Thalassemia

(Thalassemia, a type of inherited blood disorder that typically produces anemia, occurs mostly among people of Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Southern Asian, and African descent. Health writer and speaker Howard Straus has struggled with the low energy of this condition for a lifetime. After starting grounding in 2014, his red blood cell count rapidly normalized and his stamina soared. He shares his personal story here. Mr. Straus can be heard on the weekly internet radio program “The Power of Natural Healing” at https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1951/the-power-of-natural-healing

“For the first 60+ years of my life, I was constantly bedeviled by a condition I never knew a name for, except for ‘anemia.’  I always had low hemoglobin, most often marginal (just above the low ‘limit’ of 10 grams per deciliter).  When I lived with my grandfather, Dr. Max Gerson, during the school week, he tried to boost my blood by giving me daily doses of raw calf liver juice (it is just what you might imagine).  This was not my favorite part of childhood.

“I never was really into sports, although my physique might have suggested I would be good at them.  I simply didn’t have the stamina to run up and down a soccer field, a basketball court, or sustain constant physical output.  So I became a bookworm, living much of my life in my head, reading incessantly, doing things that didn’t require a lot of exertion.

“As an adult, my mother would prevail upon me to get regular blood tests to ensure that I was not falling below a minimum, although on the few occasions that I did (due to travel, or some other stress causing me to be off my somewhat restrictive diet), it was very obvious: I experienced the ‘crash’ very specifically, and was unable to muster any energy or stamina. The smallest hill on a path I regularly walk was a challenge.  My 200’ uphill driveway required several stops for me to catch my breath and regain the energy to reach the top of the hill.  It would take months to rebuild my energy and blood to the point where I was just ABOVE the minimum, where I could function.

“One time, about 20 years ago, I went to a general practitioner for a blood test when I was in the BELOW minimum condition, and he diagnosed me with ‘Mediterranean thalassemia,’ a supposedly genetic disorder that is believed incurable.  As far as I can tell, Mediterranean thalassemia is somewhat similar to sickle cell anemia, with the red blood cells (RBCs) twisted and tortured in shape, not the nice, fat, hemoglobin-rich flattened cells they should be.

“This condition persisted for most of my life.  I worked out a modus vivendi that allowed me to function, though not at vigorous sports, and life went on.  I got blood tests periodically, and if I was okay, they would show my blood just above minimum.  I learned to be careful.

“In 2014, I was introduced to Earthing, and began sleeping on a grounding sheet. I had no aches, pains, inflammations or irritations, so I didn’t notice any significant immediate difference in my body.  How was I going to know if I got any good effects from the sheet?

“I quickly realized that I had an ailment that might serve as a yardstick for an effect: my thalassemia!  I decided to get a complete blood count (CBC) test immediately to provide a ‘before’ picture, then test my blood again after 30 days for an ‘after’ picture.  Numbers don’t lie, lab tests are objective, and I figured that if there was an effect, it would manifest in the numbers. A CBC test measures different features of your blood, including RBCs.

“I got my CBC back, and, to my amazement, within three days of putting the Earthing sheet on my bed and sleeping grounded, the hemoglobin level tested smack in the middle of the normal range! This was the first time in my life that my blood tested normal.

“I didn’t notice a sharp increase in my stamina, as I am accustomed to the condition and generally don’t push myself.  But I did notice relatively quickly that I had no more problems going up my driveway, even with two heavy trash cans in tow.

“The tests since then have stayed in that normal range, to the point where I no longer test my blood frequently or even annually.  I have plenty of stamina, and don’t get exhausted. At age 73, walking and singing are my main exercises these days (yes, singing is a physical commitment, and I perform regularly with my chorus and my quartet), and neither of them is limited by my stamina.

“For me the improvement from grounding is obvious.  And so is the importance of STAYING GROUNDED.  It happened on one or two occasions that when we washed the linens, the Earthing sheet did not get replaced on the bed for a couple of days, just normal sheets.  After only one day of not grounding, the effect is striking for me.  I would start to experience lower energy, sleep disturbances, even poor digestion.  You can imagine how fast I put the sheet on then, with the expected good result.

“My quality of life has clearly improved.  When you have anemia, and your blood is right at the margin of low hemoglobin, you have little or no margin of error, or resiliency.  Stress, a short period of less-than-optimal diet, can use up the little margin you have. Return the hemoglobin to normal levels and you don’t have to worry about that anymore.  Doesn’t mean you should abuse yourself, but you don’t have to worry about being so close to the edge that a little push can put you over.

“My sister is active in the health field in Italy. When I told her about my experience, she suggested Earthing to someone she knew who had been also diagnosed with Mediterranean thalassemia.  That person began sleeping grounded and had the same turnaround results that I got.

“Two positive results do not, of course, equate to proof that a simple way exists to reverse this otherwise ‘incurable’ ailment.  However, the results encourage me to suggest that grounding should be tried by individuals with thalassemia as well as another, and more common genetic disorder affecting hemoglobin: sickle cell anemia.”

