With so many people battling stress, anxiety, and chronic pain, it’s a pleasant surprise that the simple act of standing outside barefoot has the potential to improve health. Forming a connection with Earth, either by taking a barefoot stroll or lying on the grass, has been proven to be mentally and physically beneficial. This simple yet pleasant act is described by many as grounding or earthing.
There is ongoing research exploring the health benefits associated with grounding. Recent purported benefits of grounding include reduced stress, increased energy, improved sleep, and much more. Many people who practice grounding indicate that this activity improves overall mood and decreases anxiety. Some would describe grounding as a natural detox.
In 2011, researchers conducted a study where they placed electrodes on the hands and feet of 27 participants. After 40 minutes the researchers discovered that the subjects’ heart rate variability had significantly improved. This indicated to researchers that grounding might be a possible intervention to reduce the risk of cardiac ailments. This is just one of many studies that have proven multiple benefits of grounding.
This article outlines some of the conditions that are improved with the practice of grounding. The varying uses and availability of grounding mats will also be comprehensively discussed. By the end of this article, you will understand the importance of grounding. You will also learn how to implement this activity into your daily life by using a grounding mat.
The Practicality of Grounding Mats
In some cases, climate or lifestyle may inhibit the practicality of outdoor grounding. Fortunately, with the assistance of a non-toxic conductive material, commonly referred to as a grounding mat, this activity can be completed indoors for the same positive effects. Grounding mats plug into the ground port, which allows the electrons to flow from the Earth through the ground wire and into the mat. This process is a non-toxic way to imitate the outdoor effect of grounding.
There are many different types and mechanisms for grounding mats. Some people use a grounding pad under their feet or arms while they’re sitting at the computer to limit the amount of EMF exposure. Others use an earthing sheet on their beds to promote better sleep quality and muscle relief. However you decide to use a grounding mat, the constant connection to Earth is going to provide emotional and health benefits.
Grounding Mats and EMF
The electromagnetic field (EMF) that radiates from technology such as cell phones and computers, exposes us to a significant amount of positive energy, which causes an internal imbalance. This imbalance is responsible for stress, inflammation, and other health problems.
To avoid such physiologic distress it is recommended that people limit their exposure to EMF. Because of the constant necessity of technology in this day and age, a grounding mat is necessary to restore the body’s internal balance from constant EMF exposure.
Grounding Mats and Free Radicals
Free radicals are molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The body produces free radicals during its normal metabolic process. Their ability to attack and destroy unwanted bacteria and viruses makes free radicals vitally important.
However, too many free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which triggers a myriad of diseases. Free radicals have also been associated with the process of aging. The whole premise of grounding is to neutralize these free radicals to prevent or cure certain diseases. Grounding mats provide neutralization thereby enhancing the internal balance necessary for optimal health.
Grounding Mats and Cancer
Overexposure to free radicals leads to cell damage. Most importantly free radicals can damage DNA and sometimes causes mutations. This cell damage is responsible for chronic diseases, including cancer.
Mutations in the tumor-suppressing gene can trigger the formation of a cancer cell. Antioxidants play a huge role in fighting free radicals, which in turn reduces cancer risk. Mechanisms like grounding mats may have an antioxidant effect reducing the number of free radicals in the body thereby reducing cancer risk.
Grounding Mats and Anxiety
Have you ever noticed a huge sense of relaxation after spending time outdoors? Emerging scientific research reveals that stepping into nature or grounding may improve mood and symptoms of neurological disorders. One study concluded that after grounding for 1 hour the subject’s mood became increasingly positive.
Many people with anxiety find grounding to be a great stress reliever. Grounding plays a significant role in increasing serotonin levels for people who may be experiencing depression. If you are struggling with anxiety, implement a grounding mat into your everyday life to improve your overall mood.
Grounding Mats and ADHD + Grounding Mats and Autism
People with ADHD and Autism are prone to extreme levels of stress and anxiety. Grounding is a highly recommended complementary approach for stress management as it reduces the levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
Using a grounding mat while you sleep or using a mechanism like a grounding sheet will vastly improve your quality of sleep. Better sleep is a key component in reducing stress. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with ADHD or Autism, a grounding mat may greatly reduce some of the unpleasant symptoms of these conditions.
Do you Need Grounding Mats for Bipolar Disorder?
There is a gap in the literature about the effect of grounding on bipolar disorder specifically, so more research is needed in this area. However, the positive effect that grounding has on anxiety and depression indicates that it may also help improve bipolar disorder symptoms.
A grounding mat may be recommended for managing some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. If feasible, outdoor grounding may be the best route for this condition as exposure to the outdoor elements including the sun, has a positive psychological effect.
Grounding and Arthritis
Grounding has the potential to help treat and prevent chronic inflammatory diseases. Arthritis is a very painful disease caused by joint inflammation. Individuals who suffer from arthritis may find great relief in a grounding mat because it reduces inflammation by its effect on the various circulating inflammatory chemicals.
Grounding Mats for Neuropathy
When using a grounding mat while lounging around, you may notice a reduction in your levels of pain. An increase in the number of neutrophils and lymphocytes often indicates an infection. Most if not all infections cause variant levels of pain. Because grounding alters the number of neutrophils and lymphocytes present, this activity may help reduce neuropathic pain.
Grounding Mats and Epilepsy
Grounding can also have positive effects on individuals with epilepsy. Vagal tone is critically important in the regulation of seizures. A low vagal tone is an indication that the vagus nerve isn’t functioning as it should, which could lead to recurrent seizures. Grounding may enhance vagal tone and thereby improve symptoms in individuals with epilepsy.
Grounding Mats and Pregnancy
It’s also important to note the benefits of earthing for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Grounding helps reduce stress levels and regulates hormones which can promote a more comfortable pregnancy. The effect that grounding has on hormones can make a mother less emotional during her pregnancy. The anti-inflammatory effects of grounding may also ease the pain and discomfort that pregnant women experience.
Grounding Mats and COVID
From improving sleep quality to diminishing chronic pain, the benefits of earthing are endless. Some studies even indicate that grounding can improve COVID-19 symptoms. A study published in 2022 revealed the curing and preventative effects of grounding on COVID-19 patients. This study concluded that 69 out of 71 patients were fully cured of COVID-19 between 2 hours and 11 days after earthing.
Grounding mats are also reported to have an overall beneficial impact on the immune response. One study indicated that grounding the body to Earth alters measures of immune system activity. The fact that grounding also improves sleep is another reason this activity benefits the immune system. Lack of sleep diminishes our immune response when the body comes into contact with a virus. Poor sleeping habits could also mean a longer recovery time when we do get sick.
Should Your Next Purchase Should be a Grounding Mat?
Earthing plays a significant role in increasing serotonin levels and decreasing cortisol levels. The physiological effect of earthing may improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, and other mood disorders.
What’s great about grounding is that anyone can customize this practice to meet their individual sensory needs and preferences. Even if you aren’t diagnosed with a medical or mood disorder, grounding is a great practice that you should implement into your life.
It is a perfect way to reconnect with the Earth and undergo a somewhat meditative experience. Even if you are not in the ideal environment for time outdoors, grounding mats and sheets are excellent resources for an imitative outdoor grounding experience. Spend some time outdoors or invest in a grounding mat to begin experiencing the positive effects of connecting to the Earth.