Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
12 Jul

Earthing: Another Reason to Go Barefoot?

I’ve written before about the benefits of going barefoot. Anatomically speaking, it’s the best thing you can do for your feet. Lately, however, I’ve been wading through a theory that suggests we have more to gain from ditching footwear than a more natural gait. In a book called Earthing, authors Clinton Ober, Martin Zucker and Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra put forth a bold proposal that body-to-earth contact has the power to directly impact our health. At the heart of their theory is a central physics-based relationship. Since the advent of shoes, houses, flooring, and elevated beds, we’ve lost our contact with the earth and its inherent electrical field. In discarding (or minimizing) this physical connection, we’re forgoing natural healing benefits that previously played a significant role in our physiological functioning. The body, when grounded in the earth, returns to its natural electrical homeostasis as part of the living electrical matrix. It’s an intriguing theory with, as yet, little attention. Is attention warranted though? Is it really the “most important health discovery ever,” as the authors suggest?

Chronic inflammation, that bane of modern existence, is set and kept in motion by free radicals, the well-meaning soldiers in an immune function run amok. (The body, of course, is responding the only way it knows how faced with the novel conditions of chronic stress, pollution, obesity, and other modern instigators. Anyone want a review?) As the authors explain, free radicals are inherently positively charged. They’re on the hunt for an additional electron, and they’ll scavenge whatever they come across to get it – usually (and hopefully) alien bacteria/virus invaders, which their ravaging disable. In the case of chronic physical/mental stress and its immune dysfunction, they target the only thing around, which is healthy tissue. Antioxidants, of course, serve the same role as these supposed free electrons. They offer up electrons to functionally neutralize free radicals and keep inflammation in check. Earthing (also called grounding) in this way acts as a “vitamin G” for our proposed “electron deficiency.”

Although I get the free radical part, the explanation of how this exchange gets set in motion feels scant. The book in numerous places includes reference to the “negatively charged” earth and its ample supply of free electrons. As a result of this negative charge, the ground itself is presumably the best source for these free electrons. When we’re “grounded” in the earth (e.g. barefoot/bare skin contact on unbuffered earth/conductive natural material or in barefoot/bare skin contact with a mechanically grounded device like a conductive pad or bed sheet), our bodies – as natural circuits – naturally absorb the earth’s plentiful free electrons and use them to feed the out of control free radicals. As the authors explain, “our conductive bodies naturally equalize with the earth.”

Call me picky, but I wish the authors spent more time filling in and substantiating these physics related claims. In some cases, there appear to be a number of convenient simplifications to the argument. Although the book makes it sound like the earth is a big ball of striking negative charge, the actual charge of the earth’s surface, for example, isn’t substantially “negative.” It instead hovers remarkably close to neutral and actually fluctuates in a dynamic relationship with the earth’s atmosphere. Generally, yes, it tends to hold a very slightly negative charge and the atmosphere a positive charge. (This relationship exists in a kind of continual exchange, with thunderstorms offering a dramatic shift and exchange of relative charge.) They comment that the physics part of the theory is “common sense,” but I’ll admit I’m not fully sold on the intuitiveness yet. Of course, I’m only a layperson here. Any physics experts out there care to chime in?

Furthermore, the authors assign seemingly random values to things like the voltage difference between a person’s head and feet. The value is likely a product of some probability distribution but has no merit as an absolute value, although this is never mentioned. (Even with a particular height, the actual voltage difference depends on a number of factors like humidity levels, wind velocity, etc.) They claim a specific voltage is inherent to living on a particular floor in an apartment building, and so on. Again, these might seem like minor points, but simplifications bother me, particularly when the persons giving them don’t acknowledge them as such.

But then there’s the biology. The book cites a variety of patient observations and clinical studies. A large part of the book contains anecdotal descriptions of people helped by earthing, which (while intriguing) can’t be counted as objective support. Thermography images (PDF) of patients’ with a variety of ailments and injuries show – after a half an hour of grounding (with no other intervention) – surprising reductions in inflammation where other medications and therapies have had little impact. Microscopic images comparing blood samples after less than an hour of grounding in several subjects suggest a dramatic improvement in viscosity.

One double-blind, controlled clinical trial demonstrated earthing’s impact on a number of biomarkers. Subjects who slept grounded showed statistically significant decreases in serum sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, total protein, albumin concentrations, inorganic phosporus. Free T4 and TSH increased while free T3 decreased. (PDF) In another study, participants were given exercises that induced muscular pain. Those who were grounded showed altered immune activity and reported lesser pain levels than those who were ungrounded. (PDF)

Another controlled study suggested that sleeping grounded can impact cortisol levels and sleep quality. Subjects who slept grounded with conductive mattress pads showed lower night-time cortisol levels as well as an overall “resynchronization” of cortisol secretion “more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile.” (PDF) Subjects who were grounded during sleep also reported better sleep and less physical pain and emotional stress. You can check out links to other earthing related studies here.

Clearly, something is happening here. The results are pretty suggestive of some significant phenomenon. As for my part, I’m hopeful but still cautious about the authors’ general theory and the compelling (albeit modest) collection of research that supports earthing’s impact. The concept admittedly appeals to the evolutionary bent in me, but I’m always on the lookout for the snags of naturalistic fallacy.

When I first heard of the concept, I was on the verge of dismissing it out of hand, but a friend convinced me to read the book. I thought it was going to be another artfully construed, new agey round of BS. I finished the book a little disappointed at the vague physics summary and a few infomercial style sections but nonetheless intrigued by the concept and some of the study results.

The research and scholarly discussion on earthing isn’t overwhelming. The vast majority of studies aren’t substantial in size, and few bear the gold standard of randomized, controlled, and double-blind methodology. The inclusion of so many personal stories – with their apparent suggestion that earthing has conferred benefit to virtually every ailment and injury known to humankind (and don’t forget the section on pets!) doesn’t do the authors’ argument any favors. (And I still can’t let go of the thin, unsubstantiated physics explanation.)

Nonetheless, I’ve been spending even more time outside barefoot. I’ve taken to sitting on the beach or grass more often while reading or talking with my kids. I look for the grass, gravel, dirt, sand, or concrete the authors suggest for conductivity.

As of yet, I haven’t picked up any of the equipment, but I’m not ruling it out. I’ll admit part of me is curious. I don’t have any truly chronic pain (although the knee I injured a couple of years ago does get a little irritated now and then) or disease that would offer me the chance to  follow any dramatic observations. The most I could hope for is a more restful night’s sleep and (barring a battery of blood tests, thermography and other images) the benefit of unseen stabilization of my body’s electrical state. Hmmmm…

We’ll see what the coming months bring. For now, it’s one more excuse to go barefoot and enjoy being outside with the sand or grass between my toes. Seriously, who doesn’t love that? It’s all the justification I need really.

