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Electric Nutrition: The Surprising Health and Healing Benefits of Biological Grounding (Earthing)

Authors:
  • Nature's Own Research Association

Abstract

Context • Modern biomedicine has discovered that many of the most debilitating diseases, as well as the aging process itself, are caused by or associated with chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Emerging research has revealed that direct physical contact with the surface of the planet generates a kind of electric nutrition, with surprisingly potent and rapid anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Objectives • The objective of this study was to explain the potential of grounding to clinicians as a simple strategy for prevention, therapy, and improving patient outcomes. The research summarized here has pursued the goal of determining the physiological and clinical significance of biological grounding. Design • The research team has summarized more than 12 peer-reviewed reports. Where appropriate, blinded studies examined in this paper were conducted using a variety of statistical procedures. Interventions • In all cases, the intervention examined conductive contact between the surface of Earth and the study’s participants, using conductive bed sheets, floor or desk pads, and electrode patches, such as those used in electrocardiography. Results • All studies discussed revealed significant physiological or clinical outcomes as a result of grounding. Conclusion • This body of research has demonstrated the potential of grounding to be a simple, natural, and accessible clinical strategy against the global epidemic of noncommunicable, degenerative, inflammatory-related diseases. © 2017 Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.
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Sinatra—Electric Nutrition
8 ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, SEP/OCT 2017 VOL. 23 NO. 5
Electric Nutrition: e Surprising Health and
Healing Benets of Biological Grounding
(Earthing)
Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC; James L. Oschman, PhD; Gaétan Chevalier, PhD; Drew Sinatra, ND, LAc
REVIEW ARTICLE
ABSTRACT
Context • Modern biomedicine has discovered that many
of the most debilitating diseases, as well as the aging process
itself, are caused by or associated with chronic inammation
and oxidative stress. Emerging research has revealed that
direct physical contact with the surface of the planet
generates a kind of electric nutrition, with surprisingly
potent and rapid anti-inammatory and antioxidant eects.
Objectives • e objective of this study was toexplain the
potential of grounding to clinicians as a simple strategy
for prevention, therapy, and improving patient outcomes.
e research summarized here has pursued the goal of
determining the physiological and clinical signicance
ofbiological grounding.
Design • e research team has summarized more than
12 peer-reviewed reports. Where appropriate, blinded
studies examined in this paper were conducted using a
variety of statistical procedures.
Interventions • In all cases, the intervention examined
conductive contact between the surface of Earth and the
study’s participants, using conductive bed sheets, oor or
desk pads, and electrode patches, such as those used in
electrocardiography.
Results • All studies discussed revealed signicant
physiological or clinical outcomes as a result of grounding.
Conclusion • is body of research has demonstrated the
potential of grounding to be a simple, natural, and
accessible clinical strategy against the global epidemic of
noncommunicable, degenerative, inammatory-related
diseases. (Altern er Health Med. 2017;23(5):8-16)
Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, is an assistant clinical professor
of medicine at the School of Medicine, University of
Connecticut in Farmington, Connecticut. James L. Oschman,
PhD, is president of Nature’s Own Research Association in
Dover, New Hampshire. Gaétan Chevalier, PhD, is a visiting
scholar in the Department of Family Medicine and Public
Health, School of Medicine, University of California,
San Diego in San Diego, California. Drew Sinatra, ND, LAc,
is a naturopathic doctor of integrative medicine at the
CLEAR Center for Health in Mill Valley, California.
Corresponding author: James L. Oschman, PhD
E-mail address: joschman@aol.com
Health experts describe a sharp rise in
noncommunicable diseases as a major challenge
and barrier to global development in the
21st century. e diseases include cardiovascular, respiratory,
neurodegenerative, and autoimmune diseases; type 2
diabetes; chronic kidney disease; and some cancers.
