Does grounding—where you put your bare feet on the grass or earth—really help ease pain?
Advocates of the therapy, which is also known as earthing, claim it can help reduce stress, depression and anxiety, and help us manage pain better.
And a new research study agrees. A group of 16 massage therapists—a profession that routinely suffers from aches and pains—reported feeling less pain and better sleep after they had grounded every day for a month.
Researchers at the University of California at San Diego tested grounding on the group during a six-week period, which included two weeks when they didn't use the technique. In the four weeks of grounding, they were barefoot throughout the day and slept under a sheet that had a wire connected to the ground outside the bedroom.
Throughout the six weeks their pain, physical function, anxiety, depression, fatigue levels and sleep patterns were assessed, and the therapists reported "significant" improvements in the weeks when they were grounding, the researchers reported. Biomarkers of inflammation, blood viscosity and heart rate variability had also improved.
Grounding was developed by cable TV entrepreneur Clinton Ober after he suffered a major illness and was based on his insights of how electrical systems work. Essentially, he argues that the body's systems can be harmonized through direct contact with the earth's electrical energies.