Anyone out there familiar with the earthing concept? If you’ve read the book or tried the practices/products suggested by the Earthing authors, I’d be interested in hearing your take. Thanks for reading today, everyone. I’ll look forward to enjoying your thoughts. Have a great week.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I get up very early every day (before sunrise) to work on my consulting businesses before spending time with my family and going to work.

    The first thing I do, year round, rain or snow is go outside barefoot and “ground” myself.

    I look up at the stars, and breathe deeply for a couple of minutes.

    It really makes me feel alive.

    Brett Legree wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Interestingly, the only time you are “grounded” in modern society is when you are showering! The metal pipes are in the ground and water is conductive. Ever wonder why you have all of your good ideas in the shower, or you figure out to solve the problem, or how the design of your book or paper is going to look just comes to you?

      Part of the picture is that you are grounded. The real palpable benefits from earthing come from sleeping grounded. The grounding technology is such a simple, yet profoundly effective technology that works! Before bashing grounding, try sleeping grounded! Has anyone ever slept grounded here? Huge difference in quality of sleep.

      Mark Brady wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • Ummmmmm….I dunno. Not a lot of homes with metal drain pipes. Maybe a few REAL old ones. Mostly plastic stack vents. Though it could be argued that even with plastic pipes…the water in the pipes would ground you all the way out to where the water meets the septic tank or sewer.

        Peter wrote on July 12th, 2011
        • The ground wire in a house is attached to a copper rod, driven into the ground. Sometimes, also, to copper water pipes–not the drain pipes.

          Dan wrote on August 27th, 2013
      • OMGosh Mark..I always have my best ideas in the shower. I was considering putting a audio recorder in there just to verbalize my thoughts because as soon as I dry off, the thoughts are gone. Very interesting.

        Tara wrote on July 13th, 2011
        • Tara also when you are leaving your shower you feel airy and spacey from all of the toxic chloroform gas you just inhaled! Just another reason for a shower filter. But being grounded all day is kinda like showering all day long! How great.

          Mark Brady wrote on July 13th, 2011
        • I’ve installed a simple diving slate in my shower a few years ago and it has helped me tremendously to remember these outbursts of creativity.

          Cordian wrote on July 14th, 2011
      • What time of day do you shower?

        Mental states are different during the waking hours most people shower.

        Kenny wrote on July 17th, 2011
      • Unfortunately, in a lot of modern construction, the use of pvc plastic has eliminated the use of metal pipes. So even if you have copper water lines, there is a very real chance that your drains are made of pvc and thus are not conductive.

        stanley w olson wrote on October 13th, 2014
    • i’m left unimpressed and even reluctant about this grounding idea. the concept itself is intriguing, and yes i love the nostalgic feeling of being barefoot in the grass, but i have indeed slept grounded (purchased all the grounding equipment – sheet, wrist bands and pad) and never noticed any obvious effects, especially with sleep, as that was my primary motivation to try it. i also did some of my own research into the effect power lines and meters and household wiring have on the passive earthing process and they can actually have the opposite and potentially harmful (?) effect. i’ve never received a satisfactory answer about this from the inventors of earthing equipment. would love to hear what has been learned about the interference of man-made electricity on the otherwise natural grounding effect on the body.

      Lynne wrote on August 4th, 2013
    • Here’s a documentary on earthing/grounding for anyone who wants to look up more. I thought the cut flowers experiment was interesting. I’m going to try that out.

      Dave Asprey (of Bulletproof Executive fame) had a post on it as well some time back. He practices grounding too.

      When I was reading up on Myofascial Release for help with my Fibromyalgia pain, I came across preliminary studies that suggested that the fascial tissue acts as a semiconductor in the body and that the acupuncture meridians correspond surprisingly with the fascial lines of tension in the body. They also hypothesised that what the ancients thought were subtle energy flows, could just be electric currents in the body.

      So the precedent seems to be there. Very little, I admit, but it is plausible.

      At the very least, grounding immediately negates the effects of the emfs in your immediate surroundings on your body. The jury’s still out on whether those emfs actually affect or harm your normal physiological processes

      See this,

      Foggy dude

      Foggy dude wrote on November 6th, 2013
    • Me too! My early morning barefoot walks have been a daily practice for about 5 years now. They are sometimes quite short when where is fresh snow or the temp is in the 0 fahrenheit range, but it is always a beautiful and pleasant experience!

      Mo wrote on February 11th, 2015
  2. Someone go bug pubmed about this, please. :)

    Sounds kinda “woo” to me.

    (I’m still going to go barefoot whenever I can, though)

    Justin Ross wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • It does sound a bit out there. Paul Chek is a big believer in this too, but he’s a bit out there as well haha.

      Regardless of whether or not there’s any scientific proof of this earthing business though, I have always noticed a sort of calming feeling I get when I walk around barefoot or lay in the grass, etc. There’s something about it that just makes me feel good.

      Burn wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • Yup, same here. I’m sure there’s a psychological effect. I just don’t think there’s any electricity involved (beyond our normal electricity, of course).

        I wonder what the selection coefficient would be on “earthing”. :)

        Justin Ross wrote on July 13th, 2011
  3. I live in Sunny Florida. No Shirt .. No Shoes .. No Problems. However, I usually keep my shorts on. lol


    Barney Shannon wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Where in Florida? I actually plan on moving to the Orlando area at the end of this year. Basically, I have had enough of Michigan’s winters!

      Are you near Orlando by any chance?

      Primal Toad wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • Yep. Maybe 10 miles from Orlando.

        Barney Shannon wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • Moved from NJ in 2009 for the same reason.

        Barney Shannon wrote on July 12th, 2011
        • Because of the weather? My current plan is to live in Orlando from October through April and Michigan May through September for the next few years….

          There is an Orlando primal meetup group in Orlando… are you part of it?

          Primal Toad wrote on July 13th, 2011
  4. I’ve been reading about Earthing and glad you’re investigating it!

    Jeni wrote on July 12th, 2011
  5. the daoists used to talk a bit about this mostly in reference to “chi”. they (as most ancients)were probably just saying “be barefoot” and some overzealous interpreter read more into it than was actually there. i know something about this as it relates to ionization, but “grounding” sounds like a bunch of crap to me. i mean, we do have electricity running our bodies, but we aren’t meant to conduct it. for example, lighting strikes are deadly. i think we would be better off avoiding overexposure to EMF from our various electrical devices than imaginary electron manipulation. everything has free electrons as electrons are constantly being traded and such. besides that, i wouldn’t EVER trust ANYTHING said by ANYONE about subatomic particles that doesn’t have a phd in physics with leanings towards quantum mechanics. and even they dont (admittedly) understand much of what goes on in that realm. all newtonian physics vanishes in quantum mechanics.

    Daniel wrote on July 12th, 2011
  6. Haha! Call up Art Bell and have him interview these guys.

