Monday, January 21, 2013

Earthing: What is it & How to do it (Video)

Recently I stumbled across what might be the greatest health discovery of my life...Earthing, also called grounding. Ever heard of it? It's basically the idea that by "connecting to the earth with our bare skin or feet" we are able to tap into the Earth's unlimited energy, a source of healing. I know it sounds a little bit "out there," but trust me there is science to back it up and I have experienced the benefits firsthand.



Now as I said before, all you have to do to "connect yourself to the earth" is to walk barefoot outside, or have some part of your body come in contact with the Earth. Now if you live on the beach or a warm climate, you've got it made. But for those of us in colder climates, in the middle of winter, the last thing we want to do is step outside without shoes or socks and stay there awhile.

The easiest way to practice Earthing...
But the good news is you don't have to. Earthing technology is available which connect to the grounding port of a standard electrical outlet allowing you to "ground yourself" in the comfort (and warmth) of your home. Even better you can do all this while you sleep. By laying on a grounding mat for an extended period of time, especially during a restorative time like when we sleep at night, our bodies soak up even more of the earth's healing energy. Benefits that have been noted from using Earthing products with consistent use are:
  1. Better sleep
  2. Decrease in pain
  3. More energy
  4. Faster recovery time (more healing)
  5. Reduction or elimination of jet lag
  6. Normalized production of the stress hormone cortisol
All of these benefits and more are made possible by the endless supply of negative electrons on the earth's surface. Negative electrons probably sound "bad" but they are actually very helpful to counteract all the positively-charged free radicals within our body. An overabundance of free radicals leads to more inflammation, more pain, and less healing. But when we connect with the earth, the negative electrons flow into our body, bind to the positive electrons and neutralize them, thus decreasing pain and inflammation and promoting healing. This concept is better explained by Energy-medicine expert, James Oschman:
"The moment your foot touches the Earth, or you connect to the Earth through a wire, your physiology changes, an immediate normalization begins. And an anti-inflammatory switch is turned on.  People stay inflamed because they never connect with the Earth, the source of free electrons, which can neutralize the free radicals in the body that cause disease and cellular destruction."

Now I am by no means a grounding expert or an electrician,  I learned what I am telling you from the book that started it all, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? by Clint Ober, a pioneer in the cable television industry.


Within that book several studies and testimonials were shared which demonstrate the power and amazing potential that comes from Earthing oneself. One study that caught my eye was one that measured inflammation with a thermal imaging camera. After just 30 minutes of Earthing you can see the profound effect it has in the reduction of inflammation. See the legs on the left? That is before Earthing, with lots of red areas showing inflammation. The legs on the right are after Earthing, with lots of blues and greens...thus proving that Earthing can help to decrease inflammation and pain in the body.

source:
Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?
by Clint Ober
Do you struggle with pain or inflammation from time to time? Maybe Earthing could help you. Imagine the areas of your body that feel and look red, imagine that pain diminishing and turning to a cool blue.

If you think about it, our ancestors were always in contact with the Earth. They walked barefoot, sat, stood, and even slept on the Earth. But as we evolved, we began wearing shoes and we started living and working in elevated houses, buildings, and beds. Think about it...when was the last time you walked barefoot outside? For some of you it may have just been yesterday, but for me it was many months back, during the summer and even then I probably had on flip flops. Knowing what I know now, I can't help but wonder if some of the ailments, body aches, and fatigue I've experienced in the past were possibly being caused by my lack of connection to the Earth.

So what did I do? Well about one chapter into reading the Earthing book I went online and bought a Universal Grounding Mat for $59. And since I'm such a nice wife, I bought my husband one too...well actually I knew he'd want to try it and I had a feeling I wouldn't be too willing to share. ( :

The wait for my mat to come was so long! So during that time I made a point to get outside and walk barefoot, the easiest and cheapest form of Earthing you can do. Even though it was near the end of November here in the Midwest. But then the exciting day came when my grounding mat arrived!  I plugged it right in and not long after I felt a pleasant, tingly sensation in my feet and legs. I was really looking forward to sleeping on it that night because most people say have the best night of sleep they've had in a long time...but I spent mine tossing and turning. Mainly because I was worried I wasn't on the mat or that it had moved. Despite this, I still got a good night of sleep.

My cover-less grounding mat.

In the days that followed, I got more used to the grounding mat and found a position that fit me much much better (having it on my back, not under my feet).  The first benefit I noticed was that I could fall asleep faster and my sleep was much more solid. After a few more days I noticed I had more energy throughout the day and I just felt happier. I felt increased endurance as well during my workouts. I run on the treadmill  and I noticied I could increase the speed to faster than I had ever gone before, and by the end of the workout I was ready to keep going...not stop.

