B FBF images at 20 minutes (left image) and 39 minutes and 20 seconds (right image). There is a
clear increase in FBF in the right image compared to the left image. Descriptive statistics for the left image: Mean
Flux = 91.2; SD = 54.3; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 548. Descriptive statistics for the right image: Mean Flux =
150.8; SD = 93.9; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 810.
Figure 4. Top graph: Subject B unprocessed graph of mean FBF (in arbitrary units) over time. Red lines and
numbers show the times at which the two images of Figure 3 were extracted from the video. The blue arrow
points to a dip in flux caused by movement artifacts. The green line at 60 shows the time the grounding period
started. Bottom graph: same graph of mean FBF over time corrected for movement artifacts and smoothed. A
rhythmic pattern of mean FBF increases and decreases can be observed every 960 seconds (16 minutes).
030 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360 390 420 450 480
Flux (arbitrary units)
Flux at 28 minutes and 40 seconds (frame no 172) Flux at 56 minutes and 40 seconds (frame no 340)
Figure 5. Subject C FBF images at 28 minutes and 40 seconds (left image) and 56 minutes and 40 seconds (right
image). There is a clear increase in FBF in the right image compared to the left image. Descriptive statistics for the
left image: Mean Flux = 78.5; SD = 47.6; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 517. Descriptive statistics for the right image:
Mean Flux = 141.2; SD = 97.6; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 1050.
Figure 6. Top graph: Subject C unprocessed graph of mean FBF (in arbitrary units) over time. Red lines and
numbers show the times at which the two images of Figure 5 were extracted from the video. The green line at
60 shows the time the grounding period started. Bottom graph: same graph of mean FBF over time corrected
for movement artifacts and smoothed. A rhythmic pattern of mean FBF increases and decreases can be ob-
served every 530 seconds (8 minutes and 50 seconds).
030 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360 390 420 450 480
Flux (arbitrary units)
3.2. Sham-Grounded (Control) Subjects
3.2.1. Subject D—Male, Caucasian, 42
Figure 7 shows Subject D FBF images at 20 minutes (left image) and 54 minutes (right image). Figure 8 shows
change in mean FBF over time. In the top graph, which presents unprocessed mean FBF values, many move-
ment artifacts are seen as noted. The bottom graph shows top graph data corrected and smoothed for movement
artifacts. Linear regression analysis was performed on the bottom graph of Figure 8 and shows that mean FBF
decreased linearly with time (coefficient of determination R2 = 0.7171), which explains the lower FBF observed
in Figure 7 at 54 minutes. No rhythmic pattern of fluctuations in mean FBF values can be observed.
3.2.2. Subject E—Female, Caucasian, 55
Figure 9 shows FBF of subject E at 20 minutes (left image) and 79 minutes (right image). It is apparent that
FBF in this sham-grounded subject is lower at 79 minutes. Figure 10 shows variation of mean FBF values over
time. Movement artifacts are identified by blue arrows in the top graph of Figure 10 which presents unpro-
cessed mean FBF values. The bottom graph of Figure 10 shows the same graph corrected for artifacts and
smoothed. Regression analysis shows that blood flow decreased linearly over time (coefficient of determination
R2 = 0.9014) which explains the lower FBF at 79 minutes in Figure 9. No rhythmic pattern of fluctuations in
mean FBF values can be observed.
3.2.3. Subject F—Female, African-American, 68
Figure 11 shows FBF of subject F after the relaxation period at 20 minutes (left image), and 43 minutes (right
image). There is very little change in FBF between these 2 images. The time period shown in Figure 12 is about
45 minutes because the subject was disturbed by someone inadvertently entering the room at that time. Only one
movement artifact can be seen in the top graph of Figure 12, which presents change in unprocessed mean FBF
values over time. Bottom graph of Figure 12 shows change in mean FBF values over time corrected for that one
artifact and smoothed. In her case, mean FBF fluctuated up and down for about 20 minutes (corresponding to
the relaxation period) before settling down to a low stable value. This stable value after the initial relaxation pe-
riod explains why the two images of Figure 11 show about the same level of FBF. No rhythmic pattern in mean
FBF value can be observed after the relaxation period.
