Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Earthing Book Going Global
The Earthing book is now out in Swedish, German, Korean, Italian, Finnish, Dutch, Spanish, French, Russian, and Polish!
Coming in 2013: Earthing in Danish, Chinese, and Greek.
Posted on 01/30 at 07:13 PM
Sunday, January 06, 2013
By Karin Larka
(Karin Larka is a retired, award-winning California educator whose experience spans pre-school children, the arts, gifted pupils, and graduate students)
Provence, a scenic region of hilltop villages full of mountains, valleys, forests, and rivers, is one of the oldest wine-growing areas of France. It is there that my husband and I travel each fall to enjoy the precious beauty and tranquility that this area offers – so different from the hot and dry central valley of California where we live. We also go for the wines, which range from light, fresh, and fruity, to deeper in color and taste.
One of our happiest discoveries has been the Montirius Winery, located near the village of Sarrians in the southern Rhône Valley. The winery produces magnificent organic wines − Vacqueyras, Gigondas, and Côtes du Rhône – and, as we have learned, has been using an Earthing concept in the processing since 2002.
Montirius is always our first stop after picking up our rented car in Avignon. Each year we buy enough wine for family and friends as well as ourselves. It is the only wine we drink there and we thought the exquisite taste was due solely to the winery’s self-sustaining, organic applications, inspired by famous Austrian philosopher and metaphysicist Rudolf Steiner nearly 100 years ago.
But we learned otherwise. Montirius, it turns out, “earths” their wine vats.
Several years ago that wouldn’t have had much meaning for us. But in 2010, we read the Earthing book and were intrigued enough to try the concept ourselves. From our first night’s sleep on an Earthing sheet, our experience has been so extraordinary that we have become “Earthing Ambassadors.” We tell everybody about Earthing. Our health has dramatically improved as we experience deep restorative sleep, sharper mental acuity, and reduction in inflammation and muscle pain. The depression I suffered left after a month and most importantly, we believe Earthing kept my husband alive when a medical mix-up delayed an urgently-needed surgery for two weeks following a stroke.
In our first visit to France after reading the book, we traveled up the road to Mont Ventoux, one of the highest, steepest, and most difficult climbs of the Tour de France. We wanted to experience – although in a car – what the Tour cyclists had to go through and imagined just how big a help Earthing could be to cyclists in such a grueling race. Below Mont Ventoux are countless vineyards, that are so delightful to explore, and among them is Montirus.
Montirius is a serene place that we have come to love. It is the largest winery in the area, the property of the Saurel Family for five generations. The current owners, Eric and Christine Saurel, made the unusual decision to grow their grapes “bio-dynamically* − they were the first French vintners to do so − and also to allow the juice to birth into wine and mature in “earthed” vats.
Sitting outside their home recently, and sipping wine (of course), Christine explained to us how their wine is earthed and what it means to the wine-making process.
When a specific field with its specific variety of wine is harvested, the harvest goes into its own vat. There are 55 vats in all, and the content of each vat matures at its own rhythm. Unlike many wineries that mix their harvests, no other harvest is added to that particular vat. The aging process extends over two years and then the content is bottled. Each of the stainless steel and concrete vats are grounded with copper wire.
“We did experiments,” Christine further explained, “and discovered that if we earthed the vats, the process of separation in wine-making was speeded up. It happens immediately…in a few hours. Without the Earthing, the separation process could take much longer. Many days or weeks. It eventually happens, but never as fast.”
The separation process refers to when the liquid separates into the opaque and transparent juices. This occurs before the liquid actually becomes wine, and before the alcohol enters the juice in the fermentation process.
“It is difficult to know if the wine tastes different or better as a result of the Earthing because the wine was always good and continues to be so,” Christine said. The strategy really goes beyond taste, to simulating, with a ground wire in each vat, a connection to the Earth’s energy during the wine-making process that the grapes naturally have during the growing process in the field. “It’s about a better way to maintain life in the liquid during the alcoholic fermentation and aging in the tanks, and beyond, so that each bottle contains as much of the life and energy given by the soil and vines to the grapes.”
Whenever we visit Montirius, other visitors and winery “hoppers” drop in to the tasting room. From what we have witnessed, the comments are always quite positive, a confirmation by individual palates of the many awards that Montirius has won over the years.
For those interested in “grounded wine,” visit the Montirius website at http://www.montirius.com
Posted on 01/06 at 04:50 PM
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Earthing for Lyme Patients: Go Slow!
(Alix is the online name used by the co-founder of http://www.spirochicks.com, a collaborative Lyme lifestyle blog, with hundreds of subscribers and followers)
Lyme Disease Facts
● Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick.
● The condition was first reported in the U.S. in 1975 and has now been documented in Canada, Europe, the U.K., Russia, Africa, and Latin America. The Centers for Disease Control reports about 30,000 new cases per year in the U.S., an incidence the agency says is grossly under-reported. The reason, both in the U.S. and elsewhere, is likely because of poor recognition of symptoms by doctors, and because screening tests miss 35% of culture-proven Lyme disease.
● Lyme disease is usually treatable soon after an infectious bite with at least a month of antibiotics. However, it can become chronic when it is undertreated or when it is left untreated.
● Early symptoms can include: a bull’s eye rash (not all cases), flu-like symptoms, and joint pain
● Late symptoms can become disabling and can include neurological manifestations like facial palsy, loss of cognitive abilities, sleep disturbances, and heart abnormalities.
● Controversy exists over the cause of long-term Lyme symptoms despite use of antibiotics.
In 2003, I bought the wood-cut print pictured above and hung it up on a wall in my house. I had no idea why I was attracted to this piece of art. At the time, I was very ill but had no diagnosis. A few years later I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease. It’s now obvious why I was attracted subconsciously to the image of a barefoot woman holding a plant. Those were the two keys to my healing from a decades-long case of Lyme disease: Earthing and herbal medicine.
Earthing is profoundly healing for people with Lyme, as I and many in the SpiroChicks group have discovered. Aside from going gluten-free in 1999, nothing else has boosted my health so dramatically and rapidly as Earthing. Like me, anyone can enjoy the many benefits of Earthing, such as:
● The ability to fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply
● Reduced pain and inflammation
● Feeling of calm
My personal journey to optimal healing with Earthing was a bumpy one. I learned, and others have learned as well, that Lyme patients have to proceed slowly and cautiously because it is possible to Earth too much too soon if you suffer with Lyme. As an example, I offer a chronicle of my own experience.
I first Earthed in fall 2010 after hearing about Earthing at a health conference. I felt a sense of calm immediately after I placed an Earthing band around the ball of my foot, centering the contact point on my sole (over the acupuncture point called Kidney 1). I slept Earthed for the first time in my conference hotel room, and felt as though I fell asleep faster and slept a bit better than normal for someone with normally raging insomnia. My permanent headache – a problem I’d had for 16 years − abated significantly while at the conference.
When I returned home, I continued Earthing all night with the band around my foot, on the K1 point. My sleep improved to the point where, after a few weeks, I felt brave enough to stop cold turkey my prescription sleep medication. I was gratified to experience no trouble sleeping through the night. I didn’t miss the medication or the awful “hangovers” it gave me. (Note: I’m not recommending this to anyone on an addictive sleep med!). I also dumped my other sleep supplements except melatonin. I kept that because my body makes a lower than normal amount of its own melatonin.