ese conditions aect all nationalities and classes and
are reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, accounting
for approximately 40 million deaths annually.1 e costs in
terms of human suering and the economics of health care
are staggering. e former director general of the World
Health Organization (WHO) has described the situation as
an impending disaster, commenting that the “root causes of
these diseases are not being addressed.2
Modern biomedicine has discovered that many of the
most debilitating diseases, as well as the aging process itself,
are caused by or associated with chronic inammation and
oxidative stress, intimately related pathologies. Cells of the
immune system release various reactive species, known as free
radicals, at sites of inammation, promoting escalating
oxidative stress, intracellular signaling cascades, and
proinammator y gene expression. Both chronic-inammation
and oxidative-stress processes can be simultaneously in play in
many chronic disorders.3
Age is another factor; people are living longer. Researchers
have documented the deterioration of the immune system as
humans age, referring to it as immune-senescence. A prominent
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Sinatra—Electric Nutrition ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, SEP/OCT 2017 VOL. 23 NO. 5 9
medical theory, repeatedly conrmed, states that the general
deterioration during aging is caused by oxidative stress and
results in inammation and injury to cells and DNA and
protein cross-linking that creates wrinkles in the skin and
impairs enzymatic functioning. As an example, chronic,
low-grade inammation is recognized as one of the major risk
factors underlying brain aging.4
As of the end of May 2017, approximately 202
298
studies have correlated inammation with various diseases,
led by cancer, with 66
155 citations.5
Inflammation is defined as a localized response to
trauma or infection that can wall o damaged tissues until
the immune system removes foreign matter, damaged cells,
and bacteria. e wall, or inammatory barricade, serves the
function of preventing bacteria or other pathogens or debris
resulting from an injury from penetrating nearby heathy
tissues. e problem is that the barricade can also be
relatively impermeable to circulating antibiotics and
antioxidant molecules, slowing the healing response and
preventing regenerative cells from entering the region that
needs repair.
Because of the barrier, interac tions between inammation
and oxidative stress can continue—long aer the injury—as
a vicious cycle created by the immune system’s relentless and
unsuccessful eorts to complete the healing process. A low
level of chronic inammation, oen referred to as
silent inammation, can thus continue for years, damaging
and compromising the functioning of adjacent healthy
tissues and unnecessarily weakening the immune system.
ese situations pose a challenge to the physician
because a small pocket of chronic inammation from an old
injury can release toxins into the body uids that gradually
compromise distant organs. e diculty for the physician is
nding the source of the problem, which can be a pocket of
inammation from a long-forgotten trauma, an unrecognized
dental issue seemingly (but not) resolved, or a walled-o
tissue injury, to mention a few.
is inammation process has been summarized in a
recent publication6 and was rst described by Selye7 in his
classic 1956 book, e Stress of Life, and in his various journal
articles. Selye’s work tied inflammatory responses to stress,
cortisol secretion, and adaptation. Based on Selye’s work, the
current research team has proposed that the inammatory
barricade is formed by a coagulation of debris that has been
produced by collateral damage from highly reactive free
radicals, which have been leaking beyond the injury site and
damaging previously healthy tissue.
Selye’s histological studies showed that the inammatory
barricade is composed of connective tissue. Selye developed
a model for his studies in which he injected air under the
skin to create an articial inammatory pocket, which came
to be known as a Selye or granuloma pouch. e method has
been used in nearly 2000 studies of inammation. Selye
injected various irritants or pathogens into such pouches to
research the ways cortisol and related hormones aected
them.
One of these studies examined the eects of the bacteria
that cause rheumatic fever. Gundry,8 a cardiologist, has
described the mechanism. Strep throat, caused by β-hemolytic
Streptococcus, can lead to rheumatic fever, which can lead to
rheumatic heart disease and the slow destruction of the heart
valves. e immune system recognizes proteins on the surface
of the bacteria and attacks and destroys them. Unfortunately,
cells comprising the heart valves contain a very similar protein,
and the immune system mistakenly identies them as
Streptococcus and then silently, painlessly, and systematically
attacks the valves. Eventually, the destruction involved may
require valve replacement. is process is a classic example of
how an old inammatory condition can slowly lead to damage
to a distant organ or tissue.
Today, clinicians routinely deal with the manifestations
of inammation by prescribing anti-inammatory drugs.
Such drugs are important clinical agents in their ability to
reduce inammation-related pain, but they have substantial
side eects. Practitioners of alternative medicine bring other
factors into the picture, such as a noninammatory diet,
targeted supplementation, and mind-body techniques.