Flux at 20 minutes (frame no 120) Flux at 54 minutes (frame no 324)
Figure 7. Subject D FBF images at 20 minutes (left image) and 54 minutes (right image). There is lower FBF
in the right image compared to the left image. Descriptive statistics for the left image: Mean Flux = 127.9; SD
= 80.1; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 784. Descriptive statistics for the right image: Mean Flux = 103.1; SD =
63.6; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 705.
Figure 8. Top graph: Subject D unprocessed graph of mean FBF (in arbitrary units) over time. Red lines and
numbers show the two frames at which the images of Figure 7 were extracted from the video. Blue arrows
point to dips in flux caused by movement artifacts. The green line at 60 shows the time when the switch was
flipped (no grounding occurred). Bottom graph: Subject D graph of mean FBF (in arbitrary units) over time
corrected for movement artifacts and smoothed with linear regression line, equation and R2 value.
Flux at 20 minutes (frame no 120) Flux at 79 minutes (frame no 474)
Figure 9. Subject E FBF images at 20 minutes (left image) and 79 minutes (right image). There is lower FBF in the
right image compared to the left image. Descriptive statistics for the left image: Mean Flux = 103.7; SD = 55.9; Flux
min = 0; Flux max = 606. Descriptive statistics for the right image: Mean Flux = 73.0; SD = 46.0; Flux min = 0;
Flux max = 730.
020 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 280 300
Flux (arbitrary units)
y = -0.096x + 137.9
018 36 54 72 90 108 126 144 162 180 198 216 234 252 270 288 306
Flux (arbitrary units)
Figure 10. Top graph: Subject E unprocessed graph of mean FBF (in arbitrary units) over time. Red lines and num-
bers show the time at which the two images of Figure 9 were extracted from the video. Blue arrows point to dips in
flux caused by movement artifacts. The green line at 60 shows the time when the switch was flipped (no grounding
occurred). Bottom graph: Subject E mean FBF graph (in arbitrary units) over time corrected for movement artifacts
and smoothed with linear regression line, equation and R2 value.
Flux at 20 minutes (frame no 120) Flux at 43 minutes (frame no 258)
Figure 11. Subject F FBF images at 20 minutes (left image) and 43 minutes (right image). There is very little change
in FBF. Descriptive statistics for the left image: Mean Flux = 33.4; SD = 19.1; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 248. De-
scriptive statistics for the right image: Mean Flux = 29.4; SD = 15.8; Flux min = 0; Flux max = 160.
030 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360 390 420 450 480
Flux (arbitrary units)
Figure 12. Top graph: Subject F unprocessed graph of mean FBF (in arbitrary units). Red lines and numbers
show the time at which the two images of Figure 11 were extracted. The blue arrow points to a dip in flux
caused by movement artifacts. The green line at 60 shows the time when the switch was flipped (no grounding
occurred). Bottom graph: Subject F graph of mean FBF (in arbitrary units) corrected for movement artifacts
The purpose of this study was to determine if grounding the body promotes FBF. Improved facial microcircula-
tion is a goal of various treatments used in the beauty industry. They include massage, the use of current emit-
ting devices (DC and AC), lasers, ultrasound emitting devices, and acupuncture  . Improved circulation
may generate enhanced nourishment of the skin through greater delivery of oxygen and nutrients, as well as bet-
ter resistance to the oxidative aging process .
The results of the present study showed improved FBF regulation in grounded subjects only. During the expe-
rimental period of about one hour, the FBF in these subjects, as documented by the LSCI camera, was seen to
fluctuate with a regular rhythm and/or increase after an initial relaxation period varying from 12 to 29 minutes.
By comparison, FBF decreased steadily and/or remained constant at a low value after a relaxation period during
sham-grounded sessions of similar length with no apparent rhythmicity.
There are at least four neuronal mechanisms influencing FBF. Three of them are controlled by the sympathet-
ic or parasympathetic nervous systems while the fourth one relates to local inflammatory responses . There-
fore, the present results suggest that connection with the Earth supports a more efficient autonomic nervous sys-
tem (ANS) regulation of FBF. The periodicity of mean FBF fluctuations appeared in approximate 4 minute in-
crements. While the reason for this incremental length in periodicity is not known, it is interesting to note that a
rhythmic pattern of contraction/relaxation was seen for the first time in muscle tension after a grounding period
of 28 minutes . In relation to these observations, it is also interesting to mention that the baroreflex system, a
020 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260
Flux (arbitrary units)
018 36 54 72 90 108 126 144 162 180 198 216 234 252
Flux (arbitrary units)
mechanism by which the ANS control blood pressure, operates in a frequency range that overlaps our present
The ANS regulation of FBF dynamics brings to mind an analogy of an efficient thermostat that activates or
deactivates the heating or cooling system according to temperature fluctuations within the controlled environ-
ment. For the body, grounding may contribute to the restoration of regulation by the ANS of the distribution of
blood, and therefore needed oxygen and nutrients, to the various organs and systems according to their needs.
