By Dr. Mercola
Have you ever noticed how good it feels to walk barefoot on a sandy beach, or in a forest? There is a reason for that—it’s called the grounding effect. The reason for this sense of well-being is due to the fact that you’re receiving a surge of potent healing electrons from the ground.
The earth has a slightly negative charge, so when you stand barefoot on that sand, electrons from the earth flow into your body, giving you a virtual “transfusion” of healing power.
The featured documentary, The Grounded 2, is a sequel to the film The Grounded, released in 2013. The sequel features Step Sinatra, the son of cardiologist Stephen Sinatra MD, astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, and yours truly, among many others.
Step was a Wall Street trader until his health suddenly began to decline, bringing him to the brink of death. He credits his ultimate recovery to learning about grounding, along with a switch to an all-organic diet.
In 2010, his father, Dr. Stephen Sinatra released a book on the healing power of grounding called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, co-authored with Clint Ober, one of the pioneers in this field.
The Ultimate Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
Grounding or Earthing is defined as placing one's bare feet on the ground whether it be dirt, grass, sand, or concrete (especially when humid or wet). When you ground to the electron-enriched earth, an improved balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system occurs.
The earth is a natural source of electrons and subtle electrical fields, which are essential for proper functioning of immune systems, circulation, synchronization of biorhythms and other physiological processes and may actually be the most effective, essential, least expensive, and easiest to attain antioxidant.
Modern science has thoroughly documented the connection between inflammation and all of the chronic diseases, including the diseases of aging and the aging process itself. It is important to understand that inflammation is a condition that can be reduced or prevented by grounding your body to the Earth, the way virtually all of your ancestors have done for hundreds if not thousands of generations.
How the Modern Running Shoe May Be Destroying Your Health
Materials such as metals are electrical conductors. They contain free or mobile electrons that can carry electrical energy from place to place.
Your body is somewhat conductive because it contains a large number of charged ions (called electrolytes) dissolved in water. Your blood and other body fluids are therefore good conductors. Free or mobile electrons can also move about within your body
Other materials, called insulators, have very few free or mobile electrons. Plastic and rubber are good insulators and are used to cover electrical wires to keep the conductors from touching each other and from touching your skin, which could otherwise give you a shock.
Traditionally, shoes were made of leather, which actually conducts electrons and therefore maintains a conductive contact between the earth and your feet. However, modern day rubber and plastics are electrical insulators and therefore block the beneficial flow of electrons from the Earth to your body.
Grounding Is a Foundational Aspect for Optimal Health
Free radical stress from exposure to mercury pollution, cigarettes, insecticides, pesticides, trans fats, radiation, and many others, continually deplete your body of electrons.
This is one of the primary reasons why antioxidants are used, which actually donate electrons back into your body, to help ward off free radical damage to your tissues.
You can also get these electrons by going outside, barefoot. Touching the earth helps neutralize the damaging positive charges of free radicals in your body.
According to Clint Ober, this lack of grounding appears to be an underlying thread in most chronic disease—a phenomenon he calls “electron deficiency syndrome.”
For a visual demonstration of this, review my previous article, which features an experiment conducted by Gary Schwartz, PhD, at the University of Arizona. Using sunflowers, he demonstrates the powerful biological effects of grounding.
The Health Effects of Grounding
When your body is exposed to a lot of free radical stress, your blood tends to thicken, and positive charges accumulate in your body. This causes chronic inflammation, which is a hallmark of most chronic and degenerative diseases.
Grounding effectively helps alleviate inflammation in your body. It also helps thin your blood, by providing your red blood cells with a surplus of electrons so they can effectively repel each other and avoid being sticky, which can lead to blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke. Research has demonstrated it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your bloodstream and transform your blood cells.
For example, early (and even some current) birth control pills were notorious for causing heart attacks in women. One of the mechanisms responsible for this increased risk is that synthetic estrogens and progesterones increase blood viscosity. Other biochemical alterations caused by grounding include changes in:
- Calcium metabolism
- Fibroid metabolism
- White blood cells
Grounding also helps calm your sympathetic nervous system, which supports your heart rate variability, which plays an important role in balancing, in your autonomic nervous system. Pain relief, improved sleep, and a generally enhanced sense of well-being are but a few of the health benefits reported by people who try grounding.
Last but not least, when you are grounded to the earth, the negatively charged electrons you receive increase the structure of the water in your cells—just as water increases in structure when a negative charge is introduced by an electrode.
As explained by Gerald Pollack, PhD, author of The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor, living water is negatively charged water. This water can hold energy, much like a battery, and can deliver energy too. In essence, when you ground, you are charging every single cell in your body with energy your body can use for self-healing.
How to Ground, Both Indoors and Outdoors
Walking barefoot is one of the easiest and best ways to get and stay grounded, but you’ll need to do so on the proper surface. Many walking surfaces in today’s modern world will NOT allow for electron transfer between the earth and your body. This includes asphalt, wood, rubber, plastic, vinyl, tar, and tarmac. Surfaces that will allow your body to ground include:
- Sand (beach)
- Grass (preferably moist)
- Bare soil
- Concrete and brick (as long as it's not painted or sealed)
- Ceramic tile
Even indoors, and while flying, there are ways to help you stay grounded. As noted in the film, touching the faucet with one hand while shaving with the other helps you ground. And when flying, you can take off your shoes and place your feet (bare or with socks) on the steel struts of the chair in front of you, as this too will help you stay grounded. There are also grounding pads you can use to sleep or sit on, which can be particularly beneficial if you live in a high-rise building.
Grounding May Be Essential for Life and Health
It’s important to understand that grounding is not a "treatment" or a "cure" for any disease or disorder. Rather, it is one of the key mechanisms by which your body maintains equilibrium and health. The human body evolved in constant contact with the earth, and your body needs this continuous interchange of energy in order to function properly.
Exercising barefoot outdoors is one of the most wonderful, inexpensive and powerful ways of incorporating grounding into your daily life. You can also simply take off your shoes as much as you can when you’re outdoors to take advantage of these natural grounding opportunities.