    Walking around barefoot is a fantastic way to improve your mood – not because you’re being ‘grounded’, but because it feels good and is freeing. It just feels nice to wriggle your toes in the grass.

    This would be super easy to test – if it’s extra electrons that our bodies need, it’s easy to produce those and deposit them on a human body. Electrons from the planet are no different than electrons from any other source. It also sounds like there is no mechanistic reason for this happening.

    So I’ll pass on the new age mumbo jumbo, but I still go barefoot whenever I can.

    Hal wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • “So I’ll pass on the new age mumbo jumbo…”

      Washing hand before and after surgery was mumbo jumbo once…….

      Jo-Anne wrote on May 28th, 2012
      • Germ theory of disease had a good scientific foundation to get started. What some of us are saying here is that the fundamental physics is completely against this notion.

        Your local environment (office, bedroom, bathroom, backyard) is in electrical equilibrium: the voltage is all equal. Every time you touch something in your local environment, you exchange electrons with that object, thus ensuring the equilibrium between you and the object.

        The only time you’d get out of equilibrium is if you were physically isolated via strong insulating materials: i.e., levitating in a thick rubber bubble.

        Nikolai Tesla wore thick, cork-soled shoes when doing high-voltage demonstrations because he did not want to come to electrical equilibrium with his environment — it would have had fatal, disastrous results. Had he touched anything in his environment, he would also have been electrocuted.

        Again, there may be something therapeutic to stimulating the bottom of one’s feet via barefoot walking, but this ion-transfer/electron-transfer/ground-yourself business is — as gently as I can say it — complete nonsense.

        You are always in touch with your environment; you are always exchanging electrons and ions with it.

        Sean Cordry wrote on May 29th, 2012
        • And……your point is…..

          Mark is not dismissing earthing out of hand….he is waiting….we can do the same

          Here’s a quote for you Sean: “Despite various publications of results where hand-washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and Semmelweis could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings. Semmelweis’s practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory. In 1865, Semmelweis was committed to an asylum, where he died, ironically, of septicemia at age 47.”

          Science catches up with mumbo jumbo…….as it usually does…..kicking and screaming all the way…..history is littered with the dead [I know I know….and the living too] as a result. What’s the usual cycle….rejection, reviling, acceptance….look at primal blueprint……same same….

          I am not denying the germ theory……which even Pasteur in his last days admitted that environment [meaning our physical…and “energetic?” body]has the larger role to play.

          What I am saying is that Dr had a belief that preceded the science and was reviled for it, this earthing may not have the science to back it……yet…that is what I meant. Many times science went to prove something as wrong and did but often enough they proved it right…

          Don’t be the lynch mob…..ok….that’s all I am saying……

          Jo-Anne wrote on May 29th, 2012
        • Jo-Anne: Not trying to be a lynch mob… really. And I appreciate the quote.

          For me, a thing needs both a scientific basis and an evidence-based position in order to be valid. I can’t argue for or against the evidence (or people’s experiences). However, we have over 150 years worth of good working knowledge regarding electromagnetic phenomena; if it were wrong or incomplete, then we couldn’t do MRI’s or have computers or…

          All I’m really trying to say is this: if there is something to it (and there may be), it is not for the reasons which they are espousing.


          Sean Cordry wrote on May 30th, 2012
        • I think you are right, Sean–it’s nonsense. Plausible-sounding, pseudoscientific nonsense. I have a Ph.D. in neuroscience, my husband has one in electrical engineering, and we both think there is no reason to invest in a grounding mat. Save your money–you might need it for snake oil! Not that it doesn’t feel good to go barefoot in the grass or on the beach–I highly recommend that, anyway!

          TruthCkr wrote on June 18th, 2012
    • Actually, Coast to Coast did have Dr. Sinatra as a guest
      Interestingly enough, it was relating to The Cholesterol Myth!

      Carl wrote on March 12th, 2013
  7. Hmmm. My sister went barefoot all the time and died of cancer at 45. I just don’t know….

    Samantha Moore wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Just going barefoot all the time isn’t enough to save someone from cancer…there are plenty of other things that need to be done to prevent cancer and disease. I’m sorry for your loss, though..45 is young. I lost my mother to colon cancer when she was only 43. I hope to PB my way out of that fate.

      Bekka wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • I teach martial arts and spend several hours each day barefoot. I also like to walk around the office in sock-feet.

      I also have a terrible auto-immune disease.

      Sean Cordry wrote on May 29th, 2012
      • There’s no such thing as ‘auto-immune’ disease. The body isn’t attacking itself, the immune system is trying to reach microbes/viruses/bacteria that are encased by biofilms.

        Kelly wrote on November 28th, 2013
      • Walking around your office in sock-feet won’t ground you (this wouldn’t ground you if you were barefoot either).

        Not sure what is meant by teaching martial arts, but I’m assuming this is mentioned because martial arts is often taught barefoot. But again, teaching martial arts barefoot and indoors wouldn’t ground you. It would, however, ground you if you taught it outside and barefoot.

        And you mention spending “several hours each day barefoot”. But simply being barefoot won’t ground you, ie walking around your house barefoot does not ground you (in most homes, there are always exceptions). However if you walk barefoot outdoors on grass/concrete/sand/dirt…, you will be grounded.

        There are a lot of misunderstandings in this discussion about what being grounded takes. I’m not convinced one way or the other on the theory of earthing, but it’s hard to have a good debate with so much misunderstanding of the basic concept of grounding.

        Greyson wrote on December 27th, 2013
  8. I have heard about this book. But I am also not so sure about the physics explanation. But it does feel good to walk or run barefoot on the grass. I have felt reduction in stress after some exercise done barefoot on the grass.

    satish wrote on July 12th, 2011
  9. I think its just more fun to be barefoot anyway. Whatever that strange research says, i think its just is more enjoyable to stand in the sand or the grass and wiggle my toes around, enjoying it!

    Granted I do take to shoes while moving around in public due to the fact that I am very prone to stubbing toes!


    The Real Food Mama wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • HAha, sometimes I just love those kind of hedonistic comments!! Who cares as long as it’s fun… :=)

      alias wrote on March 23rd, 2012
  10. Yanno, I barefoot as much as possible (and ‘on asphalt in South Carolina’s summer ain’t it), and I’ve taken to doing it in the yard as well, when I go out to catch some rays.

    When I took to regular sunbathing, I did notice immediate improvements not just in my coloration, but mood, energy, athletic performance, and so on. Basically all the nice stuff vitamin D gets you.

    When I shucked my shoes, I didn’t really notice anything physical, although there is definitely something more natural about. I feel more connected to the ground, more at home, even younger–probably because childhood is the last time most of us run around barefoot outside.

    I’d call it pretty unlikely that ‘earthing’ did anything to de-ionize me, but I can definitely see how that pleasant feeling of connection to the ground might cause someone’s imagination to get spinning.

