The Science of Grounding

by Sharon Whiteley, Co-author of Barefoot Wisdom and CEO of Harmony783.

**Grounding has been around for some time, but the scientific community has been doing more studies on this practice to determine potential health benefits.**

Lately, we have all been hearing two important catch-all words — Self Care — and we all know this should be amongst our top priorities. Rather than solely relying on prescriptions and traditional medical remedies or expensive treatments promising life-changing results to help improve conditions (and hopefully even diseases), today more than ever people are looking for alternative, natural, yet efficacious and less costly ways to find helpful solutions — and preferably, ones that work!

What could be better than using the earth itself as a natural agent for comfort? This is the story and science behind “grounding.” This practice has been around for eons — one could say since the first day human beings walked the earth. It is only recently, however, that scientific, medical, and alternative wellness practitioners and communities have started to take a more in-depth look and study the many health and wellness benefits. Over 25 peer-reviewed and published scientific studies have reported that grounding is neither a “woo-woo crunchy granola remedy” nor a far-fetched and hollow promise. It’s science and it’s nature.

A quick review of what grounding — also called “earthing” — is and how it affects the body is relatively easy to understand, although new to many of us. Before I learned about it over a decade ago, I thought grounding was something you imposed on a kid who needed a little time out for an infraction. Of course, that’s one interpretation, but not what we are talking about today. Grounding is an amazingly beneficial and positive practice based on science. Simply put, it is the practice of connecting with the earth’s electrical field to enable the flow of nourishing electrons into one’s body by direct bodily contact with the earth.

Walking barefoot, or wearing “grounding” shoes — on grass, sand, soil, stone, and even concrete city sidewalks — is a basic way to make this essential contact. Other examples of grounding include working in your garden with a bare part of your body such as knees, toes, or hands with part of your skin exposed to the soil; taking a shower or a bath letting the water softly drip through the spigot; swimming in the ocean or a natural lake; and yes, even hugging a tree as well as touching plants or bushes all grounds you. For those indulgent delights, which are very welcome today, getting a Pedi in a modern chair with water spewing through the pipes into the tub electrically will ground you, too. This direct contact with the earth brings your body back to a natural state of homeostasis; this is a balance between your physical and chemical bodily makeup.

Published studies show how grounding can benefit not only persistent conditions but also chronic illnesses. Some of the most significant findings include a reduction of inflammation, increased circulation, relief from insomnia and anxiety, normalization of blood pressure, and improved cardiovascular health.  

Below is a closer look at some of these conditions and the results of scientific studies showing positive outcomes related to grounding.

Cardiovascular Disease

Strokes and heart disease remain top in the news these days and are major health concerns in the United States. According to the American Heart Association’s website, someone dies of cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds in the United States and someone has a stroke every 40 seconds.

These are alarming statistics and we all should make heart health a top priority, even if not top of mind and even if no family history hints at the disease. Grounding is becoming more mainstream and offers a fast, inexpensive, and very easy way to help support heart health.

Health practitioners have explained that in individuals with no heart disease, their blood has the consistency of red wine. People with heart disease, however, have thicker blood, some reporting it is as ketchup-like in consistency. A 2013 article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine focused on a clinical trial where participants wore conductive patches on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet. In this study, the wires of these patches were attached to stainless steel rods which were then implanted in the earth. Small blood samples were taken from each participant as controls. After only two hours, the second batch of blood samples was taken and compared to the first batch. The consistency of blood in the second group of samples had thinned considerably.

Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a board-certified cardiologist and a longtime advocate of grounding as a method to help heart disease. He has written extensively on this topic and says walking barefoot in the grass, sand, or dirt for as little as 30 to 40 minutes optimally can have a tremendously positive effect on our heart health. He also is a fan of grounding footwear and wrote the forward to Barefoot Wisdom: Better Health through Grounding, co-authored by HARMONY783’s CEO and co-founder, along with Dr. Ann Marie Chiasson, an allopathic and integrative medical practitioner — “and quite a shaman.” On a very personal note, I attribute being grounded to being alive today. I had a heart attack two years ago and am here today to follow my passion in the grounding arena because I believe being grounded at the time of the event enabled me to get to the hospital in time for a lifesaving procedure. Being told I had 90 minutes to live and asked if I had a living will was quite sobering, to say the least!

Inflammation

This is a critically important topic and more in the news than ever before. In the past we often associated this with the aches and pains of arthritis and other pesky conditions. Today inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases.

The Earth contains an infinite number of what are called “electrons.” These are naturally replenished by occurrences like lightning strikes. Our bodies absorb these electrons through direct contact with many natural surfaces, such as water, dirt, sand, and grass.

Electrons have a natural anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies; in effect, the less direct contact we have with the earth, the greater the odds of developing inflammation and pain. A 2015 article in the Journal of Inflammation Research published the results of a study that measured the effects of grounding on inflammation and wound healing. You really should read through their findings!

