Several months ago my friend, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, gave me a book called “Earthing”. Steve is a co-author of the book, and he has been telling me about the concepts behind “Earthing” and the wonderful stories of people who have benefited from applying to their own health the principles explained in the book. Now that my new book (available Fall 2011) has been completed, I finally got around to reading “Earthing.” I loved it and highly recommend it.
What is Earthing? It is about getting “back to Nature”. It is that which, in the world of electricians, is called grounding. It means connecting to Mother Earth – walking barefoot on the grass or beach, or using very special devices that ground you.
In today’s world, we walk in shoes that have rubber or leather soles, we sleep in beds not in contact with the ground, and when we do walk barefoot in our houses we walk on carpet or wood, etc. We spend very little time in contact with the Earth. Why is this important?
As I have noted in previous newsletters, inflammation is a recognized major underlying problem of many diseases including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, lupus, MS, eczema, fibromyalgia, and diabetes, etc. Heavy metals, pesticides, chemicals, and solvents contribute to the inflammation.
Being disconnected from the Earth also contributes to the inflammatory process.
Inflammation is a good thing in an acute situation. It is desirable that the immune system is called into action in response to pathogens or physical injury. As part of that response, cells release free radicals to help destroy pathogens and help heal damaged tissue. A free radical is an atom or molecule which is missing an electron. Free radicals will seek out free electrons in order to become stable. Damaged tissue and pathogens, providing a ready supply of electrons, attract the free radicals. As the pathogens die and the diseased tissue disappears, the excess free radicals produced by the immune response are neutralized by the body’s free electrons, many of which are supplied by antioxidants. This response is essential and normal.
Sometimes, however, the inflammation response doesn’t wind down; rather, it continues and begins to attack the surrounding normal tissue, producing chronic inflammation, as the body sends more and more free radicals to respond to the newly destroyed normal tissue. Your body is now attacking itself and you have what doctors call an autoimmune disease. This pattern becomes a vicious cycle.
The premise of “Earthing” is that, if one is not grounded, one’s body has a shortage of free electrons with which to quench the chronic inflammatory response. Your immune system is out of control, and you are on the way to chronic illness.
The Earth has a vast reservoir of electrons, and connecting to the earth will supply the needed free electrons to quench the inflammatory problems.Using thermographic images, researchers have demonstrated that, in a short period of time, people who are grounded (by sleeping on a grounded pad or by having grounded electrode patches placed on the areas of inflammation), experience a decrease in inflammation.
Dr. Sinatra performed an experiment on heart rate variability (HRV). In general, those people who have a low variability of heart rate are more prone to cardiovascular problems. Grounding was found to improve HRV after only 40 minutes. More research is needed to see what effect sleeping on a grounded bed may have!
Many patient stories shared in this book described a decrease in high blood pressure, lower blood viscosity, decreased menopausal symptoms, fewer arthritic symptoms, better sleep, better athletic performance, and much more.
If you can’t regularly walk on the grass or beach, there are various other ways to ground yourself. There are special bed sheets, bed pads, electrode patches, sandals, pads to sit on while at work or home, and foot pads to use when seated. These are grounded directly into the earth outside a window by a wire and metal rod or by connecting into the ground part of a grounded outlet.
I have been sleeping on a grounded mattress sheet for the past month and have noticed that I am in a “deeper” sleep. I am glad to share with my patients this new approach for keeping ourselves healthy.