(Natural News) Earthing, or grounding, is a therapeutic technique that offers many benefits. According to some, it can also help protect against harmful free radicals and autoimmune diseases.
What is grounding?
Throughout the majority of history, humans have slept on the ground, gone shoeless or worn footwear made from animal hides that allowed equilibration with the electrical potential of the earth.
However, these practices have been discarded as times advanced and many modern inventions made life easier. But some of these changes can be viewed as detrimental because people lost the pivotal energy transfer from the ground to the body.
Thankfully, the practice of grounding can help you enjoy certain health benefits.
Grounding or earthing is a therapeutic technique that involves different activities that help “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth. This practice relies on earthing science and grounding physics to explain how electrical charges from the earth can offer certain benefits.
There are different types of grounding, but all of them focus on helping you reconnect to the earth.
You can do this through either direct or indirect contact like:
- Lying on the ground, like in the grass at a park or on the sand at the beach
- Walking barefoot in the grass on your lawn or on a sandy beach
- Wading in water in a clear lake or swimming in the ocean
- Using grounding equipment like grounding socks, grounding bands and patches, grounding sheets or blankets and grounding mats
While direct contact with the earth is optimal, using grounding equipment can help if you live in an area with inclement weather conditions or if you want to practice grounding in clinical settings. (Related: Don’t like to meditate? Try joyful grounding.)
Dangers of free radicals
The ground represents a reservoir of free and mobile electrons or negative charges. These charges can help neutralize the positively charged free radicals, or reactive oxygen species (ROS), that can cause cell damage and result in disease and degeneration.
Free radicals like hydrogen peroxide are inherently unstable compounds that are both byproducts of aerobic metabolism and synthesized through different physiochemical and pathological states.
While free radicals can be beneficial, in excess they cause oxidative stress, which is linked to autoimmune disease and other chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes mellitus, ischemic diseases (like coronary artery disease) and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Benefits of grounding
Grounding is a technique that doesn’t require expensive equipment and that offers benefits such as:
Blood sugar regulation
People with autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes because of common mechanistic pathways.
Blood sugar dysregulation and insulin resistance are also common predisposing factors in the onset of autoimmune disease. Research has found that practicing grounding over a three-day period can help decrease fasting glucose among people with diabetes who have poor glycemic control.
The over-production of inflammation-inciting cellular messengers called pro-inflammatory cytokines are a hallmark of autoimmune rheumatic diseases. They can activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which oversees your body’s stress response.
This can result in pro-inflammatory, autoimmune-exacerbating hormones overtaking anti-inflammatory hormones such as glucocorticoids, which can then cause an inflammatory cascade and tissue destruction.
Practicing grounding can help influence this often dysregulated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid axis.
Studies suggest that the majority of autoimmune disorders like Behcet’s syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are all accompanied by a greater risk of experiencing venous thromboembolism (VTE), which are blood clots that form in deep veins.
Experts think that this is due to disturbances in the immune system and the fact that systemic inflammation “modulates thrombotic responses by suppressing fibrinolysis, upregulating procoagulant and downregulating anticoagulant.” These processes favor clot formation and prevent the degradation of blood clots.
But study findings suggest that healthy volunteers who tried grounding for two hours had significantly less aggregation of red blood cells, indicating a substantial reduction in blood clotting potential. The grounded volunteers also possessed greater zeta potential, which is a marker for the ability of red blood cells to repel each other.