For millions of years humans walked barefoot on the Earth and slept on the ground. They worked, played and rested in direct contact with the Earth’s surface and were always connected to the planet’s life-giving forces. We may recall the joyful feeling of running barefoot in the grass, or the warm tingling sensation of walking barefoot on the beach. The feeling of well-being we get from touching our skin to the skin of the Earth can last for hours, and the sleep that follows is deep and restful. If only we could feel like that all of the time!

Life is very different now on planet Earth, with most modern humans rarely stepping barefoot on the ground. We live in houses and work in buildings many of which are several stories high above the Earth’s surface. Our environment is filled with disruptive electromagnetic fields produced by modern technology, and we wear synthetic soled shoes that insulate us from the Earth’s energy.

In their “groundbreaking” book, “Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?” authors Clint Ober, integrative cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, and health writer Martin Zucker describe the profound health benefits of connecting to the Earth. Ober grew up near an Indian reservation where he played barefoot with Native American children. He recalls a Native American mother telling her son to take off his shoes as they would make him sick, and another child on the reservation who became very ill with scarlet fever and healed after lying in a shallow pit in the ground.

As an adult Ober worked in the cable TV industry where he made his fortune heading up the largest U.S. cable TV installation company.  After recovering from a serious illness at age 49, he sold his possessions, bought an RV and traveled the U.S. for four years looking for a higher purpose in life. One day in 1998 while sitting on a park bench in Sedona, Arizona he noticed that everyone passing by was wearing rubber or plastic soled shoes, an increasing trend since the 1960s when synthetic soles replaced leather. He knew that the insulating materials of modern shoes did not conduct the Earth’s electrical energy and people were no longer grounded. He knew from his work in television that before cable, TV images were fuzzy from electromagnetic interference. In homes with cable TV the wiring systems are shielded and connected to a ground rod in the Earth to prevent outside electrical signals from interfering with the transmission carried through the cable. He knew that the body conducts electricity and that our environment is charged with electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from electrical and wireless devices that are hazardous to health. He wondered how this electrical interference affected our ungrounded bodies and sought to find out.

Ober performed a simple experiment on himself by fashioning a conductive grid on his bed with metallic duct tape which he connected with a wire to an outside ground rod that he inserted in the earth, thus grounding the bed. He used a voltage meter to measure the EMFs on his body which were highest in his bedroom. He noticed that when laying on the grounded bed the voltage charge went down to near zero which meant that his body was grounded or in sync with the electrical field of the Earth outside. Having suffered from constant back pain and poor sleep for many years, Ober had been taking pain killers to enable him to fall asleep. To his amazement, that first night he fell asleep easily and slept soundly for the first time in years. After sleeping grounded for a week he noticed that his pain had significantly decreased and he no longer needed pain pills. He shared his experience with friends that suffered from poor sleep and a variety of ailments and grounded their beds as well. They all had similar results.

Ober could find no research on the internet or in medical libraries on the health effects of grounding, or “Earthing” as he calls it, so he decided to conduct his own research. He created more sophisticated Earthing bed pads and conducted a 30 day experiment on 60 men and women with a variety of health conditions including sleep disorders and chronic pain.  85% fell asleep more quickly, 93% reported sleeping better, 82% felt significant reduction in muscle stiffness, 74% had elimination or reduction of chronic pain, 100% were more rested when they woke up, and 78% reported improved general health. Some reported significant relief from asthmatic and respiratory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, sleep apnea, PMS, and hot flashes.

In his quest to explain this phenomenon, Ober learned that the Earth is a 6 sextillion metric ton battery that is continually fed by solar radiation, lightning strikes, and tremendous heat from deep within its molten core. These forces charge the Earth’s surface with limitless free electrons. The electrons hold a negative charge and are able to neutralize the positively charged electron-seeking particles and free radicals that cause cellular damage, inflammation, pain, disease, and aging. Mechanical electrical systems are grounded to stabilize and protect them from outside interference, shocks or shorts. In order to function properly the human body’s electrical system must also be grounded for protection from electrostatic and electromagnetic interference from the atmosphere. The primordial energy emanating from the Earth is the ultimate anti-inflammatory and anti-aging medicine.

Ancient civilizations recognized the power of the Earth and heavens. Monks, yogis and druids would meditate seated on the ground to achieve high spiritual states. The Chinese referred to this universal energy as Qi (Chi). Heaven Qi is made up of the forces that the Sun, Moon, and heavenly bodies exert on the Earth, while Earth Qi is influenced and controlled by Heaven Qi and consists of heat beneath the ground and a grid of energy lines on the surface of the Earth. All living things contain their own Qi field which is influenced by the Heaven Qi and Earth Qi. Earth Qi enters the body at an accupoint located on the ball of the foot known as “Bubbling Spring” where it ascends through the water channel throughout the body. Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises designed to balance and heal the body/mind are often practiced outdoors without footwear to facilitate this process. Biophysicist, James Oschman, Ph.D. refers to the “living matrix” as a network of cells that conduct electrical energy through pathways that connect every cell in the body. When we are disconnected from Earth’s vital energy we are like a flickering light bulb with a tenuous connection to its energy source.