Without prescription sleep meds and most of my sleep supplements, I kept sleeping well. That meant having deliciously long nights where I slept like a baby, sometimes for more than 12 hours. You can’t imagine how welcome this was after many nights of all-nighter insomnia for about eight years.
At some point, I decided to change my connection from a grounded wall outlet to a dedicated Earthing ground rod. I don’t recall what happened, but some Lyme patients in our SpiroChicks forum have said this change was noticeable to them.
Then, I got an Earthing recovery bag, thinking that “more is better.” It turned out to be too much exposure for me. A familiar and horrifying feeling returned – I went to bed as normal, feeling very sleepy, yet could not nod off for the entire night. I remained completely aware of my surroundings all night. The next day I had my trademark post-insomnia symptoms that render me non-functional – dizziness, a feeling of being “drunk,” and terrible pain in my head and body. I guessed that Earthing had caused a setback of insomnia, likely due to amplified Herxheimer and/or detoxification reactions. Let me explain those phenomena as they relate to Lyme patients:
● Individuals undergoing Lyme treatment sometimes experience Herxheimer reactions, an odd phenomenon where one feels worse because bacterial die-off produces an inflammatory event. Some people associate fatigue, nausea, and fever with “herxing.” Herxheimer reactions can also cause previously experienced Lyme symptoms to temporarily reappear.
● Earthing may also increase the body’s ability to detoxify − the actual cleaning out through our organs, of dead bacterial debris, such as Lyme spirochetes, and their resultant endotoxins. We can have detoxification reactions when the liver, kidneys, lymphatics, colon or skin become overloaded and are unable to manage the demands placed on them. Detoxification is notoriously impaired in long-term Lyme patients’ bodies. Based on patient reports, it’s possible that Earthing increases the capacity of one or more of these systems to eliminate toxins, but that the body retains bottlenecks in other organs that then get overloaded. The list of detox symptoms is long but can include fatigue, joint or muscle pain, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, irritability, and headaches.
I was still strongly convinced that Earthing was good for me, so I decided to go back to placing the band around my foot, which had caused wonderful initial benefits and no discomfort at all. I took the recovery bag off my bed for a while. The strategy worked. I did pretty well with sleep and was gradually able to build back up to Earthing my entire body on an Earthing sheet, without an uptick in insomnia.
There is no doubt that my reaction was a Lyme-specific reaction: too much Earthing too quickly. This experience is actually quite common among Lyme patients. It doesn’t mean that Earthing’s benefits − like pain reduction and better sleep − will not occur. It just means that Lyme patients need to go slowly when they start Earthing. It’s important to gradually build up the duration and amount of the body that is Earthed, so you don’t get slammed with a Herxheimer or detox reaction.
Lee Cowden, M.D., a well-known integrative physician and natural Lyme practitioner, directs Lyme patients to Earth for 15–30 minutes a day, building up to 3 hours while awake. Once a patient can Earth for 3 hours in the day, he says the patient can then try sleeping Earthed overnight.
Due to oftentimes quick provocation of reactions, some of my friends with Lyme have gone very, very slowly, at first only touching the metallic contact on a grounded Earthing band for 5 or 10 minutes per day. Some got a reaction, sometimes described as nausea, sometimes described as “detoxing too quickly,” even at this very minimal level. Some, like me, reacted quite positively at first. Many reported that once they weathered the temporary rough spots they experienced pain and headache reduction, better sleep, clearer thinking, a more alkaline body, and even improved excretion of heavy metals. Others never endure a negative reaction, and just enjoy the benefits. Still others report no apparent symptom benefits. We don’t know yet how many Lyme patients fall in each group.
To me, the fact that Earthing causes Herxheimer and detox reactions in Lyme patients suggests it must be inherently healing, as it’s hard to imagine that touching Mother Earth could ever cause ill health. What fascinates me, and demands study, is the reasons why the Earth may help Lyme patients heal. Although we only have hypotheses as to why Earthing can cause people with Lyme to Herx and detox, it’s good to begin somewhere. From my investigations there are a few factors that could contribute:
● Blood thinning: Earthing’s ability to thin the blood may allow the antibiotics used to treat Lyme to penetrate more deeply into tissue and access spirochetes. Thinner blood may also allow detox pathways to function better, by physically making it easier for blood to pass through smaller spaces.
● Blood oxygenation: Increased blood oxygenation from Earthing would also be detrimental to circulating spirochetes, causing more die-off than normal. More oxygenation could also contribute to improved detoxification.
● Prevention of Cysts: Steven Phillips, M.D., said at a 2004 Lyme conference that prescription blood thinners “appear to disrupt the formation of spheroblasts (cysts) in the bloodstream.” Lyme-literate MDs theorize that Borrelia Burgdorferi (Bb), the Lyme pathogen, form cysts as a defense mechanism when under threat from antibiotic treatment. Maybe, like prescription blood thinners, Earthing’s blood thinning effects somehow disrupt cyst formation, too? If so, does this mean Earthing could help a Lyme patient’s body slow the formation of cysts in the first place?
● Cyst Breakage: Earthing book co-author Steven Sinatra, MD suggests that the Earth’s natural frequencies might cause entrenched Bb cysts to open and deliver spirochetes to the bloodstream where they are more susceptible to antibiotics.
At this point, without Lyme-specific research, we can only speculate about the responses to Earthing but we can begin to create an Earthing strategy. My personal Earthing strategy is to sleep Earthed and work at my desk Earthed. I also seek out other Earthing opportunities such as walking barefoot on the beach and wearing Earthing flip flops as I walk outside.
I’m happy that after three years of herbal Lyme treatment and after experiencing a sharp and unmistakable diminishing of symptoms starting with daily Earthing in fall 2010, I was able to stop treating the Lyme in Spring 2012! Severe headaches and brain fog are largely a thing of the past thanks to Earthing. My joint pain is much reduced. I feel calmer and ready to sleep as soon as I connect to the Earth for the night. Sleep is still a demon I fight each night, but it is more good than bad, and my baseline is much improved due to Earthing.
The more I learn about Earthing and Lyme, the more my thoughts return to that painting of the woman with bare feet. I’m convinced my subconscious knew more about my plan for healing than I did. I can also accept that the Earth knows more about healing our bodies than we’ll ever be able to prove.
* * *
If you are interested in a lively discussion about the Earthing experiences of Lyme patients, please click here: http://www.spirochicks.com/2011/02/earthing-lyme-hypotheses.html
Thanks to Scott Forsgren, who hosts another informational Lyme disease website http://www.betterhealthguy.com for contributing to this article.
Posted on 12/20 at 11:59 PM
Friday, November 30, 2012
Earthing and Multiple Medications – An Earthing Institute Advisory
In the Earthing book, as well as in previous Earthing reports here, we have written about the need for caution when someone on medication considers starting Earthing. We have specifically singled out the categories for blood thinning, hypertension, thyroid and blood sugar. You can read our previous articles by clicking on these links:
Please review them if you, a friend, or family member, has just started Earthing or are interested in starting, and are under a doctor’s care, or if you are considering recommending Earthing to somebody being treated by a doctor.