Another explanation for improved FBF produced by grounding likely relates to the zeta potential (ZP) and
aggregation of red blood cells (RBCs). RBC membranes naturally carry a negative electric charge that maintains
cell spacing in the bloodstream by electrostatic repulsion. The potential difference between the RBC surface and
the plasma produced by these charges is called zeta potential (ZP). ZP is an indicator of blood viscosity -
. Elevated blood viscosity is associated with a number of clinical conditions, including hypertension, smok-
ing, lipid disorders, advancing age, and diabetes mellitus. Research has found, for instance, a poor ZP among
diabetics, and poorer yet among diabetics with cardiovascular disease . The more negative the RBC surface
charge is, the greater the repelling force between RBCs implying that the viscosity of the blood is lower which
results in an improved blood flow -. In a previous study, grounding improved ZP and reduced RBC ag-
gregation. Among the ten participants, the absolute value of the average ZP increased by a factor of 2.70—almost
A third explanation for improved FBF is accumulated evidence that grounding improves overall physiology.
If the body is healthier, it follows that the skin should be in better condition . In support of this assertion,
grounding has been shown to improve recovery from injury  , thyroid function and basic metabolism,
calcium metabolism, glucose utilization by cells, the immune response , and oxygen consumption .
Some researchers consider that grounding may even be the primary factor regulating the endocrine and nervous
It is instructive to raise the issue of stress. Numerous studies indicate that stress-induced sleep deficit can
dramatically impair skin function and integrity -. Chronic insomnia, experienced by as much as a third
of adults, can create damage to skin tissues ranging from premature aging   to disorders like eczema,
psoriasis, and dermatitis -. Previous grounding studies have produced results in which grounded par-
ticipants subjectively reported better sleep and show lower stress levels   -.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, stress can affect the skin in many ways . Stress
causes abnormalities in the level and oscillation of the central stress hormone cortisol that regulates a wide range
of stress responses. Such disruption can trigger multiple neuroinﬂammatory conditions manifested in the skin,
such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne, contact dermatitis alopecia areata, itch or pruritus, and erythema 
. Along with better sleep, grounding at night has been demonstrated to bring aberrant cortisol oscillations
more in line with the natural cortisol pattern . It should also be noted that grounding appears to promote
balance in the sympathetic-parasympathetic function of the ANS, and thus exerts another stress reduction effect
  .
Through various measurements, grounding has also been documented to reduce inflammation  . One
mechanism of inflammation reduction is hypothesized to be the neutralization of oxidative free radical activity
by added free electrons from contact with the Earth  . Oxidative stress plays a central role in initiating and
driving events that cause skin aging at the cellular level . Oxidative stress breaks down protein (collagen),
alters cellular renewal cycles, damages DNA, and promotes collagen glycation, cross-linking of proteins, and
the release of pro-inflammatory mediators (cytokines), which trigger the generation of inflammatory skin dis-
eases. It is also established that free radicals participate in the pathogenesis of allergic reactions in the skin
-. The grounding effect may also be protective and/or therapeutic against UV radiation that produces
oxidative stress in the cellular environment of the skin. Chronic free radical assault leads to aging skin, subvert-
ing the structural framework of the skin, and giving rise to wrinkles and sagging skin .
Another mechanism of inflammation reduction is the inflammatory reflex. Discovered about 15 years ago,
this neural reflex mechanism controls inflammation and innate immune responses during tissue injury and pa-
thogen invasion  . A major constituent of the inflammatory reflex is the vagus nerve. Since grounding
stimulates the parasympathetic branch of the ANS, it is reasonable to theorize that vagus nerve-mediated choli-
nergic signaling is also stimulated resulting in a decrease in inflammation.
Along with previous studies, the results of this study indicates that extended periods of grounding could be
expected to produce further changes and benefits to facial skin. There’s a saying that beauty comes from within.