    The physics they’re going into are complete hogwash, the same sort of specious, pseudoscientific ‘reasoning’ that you see from a lot of quacks.

    (I’m also fond of the assertion, in other ‘literature’ that our feet are full of toxins because of gravity. Kinda fails to explain how they don’t just swell up and explode within moments of standing, it capillary action can’t overcome that little problem. People should really strive for better than a B in a public high school physics course before writing their ‘science’.)

    Bennett wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Just use a volt meter set to A/C volts . When you ground yourself you are equalizing the potential of you and the earth witch is 0 volts EMF is a big problem in today’s world and earthing discharges all that voltage back to ground. Just sleep earthen and come back and tell me you didn’t have the most lucid dreams and wake up refreshed and full of energy. Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance!

      Dave wrote on July 3rd, 2016
  11. My sister read the book and bought some of the equipment mentioned, grounding pads, rods, etc. She said that after three night of sleeping on the grounding pad, the constant pain she’d had for years in her back diminished considerably. She also goes outside barefoot when possible. I also read the book and the science was weak, but then I use homeopathy and the science is almost non-existent there. If it works, then who cares why. :)

    Lila wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • This sounds similar to those magentic bracelets that are marketed to improve your balance. It all sounds crazy to me.

      Bekka wrote on July 16th, 2011
      • magnetic*

        Bekka wrote on July 16th, 2011
  12. Sounds sketchy to me.

    But if you do go barefoot, especially in the city, try not to stop on anything metal. A dog was electrocuted in Seattle last January when it stepped on a hot manhole cover, and other similar incidents have happened elsewhere.

    Dave Sill wrote on July 12th, 2011
  13. Sounds “woo” to me too, but physiologically, if there is something to magnetic fields and health, then there would also be something to being electrically “grounded” or not. When we’re wearing shows, we’re not.


    Steve wrote on July 12th, 2011
  14. This sounds extremely…woo. On the order of “The Secret” level of woo, honestly. Given the points Mark raised above and how the earth’s magnetic field actually works, none of this makes very much sense. Also, most people’s shoes conduct just fine, or all sorts of self-electrocution phenomena would never happen. If it works for some people, great, but there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence that I can dig up anywhere. And lacking evidence, and given how strong we know the placebo effect can be, I would hesitate to attribute any of what the authors say to actual electrical whatsit and instead attribute it to a combination of the placebo effect and the actual benefits of being outdoors, getting sun, and not wearing shoes that are bad for you.

    Cass wrote on July 12th, 2011
  15. Awesome until the grounding gets you hit by lightning. I think I read a study somewhere that said you’d need a pretty heavy doses of anti-oxidants to counteract the oxidizing effects of getting fried crispy…

    On a personal note though I’m beginning to care less and less about the “why” in science. To me the fact laying down on earth is relaxing and simply feels good is enough to tell me it’s good for me. So maybe there’s truth to their theory, but say it’s 100% accurate: it should be obvious to everyone here that it’s only one piece to the puzzle of why connecting with the Earth is healthy.

    Dan Zierath wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Not to detract from their theory though. Hearing things like this, true or not, always makes me feel happy inside.

      Dan Zierath wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Well, yeah, spending time outdoors lying in the grass probably is good for you. You get sun, you get fresh air, you get low levels of exposure to stuff that keeps your immune system from wigging out. You probably get exercise walking to and from the park, and if you kick off your shoes that probably helps too, as a lot of people wear shoes that don’t really fit that well, even before we get into the “shoes are bad in general” debate. Plus, being able to take a break and relax in the sunlight is probably a mental and emotional boost too, and there’s all sorts of research about how emotional health can interplay with physical health. Toss in a healthy dose of the placebo effect (which has been shown to work on people who have been told that they’re just receiving a placebo) and you’re off and running.

      I’m not saying the authors are *necessarily* wrong about why it’s working. But it’s on them to prove it, and I haven’t been able to dig up any research that even *supports* it–meanwhile there are all these other factors over here which totally explain such actions feeling good or even resulting in better health. And I totally care about the why in science, because 1)increasing our pool of knowledge is a good thing and 2)a lot of the stuff that’s justified with really shoddy “whys” is actually just really shoddy to begin with (near infinite dilution homeopathy, etc) and is the kind of stuff people spend tons of money on, and money that should be going to actual research gets diverted into, when really the whole thing is a nicely-dressed sugar pill.

      Cass wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • You’re very right, the “why” is important for many reasons. It’s what leads us to more research which in turn let’s us find out more about our relationship with our environment. I never meant to downplay it’s importance, I merely meant that the take home message we should all focus on here is to go outside and connect.

        Dan Zierath wrote on July 12th, 2011
        • Oh, yeah. Sorry if that came across as combative or anything; I’m finding as I post more and more on the internet it’s becoming apparent that lack of facial expression and tone makes it easy to come across as hostile when you don’t mean to. I just think why’s are very important.

          Cass wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Careful with that theory. I had a friend who believed in eating things that “made him feel good, so they must be good for him.” With this mentality, he consumed Ramen Noodles and all the “foods” that come from a factory.

      Needless to say, he had a pulmonary embolism at age 25. He has no hereditary issues either.

      Just because it “feels good,” doesn’t make it so. Don’t give up on science. Only give up the misuse of it.

      PrimalArturo wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • Well feeling “good” and feeling “healthy” can be two different things, but yes I was more than a little careless in what I said. Like how people believe cigarettes help them relax, but in reality the “relaxation” they’re feeling is just a temporary relief from the tension that the nicotine gave them. Still the feeling of lying in grass, of taking in the smells, the individual softness of each grass blade, the noises of the crickets and the birds… can you honestly imagine a feeling like that being part of something unhealthy?

        And not to worry, my faith in science is boundless. I will never forget the big picture just to question the intricacy of it’s pieces, however.

        Dan Zierath wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • “…it should be obvious to everyone here that it’s only one piece to the puzzle of why connecting with the Earth is healthy.”

      I hear you Dan… caught up listening to the experts we forget hear what our own expert [our body] is telling us.

      The Mark Sissons and the Earthing authors look for their “truths” and they share it with us, guide us, inform us, educate us and yes entertain us on our search for self realisation but they are not responsible for the end result of what the individual takes as their “truth”.

      Jo-Anne wrote on May 29th, 2012
  16. I won’t lie, this sounds a bit hokey. On the other hand, this is kind of like using the force. WoW = Run around barefoot with Yoda (or a kid) on your back to simulate training on Dagobah from The Empire Strikes Back?

