Earthing, also called grounding, refers to the idea that staying in touch with the earth or ground has a positive impact on your health. Some practitioners call it a therapeutic technique whereas others call it pseudoscience. People who ground themselves for health reasons consider that they are exposed to dangerously high levels of electromagnetic radiation due to the modern electromagnetic fields used in microwaves, mobile, and internet connectivity. This is a root cause of our lifestyle, diseases, and even cancers. There is no scientific evidence for the same. Critics argue that the positive effects of grounding on mood are due to a placebo effect or stress reduction.
What does the current research say about earthing?
In many studies, there are reports of people experiencing health benefits from earthing. Most health professionals believe earthing to be a pseudoscience. However, some of the reported benefits include:
- Looking younger and healthier
- Reduction of pain
- Alleviation of chronic fatigue
- Improvement in mood
- A decrease in anxiety, stress, and depression
- Good sleep
The first study that looked at this connection examined the effect of earthing on 10 hypertensive patients. All the patients had improved blood pressure readings and control within several months of starting earthing. However, 10 is small sample size for a valid scientific study. The reason for improvements in said patients may be increased physical activity when one “walks” regularly, grounded or otherwise.
Due to the lack of sufficient scientific evidence, scientists do not recommend earthing as a stand-alone therapy for various illnesses. Though walking through forests and beaches is definitely calming to the mind and a stress buster, more evidence is required to form a promising treatment for chronic conditions, such as heart diseases, diabetes, chronic non-healing wounds, and auto-immune diseases (for example, lupus). Some doctors have been employing the earthing practice as an alternative and complementary mode of therapy to medicines.
Though earthing is a relatively safe therapy, it is advised to not use it as a replacement for your ongoing conventional treatment unless instructed by your physician. Avoid self-treating yourself. Delay in getting the right treatments can worsen your existing illness.
What are the types of earthing?
It is claimed that you can reap the benefits of grounding in ways that include:
|Walk barefoot||You can walk over the grass or on the beach sand. Pavements do not provide the earthing effect as much as these two.|
|Lie on the ground||You can lie on the grass in the garden or on the sand at the beach.|
|Get into the water bodies||You can either dip and wade your feet or legs into a clear lake or river or go swimming in the ocean.|
|Wear clothing made of natural fibers||Clothing made of cotton, wool, or any natural fiber is conductive. Make sure it is not too thick.|
|Use grounding equipment||For people who are too busy to ground themselves directly on the earth through the ways described above, there are alternatives. There is earthing equipment to incorporate earthing therapy into your daily life.|
You can find all these types of equipment in stores: physical and online.
Does earthing carry any risks?
Earthing practice carried out by walking barefoot in the parks or beach has minor risks. Make sure that you observe and avoid any sharp things that may come in your walking trail. Diabetics or people with poor sensation in feet may injure themselves walking without footwear. Walking barefoot increases the risk for hookworm or threadworm infection.
While you make use of earthing equipment, read the instructions that come along with the pamphlets of the products carefully to avoid electric shocks. Be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to stay safe.
Earthing is claimed to have a mild blood-thinning effect. You may need to take precautions if you are on blood-thinning medications, such as Aspirin and Warfarin. Regular walking or physical activity that is a part of earthing may also improve thyroid function and help control blood sugar levels. Medications that target these parameters may need to be adjusted. Hence, remember to let your doctor know if you have adopted the earthing practice as a daily routine.
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Menigoz W, Latz TT, Ely RA, Kamei C, Melvin G, Sinatra D. Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine Strategies Should Include Earthing (Grounding): Review of Research Evidence and Clinical Observations. Explore (NY). May-June 2020;16(3):152-160. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31831261/