It may also be appropriate to say that the beauty within comes from the ground.
The very Earth we live on possesses a form of easily accessible and beneficial natural electric energy that has
been found to positively influence human physiology in various ways . Previous studies have indicated im-
proved cardiovascular and rheological (blood viscosity) dynamics, including autonomic nervous system regula-
tion. In this study, the Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging camera further supports those findings by documenting a
clear improvement in autonomic nervous system regulation of facial blood flow in grounded subjects but not in
sham-grounded subjects. The results demonstrate, for the first time, that even one-hour contact with the Earth
restores blood flow regulation to the face that may enhance skin tissue repair, health and vitality, and optimize
facial appearance, which may also have broad implications for overall cardiovascular function and health. Fur-
ther studies, using larger comparison groups, longer monitoring times and more measuring methods, are war-
ranted in order to confirm the novel influence of the Earth as a protector of skin health and appearance.
The author wishes to thank Earthing.com for providing the grounding equipment, Linda Hayes, C.C.T. and
Theresa Williams, C.C.T., from Total Thermal Imaging, for recruiting study participants, collecting data and
conducting all imaging activities, and Martin Zucker for reviewing the manuscript, for writing assistance, and
for making useful suggestions. The study was funded by Earth FX, Inc.
Conflict of Interests
The author is an independent contractor for Earth FX, Inc. and owns a very small number of shares in the com-
 Williams, E. and Heckman, S. (1993) The Local Diurnal Variation of Cloud Electrification and the Global Diurnal
Variation of Negative Charge on the Earth. Journal of Geophysical Research, 98, 5221-5234.
 Anisimov, S., Mareev, E. and Bakastov, S. (1999) On the Generation and Evolution of Aeroelectric Structures in the
Surface Layer. Journal of Geophysical Research, 104, 14359-14367. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/1999JD900117
 Applewhite, R. (2005) The Effectiveness of a Conductive Patch and a Conductive Bed Pad in Reducing Induced Hu-
man Body Voltage via the Application of Earth Ground. European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics, 1, 23-40.
 Oschman, J.L. (2009) Charge Transfer in the Living Matrix. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 13, 215-
 Oschman, J.L. (2007) Can Electrons Act as Antioxidants? A Review and Commentary. Journal of Alternative and
Complementary Medicine, 13, 955-967. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/acm.2007.7048
 Chevalier, G., Sinatra, S.T., Oschman, J.L., Sokal, K. and Sokal, P. (2012) Earthing: Health Implications of Recon-
necting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, Article
ID 291541. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/291541
 Med-Health.net (2014) How to Tighten Face Skin. http://www.med-health.net/How-To-Tighten-Face-Skin.html
 Herman, J., Rost-Roszkowska, M. and Skotnicka-Graca, U. (2013) Skin Care during the Menopause Period: Noninva-
sive Procedures of Beauty Studies. Postẹpy Dermatologii i Alergologi, 30, 388-395.
 Avci, P., Gupta, A., Sadasivam, M., Vecchio, D., Pam, Z., Pam, N. and Hamblin, M.R. (2013) Low-Level Laser (Light)
Therapy (LLLT) in Skin: Stimulating, Healing, Restoring. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, 32, 41-52.
 Briers, J.D. and Webster, S. (1996) Laser Speckle Contrast Analysis (LASCA): A Nonscanning, Full-Field Technique
for Monitoring Capillary Blood Flow. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 1, 174-179. http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.231359
 Eriksson, S., Nilsson, J., Lindell, G. and Sturesson, C. (2014) Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging for Intraoperative As-
sessment of Liver Microcirculation: A Clinical Pilot Study. Medical Devices: Evidence and Research, 7, 257-261.
 Moor, F.L.P.I. (2012) User Manual, Issue 8.
 Schwartz, S.R. and Park, J. (2012) Ingestion of BioCell Collagen®, a Novel Hydrolyzed Chicken Sternal Cartilage Ex-
tract; Enhanced Blood Microcirculation and Reduced Facial Aging Signs. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 7, 267-273.
 Drummond, P.D. (1994) Sweating and Vascular Responses in the Face: Normal Regulation and Dysfunction in Mi-
graine, Cluster Headache and Harlequin Syndrome. Clinical Autonomic Research, 4, 273-285.