    Seth wrote on July 12th, 2011
  17. YES YES YES! I have read the book and bought some earthing equipment. A blanket and wristband. It totally works :) I notice it mainly by waking up much earlier(about 2 hours earlier than I use to) and feeling more energized. I have a pretty primal lifestyle already, so this is a major improvement for me! Dont hesitate to try this, it is a valuable “tool” to have in your natural-health toolbox :)

    Read the reviews:

    Start going barefoot in the grass, but to really give it a go buy a wristband and start sleeping grounded, this is when you will notice the biggest difference!

    This is gonna get BIG in the primal/paleo community in just a couple of months. Since we are a gang constantly looking to empower our lives with a more optimal/natural lifestyle.
    I see only you Mark and Dr.Mercola has written about this before. But its gonna get much more attention real soon!

    Give it a try, the wristbands are cheap and will connect you to the earths energy!

    Peace my friends :-)

    Torgeir wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Oh and Im not in any way afiliated with anyone selling earthing products. I just wish for more people to try this to improve their health :)

      Torgeir wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • I agree, I bought an earthing sheet when on sale at xmas, solely based on all the positive reviews. I was hoping it would help with my frozen shoulder and so far no luck there, but I have had no allergies at all this spring and I am consistently waking 1 hour earlier and feeling more refreshed. It took a good 3 months before I noticed the shift, something that is mentioned in the book. For the price of a single massage, I consider it money well spent.

      Mims wrote on April 28th, 2016
  18. Laird Hamilton’s book briefly mentions that he agrees with this way of thinking and that going barefoot is crucial to us. By the way, his book is very Primal Blueprint in several other areas too!

    RHall wrote on July 12th, 2011
  19. anyone questioning this needs to read the book “infinite mind” by dr. valerie hunt. it will inform you on the science and substantiate these men’s claims.

    tom wrote on July 12th, 2011
  20. Barefoot is better… with or without earthing benefits.

    Andrew A wrote on July 12th, 2011
  21. As an electrical engineer in a field very heavily dominated by electric fields (power transformers) I call their science bunk. There may in-fact be an “earthing effect”, but it does not operate how they claim.

    The earth emits an electric field (as does everything electronic; the difference is in magnitude) not a grounded/ungrounded state. The farther away from the earth you are the weaker the electric field. So, assuming this “negative electric field” exists we would be reaping the benefits of free radical neutralization regardless of whether we were in bare skin contact with the earth or another grounded medium.

    I’m not dismissing the results; just the (lacking) “common sense” the theory is derived from.

    Jason wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Yes! Thank you. Ugh.

      Marnee wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • I agree, the mechanism they propose is nonsense. I used to work on antioxidant metabolism, so think “vitamin G” idea is pretty funny. They probably dreamed that quackery up to sell their conductive mats and stuff.

        However, lying about outside in the grass is very relaxing, so is probably good for you. But you don’t have to buy their products.

        Tim wrote on July 12th, 2011
        • I’m a 20 year old beach volleyball player and I find huge benefits from sleeping grounded using their common sense grounding technology. Everyone is so quick to dismiss the earthing effect because they have never SLEEP grounded. If you sleep grounded one night you will wake up and be like WOAH.

          Remember, it’s not just the abundant source of antioxidant free electrons that the earth nourishes us with, the earth also emits circadian rhythms that act like “Greenwich Median Time”. The earth is a reference point for our circadian rhythms. You will feel the difference in the morning.

          Mark Brady wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • I’m a physicist and totally agree with my brethren engineer.

      If we weren’t grounded on a regular basis, then we would be shocking ourselves anytime we switched to barefooted mode.

      David wrote on July 15th, 2011
    • “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence”.
      Nikola Tesla

      Dave wrote on July 3rd, 2016
  22. In April we hiked Buckskin gulch, here in Utah, barefoot. Mostly because we were in and out of water so much and it just made more sense. The ground was sandy with patches of larger rocks so we really had to pick our way through sometimes. My husband and I are pretty grounded and earth connected anyway, but this was an eye opener. Our feet felt wonderful, and we felt so much more connected to the earth. I have gone barefoot as much as possible since I was a kid,but this was something different. I wrote a blog post about our experience and someone commented and told me about this earthing stuff. I’m not sure I would spend money on anything I can get for free. Standing on the lawn,the dirt, or plugging into the sand. It’s all good.

    Mary Hone wrote on July 12th, 2011
  23. I love your skeptical, yet hopeful approach to your reading. It allows you to keep an open-mind, yet still require some substantiation.

    I’d love to see more on this too. I go barefoot every now and then because I like the way it feels. Who doesn’t love the way grass feels under your feet?

    I also love the way it feels when you’re not only barefoot, but have nothing in your pockets. As if you’re off your societal leash, leaving your cell behind, keys, money, identification, etc.

    I feel such a great sense of freedom when I’m shirtless, barefoot, and I’m carrying zero items in my pockets. Perhaps some studies should be done on that too.

    PrimalArturo wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • “I love your skeptical, yet hopeful approach to your reading. It allows you to keep an open-mind, yet still require some substantiation.”

      That is want I wanted to say but you say it so much better…..and concisely.


      “I feel such a great sense of freedom when I’m shirtless, barefoot, and I’m carrying zero items in my pockets.” I don’t do the shirtless thing…..not a good look for me…….but I know what you are saying however I feel exposed with “zero items” and it is very enlightening….

      Jo-Anne wrote on May 29th, 2012
  24. Touch wood! (Or Earth!) Lately I’ve been going barefoot a lot, partially to recondition my tissues to a more natural state but also because I came up with the same suspicion after reading a bit about the electromagnetic forces in our world that there is some benefit to be had by making naked contact with the planet instead of insulating ourselves with rubber shoes or other alien surfaces.
    Regrettably I recently lost some control of my will power and sanity when I went on a four day binge with some psychoactive pills processed by Big Pharma and the result was that I looked and felt haggard and I could tell that my nervous system was not functioning properly because of a lack of coordination in my body. I was trying to stick the straws through the rubber pieces plugging my vials of ginseng extract and it was taking many more tries than should have been necessary and I was twitchy and felt weak. But barefoot, crawling under an electric fence seperating two fields yesterday and accidentally getting a strong shock from the pulsing current, an idea came to me: saturate my system with electrons, which I probably neeeded due to all the artifical junk circulating in my system. I also assumed that my heartbeat was a little off, since once I was so messed up from chemical indulgences that I called an ambulance on myself suspecting an overdose and the paramedics, after assessing me with some machine, gave me a strong shock across the chest. Therefore with my feet grounded in the grass I took hold of the wire with both hands and let it shock me several times until I felt a bit more normal. I also got a minor adrenaline rush from the shocks, which I dissipated by climbing the nearest tree. After much more walking around and climbing trees barefoot I felt quite a bit better and more myself. Since then I’ve been drinking black, green, and herbal tea concoctions with a bit of juice, ginseng, and raw honey thrown in like my life depends on it, trying to reset my system to a healthy state.
    Yesterday and today I’ve also been reading theories about HAARP and ELF and GWEN towers and how artifical frequencies are being sent through the ground and airwaves for some nefarious purpose, sometimes altering the weather and people’s brainwaves, and also as an accidental result of technology.. the details are sketchy and there is a lot of speculation, but I believe those topics are worth looking into.