There is another aspect to this issue we would like to bring to your attention: when somebody takes multiple medications, as is often the case with elderly individuals or those with serious health complications.
In these situations, we strongly recommend not starting Earthing until a discussion takes place about Earthing’s multiple physiological effects and potential effect on medication dosage with the doctor or health professional involved. Earthing promotes a variety of improvements in the function of the body. Such improvements, to be sure, are welcome, but one byproduct could be that a specific medication dosage may no longer be applicable simply because the body is working better. An overdose situation could develop. Symptoms of overdose could appear. For somebody taking a single medication, or perhaps two, such symptoms may be apparent, and easily remedied by consulting with one’s doctor and reducing the dosage.
When multiple medications are involved, the situation is more complex. Multiple interactions could occur as different medications affect each other. There might be some roughness as part of an initial healing effect as well.
For this reason, someone taking multiple medications should NOT start Earthing until he or she has talked about it with their health professional. Earthing is relatively new. Most doctors have not heard about it or don’t know just how significantly it can influence the physiology. Until there is more research and Earthing becomes more mainstream, this issue is a challenge. Doctors have the best interests of their patients at heart, so our advice is to always follow your doctor’s advice. He or she may say no, because of unfamiliarity with Earthing, or be open to it provided there is close monitoring of medications and reporting of any unusual reactions.
Earthing is simple and natural. But even a half-hour or so of exposure – outdoors or indoors – can start generating benefits for some people.
So one cautious approach, and one which a doctor may be more inclined to support, is to start very slowly, with maybe 20 or 30 minutes Earthing exposure, and then very slowly increase. In other words, don’t jump in and sleep grounded the very first time. This way the body can gradually acclimate to the Earth’s energy.
In any case, please be prudent and speak to your doctor or health professional first.
Posted on 11/30 at 09:05 PM
Friday, August 24, 2012
The Ultimate Earthing Bed or Ultimate Bed Bug Bed?
Thanks to Claus Henriksen in Denmark for bringing this creative down-to-Earth bed to our attention.
Posted on 08/24 at 11:21 PM
Friday, August 17, 2012
Shifting Lives with Earthing – A Psychiatrist’s Perspective
Tracy Latz, M.D.
I love digging in the dirt and feeling my connection to the Earth. I find walking barefoot in the grass to be a great stress reducer. As a young girl, I used to run around barefoot with my siblings during the warm summer days, and recall how free and wonderful it felt. My father, a rural doctor, would always yell at us about the danger of cutting our feet or stepping on a nail. We would just laugh it off and continue romping barefoot.
In my psychiatric practice, I often recommend Earthing to patients as part of an integrative approach to healing. In my mind, it is in alignment with the ancient medical doctrine of “Primum non nocere” – which means “First, do no harm.” Some of my patients are open to the concept of Earthing. Others aren’t. Some will say, “I don’t have enough time to stand or walk outside barefoot” or “I don’t want to pay for an Earthing mat or sheet.” Patients who do follow my recommendation to “Earth,” and there have been dozens of them, tend to have good responses. They are individuals with a wide variety of emotional, mental, and physical problems, and often combinations of problems. They often tell me afterward they feel much better.
One of the first things patients tell me after they start Earthing is that they sleep so much better at night. This is a big deal for many of my patients. I recall two recent patients who came in to see me a day apart. Both had been on vacation with their families and found that they didn’t need to take their usual sleeping pills or over-the-counter melatonin when away from home, but then slept poorly again once they returned to their home. I asked both of them where they had been. Both had been at the beach, where they had been walking barefoot, sitting on the sand, and dipping in the ocean water. They said they slept so well, and their mood and pain was so much better when at the beach. This, of course, happens often on seaside vacations, but people rarely connect it to being barefoot or in the water.
In my practice, I have noted that Earthing can help psychiatric patients in the following ways:
● For those with anxiety (post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, etc.), reconnecting with the Earth can assist with an improved sense of safety. By improving sleep architecture, Earthing can help normalize serotonin levels in the brain as it decreases cortisol (an anxiety-inducing hormone). When cortisol levels are high, there is a tendency to go into ‘fight-or-flight’/panic responses to stressful situations and become more easily angered or irritable. As cortisol levels decrease and stabilize, we become more centered, peaceful and calm. In short, we get more easily into our heart and have more compassion for our self as well as for others.
● For those with depression, Earthing can assist with stabilizing serotonin levels as noted above. Serotonin assists with decreasing crying spells, near-tearfulness, and obsessive/repetitive negative thoughts. When depressive symptoms decrease, energy levels improve and tolerance to stressful situations, pain, or discomfort improves.
I have had many chronic pain patients referred to me from pain management doctors. Many have not responded well to, or are resistant to, taking medication. With Earthing, they often have decreased inflammatory problems overall. I’ve seen a lot of people with gluten intolerance and irritable bowel symptoms who have significantly improved by connecting to the Earth. While they may not be completely cured, their GI and stomach issues are better. Their pain is better and so is their anxiety. Some patients, I have found, stop Earthing after their anxiety gets better, and I have to remind them about what helped them get better.
I recommend Earthing to anyone with an auto-immune condition. Two patients with systemic lupus erythematosis are feeling much better after they began Earthing. Their primary doctors attribute their improvement to “a calm period” in their disease process. Another patient developed a rare form of lupus – anticardiolipin antibody – that can cause a narrowing and irregularity of the blood vessels, blood clots, and the potential for stroke or heart attack. Previously, she had experienced symptoms of fibromyalgia and an assortment of problems that doctors had a hard time figuring out. She’s been labeled in the past with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and bipolar disorder. This obviously is not a woman in good shape. Although she gets fatigued, she’s doing much better now after Earthing and her doctors can’t believe she’s as active as she is. She has five horses and in the early evening after it cools off, she will go out and feed her horses barefoot, and then sit or lay for a few hours on the Earth. Weather permitting, of course. She’s been doing this for a year or two and says she feels much better, calmer, more peaceful, and quiet in regards to her anxious mind chatter. This practice of hers I strongly believe has prevented her condition from progressing.
I see many patients with chronic fatigue, people who have exhausted their adrenal hormones. Most of these people have a history of intense stress. With Earthing, they are much less fatigued and calmer. As their sleep cycle improves, the adrenal issues start improving, and they start to pick back up in their energy level and feel better.
One of my friends is a computer systems programmer for a major bank. He works with multiple computer screens around him for up to 10 hours a day 6 or 7 days per week and is always under pressure answering SOS calls and fixing this or that glitch in the nationwide system. He’s so busy that he hardly has any time to relax. The pace is wearing him down and aging him at an alarming rate. One day I brought him a present – an Earthing mat. I told him to place it under his bare feet at his desk since that’s where he spends the biggest chunk of his time. He called me the next day. This is how the conversation went:
“I just wanted to tell you that I love my ‘fizzy feet,” he said.
“Yeah, I can feel the fizzies in my feet and coming up my legs,” he explained. “I really feel good for the first time in a long time. And I slept so well.”
My friend is sticking with it, and enjoying his ‘fizzies’ and feeling good.
