Ten years ago I met a coach who suggested I watch a lecture. It took me about two and a half years to finally do it. The lecture was a chiropractor working with elite cyclists. In this lecture he spoke about using something called Earthing as a mode of recovery for the cyclists. In his talk he outlined how one rider fell and time lined the skin recovery while the rider was grounded in between races. This lecture left me very intrigued and with a week to go before I left for a beach vacation, I ordered the book titled “Earthing” by Clint Ober, Stephen Sinatra and Martin Zucker, to read on my trip.
As I read the book, the concept of Earthing can be simplified to humans as a population are no longer connected to the earth. We wear shoes to protect our feet, we live in homes with non-conductive surfaces, and few of us put our hands in the dirt to garden and farm, like so many generations before us. By not connecting with the earth, we are losing out on the earths energy and negative charge, and as a result, may be susceptible to inflammation and inflammation based dieseases.
Many diseases exist appear to be inflammation based. The book lists the following as inflammation based diseases:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Diabetes 1 & 2
- Common intestinal disorders
- Kidney failure
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Psoriasis and eczema
As I read the book while sitting out on Daytona Beach with my family, I thought about my mother-in-law, who had a history of wrist pain. She was with me on this trip and every day she would go to the beach, put her feet in the wet sand, and relax. I asked her if she had wrist pain while on vacation and she said no, but it would come back a few weeks upon returning back to Michigan. This was even more intriguing to me, as one of the most conductive surfaces is salt water and sand. Her pain free vacation and this Earthing concept started to make sense.
Upon getting back home from my vacation I ordered a sleep sheet sold at Earthing.com. (I receive no compensation for promoting these products, but I am always asked where to get them). It was a soft cotton sheet that had fine copper wires running through them, but yet you couldn’t feel the wire. A plug attached to the sheet that the cord connected to, and the cord either connects to the ground of the electrical outlet, or you can literally ground a rod into the ground if the wiring isn’t appropriate. I later ordered
body straps of different sizes, patches that can be applied to specific body parts, and general pads that can be used near the computer .
I recall the first time I took a nap on the sheet. It felt different, but it’s hard to describe. Most times I have no feelings when I am grounded, other times I do feel energy about me. You don’t need to buy this to experience what being grounded is like. All you need to do is go outside barefoot on the grass. One of my favorite summer activities is walking barefoot and pulling weeds in my yard. I find many of my aches and pains are not present when I am doing this. The products come into play in the winter and cold weather months. Living in Detroit, there is about 6 months of weather where going barefoot outside isn’t the best option.
Many people, possibly yourself, are doubtful of the impact this might have. According to the creator of this movement, there have been over 20 studies done to demonstrate the effects Earthing has on health. I have two stories, which were featured in the second edition of the book, I will share with you. When my oldest daughter was just a baby, she began to get eczema behind her knees. We had applied lotions and creams and didn’t see much change. I suggested to my wife we let her sleep on the sheet and see what happens, since eczema is listed as inflammation based disorder. Almost overnight the patch was gone. We couldn’t believe it. In fact, it dried up the skin so we had to cycle her use on it. Eventually she would not require the sheet as she got older. The second story involves my wife. When I first found out about this, she was accepting but yet skeptical. Fast forward a few years and during her pregnancy with our second child, she developed hives with a few months to go before the due date. She had also developed hives during the first pregnancy and they went away after childbirth, having them only a few weeks. With the second child, it was different because she had so much longer to go. The doctors had given her some creams to use and nothing helped. I suggested she sleep on the sheet and see if it would help like it did the eczema. Almost overnight, her hives were gone. She slept on the sheet the remainder of the pregnancy and they never came back.
When I was actively coaching soccer players, I had a female college player who had dislocated her patella several times, eventually requiring reattachment surgery. The rehab process for this can be quite painful. She was mentally tough, the kind who doesn’t flinch when something hurts. During her rehabilitation when she was running and doing soccer drills, her bedtime pain levels were near 9 or 10. I suggested she sleep with straps and on the sheet and she reported back her pain levels would go down to a 4 the next day after just a few days of Earthing. Several other athletes have listened and used it as part of their recovery routines.
For those who do a lot of work on computers or near electronics, check out this short video which might convince you to get an Earthing pad for your computer work station.
There are so many other things to say about how Earthing can help. It is definitely one of my most recommended recovery strategies, since you can sleep on it or go outside and touch the ground during the day. I do suggest reading the book for more details on the mechanisms behind it and some of the before/after tests performed.
For those who might prefer documentaries, check out “The Grounded” below, and if you can find “The Grounded 2,” that documentary goes into some of the lab testing results before and after Earthing. Also shown is a 15 minute trailer for a documentary called “Down to Earth” coming out soon that includes the people who have formally brought this concept to us.