Earthing (also called grounding) is a very important and possibly essential physiological process that humans (and probably all life-forms) can use for their healthy existence. That is the finding of dozens of medical researchers into earthing, even though the mainstream medical profession so far refuses to spend the funds on research to verify this using its own independent researchers. Since 2010, many thousands of people worldwide have benefitted from earthing, including myself. According to earthing researchers, earthing relieves many (and possibly all) types of inflammation and has been found to provide measurable relief for a long list of health problems. 

In this very brief synopsis, I will describe how it works. Some day in the future I may develop a much more detailed article (an Earthing 101) for this Barefoot Hub Ball website, but until then that type of information generally can be found in the book “Earthing: the most important health discovery ever!” by Clint Ober (with Dr. Stephen Sinatra & Martin Zucker, 2014, second edition). Also much of it can be found at the Earthing Institute website. This is just a short summary.

First, it is important to understand what earthing is and what it is not. I first started my barefoot walking and hiking program in earnest in 2004. That was after 25 years prior to that experimenting with various barefoot activities, such as outdoor volleyball, short walks and hikes, yard work and just being outside barefoot. In 2004 I was aware of two types of grounding. Neither of these types of “grounding” had anything to do with electric energy. But they are both real and have their own importance.

One type of grounding is the psychological process of making oneself more “grounded” in reality and in tune with society, with other people, and life in general. It can be called psychological grounding but I am sure there are other names for it. The second is Eastern-philosophical grounding. It is (among other things) a connection with the ground, the Earth, and nature. As any Buddhist, Hindu or other student of chakras knows, that includes understanding of the inner nature, of the flow of chi energy, of the Muladhara (base) chakra, and of the cleansing action of non-electric energy on the inner nature. That second type of grounding was one that I actively tried to develop in my first years of barefoot walks and hikes, with some success. The type of energy involved is metaphysical (or subtle) energy. Note – I am purposely simplifying that type of grounding here; it is part of much more complex layered reality system (and belief structure that includes the non-physical realm).

Very soon into my first year of my barefoot walks and hikes I became convinced there was some OTHER type of energy flow into the body that I was getting regularly from the Earth. Initially I  convinced myself it was the chi energy flowing out and back in again…a consciousness-directed process with some positive physical effects. Maybe I was creating physical energy out of subtle energy. (That may be possible – there is some evidence of it). While that may be part of what occurs, I had no idea there was another physical energy that I was getting from the Earth. Until 2010, when I got a pleasant surprise.

Clint Ober’s book came out (i.e. the first edition). I immediately bought and read it (2010), and it was clear that, yes, some type of energy from the Earth does come into the body. It is in form of electrons, or more specifically a direct-current at very low voltage flow of electrons. Having read and reread the book and watched many videos on this subject, read/reread the updated 2014 version of the book, and having done further research and detailed calculations on my own, I can now provide my interpretation (not necessarily that of anyone else) of what is going on with earthing. And to distinguish it from the two other types of grounding, and from electrical equipment grounding, I will refer to it as “biological earthing” or “BE” from here on (rather than just calling it “earthing”…although I will use that term as well).

Any person automatically gets earthed when they are (1) barefoot on the Earth, or in contact with natural surfaces (such as living trees & plants) that are in the Earth, or anything conductive and directly connected to Earth, (2) lying on a bed or otherwise touching a pad or sheet that connects to the Earth (via an electrical grounding system), or (3) any other direct or indirect connection to the Earth to bare skin or through a conductive item such as a cotton sheet or leather-soled footwear (not synthetic-soled shoes). 

Okay, let’s first understand that there are several things going on when a person (or any animal for that matter) gets earthed. I will focus on the primary three. They are:

  • Electron flow into the body (beneficial)
  • Discharge of unhealthy electric static and electromagnetic field (EMF) ac induced voltage
  • Tapping into the Earth’s resonance frequency 

The first thing that happens when a person gets earthed is a discharge of undesirable electric energy. This comes in two types, static electrons on the body (typically in the tens of volts range, but can exceed 100 volts). This charge goes directly to ground and is gone in less than a millionth of a second. But also we may have induced EMF voltage from electric fields that any electrical equipment nearby can induce mostly (but not entirely) onto the outer part of the body. Those are ac voltages (60 or 50 Hertz, alternating current), often in the 0.5 to 10 volt range, but can get above that. Very rarely they get above 20 volts, ac. But that is possible if one has many active electric devices within a few feet.  They also go to ground instantaneously, but unlike static charge, not entirely – a very tiny amount will typically still be there even when we are grounded. But it is about a fraction of one-thousandth of the original 0.5 – 10 volts, (a few millivolts), so it is probably negligible.