Now I'm almost 2 months into grounding myself consistently and to say I'm "hooked" is an understatement. Not long after using my own mat, and reading more about it in the Earthing book, I got into a giving spirit and went out and bought an Earthing mat for: Avery (my 21 month old), my mom, dad, my mother-in-law, my aunt, my brother, and my other brother beat me to it and already bought his own!  I felt like Oprah on one of her "Favorite Things" episodes: "You get a grounding mat! You get a grounding mat! You get a grounding mat!"

Luckily it was Christmas time, so my "green gifts" didn't seem too out of the ordinary. Nonetheless I was excited to see if they would experience similar benefits to what I felt. Here are some of their experiences...

Me Okay so I've already told you some of my benefits, but let me sum them up a bit more here:
How I use the mat: each night while sleeping, several hours during the day when I'm working on the computer, at lunch when I'm pumping for Avery, while I work out, when watching TV.


Benefits I've seen after 2 months:
  • I fall asleep much faster (used to take 15-20 minutes, now only 3-5 minutes max!)
  • better quality of sleep (clearer dreams, hardly wake up at all)
  • more energy during workouts and throughout the day
  • clearer skin
  • reduction in pain due to menstrual cramps
  • less soreness following hard workouts
  • happier and more relaxed...less stressed
I even saw a smiley face in my sink one day...that's how
much more optimistic I feel! 

Brandon (my husband and camera man for all my videos)
How he uses the mat: each night while sleeping and 1-2 hours at night when watching TV or playing with Avery
photo courtesy of Tim Rodgers
Benefits seen after 2 months:
  • better sleep
  • faster recovery from skateboarding... less need for chiropractor
  • less aches and pains 
  • used to get really bad migraines 3-4 times a month, hasn't had a single one since using the mat
Avery (my 21 month old daughter)
How she uses the mat: each night while sleeping and for an additional 3 or so hours while napping


Benefits seen after 2 months:
  • goes to sleep much easier, she seems more comfortable falling asleep on her own
  • sleeps more soundly (up less in the middle of the night)
  • happier mood (still a moody, tantrumy-almost 2 year old, but we'll take a slight improvement!)
Karen, my mom.
How she uses the mat: each night while sleeping and an additional hour or two when grading papers (she's a teacher as well)


Benefits seen after 1 month:
  • better sleep
  • looks forward to sleeping on it
  • feels happier
  • increased ability to focus
  • before Earthing she had strained a muscle in her hand, her doctor told her to wear a brace and if the pain continued after 6 weeks then to go see a specialist. Now one month into Earthing and she no longer wears the brace and has no need to see the specialist.
Frank, my dad.
How he uses the mat: each night while sleeping


Benefits seen after 1 month:
  • better sleep
  • placed on chest when he had a cold to help move the mucus through...and it helped!
  • helpful for inflammation areas
  • feel a sense of calm
Andrew, my brother
How he uses the mat: each night while sleeping


Benefits seen after 1 month:
  • better sleep
Austin, my brother.
How he uses the mat: each night while sleeping, 30 minutes after a workout, 1 hour on the computer during the day.

Benefits seen after 1 month:
  • better sleep
  • recovered from back injury faster
  • decreased soreness from workouts 

I plan to keep you updated on their results in the future, so be sure to check back. Now between my experiences and those of my friends and family, you have heard some of the ways Earthing can improve your health and life, but we're just scratching the surface here. Other conditions conditions and ailments that improved as result of consistently Earthing oneself, as cited by testimonials and studies in the Earthing book are:
  • arthritis
  • back pain
  • fibromyalgia
  • multiple sclerosis
  • sciatica
  • sleep apnea
  • stress
  • varicose veins
  • erectile dysfunction
  • PMS 
  • symptoms of menopause
  • high blood pressure
  • and even enhancing fertility and achieving pregnancy

So for this week's video, I'm going to show you what Earthing is, how to incorporate it into your day, and some of the science behind it...




Now if you're anything like me, you have tons of questions on how you can incorporate Earthing into your life and daily routine, so let's chat about that.  There are a variety of products available on the Earthing website from fitted sheets, to half sheets (bed pads), to "recovery bags," ranging from $169-299. I'd love to get one of them someday, but for now the Universal Mat with Cover ($75) is working pretty good. I love the price and how versatile it is. I can sleep on it, take it to work with me, and even stand on it while I'm doing yoga. So if you're just starting your "Earthing journey" I highly recommend you start with this product.

To break it down a bit more, let me show you how it works...

When I'm sleeping, I use the cover, but throughout the day I keep the cover off.

The cover...the light side on top is conductive,
the darker side on the bottom is not. Always use
the light side.

To use the mat all you do is...

1. Check the outlet. You're looking for the two lights on the right side to light up orange. That means the outlet is properly grounded.