Many studies have investigated the potential of
nutritional antioxidants to prevent or ameliorate diseases
such as cardiovascular disorders, cancer, diabetic
complications, and Alzheimer’s disease. Results of these
antioxidant trials are mixed in humans. Some studies indicate
positive health eects; others show no eects or even harmful
eects. Among the reasons for lack of consistent ndings
could be that the studies have not selected agents that target
inammation and oxidative stress simultaneously or use
agents that block some of the oxidative and/or inammatory
pathways but exaggerate others.3 e best dietary antioxidant
or combination of nutrients for reducing cancer risks is
unknown.9
e current research team sees the inammatory
barricade as a barrier that prevents circulating antibiotics,
anti-inammatory drugs, and nutritional supplements from
reaching the sites where they are needed. As a wall of
connective tissue, the barricade is relatively impenetrable to
these molecules. However, connective tissue is primarily
composed of collagen molecules, and research has shown
that collagen is a semiconductor, which is a class of materials
providing electron conductance between an insulator and a
conductor. Hence, the barricade, with its role in isolating
chronic inammation from nearby healthy tissue, can prevent
antioxidants from reaching the free radicals in the
inammatory pouches and completing the inammatory
process. Electrons, however, can cross the barrier by
semiconduction.
One overlooked element in the human environment—
the surface of Planet Earth, including its landmasses and
bodies of water—may provide a potent and surprising
natural remedy for this challenge and the alarming rise in
chronic inammatory-related diseases. e current study
intended to evaluate the physiological and clinical signicance
of biological grounding.
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10 ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, SEP/OCT 2017 VOL. 23 NO. 5
THE MISSING LINK: PLANET EARTH
In the late 19th century, a back-to-nature movement in
Germany claimed many health benets from being barefoot
or sleeping naked on the ground outdoors, even in cold
weather.10 In the 1920s, G. S. White, an American medical
doctor, investigated the practice of sleeping grounded aer
being informed by some individuals that they could not sleep
properly unless they were on the ground or connected to the
ground in some way, such as with copper wires attached to
water, gas, or radiator pipes that were grounded to Earth. He
reported improved sleep using these techniques.11 However,
these ideas never caught on in mainstream society.
At the end of the 20th century, Ober12 in the United States
and Sokal and Sokal13 in Poland independently found distinct
physiological and health benets with the experimental use of
a variety of indoor conductive arrangements—bed pads, mats,
EKG and TENS-type electrode patches, and copper plates—
connected to Earth outside.
Ober, a pioneer in the cable-television industry,
recognized a similarity between the stabilizing eects of
ground energy on television cable systems specically and on
electrical systems in general and its eects on the human
body.12 Sokal and Sokal,13 meanwhile, concluded that
grounding the human body represents a universal regulating
factor in nature that strongly inuences bioelectrical,
bioenergetic, and biochemical processes and appears to oer
a signicant modulating eect on chronic illnesses.
It is a well-known scientic fact that Earth possesses a
slightly negative electric charge, the result of countless lightning
strikes and solar radiation, among other factors. is planetary
attribute is based on a virtually limitless, unseen, and
continuously renewed reservoir of free electrons, which are
negatively charged subatomic particles.14,15 We use the terms
free or mobile electrons to distinguish them from charged ions,
which diuse much more slowly through tissue uids.
roughout the world, electrical systems are connected
to Earth’s surface and its negative charge to maintain stability
and safety. ese systems, from large grids and power
stations to homes, buildings, and factories as well as the
machinery and appliances that are operated by electricity, are
thus said to be grounded or earthed.
Herein lies the surprise. Research conducted for more
than a decade has demonstrated that Earths charge and
storehouse of electrons represent a major natural resource of
health and healing. Research on biological grounding is now
suggesting that this very same electric charge on the planet’s
surface plays a governing and nurturing role for both the
animal and plant kingdoms—a form of electric nutrition, so
to speak. It appears to have the potential to restore, normalize,
and stabilize the internal environment of the human body’s
countless bioelectrical systems that govern the functions of
organs, tissues, cells, and biological rhythms.16,17
Signicant benets—such as better sleep, reduced
inammation and pain, and improved blood ow—result
from walking barefoot outdoors or sitting, working, or
sleeping indoors in contact with conductive sheets, pads,
mats, bands, and patches that are connected to Earth. Such
contact is believed to transfer Earth’s free or mobile electrons
from the ground into the body, a transfer resulting in rapid,
sometimes instant, and signicant physiological changes now
documented in multiple published studies, most of them
peer reviewed.18
roughout history, humans mostly walked barefoot
and slept on the ground, or they used footwear and bedding
fashioned from animal skins that become permeated with
body perspiration or ground moisture and thus permitted
transfer of Earth’s electrons into the electrically conductive
body. rough this mechanism, every part of the body could
equalize with the electric potential of Earth.