Insomnia

Another health and wellness biggie is sleep or rather, sleeplessness. Many have had the occasional sleepless night; however, others suffer from chronic insomnia. Grounding has been recommended as an aid for this common condition. The practice is reported to not only return the ease of natural sleep but also improve the quality of your slumber. Sleep also is important to support your immune system, another critically important area to take good care of during the days upon us. There are two ways to practice grounding as a sleep aid:

  • Sleep outside with a bare body part touching the ground to get the full effect of grounding.
  • Use a grounding product that connects your body to an interior grounding port when indoors.

Science is taking a particularly close look at grounding and how it can help sleeplessness. It is reported to regulate the levels of cortisol — a chemical that can be high in people who experience chronic insomnia.

One clinical trial featured in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine evaluated the biological effects of grounding on cortisol levels during sleep. Twelve subjects slept on grounding mattress pads in their beds for eight weeks. The results indicated the subjects’ night-time cortisol levels were significantly reduced as they slept.

There are several grounding products available specifically for improving sleep, such as mattress pads or grounding sheets on your bed or a multipurpose grounding mat. These aid you to sleep, sit, or stand upon in order to get the maximum effects of the practice when indoors. Many sources exist for these products, with new ones currently being developed as the practice of grounding becomes more mainstream!

Concluding Thoughts

Science is showing more evidence that the practice of grounding has many positive health and wellness benefits. It is an inexpensive and effective way to reset your internal rhythm and alleviate several physical and mental health conditions as well. Why not give it a try to see how it works for you?

 We highly recommend it!

About the Author:

Sharon Whiteley is a serial entrepreneur, inventor, manufacturer, author and speaker with a talent for recognizing emerging consumer trends and a proven track record engaging people on an emotional and actionable level. She is the founder and CEO of TRU47 an innovative company focused on natural, safe and toxic free anti-microbial products embedded or imbued with pure silver that support people’s well-being. She is also the CEO and a co-founder of a new grounding footwear company, HARMONY783, launching in November of 2020. Preceding these ventures Sharon was CEO of Listen Brands llc, a lifestyle company that created, manufactured, marketed, and distributed innovative leading-edge products that enhance the lives of people through grounding, also called earthing. The company’s flagship line featured classic and timeless fashionable footwear under the brand name pluggz.

Throughout her careers, Sharon has aligned her business interests with her personal values — nurturing human potential and promoting positivity. That was the mission of ThirdAge Inc., an online health & wellness content site focused on baby boomers and active mid-lifers, where she was CEO. Prior to her foray into online media, and long before neuroimaging would confirm it, Sharon recognized the power words have on one’s physiology and wellbeing. That inspired her to create Peacock Papers, a leading-edge creator, manufacturer and marketer of typographically designed “positive message” products including gift, stationery and imprinted apparel. Fourteen years later, Peacock acquired one of its competitors and the resulting merger created Contempo Colours where she became President and Chief Creative Officer. The expanded enterprise grew to $50 million and was subsequently sold to the publicly held American Greetings.

Earlier, Sharon spent 12 years in the specialty retail shopping center development industry where she was regarded a trail blazer and merchandising innovator. She was integrally involved as a principal in the development and financial success of numerous major specialty and urban retail shopping centers. Among her notable accomplishments was her creation and execution of the transitory merchandising Pushcart concept in Boston’s famed Faneuil Hall Marketplace, now a staple in shopping centers globally and forerunner to pop-up stores. During this period, she also created and launched innovative retail concept stores, many becoming catalysts for large scale national chain store adaptations.

Sharon’s work has garnered her many awards, including the regional Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsored by Ernst and Young in the Wholesale/Retail category, The Creative Imagination Award from Champion Paper and the SBA’s Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She wasrecognized as one of Fast Company’s Fast 50 Favorites and received a distinguished merit award by the Society for Social Communications Research. Her alma mater, Skidmore College, recently honored her with a Lifetime Achievement award, The Creative Thought Matters Award of Distinction, in recognition of her numerous contributions to outstanding enterprise creation.  

A sought-after speaker, Sharon has been a guest lecturer at Harvard Business School, Columbia University, Babson College, Stanford Business School on entrepreneurship, enterprise creation and retail innovation, and in industry arenas on health & wellness and grounding. She is a co-author of The Old Girls’ Network: Insider Advice for Women Building Businesses in a Man’s World (Basic Books/Perseus), a “how-to” guide for aspiring entrepreneurs, endorsed by major business leaders, and additionally profiled in others including Enlightened Power: How Women are Transforming the Practice of Leadership (Josey Bass).

A longtime mentor to entrepreneurs, Sharon was a founding partner in 8Wings Ventures, a private equity group focused on early-stage enterprises. She is a current member and former Board Director of The Committee of 200 (C200), an international organization of preeminent women business leaders and the World President’s Organization (YPO/WPO); an advisor to the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE) and a founding member of the Belizean Grove. Sharon also held the position of Chair of the advisory board at the National Center on Women & Aging at Brandeis University and is a former Board Director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Her new book co-authored with Dr. Ann Maire Chiasson – Barefoot Wisdom: Better Health through Grounding is in bookstores nationwide and online as well as available as an audiobook.