Have you ever heard of either?
Neither had I until a few months ago. Grounding and earthing are synonymous terms.
What is Grounding or Earthing?
It supposedly happens when you walk barefoot (or with leather soles) on dirt, sand, concrete, rocks, and grass. It is all about connecting to the Earth’s surface with barefeet, or sitting and lying on the ground. This is supposed to bring favorable physiological electrical changes in your body which are healthful. Rubber soles supposedly block or inhibit the transmission of important electrons into your body. Also, more and more are claiming that grounding helps with disruptive electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) that we are exposed to.
Some people further ground by putting special grounding sleep mats on their beds or using other grounding things you can buy. But I usually want to go the simple, easy, inexpensive, and effective routes whenever I can, so in this case it would be like walking on wet grass, walking on wet sand at the beach, and laying on the concrete driveway. Yes, I like to do the latter especially on warm evenings. However, I sit up if I hear a car driving by so they don’t think I am dead and stop.
Grounding is a controversial concept that the proponents claim is very healthful. Then there are middle-ground constituents who are skeptical and would like to see more research, and then of course, there are the nay-sayers who quickly brush all of this off as bunk.
Advocates of Grounding
I will start off with those who buy into grounding wholeheartedly. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health.” Then there are Clinton Ober, Martin Zucker, and Dr. Stephen Sinatra who wrote a whole book about it titled, “Earthing”. The supposed health benefits from grounding include better immune function; reduction in stress, inflammation, and pain; improves sleep, influences electrolytes and cortisol levels, and neutralizes free radicals.
Interested, But Skeptical
As for the interested but skeptical people, I found Mark Sisson who is big on going barefoot anyway. He wrote an interesting article on it in Mark’s Daily Apple on July 12, 2011. You can check it out in the link above. One thing I really like about Sisson in general is his reasoned, balanced approach with some scientific evidence. I often like to get his take on things. He thinks there is a lot of anecdotal evidence in the book “Earthing” and not enough studies done for his liking, however, he is willing to be open to the idea that it is a real phenomenon.
Another middle grounder (no pun intended!) is Dr. Andrew Weil, who when asked if there is “anything to earthing” responded that some studies have shown it to be beneficial, that it needs more research, and also warns against commercialism, as there have been quite a few products crop up that can supposedly help you get better grounded, like special shoes and beds.
A third open critic is Dr. John Briffa who actually tested grounding out on himself and found it to work on 2 out of 3 different pains. He also believes that there may really be something to it, although he also thought there was the possibility that the first two pains may have been alleviated due to a placebo effect.
One detractor, Steven Novella, calls grounding a pseudoscience in a blog that is filled, in my opinion, with bad logic. Another writer, Christopher Mims in MIT Technology Review calls it “a bunch of horse pucky”, but does not give any convincing arguments either.
I don’t really know where I stand on the subject. I see preliminarily that some studies do point to the validity of grounding. So, I am taking a wait and see approach, but would not be surprised if additional research gives more credence to grounding. However, if wishes could be fact, I would wish for it to be horse pucky. I like going barefooted, but I live in a warm climate. And it does make me feel more nature-ish. But I would feel sorry for all of those people who live where it is cold a good part of the year. Maybe I would even feel guilty for all of my barefoot health and pleasure. And it could just be one more thing to worry about like getting enough exercise, or sleep, or vegetables, or vitamin D. (9/16/19: I wish I could delete this whole paragraph. Was that really me saying this? So not me! Was I inhabited by an alien creature when I wrote this?)
And here something else to think about
Anyway, on another note, but somewhat connected, is floor sitting. I came across it while doing research for grounding. Mark’s Daily Apple actually had an article about floor sitting. The article is pretty interesting and provides some compelling information why it might be a good idea. I just have to mention it because of my upbringing. I wish that my mom was still alive to read the article; because, you see, whenever we had company, and there were no more chairs left, she would sit on the floor. Invariably someone would object to her sitting on the floor, and invariably she would always respond, “No, I like sitting on the floor”. The funny thing is that she never seemed to prefer sitting on the floor when we didn’t have company and there were plenty of chairs for everyone! So, it has remained a family joke to this day.
For super health, just think of the possibilities if we did floor sitting outside while grounding on dirt, concrete, sand, or grass!
Updated: 9/16/19 — I was shocked when I reread this article today and saw that at one point I too was a grounding/earthing skeptic. I thought I had always been an advocate of it. I am thinking now that about a day after I first posted this article my beliefs became concrete on pro side of grounding. Last year I even made leather shoes with no rubber soles so that I could ground when it is cold. See my marvelous creation in the photo above.
It would also be interesting to revisit some of the on-the-fencer’s and nay-sayer’s that I spoke about above to see if they have changed their opinions about grounding.
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