So once a person is biologically earthed, the undesirable forms of electric energy are no longer a problem. There are some situations where this may not be sufficient, such as keeping an electric device in the fully active mode that rests right up against the head or other body part, but that is not the topic of this article. Note – Any active electric device that rests against the body may or may not pose EMF problems – that depends on several factors. So earthing may not offer sufficient protection in those situations. But generally the BE process lowers EMF risks.

Then, immediately upon starting the BE process we also start getting a flow of electrons from the earth. It is this process that causes nearly all the naysayers and skeptics of earthing to try to dismiss it. Often they resort to calling it “pseudoscience.” Those people cannot be more wrong. It is science. The earthing electron flow is very real and has been proven in several experiments so far. Direct current of electrons flow into the body from the Earth. While I think more research is needed to determine the amount of electrons per second (I.e. the micro-amperes that enter the body), some flow inwardly occurs.

The confusion that many are caught up in (including myself for quite a while) is that electrical ground (especially the Earth itself) is considered to be at zero voltage. At zero volts there would be no inward electron flow. And in electrical engineering and electrical science that assumption (zero volts) is fine since the actual amount is very close to zero volts. But it is not absolute zero. And as explained in the Earthing book, the Earth is negatively charged. There is great amount of electrical activity in the soil and below the soil as well. It has a surface voltage of 10 to 50 millivolts on most surfaces. For those not familiar with these type of numbers, a millivolt is one-thousandth of a volt. The 10 – 50 mV range has been calculated and provided directly from Clint Ober in videos and made available to the public.

Side comment on this voltage range: 

I will note here that more research on earthing is needed. That must include testing Earth voltages. I have yet to find independent detailed data of Earth surface voltages anywhere. While I trust Clint Ober on this voltage range, it is likely to be only a generalization. Soil resistivity and composition, as well as the levels of water in the soil need to be analyzed, and tests are needed to confirm this range of voltages. From my experience (I have done soil resistivity tests back in my very early career days as an engineer), it seems about right. But more needs to be done by researchers to validate Clint Ober’s claim. Fairly dry and mostly sandy surfaces have nearly zero voltage (maybe a few millivolts or less), and very dry, hard surfaces of earth and sandy desert are at zero with no electrical charge, although they are still fully conductive and can serve as a ground and are not the equivalent of an insulator. It is doubtful (in my opinion) that those type of surfaces can produce any measurable electrons to the body. A deep ground rod into those types of earth surfaces is probably needed for a source of electron activity that could be used for BE.

The best soil for BE and for extracting electrons in my experience is damp soil that grows (or can grow) healthy grass. A direct ground rod connection into that type of soil is best for creating one’s own BE system or for connecting into a manufactured one (pads, sheets, etc.). I use this type of direct ground rod connection at my own home for earthing products. My experience is that the best soil can produce sufficient electron flow for all forms of earthing (barefoot walking, indoor BE products, etc.). 

Inside the body we are apparently tuned for receiving these very low voltages of dc electrons. All living animals and plants are apparently tuned to take advantage of these electrons, i.e. receive them and use them. This discovery (by Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra in conjunction with others) was done by observing the effect of BE on red blood cells. The viscosity (measured in zeta potential) is high for unearthed blood cells, which is not good as it leads to clumping, and drops to a beneficial lower viscosity after 30 minutes of earthing. The red blood cells become more active, move better, and are not as sticky. The tested cells were charged by electrons from the short period of using BE. The actual zeta potential was measured – it went up over 250 % in just 1/2 hour. That proved red blood cells can carry varying amounts of electrons, and the amount varies with earthing.

When a person is earthed, the electrons go through the outer skin and some of them get picked up on the red blood cells (in capillaries). Those cells and other cells apparently also, such as the gel cells that surround the body’s collagen absorb electrons from the skin that touches the Earth or BE-pad/sheet. The circulatory system is one way they are distributed through the body. As Dr. Laura Koniver points out, all of the body is conductive so those electrons could also traverse via the collagen/gel cells in the body or the nervous system or other pathway such as the meridian system.  But it is clear to me that the most effective way is probably the circulatory system and that the red blood cells can deliver electrons similar to delivering oxygen.

Side comment on red blood cells delivering electrons:

The primary role of red blood cells is to supply oxygen to cells and remove carbon dioxide. My research into electron transfer has not as yet confirmed that the mainstream medical establishment accepts that red blood cells have a role in supplying electrons to the other cells of the body. (I would glad to be provided with this confirmation if anyone can do so). So while I accept the Earthing book theory that the BE process does move electrons from the Earth to places in the body where they are needed, such as inflamed areas where there is a repair field, mainstream medical information is apparently not certain about the red blood cell role in this process. At least this has not yet been independently proven as far as I can tell. Again, more research is needed.