Now I like the convenience of using the grounding port of my outlets, but if you have an older home and your outlets aren't grounded, you could use a grounding rod (as seen in the link here) and run the cord out your window and drive it into the actual "Earth." You would be a little bit more limited with using the mat all over your home since this would be the only location it would reach, but it's better than nothing.

Also, if you live in another country other than the United States, you can check out the outlet adaptors they have for other countries on the product page here. This way no matter where you live...you can be grounded!


2. Plug it in to the little grounding port of the outlet.



3. Have some bare skin touching the mat...then chill out, go to sleep, or go about your day as usual.



So the easiest time to do this is during sleep, you literally have to do nothing. The book explains some of the benefits of grounding during sleep here:

"Contact with the Earth during the third of our lives we spend sleeping yields great benefits. The research to date indicates that Earthing during sleep is the ideal way of reducing oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body. Sleep is the time when the body rests and recovers from the stress of daily activities. If we do not sleep well, the recovery process works only partially, making us susceptible to a wide variety of stress-related problems."

 Here's my favorite sleep positions with the mat:

1. Below my pillow.

I like to wear a tank top when I go to sleep so that my upper
back, shoulders, and arms can come in contact
with the mat.

2. At my feet. I tried this in the beginning and it didn't work for me because I felt like I had to keep moving it up and down as I repositioned myself. But I know some people love this position, so do what works for you!



Avery even uses this position with the mat in her crib.

Grounding mat in place and ready for her feet.

I just make sure to have her be barefoot when she goes to
sleep so she gets the full grounded connection.

Making sure she stays on the mat...
well that's another story. Someday
I'd like to get her one of the
half-sheets that way it would
cover nearly all of her mattress.

For safety reasons, I always make sure to secure the cords
beneath the foot of her crib so that she cannot come
pull or play with them. I also make sure to plug her
mat into an outlet away from her bed so
she won't try to plug or unplug the cord.

The next easiest time to ground yourself is when you are relaxing on the couch, watching TV, reading a book, or even playing video games if that's you're thing!

You could easily put your feet up and have the mat under
them or you could place the mat on the floor and have
your feet resting on them. You could also put it in your
lap and have your hands make contact with it.

This is the main time when I take on my nickname around my house of "Grounding Police" because anytime I see Brandon just hanging out on the couch, and I'll say, "Hey, where's your grounding mat? You could be grounding right now!" I know, I know, I shouldn't nag, but why just sit there when you could be grounding at the same time?  Eventually my nagging helped us coin a funny term..."Ground Yo Self!" courtesy of Parks & Recreation...("Treat Yo Self!").  See the video below to see what I mean...



"Ground Yo Self...sleeping. Ground Yo Self...couch. Ground Yo Self...computer. Ground Yo Self...workout!" What can I say, I've got Earthing on the brain!



Next comes when you're working at the computer or maybe just at work. We often get exposed to a lot of electrical fields when working with electronics like computers, printers, chargers, etc. and the grounding mat can help keep your body voltage low (a concept I will explain shortly). When I work grounded I feel more focused, relaxed, and less tense (aka... no shoulders at my ears).  Placement opitions when you are at work are:

1. At your wrists or forearms.


2. At your feet.



I even like to ground myself when I'm working out, especially during yoga or pilates workouts which I do in my basement (aka "My Home Yoga Studio"). The mat lends itself well to being used like a yoga mat.

1. When doing yoga my feet often make contact with the mat and when I do pilates, my upper back and shoulders make contact with the mat. You could also stand on the mat while lifting weights, doing tai chi or any other form of exercise where you stay in one area for awhile.

Can you spot the mat?

Although any point of bare skin is good to ground with, the book describes how the soles of the feet have more nerve endings than any other part of your body and they are home to acupuncture K1 that has connections that run up the body. As the book suggests: "...think of the soles of your bare feet as a prime contact point gathering in the free electrons and natural energies from the Earth."

Now before you go making all the effort to Earth yourself in these various locations, let me prove to you just how effective and powerful these Earthing mats can be. To do this I'm going to measure the voltage in my body caused by electrical fields around me. Now before reading this book I had no idea that appliances like alarm clocks, lamps, TVs, baby monitors, and even just common electrical wiring within the walls of my home, are constantly emitting electrical fields that can extend into our bodies. These electrical fields raise our body voltage and instead of being nice low numbers like 0.007 or or 0.010 we are upwards of 3.46, 7.43 and even 19.52 volts.

What's so bad about having high body voltage? Well, an ideal body voltage is 0.000 volts, this is what our voltage would be if we were in direct contact with the Earth out in a forest or in nature, free of electronics and electricity, basically the way we evolved.  In this grounded/Earthed state our bodies are more available to heal, restore and live life to the fullest. Crank up the voltage and keep it up? Well, the results are the many ailments that face society today...decreased immunity, increased inflammation, more pain, and more stress.