Modern lifestyles, however, have increasingly created a
barrier between humans and a natural conduction of Earth’s
electrons into the body. Since the 1950s, for example, humans
have increasingly worn insulating rubber or plastic soled
shoes, instead of traditional leather, fashioned from hides and
largely conductive. Obviously, humans also no longer sleep in
conductive contact with the ground as they did in times past.
e results of grounding research raise an important
question. Does the current disconnect with Earth’s electrons
represent a critically important and overlooked contribution
to physiological dysfunction and to the alarming global rise
in inammatory-related chronic diseases? e research,
together with global anecdotal feedback, suggests that Earth’s
electric charge is fundamental for maintaining health and
promoting healing.
Figure 1 shows a possible relationship between the
shoe-driven disconnection from Earth’s natural electric
charge and diabetes, an inammatory-related disease. Sales
of shoes with synthetic soles have soared in the United States
since the 1950s. e curve of increase is similar to that of
diabetes. In the 1950s, 95% of shoes were made with leather
soles, many of which were conductive. Currently, 95% of
shoes have synthetic, nonconductive soles. e question
arises as to whether this observation represents a correlation
or a coincidence. Is the loss of our electrical roots a factor in
the rise of diabetes and other inammatory diseases, together
with the usual suspects of sedentary living and
overconsumption of calorie-rich, unnatural, nutrient-poor
food loaded with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
sweeteners?18
FUNCTION OF ELECTRONS IN THE BODY
Humans are bioelectrical beings, with hearts, brains, and
immune and endocrine systems being regulated by internal
bioelectrical signals. On this bioelectrical stage, electrons are
marquee performers. ey are intimately involved in the
body’s countless processes. ey make it possible for atoms to
bond with other atoms and form molecules. Redox reactions
involve the transfer of one or more electrons from one atom
or molecule to another.
Oxygen and reactive oxygen species—free radicals—are
powerful oxidizing agents. When they are secreted at an
injury site by white blood cells, they literally rip electrons out
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e current team’s research indicates that the immune
system may not function eciency in an organism that has
an insuciency of free electrons. Grounding provides the
reinforcements, like the cavalry coming to the rescue.
e manner by which grounding produces rapid and
measurable improvements in whole-body physiology
provides support for a concept rst introduced by Nobel
Laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi in 1941 and again in the
1980s. His remarkable insight was that proteins are
semiconductors, rather than insulators, as had been thought
pre v iously.21-23
Moreover, when many proteins are organized in parallel,
into arrays, as in the crystal lattices found throughout the
human body (eg, in connective tissues, myofascia, tendons,
cell membranes, bones, and muscles) some electrons will
cease to belong to particular atoms or molecules and will be
free to move from place to place within the organism, which
is what the current research team means when it uses the
terms free or mobile to describe these electrons. ese
revolutionary concepts are never discussed in conventional
medicine but must now be reconsidered because they provide
the best explanation for the rapid eects of Earthing. For a
review, see Oschman, Chevalier, and Brown.6
e contemporary research of Gerald Pollack at the
University of Washington features exclusion zone (EZ)
water.24 EZ water refers to the highly organized state of water
within cells discovered to have a vital inuence on every
biochemical process, including the way by which proteins
of molecules, which is the way that damaged cells and other
debris from an injury are destroyed to clear the repair eld so
that regenerative cells can move in and restore structures and
functions. In the oxidative process, oxygen becomes more
stable, while the attacked molecules and cellular debris
disintegrate to be phagocytized by other white blood cells.
Although oxygen is essential to metabolism and life, the
oxygen molecule itself is extremely toxic and the body uses a
variety of antioxidant processes to keep the concentration of
oxygen low in the tissues. Too much oxygen creates oxidative
stress. One of the key reactions in living cells, of course, is the
electron transport chain in mitochondria that produces
adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source for all living
processes. Studies have shown that providing electrons to
animals dramatically increases ATP production and protein
synthesis, 2 processes that are essential for wound healing.19
Electrons from Earth serve as a potent neutralizer or
quencher of electron-seeking free radicals. e term
electron deciency may be appropriate to describe the largely
ungrounded status of most of humanity. As noted, the
modern lifestyle, notably the wearing of shoes with synthetic
soles, has severed us from our electric roots, our connection
with Earth and its natural supply of electrons.