 Chevalier, G., Mori, K. and Oschman, J.L. (2006) The Effect of Earthing (Grounding) on Human Physiology. Euro-
pean Biology and Bioelectromagnetics, 2, 600-621. http://www.barefoothealth.com/science/physiology_study.pdf
 Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology
(1996) Heart Rate Variability: Standards of Measurement, Physiological Interpretation and Clinical Use. Circulation,
93, 1043-1065. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/93/5/1043.long
 Goldstein, D.S., Bentho, O., Park, M.Y. and Sharabi, Y. (2011) Low-Frequency Power of Heart Rate Variability Is Not
a Measure of Cardiac Sympathetic Tone but May Be a Measure of Modulation of Cardiac Autonomic Outflows by
Baroreflexes. Experimental Physiology, 96, 1255-1261. http://ep.physoc.org/content/96/12/1255.long
 Bonyhay, I., Risk, M. and Freeman, R. (2013) High-Pass Filter Characteristics of the Baroreflex: A Comparison of
Frequency Domain and Pharmacological Methods. PLoS ONE, 8, e79513.
 Adak, S., Chowdhury, S. and Bhattacharyya, M. (2008) Dynamic and Electrokinetic Behavior of Erythrocyte Mem-
brane in Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1780, 108-115.
 Fontes, A., Fernandes, H.P., de Thomaz, A.A., Barjas-Castro, M.L. and Cesar, C.L. (2008) Measuring Electrical and
Mechanical Properties of Red Blood Cells with Double Optical Tweezers. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 13, Article ID:
 Chevalier, G., Sinatra, S.T., Oschman, J.L. and Delany, R.M. (2013) Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces
Blood Viscosity: A Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19,
 Brown, R., Chevalier, G. and Hill, M. (2010) Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Sore-
ness. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16, 265-273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/acm.2009.0399
 Ober, C., Sinatra, S.T. and Zucker, M. (2010) Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? Basic Health
Publications, Laguna Beach, 193-205.
 Sokal, K. and Sokal, P. (2011) Earthing the Human Body Influences Physiologic Processes. Journal of Alternative and
Complementary Medicine, 17, 301-308. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/acm.2010.0687
 Chevalier, G. (2010) Changes in Pulse Rate, Respiratory Rate, Blood Oxygenation, Perfusion Index, Skin Conductance
and Their Variability Induced during and after Grounding Human Subjects for 40 Minutes. Journal of Alternative and
Complementary Medicine, 16, 81-87. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/acm.2009.0278
 Kahan, V., Andersen, M.L., Tomimori, J. and Tufikm, S. (2010) Can Poor Sleep Affect Skin Integrity? Medical Hypo-
theses, 75, 535-537. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2010.07.018
 Ghadially, R., Brown, B.E., Sequeira-Martin, S.M., Feingold, K.R. and Elias, P. (1995) The Aged Epidermal Permea-
bility Barrier. Structural, Functional and Lipid Biochemical Abnormalities in Humans and a Senescent Murine Model.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 95, 2281-2290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI117919
 Gupta, M.A. and Gupta, A.K. (1996) Psychodermatology: An Update. Journal of the American Academy of Derma-
tology, 34, 1030-1046. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0190-9622(96)90284-4
 Tausk, F.A. and Nousari, H. (2001) Stress and the Skin. Archives of Dermatology, 137, 78-82.
 Grice, K.A. (1980) Transepidermal Water Loss in Pathologic Skin. In: Jarrett, A., Ed., The Physiology and Pathophy-
siology of the Skin, Academic Press, London, 2147-2155.
 Rööst, M. and Nilsson, P. (2002) Sleep Disorders—A Public Health Problem. Potential Risk Factor in the Develop-
ment of Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Dyslipidemia and Premature Aging. Läkartidningen, 99, 154-157.
 Edwards, B.A., O’Driscoll, D.M., Ali, A., Jordan, A.S., Trinder, J. and Malhotra, A. (2010) Aging and Sleep: Physiol-
ogy and Pathophysiology. Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 31, 618-633.
 Altemus, M., Rao, B., Dhabhar, F.S., Ding, W. and Granstein, R.D. (2001) Stress-Induced Changes in Skin Barrier
Function in Healthy Women. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 7, 309-317.
 Kobayashi, S., Hayashi, K., Koyama, S., Tsubaki, H., Itano, T., Momomura, M., Koyama, T. and Yanagawa, Y. (2010)
Actigraphy for the Assessment of Sleep Quality in Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis Patients. Arerugi, 59, 706-715.