    Animanarchy wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • There’s actually one the towers probably around a half-hour biking and hiking venture from where I’m currently living and I would love to go sabotage or vandalize it in some way… but to even go near it is to risk radiation poisoning…

      Animanarchy wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • Not sure what this video is actually trying to say, but I know a lot about HAARP. It is simply a radar system that points straight up to probe the ionosphere for space weather research. It most definitely cannot control the weather (or minds or anything else).

        David wrote on July 15th, 2011
        • I’m glad we eliminated the towers as the cause of the brainwave manipulation. 😉

          Kenny wrote on July 17th, 2011
        • and u know that urself or someone told ya? if someone told ya, who?

          alias wrote on March 23rd, 2012
      • :}

        Jo-Anne wrote on May 29th, 2012
  25. There’s more to the earthing theory than one may initially think. It’s interesting to see that Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) is making a comeback from the 1920’s & is gaining acceptance as an effective modality in the treatment of chronic pain, largely due to the efforts of Carolyn McMakin, MA, DC. From the FAQ at:

    “Micro current is current in millionths of an ampere, & is the same kind of current your body produces on its own within each cell. This is current in millionths of an amp. It is very small; there is not enough current to stimulate sensory nerves so the current flow cannot be felt.”

    The most notable case of FSM application was it’s use on NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens who recovered from an ankle fracture in six weeks & was able to play in the 2005 Super Bowl.

    Dr. Robert Rowen wrote about FSM in his Nov. 2005 Second Opinion newsletter saying that besides treatment of chronic pain, FSM can be used to reverse heart disease & even macular degeneration.

    I do not personally know any practitioners or patients that have experience with FSM, but I find the anecdotal reports intriguing to the point that FSM may warrant further investigation.

    cancerclasses wrote on July 12th, 2011
  26. Traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine recommends walking barefoot first thing in the morning through the dew to cool the body, especially if you have difficulty dealing with hot weather. Brett, you may be on to something!

    Connie wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • That is interesting, Connie – I have been reading up on Ayurvedic medicine, so I like that.

      I used to have difficulty dealing with hot weather, but I think losing 80 pounds (thanks to Primal Blueprint) was what did the trick!

      I must admit, I do like that first breath of fresh air every day – and the tranquility.

      Brett Legree wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • i’ve heard of an Ayurvedic treatment for joint pain consisting of burying the patient in sand up to there neck for several hours.

      Adog wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • If you can give me the reference for this, would like to have it. Ayurveda has great wisdom and I feel sure that the Indian healers back thousands of years ago knew about Earthing.
        Martin Zucker
        Co-author of the Earthing book

        Martin Zucker wrote on July 13th, 2011
  27. This is definitely setting off my BS detector. There might be some benefit in regards to the electrical charge of the earth, but “it’s common sense!” is not a replacement for real, verifiable science. Like everyone else has said, though, going barefoot is still a nice thing.

    Sudenveri wrote on July 12th, 2011
  28. I have a friend with advanced Lyme disease who swears this helps her but I’ve never been convinced on a scientific level. I was hoping to read something to change my mind here but sadly not. And the whole HAARP connection bothers me. I’m not sure what to believe.

    Alison Golden wrote on July 12th, 2011
  29. I have a degree in physics, I’m working on another.

    The whole basis of “Earthing” is one big science face-palm. The author should be ashamed of himself. I won’t even bother arguing the physics because the original hypothesis that free radicals are only positively charged is false. Free radicals can have positive, negative or zero charge.

    Matthew S. wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Keep in mind that your degrees might be forged, at least here in the States, with curriculum that follows a Leftist bias. Don’t assume that theories are materialistic fact, because you can’t even logically prove that you exist, unless you were to get into metaphysics, which I assume that you assume seems to be a load of B.S.

      Just accept that theories represent hypothoses that abstract certain elements of real-world events and can get outdated, revised, or totally flipped around. Physics has little application when it comes to the interpersonal society that we homo sapiens seem to exist in. It doesn’t seem to satisfy my brain in the least to have faith in textbook physics. It simply cannot incorporate every possible signal, under every possible condition. Most of the theories in physics seem to exist within themselves, like mathematics. In that case, it dwells in a vacuum, therefore it has no “real” substance.

      You know, the brain can probably compensate chemical responses for nearly anything, including absolute fundamentalism in his chosen field of work, or something as simple as being “grounded” to his home planet, with his bare naked flesh to her’s. Your physics degree can’t calculate that, no matter how extensive it is. If you can simultaneously comprehend, without abstraction, every signal in Universe, and be able to calculate them into real-worldly applicable theories, then you, by all means, deserve a really great reward for your contribution to humanity.

      Remember, the cat’s both dead and alive!

      Aidan` wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • Also, I am sorry if I offended you, because I know how terrifying it can be to hear that all the time and effort invested into college degrees and other long-term decisions end up having nothing more than social value in a capitalistic world. Some people deny it for years upon years.

        Aidan` wrote on July 12th, 2011
        • No, don’t worry. I’m not usually offended by nonsense.

          I just hope you realize that the only reason you can communicate to me like this is through the textbook physics that your brain can’t comprehend. You seem eloquent enough, I’d hope that you would have more sense than to discount something that you don’t understand.

          Matthew S. wrote on July 12th, 2011
        • Sir, your field simply cannot apprehend every signal simultaneously and incorporate all of them, again simultaneously, in calculating every aspect of a space-time event. It just can’t happen. Your field makes approximations within the limits of its own system. Math isn’t real. Argue with Niels Bohr or Schrodinger on whether or not you are holding two apples when one is in your left hand and one is in your right hand. You can’t prove it logically.

          Before Aristotle’s Metaphysics, everyone had their own ontologies, and everyone accepted that everyone’s ontologies were differen.

          I guess that I can’t comprehend your textbook physics, because the human brain can’t fathom one-dimensional singularity in its whole. Your system of metaphysics simply goes beyond my head, I guess. Fundamental Materialism strikes again, it seems, as society will agree on those that have suckered their way up the totem pole of social and political hierarchy.

          You cannot prove that matter exists, or that their are any “natural laws.” Your metaphysics is in a state of cancer and is destroying itself.

          Aidan wrote on July 12th, 2011
        • Actually, honestly, I concede. I am not a fundamental materialist, but you seem to me to be. That’s okay. I am sorry for trying to put up a fight with you. I wasn’t trying to be a smart-alec, either. I simply let my prejudices blind my abstractions.

          But I do want to ask you to question the systems that you have used to educate yourself, and question yourself. I’m sorry, Matthew S.