It is interesting to note that one of the side eects of
therapies involving touch, such as massage, is that the
therapist can become depleted. Is this a result of donating
their electrons to patients with a great deal of inammation?
e patient feels better; the therapist gets burned out.21
Figure 1. Possible Relationship Between a Shoe-driven Disconnection From Earth’s Natural Electric Charge and Diabetes, an
Inammatory-related Disease
Abbreviations: CDC, Centers for Disease Control; SGMA, Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
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12 ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, SEP/OCT 2017 VOL. 23 NO. 5
carry out their functions. EZ water is negatively charged and,
according to Pollack, grounding contributes negatively
charged electrons, which further builds EZ water, enhancing
protein folding and providing healthier functioning.
CLINICAL RESULTS OF GROUNDING
e grounding studies conducted to date indicate
multiple and rapid eects achieved by what appears to be the
body’s broad uptake and use of electrons received from
Earth. Findings among the documented results include
(1) reduced inammation and pain, (2) improved blood ow
and reduced blood viscosity, (3) reduced stress, (4) better
sleep, (5) improved energy, and (6) improved response to
trauma and injuries and accelerated wound healing.
Reduction in Inammation and Pain
Grounding reduces or even prevents the cardinal signs
of inammation following injury: redness, heat, swelling,
pain, and loss of function. Most pains, including the most
severe, are due to inammation and typically respond rapidly
to Earthing. Healing-related pains usually lessen, oen
signicantly, in intensity and duration.25-29
Improved Blood Flow and Reduced Blood Viscosity
ick, sludgy, and clumped blood is a hallmark of
cardiovascular disorders and diabetes. Two studies
investigated the eects of Earthing on blood viscosity. e
rst involved participants relaxing for 2 hours, with blood
viscosity determined before and aer by measuring the zeta
potential of red blood cells. e greater the zeta potential, the
greater is the negative charge on the red cells, pushing them
apart and lowering blood viscosity.30 e second study used a
commercial blood viscometer to measure viscosity of
individuals practicing yoga on a grounded yoga mat.31 Both
studies found that Earthing signicantly reduced blood
viscosity.
Two additional studies showed that blood ow regulation
and circulation to the head, face, torso, and extremities were
enhanced within a 1-hour session of grounding in a chair.32,33
ese studies involved the use of laser speckle contrast
imaging and thermography. Together, these studies found
signicant systemic benets, aecting overall and local
health, and suggest that grounding may represent an eective
preventive and therapeutic strategy against diabetes and
cardiovascular disease.
Reduced Stress
Cortisol, a mediator and marker of stress, is associated
with emotional and physiological stress, inammation, and
sleep dysfunction. Chronic elevation of cortisol from stress
can lead to a disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms and
contribute to sleep disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular
disease, decreased bone density, decreased immune response,
mood disturbances, autoimmune diseases, and abnormal
glucose levels. Emotional and physical stress are aggravating
factors for pain and psychological disorders.
Consequently, any natural method for relieving stress
has enormous potential to prevent or decrease the negative
eects of most diseases. In multiple studies,25,29,34-36 grounding
has been documented to exert a benecial eect on stress, a
likely result of systemic inuences in the body, including
(1) a normalizing inuence on cortisol, the stress hormone25;
(2) a calming impact on the electrical activity of the brain34;
(3) a normalization of muscle tension34; (4) a rapid shi from
a typically overactive expression of the sympathetic nervous
system, associated with stress, into a parasympathetic,
calming mode within the autonomic nervous system (ANS)
that regulates heart and respiration rates, digestion,
perspiration, urination, and even sexual arousal35; and
(5) within the ANS, an improvement in heart rate variability
(HRV)—the miniscule variations in the heart’s beat-to-beat
interval—that serves as an accurate reector of stress.38 Low
HRV is associated with stress-related disorders, cardiovascular
disease, diabetes, mental health issues, and reduced lifespan.
Grounding improves HRV to a degree far beyond mere
relaxation.
In a recent study, researchers at Pennsylvania State
University documented immediate and signicant increases
in HRV measurements that indicated improved vagus-nerve
transmission among premature babies.37 Such an eect could
potentially enhance stress and inammatory regulatory
mechanisms.