Overcoming Anemia, Pneumonia, and Fatigue

Sarah Laucks is director of education for an organization that stages events in the U.S. and Canada for people with disabilities, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals.  She shared her grounding experience with us in December 2017: “The first week of March 2017 I ended up in the hospital for four days with pneumonia and iron-deficient anemia. Looking back over the preceding few months, my physician felt I acquired walking pneumonia several weeks prior to the hospital stay after fighting off a cold since the end of January. The walking pneumonia left my immune system very weak and I picked up a more dangerous type of pneumonia as a result (there are more than 30 known causes of pneumonia and most are contagious).

“The iron-deficient anemia was likely due to six months of intense work and stress, coupled with increased weight lifting workouts, and diet that was not supporting me properly.

“My ‘adventure’ with pneumonia meant four trips to the ER (three in an ambulance), 4 full days in the hospital, three doses of the powerful antibiotic Levaquin followed by an allergic reaction to that antibiotic, and lastly intense digestive trouble as a result of nearly 20 days on antibiotics.

“To resolve the iron-deficient anemia I was taking iron supplements which are known to cause digestive troubles. I needed to rebuild my reserves after the pneumonia, had constant shortness of breath due to the anemia, and a stomach that couldn’t handle much in the way of food.

“While I was in the hospital a long-time friend and colleague was also hospitalized for a pressure sore (she has spina bifida and is a wheelchair user). We texted each other while in the hospital and she told me she was using grounding mats. I had heard of grounding a full four years prior but had never looked deeper or tried it for myself. When she got out of the hospital in half the time compared to her last pressure sore (which was approximately 15 years prior) I decided to pay attention. I got out of the hospital on March 9. I continued to hear from my friend about how well she was doing. “Meanwhile I was trying to get better with nutrition, probiotics, and other supplements. I’d feel better for a few days, then have a few bad days. I was very frustrated. Finally, on May 17 I bought two grounding mats. I was somewhat skeptical. I thought, ‘this is ridiculous.’  But I went ahead, read the directions, tested an outlet, and put my bare feet on the mat.

“Within 60 seconds I could feel it. Twenty minutes later I felt significantly better. I started using those two mats obsessively. I slept with them at night. I had them under my desk during the day – with my bare feet on them at all times. Used them on the couch at night – resting my feet and ankles on them. My husband thought I was crazy but there was no doubt to me that the grounding was helping, and it was helping more than anything else. “When the weather warmed up, I was also outside in my bare feet constantly. I spent at least a full hour, often more, outside from the end of May until the weather got cold in late October 2017.

“The improvements I’ve experienced are like nothing I’ve ever had before. I’ve been on a wellness adventure since I was 19 and I have tried everything including chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and acupressure, nutrition, supplements, juicing, smoothies. I’ve tried a lot of things. I have a litany of long-term health challenges including three herniated discs in my lumbar spine since I was 23, Celiac disease and more. Nothing has helped me as much as grounding.

“Here’s a list of improvements:

  • “I have not been sick with a cold or any other contagious disease since I started grounding. In spite of organizing large events, with thousands of people at each event, shaking many hands, hugging many people. I’ve also had four trips during this time period where I flew – time in airports surrounded by hacking, coughing, sneezing passengers.
  • Within six weeks of grounding I started to notice a change in the skin on my hands. The skin was becoming smoother, less red, and more full. My nails, which were heavily ridged from the anemia, were also smoothing out – not as they grew out but the entire nail bed was smoothing out. At first my husband said ‘no way.’ But within the next month he had to admit my skin all over my body was changing – for the better. It was like I was getting younger. People constantly comment on how much my skin is improving.
  • “I sleep very soundly. I’m rested and ready to go when I wake up. I no longer need a few hours to ‘get going.’ My husband says he’s never seen me have so much energy. We’ve been together for 12 years. And he’s right I have so much more energy than I did before.
  • “I am doing things again that I haven’t done in years. I used to be a figure skater and I’m going back to the rink after 10 years away from it. I run with my son to school each morning, turn around and run back home. Six months ago I was out of breath walking him the two blocks to school!
  • “I resolved my iron deficient anemia by September 2017, just six months after it was diagnosed. My hematologist was so surprised he wanted to know exactly what I’d done.
  • “I am more motivated. I am more focused, significantly so. I am not struggling to stay focused by giving myself little rewards – breaks in the day to look at social media or watch a movie trailer.
  • “My husband has not snored one night since we got the grounding sheet. He used to snore all the time.

“I can breathe better than I can remember. It’s a physical sensation throughout my sinus cavities that I don’t remember feeling before.

“Within a few minutes of beginning grounding I can tell that I am grounding. My lips begin to feel fuller – in fact they are much more red these days, an indicator of improved circulation and better oxygenation in the blood. I also feel tingling in my tongue.

“I’m so excited for the future! I feel that I am aging in reverse. I absolutely feel that my body is younger and more vibrant than it was six months ago. When I got sick I was feeling frustrated on so many levels – my skin was looking old with lots of wrinkles, my lips had no color (an anemia indicator), I had no energy – no motivation, I was burned out, all I wanted to do was rest, I was pushing myself to get through every day. Now I am vibrant and excited for each new day.

“Every day I have this thought: I have my life and health and vigor back.”