          Aidan wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • The book on grounding uses scientific language to convince its reader. The least you can expect is that these scientific statements correspond to the current scientific understanding of the world.

        Even if you believe that science cannot tell you anything about the real world and all the electronic gadgets you use are just working due to a miracle and not because the were designed using the current scientific understanding of reality, people citing science should do this right.

        Victor wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • Are you sure you’re talking about free radicals in a biological context? My understanding is that in the body the vast majority of free radicals are positively charged.

      Scott wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • Hydroxyl radical is one of the dominant free radicals in biological systems. This as no overall charge. Superoxide is the other main radical, this as an overall negative charge.

        Facts like this are just part of the reason why the idea of feeding electrons into the body stopping oxidative stress is gibberish.

        Tim wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • is your next degree in omniscience?

      Adog wrote on July 12th, 2011
  30. The electrical field thing is a bit woo woo for me too. However I submit that wearing shoes is akin to wearing earplugs. We have a large concentration of nerve endings in our feet and I feel the the increased sensory stimulation of being barefoot is healthy for our mental functioning. It might even be argued that wearing shoes is like partial sensory deprivation.

    Ingvildr wrote on July 12th, 2011
  31. I was just trying to force myself to finish reading the book. I think everything could have been said in 25-30 pages. It comes across as a long advertisement for snake oil, though I don’t see how more people walking barefooted will make the authors any money. Maybe it works?

    Jim wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • What?! Snake oil? Wtf is that used for?

      Primal Toad wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • It’s a saying. Way back in the 1800s con artists would sell snake oil, bottles of mercury, cocaine, and whatever else to people by making them believe it was a cure all, when all it really was fake marketing mixed with the placebo effect.

        Dan Zierath wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Is snake oil negative or positively charged? If I rub it on my feet, I might get this same earthing effect…

      David wrote on July 13th, 2011
  32. This makes me want to grow a blue tail and plug it into a tree. . .

    Daniel wrote on July 12th, 2011

      cTo wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Comment of the week, say I! :)

      Nelly wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • I am in! Tell us how you did it, looking forward to do the same :-)

      AtkinsFan wrote on July 12th, 2011
  33. I currently live and work outside on an organic produce farm. I go the majority of my time entirely without shoes (or shirt, for that matter) while working the fields, walking/running the 3 miles into town, hiking, anything. I can say without a doubt that I feel the best I ever have, and I’m sure that’s for a wide variety of reasons, but I’ve learned not to dismiss anything because it sounds like “woo.”

    Our cultural belief that the basics of how our reality operates are fully understood by us through modern science is built on hubris. I used to epitomize that belief; studying whatever I could until all the pieces fit together like clockwork. Physics begat chemistry begat biology begat psychology etc. Everything a logical, purely physical fluctuating whole.

    Of course, this point of view required me to ignore a good bit of cognitive dissonance (y’know, that stuff we attribute to the food-pyramid brigade). There’s so much to our subjective experiences of reality that our present model of science either hasn’t caught up with or is incapable of encompassing.

    My experience (coming from a scientifically trained background) leaves no doubt that there is a reality behind things like energy meridians in the body and the earth, or a mood-altering affect to be experience with ionized water (perhaps not dissimilar to the effect observed here). But the most important thing I’ve learned from such experiences is to develop some humility about the limits of what can be/is understood by western science (or any paradigm of knowledge, for that matter).

    There is plenty of “woo” out there that is absolutely worthy of a curt dismissal. So is plenty of the currently accepted scientific “wisdom.” There’s value in taking an even-handed, open but critical approach to both. Outright dismissal will get us nowhere.

    Erik wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • I don’t think anyone here is outright dismissing the effects received from touching the earth or whatnot. We’re all just very skeptical about the “science”.

      Jason wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Science is a framework for discovering things about reality. Sometimes we don’t have the techniques to look at something yet–our telescopes and microscopes today are a lot better than Galileo’s and Van Leeuwenhoek’s.

      But saying that x might be true because it feels right or y could be true because there’s some sort of effect, we just can’t prove it yet, is not based in fact or reality. Even given that you show a true effect (say, going outside and walking around barefoot in the sun leads to better health and feeling good), that doesn’t mean your “cause” is the right one. Maybe it is true–it might well be–and we can’t just prove it yet, but then you should get on it if you want to peddle it.

      Regardless of where science is at any given point in time, it is the responsibility of the person pushing an explanation to demonstrate that that explanation is likely true–whether that explanation be primal living, a high carb diet, earthing, ionized water or the new blockbuster cancer drug.

      It is not “even handed” to look at an explanation proffered with no valid evidence behind it and act as if there are two equally valid sides; this is the same fallacy that leads to calls to teach religion alongside science in the classroom. If there is no evidence for something, then it is less valid than an alternative for which there is evidence, and less valid than the simple alternative of rejecting the explanation unless evidence can be found. It may well be true, and in time the truth will out, but until then, without evidence, it is less valid than the alternative.

      Hunches and feelings have nothing to do with fact–and in fact all the people who cling to “conventional wisdom” despite mounting evidence against it demonstrate that point.

      Cass wrote on July 12th, 2011
      • We don’t disagree on any of those points; my intent was primarily to criticize the arrogance I find in comments referencing an individual’s “BS detector” or otherwise being dismissive without any evidence whatsoever, either for or against. Dismissal motivated by hunches and feelings is no more valid than acceptance based on the same. I’m not pushing for giving both sides equal ground, just that any side that features substantial unknowns (unlike the conflict between ID and evolution) be given a chance and judgement suspended until firm evidence for or against is available. If we assume that we already know basically all that’s worth knowing and anything else is bunk, how do we expect science to make any serious advances?

        I found Mark’s review and speculation quite even-handed.

        I fully agree that in order to scientifically establish that some sort of “earthing” effect exists would require controlled studies isolating variables. Even if our current body of knowledge were unable to supply a correct hypothesis for a causative mechanism (the ionic interplay suggested here sounds off to me), at least the effect could be established as real or not.

        Here we do run into one of the limitations of the conventional practice of science, however. Since isolating variables is essential to the process, if the effect is dependent on the interaction of multiple variables, or a variable we’re not aware exists (or isn’t acknowledged by academia), getting any sort of answer may prove difficult or impossible.

        This is where hunches and feelings do prove valuable; they often nudge a perceptive individual in the right direction to explore something previously unexplored, something that previously was considered “out there” but turns out to have substance. Tesla and Darwin didn’t get where they did by slowly inching forward along the established path. They took leaps of intuition where they encountered gaps in science, and in doing so they arrived at profound and important facts that changed the way humanity interacted with the world.

        So again, I’m not against critical scientific inquiry, I’m just advocating a bit of humility in the face of the unknown. Someday, hopefully, further inquiry will take it from being an unknown to either established BS or something of established significance.