As far as my own Earthing experience is concerned, I immediately slept more soundly and deeply on the Earthing sheet that I started using in 2011. I have also experienced much less pain in my left knee that had been intermittently nagging at me for a dozen years after I chipped a divot of bone out of my femur in a freak accident. Now I only get rare slight twinges when the weather gets real cold suddenly or there are abrupt changes in atmospheric pressure.
I sent my mother an Earthing sheet for her fibromyalgia-like and chronic pain symptoms. She was able to work in the garden for the first time in three years. She now sleeps through the night, which she wasn’t doing before, and can walk down stairs normally instead of one step at a time.
My three teenagers each sleep with an Earthing sheet because they are very active. My eldest is a musician and had previously reported chronic neck and should muscle tension from holding a trombone or large cymbals at attention out in front of her during either marching band or indoor drumline competitions. My two sons are athletes – playing high school football and lacrosse. All three report they rest better, have less muscle inflammation, and more rapid recovery from injuries since Earthing.
(Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S., is an integrative psychiatrist in private practice in Mooresville, a suburb of Charlotte, NC. She has worked in state, county, and community psychiatric and mental illness facilities in the past. She specializes in shifting lives that are stuck in relationships, circumstances, and illness.)
Posted on 08/17 at 05:57 PM
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Rapid Benefits: An Earthing 1-Hour “Time Trial”
A 2012 women’s wellness conference in Southern California was the setting for an informal experiment to measure how fast Earthing could influence the experience of vitality.
About 100 women in attendance filled out questionnaires before and after a one-hour talk on Earthing. The questionnaire covered individual assessments of about energy, pain, stress/irritability, mood, circulation, and flexibility. About half the audience was familiar with Earthing.
Here’s how the experiment was set up. When the women entered the hotel conference room, they received a “goody bag” containing the questionnaire, a pen, an Earthing patch and cord, and a pocket mirror that lights up. Why the mirror? So they could easily view themselves before and after the talk, and see how they looked. Once seated, they filled out the “before” section of the questionnaire asking for their subjective impressions on how they felt, using a 1-10 scale.
Prior to the presentation, an Earthing wiring system had been laid out throughout the room that allowed each seated attendee to place the patch on the bottom of one foot, and then connect the cord to the room-wide system. The system was connected to grounded wall outlets. At the end of the talk, everyone filled out the “after” section of the questionnaire.
The results were “phenomenal,” demonstrating just how rapidly Earthing can enhance a woman’s vitality, and “likely a man’s as well, although guys being guys they might be more reluctant to admit it,”
said Christy Westen, D.C., who gave the talk on Earthing.
Here are the questions that were asked and the results:
● Question # 1 Energy
Before (or after) Earthing, my energy levels are: a numerical range from Horrible, to OK, to Magnificent.
78% reported more energy, on average an increase of about 40%.
● Question # 2 Pain
The level of pain in my body before (or after) Earthing is: a numerical range from Extremely painful, to OK, to I am pain-free.
60% of those with pain said they had less pain at the end, and an average decrease of about 30%
● Question # 3 Stress
My level of stress and irritability before (or after) Earthing is: a numerical range from Terrible, I am extremely stressed, to OK, to I feel calm/centered.
77% reported less stress, on average about 50% better.
● Question # 4 Mood
My overall mood before (or after) Earthing is: a numerical range from Terrible, I feel extremely low, to OK, to My mood is wonderful.
82% said their mood had improved, with an average of 40%.
● Question # 5 Complexion
Before (or after) Earthing, when I look into the mirror, my face looks: a numerical range from Dull & Pale, to OK, to Vibrant & full of color.
73% thought they looked better, with an average improvement of 38 percent. We attributed the change to improved circulation and more calmness, even from just an hour of Earthing.
● Question # 6 Circulation
Before (or after) Earthing, the temperature of my hands/feet are: a numerical range from Poor – my hands/feet are ice, to OK, to Great – my hands/feet are warm.
65% stated that their circulation had improved , and on average by 32%.
● Question # 7 Flexibility
Before (or after) Earthing, if I reach down to touch my toes, my flexibility is: a numerical range from Poor, I am extremely stiff, to OK, to Excellent, I feel very flexible.
62% reported improvement, with about a 23 percent improvement.
Keep in mind that these changes occurred within an hour of being seated on typically hard, uncomfortable conference chairs next to people you don’t know.
Dr. Westen summed up the experience thusly: “Most people think that creating more vitality in life requires a ton of time, effort, and sacrifice. We have to sweat it out in the gym, strenuously try to eat the perfect diet, and offload as much stress as possible. To be sure, these are essential ingredients in a healthy lifestyle recipe, but often not so easy to accomplish. Earthing, on the other hand, requires no strain whatsoever and is, in fact, one of the easiest things you can do for your health. Until now it’s been the missing ingredient in the recipe. But now, it’s here, and scientific research is confirming its effectiveness. Just reconnect to the Earth, and even in one single hour you can feel a difference, sometimes profoundly so, and without any side effects! Make it a routine part of your life, and wow, you really put yourself on a direct path to becoming simply vibrant!”
Posted on 08/14 at 12:50 PM
How to Optimize the Lifespan of Your Earthing Sheet
We frequently receive inquiries from people fretting about the longevity and condition of their Earthing sheets. They may have had the sheet for a year or two and are concerned that it may be losing conductivity and no longer carrying the Earth’s healing energy through the silver fibers embedded in the fabric. Some people say that they haven’t washed their sheet at all, or only seldom, out of fear of ruining the conductivity.
We can’t give you a precise lifespan for your sheet. Every situation is different. What we can say is that that no sheet lasts forever. When a sheet does lose its conductivity, it needs to be replaced. We have heard from folks describing the “sudden death” of sheets and from others saying their sheet gradually lost conductivity over time. By comparison, we have some Earthing sheets in use for over five years and they are still going strong. However, there is no guarantee that any particular sheet will last as long.
So what can you do to protect your sheet? Here are some “anti-aging” tips to enhance its longevity:
● If you use your sheet routinely, wash it routinely – every week or two. If you don’t wash the sheet regularly, sweat, wastes, and a variety of organic compounds excreted through your skin can build up and create a film on the sheet that can impair conductivity. Such substances could oxidize and permanently damage the silver fibers as well.
● Wash your sheet in warm water. Set wash cycle to ‘gentle.’ Do not pour detergent directly on the sheet. Let the detergent dissolve in water first, or put the detergent in the designated machine dispenser, and then place your sheet in machine. Tumble dry on ‘low’ or ‘no heat’ setting. Remove sheet from dryer promptly. Fold to minimize wrinkles.
● Never use bleach. Bleach instantly destroys the conductivity of the silver fibers, and is typically what has happened when somebody reports “sudden sheet death.”
● We have tested many commercial detergents, even soaked sheets in them for a week, and they do not harm the conductivity. Make sure the detergent contains no bleach or fabric softener.
● Don’t use any fabric softener or any drying sheets. They won’t kill the silver in one stroke, but over time they might contribute to loss of conductivity because of their chemical content.
● Do not dry clean your sheet.
● Some people like to iron their sheets. If you do it, set the iron to low heat.
● Avoid applying creams, lotions, and essential oils before bedtime to any areas of your skin that will be in contact with the sheet. The oils contained in these products become absorbed into the fabric of the sheets and can reduce or damage conductivity. Please use such body products at an earlier time.
