HEALTH CENTER

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Earthing: The Basics by Kenneth Pierce, D.O., MS, CPE

Dr. PierceThirty years ago, one of my medical instructors at The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine would tell his patients to spend at least an hour per day walking barefoot in the grass, dirt or sand. He claimed that this would greatly benefit their health physically and emotionally. This somewhat “hippie-ish” instructor was thought to be a little esoteric, both by students and colleagues, at the time. While skeptical of these claims, I had great respect for this physician and I have never needed a reason to go barefoot as often as possible!

Fast-forward to October 2016. In a key note lecture delivered to the attendees of The American Osteopathic Association National Convention (OMED 2016) in Anaheim, California, Dr. Deepak Chopra described the many benefits of “earthing” or “grounding” – essentially walking barefoot on the surface of the earth (grass, dirt, sand, etc.).

While the concept of “grounding”, now more commonly known as “earthing” has been promoted since the 1960s, there has been a resurgence of interest in this activity. A Google search of “earthing” will provide you with ample material on this topic.

Here is a brief introduction to earthing, promoted to be a therapeutic process by which you connect with the earth. The theory behind the healing power of earthing is that electrons present in the earth’s surface can be transmitted to your body when you walk barefoot or sleep on natural ground. Purported benefits include:

  • A normalizing effect on hormone productionearthing
  • Influence better sleep
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduction in inflammation by serving as a “natural” antioxidant
  • Reduction in muscle and joint pain
  • Boost positive moods
  • Promote a healthy immune system

 

While there are a few published research articles supporting these outcomes (see below), most of the published information is anecdotal. In other words, people try it, they like it, and they tell others about their positive experience. In any event, my research has uncovered no downside or worrisome side-effects to earthing.  Earthing appears to be completely safe.

Be aware that there is a significant commercial investment by some companies that would like to sell you products that you can use indoors at home, or at work to create an Earthing experience. Deepak Chopra has installed earthing pads in his organization, The Chopra Center, for his staff’s benefit.

It is true that our body is mostly made up of water and minerals and is a good conductor of electricity (electrons). It is also known that the Earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. Earthing proponents claim that the free electrons on the surface of the earth are easily transferred to the human body when there is direct contact with the earth.

Therefore, proponents believe, when you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the Earth’s surface) the Earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, inducing physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health. Our synthetically soled shoes act as insulators, so even when we are outside we do not connect with the Earth’s electric field.

While I do not endorse any commercial product, I do invite you to kick your shoes off and take leisurely walk in the sand or grass and see if you feel better. Let me know how it goes. Your feedback is appreciated. To your best health!

Resources:

  1. J Inflamm Res. 2015 Mar 24;8:83-96. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S69656. eCollection 2015. The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Oschman JL1, Chevalier G2, Brown R3
  1. Altern Ther Health Med. 2016 Apr;22 Suppl 1:24-33. Health Effects of Alkaline Diet and Water, Reduction of Digestive-tract Bacterial Load, and Earthing. Mousa HA.
  1. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:291541. doi: 10.1155/2012/291541. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons.

Chevalier G1, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P

  1. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:291541. doi: 10.1155/2012/291541. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons.

Chevalier G1, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P.

  1. J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Nov;13(9):955-67.

Can electrons act as antioxidants? A review and commentary.

Oschman JL

  1. Earthing: the most important health discovery ever? Clinton Ober, Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra and M. Zucker, 2010 (Basic Health Publications, Inc., Laguna Beach, CA.).

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.