        Erik wrote on July 13th, 2011
      • “Hunches and feelings have nothing to do with fact…” – not true.

        How does an animal with no conscious knowledge survive? Humans just like animals may certainly have had some profound evolutionary advantage because of their hunches and feelings – IF and only if they correspond to reality.

        Otherwise, very good comment.

        alias wrote on March 23rd, 2012
    • Spoken like true wisdom!

      Torgeir wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • Nobody is dismissing this because it “sounds like woo”. Lots of things that sound insane at first blush have a perfectly sound scientific explanation. The “scientific” explanation of earthing is simply wrong. I fully believe there are benefits to walking barefoot – it just doesn’t have anything to do with free radicals jumping off you’re feet.

      Humans have believed many completely wrong things because of their “subjective experience” of things (earth being flat, center of the universe and all that) – fortunately we have science to point us in the right direction when our experience misleads us, as it so often does.

      Science has nothing to do with hubris. In fact it is the humblest of pursuits, as it begins with the basic assumption that you know nothing. Believing that something is true simply because you feel it to be so, on the other hand, is the height of conceit.

      JT wrote on July 13th, 2011
      • And again, my point was that comments claiming that any sort of “earthing” effect must be BS (some on the basis, yes, that it simply “sounded woo”) is more along the lines of “believing that something is true simply because you feel it to be so” than an objective judgment.

        There is data suggesting an effect exists (and has to do with more than simply walking around barefoot). There is currently no further evidence that this effect is real or a sort of placebo (say, caused by vitamin D and stimulation of nerves in the feet). If someone more knowledgeable than I can give a good explanation of why the free-radical hypothesis is BS (I’m skeptical myself), great, but that doesn’t reflect on whether or not an effect exists. This is currently an unknown and needs to be treated as such. We can’t know yet whether it fits in the “completely wrong things” or “not previously understood” category.

        Science itself is of course incapable of hubris, but that says nothing of the individuals who practice (or speculate online about) it.

        Erik wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • the funny thing about the “woo woo” guys is that the authors of such books always try to make themselves seem accredited through refering to science while at the same time discrediting it as “too materialistic” in some implied way.

      and the funny thing about scientists is that they seem to assess that the “woo woo” guys have to be wrong because of their weak methodology, weak definitions of terms like “energy” etc., and because it doesn’t seem to be translatable into scientific concepts.

      This might just be superstition though.

      Other possible explanations of the “woo woo” vs science polemic that one ought to keep an eye out for are of course politics and money.

      alias wrote on March 23rd, 2012
    • Beautifully said Eric. Humility in the face of the ineffable is sadly lacking in the modern world.

      Mims wrote on April 28th, 2016
  34. Ronnie Van Zant never wore shoes on stage so he could feel the music. The Skin is the largest Organ of the body and God doesn’t want us to keep it covered all the time. Why stop with shoes? I like to run nekkid with wolves.

    Peace – Barney

    Barney Shannon wrote on July 12th, 2011
  35. If you make a large wooden frame in your bedroom and fill it with soil you can sleep on earth which will make you either very grounded or a vampire.

    rob wrote on July 12th, 2011
  36. Mark I am a 66 yr old practicing OB-GYN in Missouri. I have been gluten-free and primal for 4 years. I read the book as I have a lot of respect for Dr. Sinatra and his work. After reading the book I ordered a grounded bed sheet. My wife laughed at me. I now sleep even better and recover from my workouts so much faster it is amazing. It may be placebo, but I don’t care. I spent less on this then many of the supplements that I take daily. My wife still laughs at me for many reasons not just the grounded sheet.

    William Trumbower wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Your comment was very typical. People sleeping better and recovering from workouts quicker. We have heard that from many athletes. Regarding sleep, one of the earlier Earthing studies (we describe it in the book) relates to a cortisol normalization trend seen in a small cohort as a result of ground the body during sleep. Subsequent studies show that grounding, even for short periods of time, generate a shift in the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic (stress) to parasympathetic (calming). These were all double-blinded studies. Small, but double-blinded. More research is obviously warranted. It is almost hard to know where to go next in the research because the impact of grounding the body is so, so systemic. The physiological changes are countless and often immediate. If somebody were to step up with big bucks you could put all the electrophysiologists to work for years. Cheers
      Martin Zucker, co-author of the Earthing book (

      Martin Zucker wrote on July 13th, 2011
  37. I’m going on a really old memory here and I’m not sure if it directly applies as I really can’t find that much useful info around but check out a guy called Dr Otto Christoph Joseph Gerhardt Ludwig Overbeck. He had a device known as “the rejuvenator” and was around back in the late 1800’s. As far as I can remember he used it to apply electricity to the body to help heal. Let me know if you find anything useful.

    Steve wrote on July 12th, 2011
  38. I read about these things 10 years ago and stumbled across it again last year. I bought a sheet that goes on the bed and my inflamation levels went down significantly. Inflamation is telling you something! I discovered 5 weeks ago that I have a case of Lyme Disease (less than a year progressed) and think that the earthing mat may have masked some symptoms. Also masking symptoms was auto accident injuries, so it wasn’t just the earthing pad. I do try to ground via feet on earth as much as possible. Watch out for those ticks!

    pseudowit wrote on July 12th, 2011
  39. I first heard about this idea recently. I am a biologist, not a physicist, but my first thought was, “Ok, so say it is all about ‘grounding’ onesself in the electromagnetic sense. Well, we touch metal things all the time, every day, so while our modern lifestyles may have removed us from the physical ground, shouldn’t we get the same effect that way?”

    In any event, I still think that bare feet are great physically, and I think that there is a lot to be said psychologically (and even spiritually, if you’d like) to take moments to touch the ground, feel the sensations through out feet, and center ourselves. This will affect a lot of change because of relaxation and stress reduction alone.

    cTo wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • Absolutely. Many people have told us that they feel better simply by going out and sitting or walking barefoot in the backyard. It’s a wonderful experience.
      Martin Zucker, co-author of the Earthing book

      Martin Zucker wrote on July 13th, 2011
  40. Who knows if earthing can help one heal or not due to the electrons or what not.

    I believe “Earthing” can at least help indirectly. Chillingoutside on the beach or in grass in the sunlight instead of wearing shoes releases stress in most people. Its more relaxing, more real. In the summer I am rarely seen without a shirt. I love it. It feels more real.

    The simple fact that all of us prefers to be barefoot deep down says something about this. It may have nothing to do with electrons and what not but it does release stress which in my opinion can help heal disease or cancer.

    Primal Toad wrote on July 12th, 2011
    • “but it does release stress which in my opinion can help heal disease or cancer.” – if it does or not is not a matter of opinion.

      “The simple fact that all of us prefers to be barefoot deep down says something about this.” – I think this one is great, because many people have to find their way back to a good communication between mind and emotional awareness.

      alias wrote on March 23rd, 2012

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!