Lower Inflammation, Reduce Pain, and Protect Your Heart with “Electric Nutrition”

I love walking barefoot in my backyard.

That’s probably not much of a surprise, coming from a tie-dye wearing, former drummer of a band with “Root” in its name. But it turns out, walking barefoot isn’t just for self-proclaimed “hippies” like me, who like the feel of the warm grass on a summer day…

rusted root music
IMAGE SOURCE: Jim Donovan

In fact, researchers have discovered this practice—also known as “grounding” or “earthing”—actually provides some solid science-backed health benefits.

Today, I’ll tell you more about the benefits of going barefoot (where it’s safe to do so, of course)—and how you can amplify them even further by adding sound.

Recharge with “electric nutrition” straight from the Earth

Research shows that direct, physical contact with the ground helps the body absorb electrons from the soil. This natural, electrical charge—or “electric nutrition”—from the Earth provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

And it happens almost instantly.

As Dr. Steven Sinatra of the Heart MD Institute explains, these antioxidant-rich electrons from the earth give you an “energy infusion” of sorts, providing you with several benefits. Grounding helps:

  • Neutralize your body’s destructive, positively-charged free radicals (unstable atoms that damage cells, proteins, and DNA)—responsible for a slew of health conditions.
  • Stabilize the body’s bioelectrical circuitry that controls your physiology and organs
  • Support your self-healing mechanisms
  • Sync up your basic biological rhythms

Dr. Sinatra emphasizes that our modern-day physical disconnection from the earth is one of the most overlooked contributing factors to many common conditions like pain, fatigue, stress, poor sleep, and especially chronic inflammation.

(And as I’ve written about before, inflammation the root cause of most of the major diseases plaguing Americans.)

How grounding improves inflammation, pain, and heart health

If this all still sounds a little “out there,” you might be surprised at how many studies tout the health benefits of grounding.

For instance, in a 2010 study, researchers studied the effects of grounding on inflammation. Eight healthy subjects underwent intensive exercise. Afterward, as they recovered, half of the participants practiced grounding while the other group did not.

All participants underwent imaging, blood tests, and saliva tests 24 hours, 48 hours, and 78 hours after exercising. Researchers found that inflammation measures were consistently improved by 10 percent or more in the grounding group.

In a 2013 study, researchers examined the effects of two hours of grounding on red blood cell clumping—a key factor in cardiovascular disease.

They found that grounding improved blood viscosity and increased the zeta potential of 10 healthy participants by a whopping 270 percent. Zeta potential is a measure of how well your cells maintain proper spacing in order to avoid clumping.

The researchers deemed grounding as “one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events.”

A different 2010 study looked at the effects of grounding on exercise-induced pain. They found that, compared to placebo, the participants who used grounding reported experiencing three times less pain.

PM pain scale
IMAGE SOURCE: National Center for Biotechnology Information

A 2020 meta-review also found that grounding helped reduce pain, tenderness, soreness, and inflammation after strenuous exercise.

Double-up on grounding benefits

Want to give grounding a try?

It’s super easy and doesn’t cost a thing. The key is letting your bare skin to touch grass, soil, or sand for an extended period of time. You can either stand, sit, or lay down. I recommend trying it for 20 minutes to see how it makes you feel.

And here’s an easy way to get even more inflammation-fighting health benefits at the same time: While you’re doing your grounding, do some vagal nerve stimulation exercises too.

This can be as easy as:

  • Humming along to your favorite songs
  • Doing the calming vagal breathing exercise I detailed in this article.
  • Performing one of the weekly sound sequences in my Inner Sound Method—a new weekly coaching program, designed to help you develop a daily sound healing practice for better whole-body health!

I also recommend trying the Japanese technique of “forest bathing.” It’s great for improving sleep, mood, and cognition. (I wrote about it here.)

I’d love to hear how grounding works for you! Drop me a line at feedback@donovanhealth.com and let me know what you think.

Remember, sometimes the best things for your mental and physical health are right under your nose (or in this case, your feet).


SOURCES:

Chevalier, G. et al. (2012). Earther: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012: p. 291541. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/

Chevalier, et al. (2013). Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity-A Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Retrieved from:  ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3576907/

Chevalier, G., Mori, K., and Oschman, J. (2005). The effect of earthing (grounding) on human physiology. European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics. 2: pp. 600–621. Retrieved from: researchgate.net/publication/241219438_The_effect_of_Earthing_grounding_on_human_physiology#:~:text=Previous%20research%20(12)%20showed%20that,sleep%20dysfunction%2C%20pain%20and%20stress.

Menigoz, W. et al. (2020). Integrative and lifestyle medicine strategies should include Earthing (grounding): Review of research evidence and clinical observations. Explore. 16(3): pp. 152 – 160. Retrieved from: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550830719305476

Oschman, J., Chevalier, G., and Brown, R. (2015). The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Journal of Inflammation Research. 8: pp. 83 – 95. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378297/

Sinatra, S. (2014). What is Earthing or Grounding? HeartMD Institute. Retrieved from: heartmdinstitute.com/alternative-medicine/what-is-earthing-or-grounding/

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About the author

Jim Donovan M.Ed., is a professional musician and educator. He's an Assistant Professor at Saint Francis University where he teaches music and how the power of sound can help you experience a healthier life.