Humans are the only species on the planet that choose to live in an ungrounded state. It has been observed that wild animals are generally healthier than captive animals and adjust much better to extreme temperatures compared to those who live indoors. The Earth’s healing electrons pass easily through the soil, rocks and natural waterways which are rich in minerals that enhance conductivity. Due to its higher mineral content seawater is a better conductor than freshwater. This may be why surfers are some of the best athletes in the world. Electrons are carried through the nervous system and body fluids which is why it is important to stay hydrated. We have over a thousand nerve endings and an abundance of sweat glands in the soles of the feet and palms of the hands, making them ideal portals for electron transfer. This may be why gardening is so relaxing and rejuvenating.

We can become grounded outdoors by walking on the Earth or cement. We can also ground by touching living trees and plants that are rooted in the ground or touching someone who is grounded. Asphalt does not conduct the Earth’s energy because of the insulating petrochemical component. We are grounded indoors on a ground floor cement slab provided it is not insulated by paint, sealant, linoleum, wood floors or carpeting. We can also ground in the shower as the water flows from the Earth through conductive metal pipes.

It is interesting to note that those who live in densely populated cities have the highest disease rates. In cities and high-rise buildings, the electrosensitive lungs breathe in more positively charged particles from polluted air. A 12 year study at the U. of Iowa showed a 40% higher risk of stroke among those living above the ground compared to those who living on the ground floor. Air travel is also stressful since levels of damaging radiation rise as we ascend into the atmosphere.

Through his persistence over the last decade Ober has inspired at least a dozen research studies by physicians, biophysicists, electrophysiologists, and sports physiologists that have revealed how Earthing dramatically changes our physiology and enhances health and well-being. To facilitate the research, Ober created more user-friendly comfortable devices that can be used to ground to the Earth’s energy indoors such as conductive fabric bed sheets, mats that can be used on the floor or desk (helps neutralize EMFs from computers), body bands for direct access to areas of the body in pain, electrode patches that can be applied on specific points, and car seat pads. Earthing sleeping bags and flip flops are also available.

In 2008 and 2009 live blood cell analysis studies before and after grounding for just 40 minutes showed that thick, inflammatory, sludgy, stagnant blood became thinner and flowed more freely after grounding. Grounded blood cells also measured a higher negative charge known as zeta potential. This has a profound affect on Earthing’s potential to prevent and heal inflammation. Inflammation is involved in over 80 chronic illnesses impacting over half of all Americans.  Cardiovascular disease, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, autism, cancer, diabetes 1 and 2, fibromyalgia, intestinal disorders, pancreatitis, psoriasis, eczema, anemia, and all infections and autoimmune disorders are inflammatory conditions that can result from an electron deficiency.

Earthing devices come with cords that can be plugged into the grounding port of an electrical outlet or directly into the ground via a grounding rod. When you touch bare skin to an Earthing device you instantly connect with the Earth’s electrical energy just as if you were standing barefoot on the ground. Studies show that Earthing instantly neutralizes any excess body voltage from EMFs, while the healing free electrons can take up to 30 minutes to flow from the soles of the feet to the top of the head. Earthing devices are completely safe as they only conduct the ground energy and not the electricity that operates lights and appliances.

Thermographic imaging on patients with painful inflammatory conditions including muscular strains, neuropathies, carpal tunnel, inflamed joints, Lyme disease and chronic sinusitis showed visible signs of reduced inflammation as soon as 30 minutes after grounding with electrode patches. With continued grounding 80% of the patients improved within 2 to 4 weeks and many recovered completely

In 2003, electrophysiologists Gaetan Chevalier and Kazuhito Mori conducted a randomized double blind study of 58 healthy adults which measured electrical activity in the brain and muscles. Results showed grounded subjects had reduced stress and tension levels with a shift in the nervous system from stressful sympathetic mode to a calmer parasympathetic mode.

Sleep studies demonstrated normalization of levels of the stress hormone cortisol while sleeping on a grounded bed pad with an increase in melatonin as well. Grounded participants reported being able to fall asleep faster, sleep through the night and wake up more refreshed with less fatigue during the day. 5 out of 6 women reported improvement in PMS and hot flashes and 3 reported less TMJ pain. Grounding helps to synchronize our biological clock with the rhythmic pulsations of the Earth. Walking barefoot on the ground for just 15 minutes after traveling across time zones reduces jet lag.

Studies show that Earthing improves biochemical factors associated with metabolic syndrome including triglycerides, blood sugar, and C-reactive protein (a marker of chronic inflammation). Grounded women who have not been able to conceive for many years have become pregnant within a few months of grounding. Earthing can also help to reverse osteoporosis and remineralize the teeth.

The victorious American team used Earthing products during five Tour de France competitions from 2003 to 2007, a grueling long distance cycling race lasting 21 days. This gave the team a competitive edge and reduced the incidence of injuries compared to other years.

Studies show that running barefoot reduces stress on the body and provides relief from chronic injuries. Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman found that people who run shoeless have an astonishingly different foot strike, landing on the middle or front of the foot with almost no impact collision. Shod runners typically land on the heel due to shoe padding putting stress on the knees, shins and hips. Olympic champions and world record holders Abebe Bikila, Tegla Loroupe and Zola Budd won competitions running barefoot.

People everywhere are joining the barefoot revolution by connecting with the Earth for health and balance. Sometimes the most profound discoveries can be right under our nose, or in this case under our feet!