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The Veracity of Grounding Mats’ Mind-Body Wellness Advantages

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

Grounding, also referred to as earthing, is the concept that there are favorable effects of the human body making direct contact with the surface of the earth. “The earth acts like a battery,” affirms Step Sinatra, a writer, healer, and co-founder of grounded.com. “Up in the ionosphere, the earth carries a positive charge, while on the surface, the charge is negative. The human body operates as a battery as well.” Essentially, when one establishes a direct connection with the earth, they access the natural rhythmic pulsations that flow through and emanate from the earth’s surface, as explained by Step.

Engaging in a simple practice such as removing your shoes and standing on the grass to receive health benefits may seem too good to be true — even meditation requires a certain level of effort to achieve results — but there is some evidence that suggests simply standing on the earth with bare feet can genuinely enhance the body’s ability to cope with stress, anxiety, inflammation, and autoimmune disorders.

Grounding and Its Advantages

Although research on this practice is limited, individuals have reported several potential advantages of grounding. From alleviating fatigue and pain to enhancing sleep and reducing stress, there are numerous anecdotal accounts of the benefits of grounding.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Inflammation Research, which explored the effects of grounding on inflammation, immune response, wound healing, and the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, revealed improvements in these conditions through grounding. It is important to note that the number of participants in these studies is extremely small.

In a 2011 study conducted by Gaétan Chevalier, Ph.D., and Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, it was observed that after investigating 27 participants, those who engaged in artificial grounding methods (specifically, applying adhesive electrode patches to their hands and feet) for 40 minutes experienced improvements in heart rate variability (HRV) after grounding. This resulted in a slower heart rate and decreased anxiety and stress levels. The authors of the study concluded that “grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events.”

If this bold claim gives you pause, your skepticism is justified.

Insights from Medical Professionals

Electromagnetic grounding plays no part in a positive physiological change in the body,” clarifies Satjit Bhusri, M.D., F.A.C.C., the founder of Upper East Side Cardiology. “The only true instance of human grounding is when the body is struck by lightning and uses it as a condition to connect with the earth. I would exercise extreme caution when it comes to experimental electricity transmission as a means of positively impacting health.”

Still, Anup Kanodia, M.D., M.P.H., I.F.M.C.P., the founder of Kanodia M.D., proposes an alternative theory. “A few hundred years ago, there were no cell phones, Wi-Fi, or any other sources of positive electrons, and our bodies were not accustomed to that,” he explains. “I believe our bodies are more accustomed to being in contact with grass, the earth, and being barefoot — so this rapid environmental change that we have subjected our bodies to can cause, for some individuals, increased inflammation, higher stress levels, impaired blood flow, or reduced HRV. Standing barefoot on the earth can help discharge some of the positive electrons that the body accumulates. This is why many people feel better when they are near the ocean or a beach.”

Divya Kannan, Ph.D., the lead psychologist at Cure.fit, a digital health and fitness company that strives to make fitness goals and mental health visits more accessible, also recommends grounding to patients who have experienced anxiety, trauma, PTSD, or flashbacks. “Based on what I have observed with my patients, even a few minutes of this practice can help individuals recover from a flashback,” Kannan states. “I encourage my clients to practice grounding as often as they can or when they feel anxious or disconnected.”

Use of Grounding Mats

If your climate or lifestyle does not allow for traditional grounding outside, there is a way for you to recreate the effects indoors. Enter: grounding mats. A grounding mat is designed to simulate the effects of grounding outdoors by connecting to the ground port of a home outlet. It is important to note that you are not plugging into an electrical outlet, but rather utilizing electrons from the earth that pass through the ground wire of your home. Grounding mats are available in various forms. In addition to mats, you can find grounding sleep pads, patches, pillowcases, sheets, yoga mats, blankets, socks, and more. This way, you can be grounded while you sleep, work, or exercise.