 Hanifin, J.M. and Reed, M.L., Eczema Prevalence and Impact Working Group (2007) A Population-Based Survey of
Eczema Prevalence in the United States. Dermatitis, 18, 82-91. http://dx.doi.org/10.2310/6620.2007.06034
 Choi, E.H., Brown, B.E., Crumrine, D., Chang, S., Man, M.-Q., Elias, P.M. and Feingold, K.R. (2005) Mechanisms by
Which Psychologic Stress Alters Cutaneous Permeability Barrier Homeostasis and Stratum Corneum Integrity. Journal
of Investigative Dermatology, 124, 587-595. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-202X.2005.23589.x
 Ghaly, M. and Teplitz, D. (2004) The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body during Sleep as Measured by
Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain and Stress. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medi-
cine, 10, 767-776. http://188.8.131.52/here/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Ghaly__Teplitz_cortisol_study_2004.pdf
 Ober, C. (2000) Grounding the Human Body to Neutralize Bioelectrical Stress from Static Electricity and EMFs. ESD
 Chevalier, G. and Sinatra, S.T. (2011) Emotional Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Grounding and Improved Autonomic
Tone: Clinical Applications. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, 10, 16-21.
 American Academy of Dermatology (2014) Stress and Skin.
 Senra, M.S. and Wollenberg, A. (2014) Psychodermatological Aspects of Atopic Dermatitis. British Journal of Der-
matology, 170, 38-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjd.13084
 Chen, Y. and Lyga, J. (2014) Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging. Inflammation & Allergy
Drug Targets, 13, 177-190. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4082169/
 Oschman, J.L., Chevalier, G. and Brown, D. (2014) The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Inflammation, the Immune
Response, Wound Healing and Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory and Auto-Immune Diseases. Jour-
nal of Inflammation Research, in Press.
 Masaki, H. (2010) Role of Antioxidants in the Skin: Anti-Aging Effects. Journal of Dermatological Science, 58, 85-90.
 Burke, K.E. and Wei, H. (2009) Synergistic Damage by UVA Radiation and Pollutants. Toxicology and Industrial
Health, 25, 219-224. http://tih.sagepub.com/content/25/4-5/219
 Fisher, G.J., Quan, T., Purohit, T., Shao, Y., Cho, M.K., He, T., Varani, J., Kamg, S. and Voorhees, J. (2009) Collagen
Fragmentation Promotes Oxidative Stress and Elevates Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 in Fibroblasts in Aged Human Skin.
The American Journal of Pathology, 174, 101-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.2353/ajpath.2009.080599
 Pascucci, B., D'Errico, M., Parlanti, E., Giovannini, S. and Dogliotti, E. (2011) Role of Nucleotide Excision Repair
Proteins in Oxidative DNA Damage Repair: An Updating. Biochemistry (Moscow), 76, 4-15.
 Röck, K., Grandoch, M., Majora, M., Krutmann, J. and Fisher, J.W. (2011) Collagen Fragments Inhibit Hyaluronan
Synthesis in Skin Fibroblasts in Response to Ultraviolet B (UVB): New Insights into Mechanisms of Matrix Remode-
ling. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 286, 18268-18276. http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M110.201665
Supplemental Material: http://www.jbc.org/content/suppl/2011/03/17/M110.201665.DC1.html
 Daniel, S., Reto, M. and Fred, Z. (2002) Collagen Glication and Skin Aging. Cosmetics and Toiletries Manufacture
 Miwa, S., Beckman, K.B. and Muller, F., Eds. (2008) Oxidative Stress in Aging: From Model Systems to Human Dis-
eases. Humana Press, New York.
 Borovikova, L.V., Ivanova, S., Zhang, M., Yang, H., Botchkina, G.I., Watkins, L.R., Wang, H., Abumrad, N., Eaton,
J.W. and Tracey, K.J. (2000) Vagus Nerve Stimulation Attenuates the Systemic Inflammatory Response to Endotoxin.
Nature, 405, 458-462. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/35013070
 Pavlov, V.A. and Tracey, K.J. (2012) The Vagus Nerve and the Inflammatory Reflex—Linking Immunity and Meta-
bolism. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 8, 743-754. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrendo.2012.189