Better Sleep
is eect is one of the most common responses from
people, including many insomniacs, aer they start
grounding. In a 2004 study, 12 participants slept grounded
for 8 weeks.25 Eleven reported that they fell asleep faster. All
reported waking fewer times during the night. While dierent
people respond dierently, for many grounded sleep reduces
pain from inammation and thereby helps them get better
rest.
Improved Energy
Sleeping grounded provided more morning energy as
well as vitality throughout the day.12,25,29 In the 2004 study,
9 of 12 participants reported a decrease in fatigue
(ie, they were more refreshed and less fatigued).25 Better,
deeper sleep, due to improvement in the day/night cortisol
rhythm, is one explanation.
Improved Response to Trauma and Injuries and
Accelerated Wound Healing
Faster-than-normal wound and surgical healing has been
reported frequently through the years. Accelerated wound
healing, whether involving injury, surgery, or burn, may result
from a combination of reduced inammation as well as improved
circulation—vasodilation and lower blood viscosity—facilitating
the delivery of healing factors to the site.26,29
In the domain of exercise and sports, signicant changes
in immune function responses and markers have been found
among grounded—but not among nongrounded—
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competitions. It is well known that at this extreme level of
grueling performance, cyclists tend to experience slow
wound healing aer injury, threatening their ability to
continue competing. Spencer found that grounding produced
very rapid healing, together with only minimal classical signs
of inammation.
e series of photographs in Figure 2 above demonstrate
vividly the potential for accelerated wound healing, in this
case a typical open, nonhealing wound on the foot of an
elderly diabetic woman. Within one week of grounding, signs
of healing are already obvious.
individuals. In 2 studies of grounding on delayed onset
muscle soreness, grounded participants had less pain, little
inammation, and a shorter recovery time.28,38 Researchers
have also found that grounding during cycling exercise
signicantly reduced the level of blood urea, indicating less
muscle and protein breakdown. ese ndings represent a
major recovery benet for training athletes.39
In competitive sports, dramatic examples of accelerated
healing were reported by chiropractor Je Spencer,40,41
assigned to promote recovery from exertion and injury
among American cyclists during several Tour de France
Figure 2. Accelerated Improvement of an 8-month-old, Nonhealing, Open Wound by the Ankle, Suered by an 84-year-old
Woman With Diabetesa
ae pictures in the right column represent closeups of the photos to the le. e top row shows the open wound and a
pale-gray hue to the skin before grounding. e middle row shows the marked level of healing and improvement in circulation,
as indicated by the skin color, aer 1 week of grounding. e bottom row shows the wound healed over and the skin’s color
looking dramatically healthier aer 2 weeks of grounding.
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14 ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, SEP/OCT 2017 VOL. 23 NO. 5
e cause of the wound was a poorly tted boot that had
resulted in a blister that developed into a resistant open
wound. e sole treatment was a daily, 30-minute grounding
session with an electrode patch while the woman was seated
comfortably. e patient had undergone various treatments
at a specialized wound center with no results. Vascular
imaging of her lower extremities revealed poor circulation.
When rst seen, she had a mild limp and was in pain. Aer
the rst 30 minutes of grounding, the patient described a
noticeable lessening of pain. Aer 1 week, a reduction in pain
of approximately 80% had occurred. At that time, she showed
no evidence of a limp. Aer 2 weeks of daily grounding, she
said the pain had disappeared totally.19
DISCUSSION
Grounding and Biological Rhythms
In explaining the dynamics of grounding, it is important
to mention that the electrically active surface of Earth is a
source of not only electrons, but also key rhythmic processes
vital to normal biological rhythms. e electric eld of Earth
is not steady but varies from moment to moment in a rhythm
known as the Schumann resonance. Behind the world that we
can see with our senses lies a fantastic web of powerful but
invisible energies and forces that aect us every moment of
every day and that can be referred to as geophysical elds
the invisible energies of Earth’s gravity, magnetism, electricity,
and electromagnetism. Human knowledge of these elds
comes from centuries of detailed study in a variety of
scientic elds: biology, physics, geophysics, atmospheric
physics, astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology.