Don’t worry, most grounding mats come with instructions on how to locate the ground port in your home. According to Step, a grounding mat should be “a non-toxic, mostly carbon-based material that resembles a large mouse pad.” “When you directly touch your skin to it, it feels as if you are touching the earth. The mat is conductive and is directly connected to the earth when set up correctly. You can plug it into an outlet that only connects to the ground wiring of your home or apartment.”

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your grounding mat to determine how and for how long to use it. Step recommends using it consistently for the best results. “Studies have shown that benefits occur immediately, but for measurable effects, it is advised to use it for 30-45 minutes,” adds Step.

Possible Safety Issues

Although the act of earthing or grounding in nature doesn’t pose many dangers, there are a few safety concerns that come with using grounding mats and similar indoor grounding products. If you have any underlying health conditions, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before using a grounding mat.

Grounding mats are plugged into the ground port of an electrical outlet, so there should be no risk of electric shock from the product. However, it is important to check the outlet with a multimeter or electrical outlet tester before plugging in a grounding mat to ensure that the outlet is wired correctly and there is no electricity at the ground port. It is also crucial to examine the mat itself for any indications of a loose connection. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the grounding mat safely and correctly.

Despite promising research, there is limited evidence on the impact of grounding (whether outdoors or indoors using a grounding mat) on your health and well-being. However, while further research is needed, there is no harm in trying it out for yourself.

“The risk-benefit ratio favors grounding compared to many other methods you may use to reduce inflammation, stress, and improve blood flow,” states Dr. Kanodia, who practices grounding himself. “I have been doing it for over ten years and I recommend it to my patients.” (See more: How to Utilize Your 5 Senses to Discover Serenity and Stay Present)

Ready to make a purchase? Here are some top-notch grounding mats to consider.

NeatEarthing Grounding Therapy Sleep Pad

Amazon

Grounding mats can serve a purpose beyond being an elevated yoga mat – you can even buy a grounding mat specifically designed for your bed. Grounding sleep therapy pads, like the one offered by NeatEarthing, are believed to enhance pain relief, expedite healing, and promote better sleep. You can choose between a grounding pad that covers your entire bed or a half-size pad if you want to give it a try on one side.

Buy It: NeatEarthing Grounding Therapy Sleep Pad, $78, amazon.com.

Alfredx Earth Connected Universal Grounding Mat

Amazon

This grounding mat comes with a 15-ft cable cord, allowing you to use it for grounding on the floor while watching TV or even place it at the foot of your bed to enjoy the benefits of grounding therapy while you sleep.

Buy It: Alfredx Earth Connected Universal Grounding Mat, $30, amazon.com.

SKYSP Grounding Pillowcase Mat for Sleep

Amazon

Grounding pillowcases function in the same manner as grounding mats, as they can be plugged into a wall that is connected to a grounding port. The use of a grounding pillowcase during sleep is believed to address and alleviate pain in the neck and head. Although the scientific evidence supporting these benefits is not yet established, reviewers on Amazon have reported observing improvements.

Buy It: Purchase the SKYSP Grounding Pillowcase Mat for $29 on amazon.com.

Earthing Sticky Mat Kit

Earthing

This particular grounding mat kit is developed by Clint Ober and has received approval from Step and the team at grounded.com. The Earthing grounding mat comes complete with a cord, mat, safety adapter, outlet checker, and user’s manual. This allows you to determine the optimal location for plugging in your mat, giving you access to the ground wiring in your home or building.

Buy It: Purchase the Earthing Sticky Mat Kit for $70 on earthologylife.com.

Ultimate Longevity Ground Therapy Universal Mat

Ultimate Longevity

Clint Ober also created this grounding mat, making it an ideal choice for beginners who are interested in using grounding mats. Along with the mat itself, you will receive a copy of Ober’s book “Earthing” (co-authored with Stephen), which provides a comprehensive explanation of the grounding practice. Additionally, you will gain digital access to three films/documentaries on the subject.

Buy It: Purchase the Ultimate Longevity Ground Therapy Universal Mat for $69 on ultimatelongevity.com.

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