The Bottom Line
Periodically test your connected sheet with the conductivity tester. If you use the tester very often, the battery will wear out more rapidly. The green light will become dim. When that happens, screw open the tester, remove the battery, and replace it. Replacements are available in most stores selling electronics and phones.
If you suddenly realize – like from one day to the next – that the sheet isn’t giving the benefits it had been giving all along, the cause could be bleach…or the cord got disconnected from the ground source (the outlet or a ground rod cord)…or maybe an animal chewed up the cord.
Posted on 08/14 at 12:22 PM
Sunday, August 05, 2012
MenopauseTransformation – A Case History
Laura Koniver, M.D.
I have seen over and over how simply touching the Earth dramatically changes lives, but a recent patient of mine may have had the most dramatic transformation I’ve seen yet. She is a 53-year-old menopausal female who came to me because she was anxious, tired, and burnt out, unable to sleep, moody, and unmotivated. She had tried everything from hormone therapy to antidepressants to raw food and juicing. Nothing seemed to really make her feel like herself again. She felt very frustrated with conventional medicine and disappointed with alternative medicine.
She turned to me for an intuitive reading on what was going on with her body. I found that her mind was overworking and overanalyzing everything in her life without pause, effectively preventing creative and comforting energy to arise and flow through her body.
My prescription was grounding. Simple as that. She just absolutely needed to be in a state that would promote and allow a transition. I believe there is nothing more powerful than the Earth for this. The great transition of menopause is only truly navigable if you are supported by the Earth. Women are meant to be intimately tied to the Earth and there is no time in a woman’s life where this becomes more obvious than during the hormonal upheaval of menopause. The Earth is a woman’s comfort, healing, and salvation as the winds of menopause blast through. Without grounding, women can feel wired, frazzled, unsupported, depressed, and anxious. With the Earth firmly anchoring our bodies, relieving the inflammation and stabilizing our hormones as we make this transition, the journey through becomes deeper and more meaningful, filled with inspiration and power.
Two months of daily grounding literally transformed my patient from an exhausted anxious and despairing woman to a powerful, centered, grounded woman who began uncovering her passion and commitment for the second half of her life. She touched the Earth barefoot or sat right down on it while she read a book for at least 20 minutes every day, and this was enough to change her life.
Grounding to the Earth decreased her hormone swings, made her hot flashes disappear, lifted her mood, increased the quality of her sleep, and comforted her in a way she had never been comforted before. Research and scientific data can explain the anti-aging/anti-inflammatory effects of Earthing on her body and the metabolism boost, blood sugar stabilization, and higher quality sleep she is enjoying. But I know that energetically Earthing goes well beyond what we can measure.
My patient is fortified in a way far beyond just fixing an imbalance or decreasing stress on the body. She has literally reconnected to the Earth and found herself again. She has found her passion, her reason for being, and her future. She is radiant in a way that just a few months ago she would not have thought possible. She has now been able to replace her hormone prescription with Earthing and herbal supplements. She has replaced her sleeping pills with Earthing and nightly meditation. She has replaced her antidepressant with Earthing and finding meaning in her life again. She credits Earthing with getting her life back. I credit her with having the commitment to connect to the Earth and make it a daily routine. I am so impressed with what Earthing has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time and the prescriptions she has been able to stop taking and the joy I hear in her voice when she talks. She is an inspiration to me and I wanted to share her story with you here! Thank you so much to Earthing Institute for raising awareness over this miraculous resource that is otherwise overlooked in our society.
(Laura Koniver, M.D., combines intuition with conventional and alternative medicine to detect the deeper meaning behind disease. She practices general medicine in Charleston, SC.)
Posted on 08/05 at 06:47 PM
Monday, July 02, 2012
Earthing for Snoring Relief
Earthing attracts a good deal of attention and curiosity among healthy living and lifestyle bloggers. One blogger was motivated recently to write about Earthing after her mother reported a huge reduction in dad’s nocturnal snoring level.
“Really?” the blogger-daughter answered. “Are you sure? Why is that?”
At that point, the blogger’s mother said it was due to sleeping grounded and as proof to support what was happening in her bed she proceeded to cite several references to reduced snoring in the Earthing book (pp. 132, 151, 158).
Here at the Earthing Institute, we frequently receive notes from folks saying that their spouses or partners are no longer snoring or are snoring less, and that sleep apnea is improved. One dentist told us that patients “using the Earthing sheets report a lot of gratitude from partners…and everyone’s snoring is much improved or eliminated.”
This is a big deal – another one of Earthing’s multiple benefits. According to a National Sleep Foundation survey in 2008, nearly 50 percent of 75,000 adults surveyed reported snoring, about 37 percent of them on a regular basis. It’s a common problem among all ages and both genders, and can cause disruptions in sleep leading to daytime dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. A serious form of snoring, called sleep apnea, involves cessation of breathing and requires medical attention. Snoring and apnea often involve inflammation of nasal and sinus passages, which is one reason why Earthing helps. Earthing reduces inflammation throughout the body.
The blog writer didn’t have a snoring problem, but said she has experienced an improved quality of sleep after she started sleeping grounded. This was a big deal, she wrote, because she’s “a mother who has had a steady 8+ years of regularly interrupted sleep (I’ve been pregnant or nursing this whole time). She was now “waking up refreshed with far less sleep than would normally have been required to experience the same level of alertness.” Earthing also helped her husband’s back pain, she added.
Responses to her blog included the following comments:
● “We’ve been sleeping earthed/grounded for about a year, and it has helped my hubby and me tremendously. He has chronic sinus issues and snores a lot. Between changing our diets to be primal/paleo and sleeping grounded, he doesn’t snore much anymore. Yay! My own quality of sleep has improved tremendously too.”
● “My wife used to snore a lot. We started sleeping grounded about 6 months ago and already after a few weeks her snoring dramatically reduced. And should she snore it does not bother me anymore, as I have never slept so well. My sleep is the deepest ever. And another thing. I’m 67 years of age and getting up during the night to go to the bathroom was a normal routine. Not any more.”
Posted on 07/02 at 01:26 PM
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Earthing, Inflammation, and Aging – Something to Think About
Gaétan Chevalier, Ph.D.,
Director, Earthing Institute
Type the word “inflammation” in the search box at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (Pub Med) website and you’ll get more than 377,000 medical research articles to consider. The very first one goes back to an 1813 paper on inflammation in the eyes.
It’s been since 2000, however, that the relationship between inflammation and disease has really taken off and specifically the relationship between chronic inflammation and chronic disease. Hitherto, inflammation was largely thought of as the body’s response to injury and infection. That, to be sure, is what acute inflammation is about. But now, researchers have become preoccupied with the chronicity factor, that is long-term, and the nitty-gritty details of how chronic inflammatory underlies many of the most common health disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions. More than two-thirds of the 58,000 or so articles on chronic inflammation have been published in the last 12 years.
Why is there such a big and growing interest in chronic inflammation research?