Now we're all going to be exposed to high body voltage from time to time, but for 8 hours a night, every night for our entire life, on top of what we're exposed to during the day...well, our bodies just can't keep up.  But it doesn't have to be this way. We want to keep our body voltage as low as possible for as long as possible and when we come into direct contact with the Earth through our bare feet or a grounding mat our voltage immediately drops to near 0.00!

Check out some of the measurements I found in my home when checking my body voltage with a Digital Multimeter I purchased from RadioShack for $40. (Look for a post coming soon about how you can check your own body voltage in your home!). You will be able to see the reading in "Volts" first when I'm "not grounded" and then when I am "grounded" by either touching the Earthing mat with my hands or feet.

  1. My bed...clearly in the middle of sunny bright afternoon.
1.35 volts

0.003 of a volt
2. Avery's bed.
    4.03 volts

    "Say what?!"

    0.006 of a volt


    "Oh yeah, I'm happy now... my bed is grounded!"

    3. The couch in our living room where we watch TV and hangout.
      1.415 volts

      0.016 of a volt

      4. Our office had my laptop, a printer nearby, and the highest voltage increaser I've ever come across...a charging iPod. The iPods are usually much lower voltage when they are unplugged, but the second you plug them in...bam! Be prepared for mega voltage. As you saw from the video, I only got a voltage reading as high as 7.5 volts when holding the iPod, but it seems to vary depending upon where you touch it. When I touched it this time it was...

        39.00 volts!!! 

        0.16 of a volt
        (would have probably dropped down lower if I could have
        put more of my hand or another body part on the mat, but
        they were all full when the photo was taken!)
        Lesson learned...don't hold or play with an iPod when it's charging, your body voltage will be through the roof...unless you're grounded that is.

        Here's a few more examples of body voltage being measured both before and after using Earthing technology:
        1. "Measuring Body Voltage & the Benefit of Grounding/Earthing" by Groundology
        2. Also by Groundology: "Guide to Measuring Your Body Voltage"
        3. "Barefoot Earthing Intro Part 1" and "Barefoot Earthing Intro Part 2" by RawPowerAus
        4. "Clint Ober Demonstrates Earthing Part 1/3" by Mercola
        5. "iPad vs. Kindle- Earthing Video" by LongevityNowVids
        Clearly the numbers do the talking in that demonstration and now you can see why I make such an effort to Earth myself as much as I can every single day because I want my body voltage to be as low as possible for as long as possible.


        A few more things...
        1. To clean your Earthing mat, simply wipe with a damp cloth  and a mild soap and let it air dry. As for the cover, be sure never to use bleach or fabric softener on it.

        2. Be sure to disconnect and do not use your Earthing products during lightning and thunderstorms.. According to the Earthing website:
        "Lightning is a massive natural phenomenon that is unpredictable and challenging to totally protect against. It is poorly understood. Homes are rarely hit by lightning. When this happens, the lightning usually takes the path of least resistance to the ground, such as large conductive systems like the plumbing pipes, electrical wiring network, or telephone and cable TV lines, all of which are directly ground to the Earth. The National Safety Council reports that the odds of dying from a lightning strike in one year are 1 in 6 million. To put this in perspective  the chance of being hit and killed by an automobile as a pedestrian in the same period is 1 in fifty thousand- a risk 120 times greater. What these statistics suggest is that being hit by lightning is rather unlikely. However follow standard lightning safety guidelines as directed by the National Weather Service if you live in a lightning-prone area. Disconnect your Earthing device and do not use it during lightning and thunderstorms."
        Now before we close, I want to wrap up with some rules to remember about Earthing.
        1. Must be bare skin touching the mat (you'll get a better Earthing connection that way).
        2. The more time you ground yourself the better (take it beyond sleeping and see how much better you can feel).
        3. Be consistent with your Earthing (if you stop or scale it back, the previous symptoms will return).
        4. Double check your connection and plug (make sure your outlet is actually "grounded" and that your cord is plugged in...I accidently unplugged mine in the middle of the night one night and slept horribly...when I woke up I figured out why!)
        If you have ever tried Earthing below feel free to share your experience below. Also if you have any additional questions about Earthing be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Earthing website, or leave it for me below and I'll do my best to answer it.

        *Disclaimer- I am not a medical doctor. So while I can share what has worked with me, it may not work for you. I would say to talk with your "health care provider" but they probably have never heard of Earthing. You could give them a copy of the book, or you could do your own research and decide what's best for you. Also, I purchased this Earthing mat with my own money and this is my honest opinion of it. *

        Until next time..."Ground Yo Self!"

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