Relationships with these geophysical rhythms are
absolutely vital for health. Human physiology has more than
100 biological rhythms that are timed and coordinated with
rhythms in the environment.42
ese rhythms are especially important for women.
Female physiology and reproduction are regulated by an array
of hormones, the concentrations of which vary from moment
to moment in relation to rhythmic changes in the environment.
When a womans body rhythms are properly synchronized
with her geophysical environment, she feels ne. When she
becomes disconnected from the environmental pace-setting
rhythms, her hormonal systems can become chaotic and can
make themselves known with a variety of symptoms, some of
which are very uncomfortable. e invisible silent pulses of
nature give rise to normal hormonal regulations. Disconnection
from the environment can disrupt these regulations, and
grounding provides a simple way to restore balance.
One of the key elements in the grounding package is
connection with the Schumann resonance, a standing wave
made of electromagnetic elds vibrating at 7.83 Hz—
vibrating approximately 8 times per second. It also has
harmonics at higher frequencies, such as 14.3 Hz, 20.8 Hz,
27.3 Hz, and 33.8 Hz, produced collectively by lightning
strikes throughout the world.
Have you ever stood in a hallway or stairwell or a large
room and noticed that your voice creates a sort of echo or
reverberation? You are creating standing waves. In physics, a
standing wave is caused by the presence of 2 waves traveling
in opposite directions. Common examples of standing waves
are provided by musical instruments, such as organ pipes or
violin strings. Waves traveling in a pipe or along a string will
reect back when they reach the ends. e back-and-forth
waves join to create a resonant tone or frequency that is
characteristic of the geometry of the space. Pressing a guitar
or violin string against dierent regions on the fret or
ngerboard changes the eective length of the string and,
therefore, the resonant frequency of the standing waves that
can be produced.
In 1952, the German physicist Professor W. O. Schumann
of the Technical University of Munich predicted that
electromagnetic standing waves would be established in the
atmosphere, within the giant resonant space between the
surface of Earth and the ionosphere. e space or cavity
between the ionosphere and Earth’s surface is now used in
wireless information transfer over long distances. Radio
signals bounce back and forth between the 2 surfaces. is
skip phenomenon has been widely studied because it is the
basis for long-distance radio communications.
Similarly, cloud-to-Earth lightning bolts pump energy
into the cavity, creating standing electromagnetic waves that
travel around Earth at the speed of light, circumnavigating
the entire planet on average 7.83 times per second. A person
standing on Earth at any point will be exposed to these
Schumann frequencies. To use physics terminology, lightning
pumps electromagnetic energy into the cavity, which causes
that electromagnetic energy to vibrate or resonate at the
resonant frequency of the cavity in the extremely
low-frequency range (7.83 Hz). At the same time, lightning
bolts bring electrons from the ionosphere to the surface of
Earth. Multiple lightning strikes produce complex standing
waves.
Just as organs use pipes of dierent sizes to produce
dierent notes and dierent frequencies of standing waves,
the frequency of the Schumann resonance varies as the
ionosphere breathes in and out due to the atmospheric tides.
Many scientists have recognized the similarity of the
Schumann signal and the alpha brainwave measured with an
electroencephalogram. It has been suggested that the
Schumann resonance has been ingrained into all life. Many
biologists have concluded that the frequency overlap of
Schumann resonances and biological elds is not accidental
but is the culmination of a close interplay between these
elds over evolutionary time.
Grounding and the Immune System
Scientists believe that our immune system evolved in the
course of millions of years of barefoot contact with the
surface of Earth. One can assume that protective antioxidant
and anti-inammatory electrons from Earth were readily
obtained by previous cultures during this vast stretch of time
as a result of ordinary existence. Life involved direct contact
with Earth, which is no longer the case.
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an example, the combination of earthing and warfarin
(Coumadin) has the potential to exert a compounded blood
thinning eect and must be supervised by a physician.
Anecdotes of an elevated international normalized ratio
(INR) have been reported. INR is a widely used measurement
of coagulation. Earthing may also improve thyroid function
and glucose metabolism and possibly require an adjustment
in medication dosages.18
CONCLUSIONS
New research indicates that grounding the body generates
broad, benecial, and signicant physiological changes. e
source of these eects is believed to be the mobile electrons
omnipresent on the surface of Earth, which are responsible for
the planet’s negative charge. Lifestyle changes have disconnected
most humans from this primordial health and healing resource,
creating what may be an unrecognized electron deciency in
the body, an overlooked cause or contributor to chronic
inammation and common chronic and degenerative diseases.