In the 1980s, medical investigators started to take notice that immune cells congregate at sites of diseased tissue in the body in a wide variety of apparently unrelated disorders. One of the earliest observations involved atherosclerosis, where the lining of arteries become inflamed and damaged, and develop into a potentially life-threatening witches’ brew of fat and debris, the basis of plaque. Russell Ross of the University of Washington identified the presence of macrophages in atherosclerotic tissue, white blood cells known to flock to sites of inflammation. During the next twenty years, arterial disease became increasingly linked to an inflammatory process. By 2000, ongoing studies by Harvard researchers led to the breakout conclusion that cardiovascular disease was inflammatory in nature. By 2004, “smoldering” inflammation had been incriminated as the silent menace behind multiple diseases. The chronic inflammation revolution took center stage worldwide on magazine covers, page one in newspapers, and TV news headlines. Inflammation research became a dynamic growth industry in mainstream medicine. Everywhere they turn, researchers uncover evidence that inflammation ignites and feeds chronic illness.
Our Earthing book focuses a good deal on inflammation. In it, we suggest that the ground beneath our feet is the “original anti-Inflammatory.” In other words, the biggest anti-inflammatory on the planet is, well, the surface of the planet itself. If proven true, that’s a pretty neat design-by-nature. In the book, as you’ve probably read, we make a strong argument about how contact with the Earth, either by being barefoot outside or sleeping or sitting on Earthing products indoors, quenches inflammation by allowing the Earth’s infinite supply of negatively-charged electrons to rise up into the body and snuff out the hitmen of chronic inflammation, the free radicals. The theory of the Earth as an anti-inflammatory had never been mentioned before in research. It is still just a theory but we don’t know how else to explain the way that Earthing knocks down inflammation.
But what about aging? Could chronic inflammation be the main cause of aging or a major factor accelerating aging? Can Earthing slow the aging process due to its obvious and remarkable impact on inflammation?
Improving the health of older people can – and must – be one of the goals of modern gerontology, the study of aging. It is imperative in order to decrease the alarming rate of hospitalization, risky and frequently injurious administration of multiple medications, and soaring age-related disease-care costs. Physiological functions naturally decline with age and negatively influence the absorption and/or metabolism of nutrients, a degradation process further compromised by drug side effects and interference.
The natural slowdown occurring in cells and tissues with advancing age are responsible for an increased risk of disease and death. Part of this process involves the aging of the immune system – called immunosenescence – characterized by a chronic low-grade inflammatory status of the whole aging organism. This process has been referred to by some researchers as inflamm-aging. More than 300 theories have been put forward to explain the reduced functionality associated with aging but none fully explain the immunobiology (physiological functioning of the immune system) of senescence.
So what are some of the current recommendations of researchers to delay the process?
1) Healthier nutrition and maintaining a robust population of beneficial bacteria (microflora) in the gut, a major element of the immune system. Part of a healthier diet has to include caloric restriction. People tend to overeat, particularly the wrong kinds of food, and put on belly fat, an actual source of increased inflammation in the body.
2) Exercise. You’ve heard this many times before, so I won’t dwell on the subject. Exercise, even a minimum, is good for your body and spirits.
3) Antioxidants have been heralded as having the potential to increase longevity by curtailing the effect of oxidative stress on the body. Oxidative stress means rampant free-radicals that damage healthy tissue throughout the body. Such damage creates chronic inflammation.
Aging researchers are largely unfamiliar with Earthing. It is still a new concept. However, as someone who has participated in numerous Earthing studies, it is obvious to me that routine contact with the Earth offers a powerful intervention against chronic illnesses by decreasing or eliminating inflammation, among other benefits, and will likely one day be recognized as a profoundly simple, natural, and effective way to improve health and healing. There is much support in the research community about chronic stimulation of the immune system leading to exhaustion and for the free radical theory of aging as the leading explanation of the aging process. Earthing has a big impact on both. Earthing counteracts free radical damage by providing the body with an abundance of electrons. Electrons are the power behind antioxidants, and so they consequently prevent or reduce inflammation. Such effects produce a relaxation of the body, and thus a reduction in physiological stress. Stress resistance = ability to survive, and by reducing stress, Earthing improves the ability of the body to survive.
One of the factors in this overall equation is chronic antigenic load, meaning the lifelong exposure to a variety of infectious agents for a period much longer than previously encountered during human evolution (because people are living longer than ever). Acute inflammation is how the body neutralizes dangerous/harmful agents, but later in an extended lifespan, such inflammation fails to become effectively countered by an aging immune system. One reason for this could be a lack of connection with the Earth’s supply of electrons. Modern lifestyle and footwear separate us from the ground’s electron supply. We refer to this common reality as an “electron deficiency” and suggest it is an overlooked cause not only of chronic inflammation but perhaps the ravages of aging itself.
Can Earthing reduce the severity and incidence of chronic illness and extend the quality and quantity of life? We seriously think so. Earthing has produced major health improvements in thousands of cases. What Clint Ober first observed, and described in the Earthing book, is now being reported to us by health professionals around the world. Such improvements were also reported during a back-to-Nature movement in Germany that started in the 1880s and featured being barefoot outdoors and even sleeping on the ground. We will write about that movement at a later time.
Earthing studies and feedback indicate that inflammation and stress decrease substantially, and sometimes dramatically. Contact with the Earth appears to dynamically boost the body’s own self-repair and healing mechanisms. This suggests to us that inflamm-aging may be the result of long periods without contact with the electrons of the earth. Our simple solution for the disconnect is pretty obvious: just reconnect to the Earth. It is not a panacea, but it sure may be a difference in how long and well we live.
Posted on 05/16 at 06:02 PM
Friday, March 09, 2012
Multiple Benefits – The Holistic Impact of Earthing
Many different systems in the body are affected when we reconnect with the Earth. Earthing is truly a holistic concept. People who start Earthing because of a sleep problem or a pain problem are often surprised to experience a broad array of relief. Here are two stories we’ve received along those lines:
Lynn Deene, 65, Milo, MI
“In November 2010, when I started Earthing, I had been looking for some kind of relief for bilateral swollen and painful Achilles tendons and plantar fasciitis for over a year. I had tried different exercises, ice packs, massage, and finally physical therapy, all with little or no relief and none with lasting effect. At the end of each day, my feet were so painful and sore, as well as my calves, that it felt like every step was torture. It didn’t matter if my day was more or less active. Also, with the fasciitis, getting out of bed in the morning, even with doing foot and ankle exercises before putting my feet on the floor, it felt like I was standing on blocks of wood. It took several slow steps to loosen up my feet. I also had left shoulder and upper arm pain from a fall six months earlier, which, again, had minimum relief from therapy, pain relievers, and stretching exercises. I was also experiencing urinary frequency, headaches, fatigue that sleep didn’t relieve, other muscle aches, and a feeling of heaviness in my legs that came after a few minutes of my daily walks, and chronic knee pain from a twenty-year-old injury caused from a horse kick.
“I have led a healthy lifestyle all my life – no alcohol, no tobacco, eat well, drink lots of water, take supplements, have regular adjustments, daily exercise, and love the outdoors.
“I first heard of Earthing when Dr. Sinatra was interviewed by Dr. Christiane Northrup. I was very intrigued, so I got the book, and then an Earthing mat. I put the mat on the floor at my computer. After a 10-hour day in front of the computer, I noticed after just a couple of days that I didn’t have the ‘normal’ headache after a few hours at work, and also, that I wasn’t nearly as fatigued at the end of the work day. I had more energy for my after-work walk.