The health benefits of the BE process are substantial as explained in the Earthing book, at the Earthing Institute website, and in the Earthing Movie, and many videos on YouTube, so I will not cover them here. Based on surveys by others and my own experience, I estimate that 80 – 90 percent of those who regularly do earthing at night get significant health, stress relief, and/or sleep improvement results. But it could be higher than 90 percent. And it is likely that the rest of them also get some positive results but do not notice them, or they just refuse to notice them. Some people get nearly miraculous health improvements, and there is evidence that some even get total cures of certain conditions.

The beauty of this BE process is that it is all “automatic.” Unlike Eastern-philosophy grounding, which requires our mind (consciousness) to be involved and one has to mentally try to make it occur, no mental activity is needed for it to work. Biological earthing is apparently built into all life in Earth. Any internal or external area in the body that is low in electrons (such as where the inflammation process has depleted them) can require electrons to bring that area into balance. The blood stream or some other delivery mechanism delivers the electrons to where they are most in need, especially to areas that are inflamed. And apparently the areas that need them the most get most of them due to voltage differences between the charge on the transport tissue (or blood) cells and the receiving tissue cells. The electrons “automatically” go where they are needed. If this is true, it is really miraculously simple and effective.

One other thing that occurs in BE is tapping into the Earth’s Schumann frequency. The Earth has a electromagnetic field spectrum resonance of 7.83 Hz that is generated by lightning. This is a vibratory wave that all life can also “tune into.” So when earthed, the body picks up on this sub-audible hum of the Earth. It is a vibration that cannot be heard but cells in the body somehow get in tune with it when we are in contact with the Earth. Again, that is not part of the primary dc electron flow from BE, but rather a side benefit of Earth connection that may be essential in its own right. These vibrations are in sync with the brain’s alpha waves, and are regarded as beneficial for sleep or naps and for meditation. The brain waves are electric, are at very low levels of voltage, and can be measured by an EEG.

It is understandable why a lot of people get confused about electricity and the body. They think if electricity is bad for you and you need ground it out, then how can it be also good for you (and when you need it, you can absorb it). The analogy is this. If you swim in the sea and are in salt water, that water is internally useless to you…you cannot drink it. And furthermore it may be polluted as well. But you get out, towel off and can then drink clean fresh (unsalted) water. While both are a form of water, one is internally good for you and the other is not. Our bodies are designed for taking in clean, fresh water, not salt water.

Neither EMF voltage induced on the body (from devices we use) and nor static electric charge are  any good. They are similar to salt water, useless for you internally. What makes them useless is that the body of humans (and other animals) are not designed for the form that electricity is in; they are not at a very low voltage that is compatible with the body’s internal system, and EMF’s are also 60 Hz ac and not dc. But a small trickle of very low voltage dc electrons from the Earth into the bare feet or other body area is good for you. And I think it is almost certainly essential for the best health.

I postulate that humans do need biological earthing to live their optimum healthy life. This is only my opinion, but it is based on my personal experience and health monitoring over the past several years of using indoor earthing products as well as over 40 years of significant outdoor barefoot activity. Synthetic-soled footwear, Clint Ober says, is “one of the most disastrous inventions that man ever made” since they cut off the very last way most people get earthed.  As Clint says, getting back to nature is basically what earthing does…it reconnects us to the Earth. And in doing so, restores our electron balance and nearly totally frees us from unwanted electrical static and EMF fields. All other life-forms are “barefoot” or in other words not insulated from Earth. Only we humans have done this. And we humans (stupidly) did this physical disconnection from Earth to ourselves. We went against nature and we lost.

People need to get back to connecting with Earth. As Dr. Laura Koniver says in her many outstanding videos – as we charge our rechargeable phones, we also need to be recharged every day. Except in our case it is by the Earth….just like every other type of life gets recharged on this amazing planet.

I will close by stating that this is just a very brief description of MY interpretation of how earthing works. Also note that I am not a doctor or health professional, and this article is not to be considered as “medical advice.” But I am a person who has benefitted from earthing. I can state that at 100 % certainty. Any information in this synopsis article is from my studying the topic of earthing (and doing it) and is subject to change as I learn more. While earthing is, as far as I know, a very safe and very inexpensive form of healthy activity, do so at your own risk. Also there is no assurance by myself that YOU will get any significant health benefits. And of course it is not a substitute for other medical therapies that your doctor advises. If you are open-minded about earthing and want to learn more, It is best to go to the sources I have mentioned here. Do your own research. And for those skeptics who read this, please keep an open mind. Try it and you may be pleasantly surprised.