When Earth connection is restored through grounding,
electrons ood throughout the body, reducing inammation
and oxidative stress while also reinforcing the body’s own
defense mechanisms. Electron transfers are the basis of
virtually all antioxidant and anti-inammatory activity. And
Earth may very well be the ultimate supplier! When the supply
is restored, humans have the potential to thrive.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
e authors wish to thank Martin Zucker for assistance in writing this paper.
AUTHOR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
James L. Oschman, Stephen T. Sinatra, and Gaétan Chevalier own shares of EarthingFX,
the company that manufactures indoor grounding systems.
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Did the immune system begin weakening as we started
wearing shoes with insulating soles during the 1950s, leading
to the ever-rising unwellness plaguing the world today?
It is widely suspected that causal factors include overload
from environmental toxicants, chronic antibiotic use,
sedentary living, emotional stress, and ingestion of unnatural,
processed foods, genetically modied-GMOs among them.
Nobody thinks of their shoes, however, as a cause of chronic
inammation, but grounding research certainly points an
incriminating nger at footwear and the resulting
disconnection with Earth’s healing energy.
Grounding research is at an early stage, but the evidence
compiled thus far consistently demonstrates that a great
frontier of health and healing potential has been opened—
right beneath our noses, or, more specically, right under our
feet. Humans have abandoned nature in many ways.
Grounding reconnects humans to one aspect that has been
largely lost and overlooked.
e Clinical Prospects of Grounding
For clinicians, grounding oers the prospect of a
practical and simple strategy to help restore health, relieve
patients’ aches and pains, and serve both preventive and
therapeutic goals. Either by itself or in conjunction with
conventional strategies, it can greatly improve patient
outcomes with little eort.
Some ways to integrate grounding as a clinical strategy
include (1) recommending outdoor barefoot sessions,
(2) holding grounding sessions in the clinic, (3) oering
grounding products to patients, and (4) using a grounding
mat on the treatment table to reduce practitioners’ typical
energy burnout.
Barefoot Sessions. Recommend outdoor barefoot
sessions to patients, weather and conditions permitting. Ober
has observed that going barefoot for approximately
30 or 40 minutes daily can signicantly reduce pain and
stress.18 Barefoot grounding outside is free; however, many
people will neither have the time nor the inclination to add
such a routine to their lives. For these and other people
interested in pursuing outdoor grounding, conductive
footwear is commercially available.
Grounding in the Clinic. Ground patients in the clinic
with 30-minute or 1-hour sessions using grounding products,
such as conductive chairs, mats, and patches.
Grounding Products. Oer grounding products to
patients or direct them to vendors. A variety of grounding
systems are available for indoor use while sleeping, working,
or relaxing.
Grounding Mat. For physicians or their assistants using
touch for palpating or adjusting patients, a grounding mat
placed on the treatment table has been reported by practitioners
to reduce typical energy burnout at the end of the day.20
One caveat exists. Because of the broad physiological
eects generated by grounding, medication dosages may be
impacted. is clinically relevant issue is discussed in the
Earthing book18 and on the Earthing Institute’s Web site.43 As
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Sinatra—Electric Nutrition
16 ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, SEP/OCT 2017 VOL. 23 NO. 5
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sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and
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Multi-disciplinary research has revealed that electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (grounding or earthing) produces intriguing effects on physiology and health. Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The purpose of this report is two-fold: to 1) inform researchers about what appears to be a new perspective to the study of inflammation, and 2) alert researchers that the length of time and degree (resistance to ground) of grounding of experimental animals is an important but usually overlooked factor that can influence outcomes of studies of inflammation, wound healing, and tumorigenesis. Specifically, grounding an organism produces measurable differences in the concentrations of white blood cells, cytokines, and other molecules involved in the inflammatory response. We present several hypotheses to explain observed effects, based on current research results and our understanding of the electronic aspects of cell and tissue physiology, cell biology, biophysics, and biochemistry. An experimental injury to muscles, known as delayed onset muscle soreness, has been used to monitor the immune response under grounded versus ungrounded conditions. Grounding reduces pain and alters the numbers of circulating neutrophils and lymphocytes, and also affects various circulating chemical factors related to inflammation.
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