“I was so excited that I got a half-sheet for our bed. My husband was willing to give it a try. After 2 weeks I had less muscle pain. After 3 weeks, I noticed that my Achilles tendons were less swollen and that they didn’t hurt at the end of the day. After 4 months, I was like a new person. My tendons looked and felt normal. The fasciitis was completely gone. The knee pain, ‘creakiness,’ and heaviness in my legs were gone. My mobility became stronger, quicker, more flexible. I wasn’t fatigued at 10 am, as I was before. The shoulder and arm pain was greatly relieved. And the urinary symptoms were gone. I didn’t have to plan my life around the availability of bathroom facilities! Moreover, I’ve been able to lower my blood pressure medication – from 20 to 5 milligrams – with a consistently-lower reading that I haven’t seen since starting on medication more than ten years ago. The best yet is that my husband has very little muscle pain, sleeps more sound, and with less snoring, and has more energy.
“Looking back, almost a year-and-a-half later, did I believe all this could happen? That my pain and fatigue would be gone? No, I didn’t. The best that I had hoped for was some relief from the tendon pain. I was afraid that my active life was going to be severely compromised, but instead, I am able to not only enjoy more, but to do more physically.”
Karen Ball, 60, massage therapist, Beaverton, OR
“In July 2011 I was in terrible shape. At 244 pounds, I was 80 pounds overweight. I had been suffering with serious insomnia for 22 years, sleeping maybe 2 -3 hours on average per night. I had developed an inability to break down carbohydrates and had other digestive difficulties, mild depression, bloating, 15 years of hot flashes, bone density issues, and severe arthritis and muscle contracture in my right hip that caused pain and restricted movement. Sleeping pills, mega-doses of melatonin, antihistamines, supplements, hot baths, herbs, teas, meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation CDs, and so many more things were not making much of an impact on my problems. I read everything and tried everything I found, many times over. I checked out every book the library had on insomnia, and read anything I could find on the web.
“In July 2011 I got the Earthing half-sheet and started sleeping on it. The first three nights I didn’t get any sleep, but I had massive amounts of energy from laying on it 7-9 hours per night. Within the first 2 hours I lost considerable inflammation so that my ankles which had been severely swollen now appeared normal. I weighed myself and found I had lost 4.5 pounds of swelling those first three nights. Not real weight loss; just a very noticeable decrease of swelling. It took 6 nights before I got a good night’s sleep. But since August of 2011 I have had 4-8 hrs of sleep every night except for 2 nights. I have had 11 nights where I have been able to sleep the night through without getting up to urinate.
“My ankles first and then the knees became normal size without the swelling. I could actually see my kneecap for the first time in five years. My pain was reduced. The contracture in my right thigh (my body trying to protect the hip) went away. The position of the femur corrected itself, and was no longer pressing against the side of the hip socket. This meant a greater range of movement, less pain, and for the first time in years, allowed me to start exercises to reverse the muscle atrophy that had developed over the last decade. Walking and other forms of exercise had been very painful. I can do those things now.
“In recent years, my hip pain and restrictions had increased to the point where at times I couldn’t manage anything greater than a four-inch stride (I am a tall woman with a 36-inch inseam). I was barely able to get my leg over the side of a tub, and had to lift my leg with y hands to get into bed or to get into a car. My stride is 16 inches now. That’s not much for a woman of my age with very long legs, but it is so much better, and it is getting better all the time. I still walk with a cane most of the time, but when I don’t my side-to-side hip sway is less than half of what it was before. The sway increases pain so I use the cane to minimize the sway and therefore the pain. It provides support as I get better. My ability to bend my knees has increased. I can cross either leg over center now and I could not before. I can lift things now that before would cause severe pain in the hip.
“My night sweats stopped. Then my hot flashes diminished, and stopped completely in December 2011. After 15 years, it was such a relief to have them gone.
“I had a few nights of detoxification symptoms in the beginning. I drank additional water and the symptoms quickly went away.
“I had also developed arthritis in the distal joint of my right pinky. It was swollen and bent, and painful when I put pressure on it during my work as a massage therapist. The joint has straightened dramatically (not completely yet) and is much smaller now. I can now put maximum pressure on it without any problem. I had pain in one wrist and that went away as well.
“I hadn’t realized how depressed I had been until I started having this incredible sense of well- being and return to health. It is a wonderful feeling. With the sleep I have started to lose weight (19 pounds now) for the first time in a long time. I can do so much more now. My capacity keeps growing and the improvements continue. It’s been a process but clearly the more time I spend Earthed, the better I feel.”
Posted on 03/09 at 07:57 PM
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
One Dentist’s Earthing Experience
Chuck Munier, DMD, Augusta ME
I was trained as a mechanical engineer before I went into dentistry and normally take an engineer’s show-me attitude to new things. So when Earthing first came to my attention as a suggestion from an enthusiastic patient, I was naturally skeptical that the concept actually worked beyond a placebo effect. However, I suspended my skepticism the first day after my first night sleeping on an Earthing sheet.
I had been suffering for a few years with a chronic foot infection that had not responded to repeated medication. After the first night I already noticed a healing process underway. By the end of the week the infection was gone, and to this day, one year later, it has never returned. This was truly a remarkable effect.
I decided I better read the book to find out what happened and how this thing actually worked as well as it did. After reading the book and with my background in health and science it made perfect sense. It resonated a lot with what I had been studying about inflammation and cellular biology as the basis of most disease. The Earthing book made the connection for me of the actual electrical effect on the inflammatory process and the ability to approach healing on an electrical as well as a biochemical basis.
I have been treating dental patients for 39 years now and during that time have always looked at the condition of the teeth and mouth as reflective of the health of the rest of the body. Often the mouth is the first place that changes are noticed. I have learned the value of treating the total patient not just his or her teeth. During this time I have learned by observation from countless patients that the key to avoiding and treating disease is to manage inflammation. I have seen through the years an alarming increase in the use of drugs to manage disease and although there are some good drugs that address inflammation most of my patients with ongoing problems are overmedicated and then that becomes the main problem. Earthing added an electrical approach to the dietary, lifestyle, and exercise model that I had been using to address inflammation.
With this in mind I decided to try Earthing in my busy practice to help patients looking for relief from acute temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or jaw pain and others experiencing problems with snoring, sleeping, bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding),sinus, and headaches. To date we have had a very positive response back with reduction of acute symptoms of TMJ responding to an Earthing patch placed directly over the offending joint. Chronic problems have not responded as quickly as acute. This would be expected since they are of a long-standing inflammatory nature with adaptive changes. We are also using Earthing bands on the head at night and they have been working remarkably well with better sleep, less bruxism, more dream sleep time, less snoring and headaches, and an opening of the passages during sleep so that nasal breathing is enhanced.
From my own results and that of friends, family, and patients, Earthing works extremely well in an overall program that addresses total health and well being, and why it does so makes perfect sense to me. Earthing reconnected me personally to the Earth and to an exciting healing factor.
Posted on 03/07 at 04:25 PM
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Nurturing the Nervous System-Heart Connection
Perhaps one of the most overlooked Earthing dividends – and so beneficial in these stressful times – is the rapid calming influence that takes place within the autonomic nervous system (ANS) that regulates functions like heart and respiration rates, digestion, perspiration, urination, and even sexual arousal.
The effect begins pretty much instantly when you connect with the Earth. The ANS shifts from a typically overactive sympathetic mode, associated with stress, into a parasympathetic, calming mode.
To help you appreciate this benefit, we would like to share details on a heart rate variability (HRV) study that we previewed briefly in the Earthing book in 2010. The study, published recently in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, was conducted by electrophysiologist Gaetan Chevalier, Ph.D., and cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, M.D. Click here to read the full study.
You may not be familiar with HRV, so here’s a quick synopsis, courtesy of Dr. Sinatra:
“In cardiology, a balanced ANS supports good HRV and is an indicator of better heart health. Conversely, the presence of disturbed ANS and HRV means an increased risk of arrhythmias, coronary artery spasm, and sudden cardiac death. HRV has also become a reliable clinical tool for measuring survival potential after a heart attack. HRV is not the same thing as heart rate. Your heart beats faster when you exert yourself or become stressed, and it slows down when you relax — but that’s not HRV. HRV refers to the imperceptible variations in the heart’s beat-to-beat interval that result from the basic breathing process. We refer to it technically as respiratory sinus arrhythmia. You can’t feel the difference, but when you breathe in, your heart rate increases just ever so slightly. When you breathe out, it decreases every so slightly. We can see these fluctuations on an electrocardiogram, and we’ve learned even more from sophisticated computer analyses of beat-to-beat intervals.
“Let me give you an example here. Have you ever had an electrocardiogram exercise stress test on a treadmill? If so, you may recall that you remain hooked up for a bit of time after the test. The reason is that your doctor wants to see what your heart rate is doing after exertion on the treadmill. Your heart rate may rise to 150 beats a minute during the test. Afterward, it should drop down into a de-accelerated zone of say 100 beats or less in about six minutes. If not, and it stays higher, you have a classic indicator of disturbed HRV, and increased likelihood of cardiovascular trouble. You may, for instance, have a beat rate of 112. That’s not good enough. I remember as a young cardiologist years ago waiting even a half-hour or so for some patients’ heart rates to drop down sufficiently.”
Surrounded as we are these days by constant psychological arousal from stressful news and a volatile world, anything that can improve ANS and HRV function is of great benefit for overall health. Exercise, tai chi, yoga, and meditation are examples of activities that improve ANS and HRV. You become more relaxed and you sleep better. This effect is precisely what many people report after they start Earthing.
The Chevalier-Sinatra study involved monitoring test subjects before, during, and after 40-minute grounding sessions while seated comfortably in a recliner chair. It confirmed a balancing effect on sympathetic and parasympathetic function and a restoration of normal tone that reduces the stress response. These improvements go beyond basic relaxation and may explain in part the repeated feedback from people experiencing lower blood pressure and improved arrhythmias after they start Earthing.
Medical research has made it clear also that HRV is a superb indicator of your ability to cope with both internal and external changes. It is, in fact, “the most accurate predictor of sudden death and the most accurate reflector of stress,” according to Paul Rosch, M.D., president of the American Institute of Stress in New York City. “If you can alter your HRV, that is, increase it, you can reduce the likelihood of stress-related disorders, including cardiovascular disease.”
For individuals who experience anxiety, emotional stress, panic, fear, and/or symptoms of involuntary muscle contractions and spasms, including headaches, cardiac palpitations, and dizziness, Earthing appears to represent a genuinely promising strategy. Such individuals often see positive changes within 20 to 40 minutes.
Dr. Sinatra says this about stress: “As a cardiologist, I have repeatedly treated the human wreckage that stress — acute or chronic sympathetic overdrive — can exact. In trying to rebuild and restore the wreckage, I have applied the best tools that both conventional and alternative medicine has to offer. Reconnecting the body to the Earth offers perhaps the most natural tool available anywhere. I’ve seen this simple remedy do some amazing things.”
Dr. Sinatra shared these recent examples:
● After 10 weeks of sleeping grounded, a 73-year-old woman reported that her blood pressure went down by 10 points and she sleeps much better.
● A couple started sleeping grounded. Her snoring stopped and he sleeps better. Her blood pressure went down from 150/90 to 120/80 after one night!
● One woman was experiencing benign but distressing PVCs (premature ventricular contraction), a form of arrhythmia characterized by racing of the heart or extra or skipped beats). She said that sleeping grounded eliminated them. No only that, her husband’s atrial fibrillation episodes also stopped. He had been taking Coumadin for his condition and, in conjunction with his doctor, was able to reduce the dosage. (Coumadin is a popular blood thinner medication. Earthing also has a blood thinning effect. Anyone on blood thinning medication who wants to start Earthing must consult with his/her physician and keep close track of their INR, a widely-used measurement of the blood’s clotting tendency).
Previous Earthing investigations have demonstrated a marked alteration in a variety of biological parameters after about 20 to 30 minutes. Others in several days. Some show even a dramatic change immediately at grounding (in less than a second or two). The HRV study showed an instant change in HRV that kept improving all the way to the end of the 40-minute period of grounding, suggesting a greater benefit with time. We believe that the ANS may be one of the first, and possibly the first, of the major body systems that react to Earthing.
The HRV study offers additional proof that connecting to the Earth creates a calmer nervous system and increases its efficiency. Earlier experiments are posted in the research section of our website.
A recent article published in the journal Medical Hypotheses by a neurosurgeon and cardiologist in Poland suggests that the Earthing likely plays a primary role as a neuromodulative factor enabling the nervous system to better adapt to the demands of the organism and the environment.
Posted on 11/15 at 08:18 PM
How NOT to Ground
News reports recently described a growing practice among Indonesian villagers west of Jakarta claiming relief from a variety of symptoms by sitting on or straddling busy railway tracks.
The practice apparently caught on last year after a man suffering from the consequences of a stroke decided to commit suicide on the tracks but instead jumped off after feeling rejuvenated by the electric current of an oncoming train.
According to one Indonesia newspaper account, the so-called “railway therapy” involves placing one’s hands and feet on the steel tracks. “By touching both sides of the tracks at once in this manner, one receives a low-voltage electric shock, which locals believe is a potent cure for many diseases,” the article said.
One enthusiast told reporters that she has gotten more relief for symptoms of high blood pressure and sleeplessness than any doctor since she was first diagnosed with diabetes more than ten years ago. “If your body aches, have it cured here,” she told amused reporters. “Try it, it doesn’t hurt.” Another advocate said, “I have wasted all my money on proper medication. Now I prefer coming here, because it is free.”
One local doctor was quoted as saying there was “no official research that had determined the true effects of railway-induced electric therapy. However, he added, the therapy was widely seen as questionable as it did not conform to medical norms.”
Concerned railway officials are obviously alarmed at the prospect of someone being killed by a train and so dispatch agents to expel locals from the tracks.
We don’t know whether there’s something special about railway track energy. To us this seems like a variation of being barefoot on the ground, but for sure NOT a variation we would ever, ever recommend.
In a glittering world away, in Hollywood, and the 2013 Oscar pageantry, here’s actor Jim Carrey looking like he’s into Earthing. As in most things Hollywood, it’s an act. Those aren’t his feet. They are shoes—faux feet.
Posted on 11/15 at 06:39 PM