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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 12, 2011

Earthing: Another Reason to Go Barefoot?

By Mark Sisson
258 Comments

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.

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258 Comments on "Earthing: Another Reason to Go Barefoot?"

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Brett Legree
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Mark Brady
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Peter
Peter
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Dan
Dan
3 years 1 month ago

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.

Tara
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Mark Brady
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Cordian
Cordian
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Kenny
Kenny
5 years 2 months ago

What time of day do you shower?

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

stanley w olson
stanley w olson
1 year 11 months ago

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.

Lynne
Lynne
3 years 1 month ago
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… Read more »
Foggy dude
2 years 10 months ago
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. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/19/grounded-documentary.aspx http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jgwF0tpioTU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DjgwF0tpioTU 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… Read more »
Mo
1 year 7 months ago

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!

Justin Ross
Justin Ross
5 years 2 months ago

Someone go bug pubmed about this, please. 🙂

Sounds kinda “woo” to me.

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

Burn
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Justin Ross
Justin Ross
5 years 2 months ago

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”. 🙂

Barney Shannon
5 years 2 months ago

I live in Sunny Florida. No Shirt .. No Shoes .. No Problems. However, I usually keep my shorts on. lol

~Barney

Primal Toad
5 years 2 months ago

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?

Barney Shannon
5 years 2 months ago

Yep. Maybe 10 miles from Orlando.

Barney Shannon
5 years 2 months ago

Moved from NJ in 2009 for the same reason.

Primal Toad
5 years 2 months ago

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?

Jeni
Jeni
5 years 2 months ago

I’ve been reading about Earthing and glad you’re investigating it!

Daniel
Daniel
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Hal
5 years 2 months ago
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.… Read more »
Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 3 months ago

“So I’ll pass on the new age mumbo jumbo…”

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

Sean Cordry
Sean Cordry
4 years 3 months ago
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… Read more »
Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 3 months ago
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,… Read more »
Sean Cordry
Sean Cordry
4 years 3 months ago
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.… Read more »
TruthCkr
4 years 3 months ago

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!

Carl
Carl
3 years 6 months ago

Actually, Coast to Coast did have Dr. Sinatra as a guest
http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2013/03/11
Interestingly enough, it was relating to The Cholesterol Myth!

Samantha Moore
Samantha Moore
5 years 2 months ago

Hmmm. My sister went barefoot all the time and died of cancer at 45. I just don’t know….

Bekka
Bekka
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Sean Cordry
Sean Cordry
4 years 3 months ago

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.

Kelly
Kelly
2 years 9 months ago

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.

Greyson
2 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
satish
5 years 2 months ago

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.

The Real Food Mama
5 years 2 months ago

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!

:):)

alias
alias
4 years 6 months ago

HAha, sometimes I just love those kind of hedonistic comments!! Who cares as long as it’s fun… :=)

Bennett
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Dave
Dave
2 months 24 days ago

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!

Lila
5 years 2 months ago

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. 🙂

Bekka
Bekka
5 years 2 months ago

This sounds similar to those magentic bracelets that are marketed to improve your balance. It all sounds crazy to me.

Bekka
Bekka
5 years 2 months ago

magnetic*

Dave Sill
Dave Sill
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Steve
Steve
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Interesting.

Cass
Cass
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Dan Zierath
Dan Zierath
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Dan Zierath
Dan Zierath
5 years 2 months ago

Not to detract from their theory though. Hearing things like this, true or not, always makes me feel happy inside.

Cass
Cass
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Dan Zierath
Dan Zierath
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Cass
Cass
5 years 2 months ago

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.

PrimalArturo
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Dan Zierath
Dan Zierath
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 3 months ago

“…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…..so 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”.

Seth
Seth
5 years 2 months ago

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?

Torgeir
5 years 2 months ago
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 amazon.com reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Earthing-Most-Important-Health-Discovery/dp/1591202833 Start going barefoot in the grass, but to really give it a go buy a wristband and start sleeping grounded, this is… Read more »
Torgeir
5 years 2 months ago

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 🙂

Mims
Mims
4 months 30 days ago

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.

RHall
RHall
5 years 2 months ago

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!

tom
tom
5 years 2 months ago

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.

http://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Mind-Science-Vibrations-Consciousness/dp/0964398818

Andrew A
Andrew A
5 years 2 months ago

Barefoot is better… with or without earthing benefits.

Jason
Jason
5 years 2 months ago
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.… Read more »
Marnee
Marnee
5 years 2 months ago

Yes! Thank you. Ugh.

Tim
Tim
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Mark Brady
5 years 2 months ago
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.
David
David
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Dave
Dave
2 months 24 days ago

“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

Mary Hone
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
PrimalArturo
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 3 months ago

“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.

Thanks

“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….

Animanarchy
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Animanarchy
5 years 2 months ago

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…
http://ufohunterorguk.com/2011/06/08/elf-gwen-towers-are-not-cell-phone-towers-work-in-conjunction-w-haarp/

David
David
5 years 2 months ago

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).

Kenny
Kenny
5 years 2 months ago

I’m glad we eliminated the towers as the cause of the brainwave manipulation. 😉

alias
alias
4 years 6 months ago

and u know that urself or someone told ya? if someone told ya, who?

Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne
4 years 3 months ago

:}

cancerclasses
5 years 2 months ago
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: http://goo.gl/45vWe “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… Read more »
Connie
Connie
5 years 2 months ago

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!

Brett Legree
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Adog
Adog
5 years 2 months ago

i’ve heard of an Ayurvedic treatment for joint pain consisting of burying the patient in sand up to there neck for several hours.

Martin Zucker
5 years 2 months ago

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
(info@earthinginstitute.net)

Sudenveri
Sudenveri
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Alison Golden
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Matthew S.
Matthew S.
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Aidan`
Aidan`
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Aidan`
Aidan`
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Matthew S.
Matthew S.
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Aidan
Aidan
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Aidan
Aidan
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Victor
Victor
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Scott
Scott
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Tim
Tim
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Adog
Adog
5 years 2 months ago

is your next degree in omniscience?

Ingvildr
Ingvildr
5 years 2 months ago

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.

Jim
Jim
5 years 2 months ago

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?

Primal Toad
5 years 2 months ago

What?! Snake oil? Wtf is that used for?

Dan Zierath
Dan Zierath
5 years 2 months ago

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.

David
David
5 years 2 months ago

Is snake oil negative or positively charged? If I rub it on my feet, I might get this same earthing effect…

Daniel
5 years 2 months ago

This makes me want to grow a blue tail and plug it into a tree. . .

cTo
cTo
5 years 2 months ago

HAHAHHAHA

Nelly
5 years 2 months ago

Comment of the week, say I! 🙂

AtkinsFan
AtkinsFan
5 years 2 months ago

I am in! Tell us how you did it, looking forward to do the same 🙂

Erik
Erik
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Jason
Jason
5 years 2 months ago

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”.

Cass
Cass
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Erik
Erik
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
alias
alias
4 years 6 months ago

“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.

Torgeir
5 years 2 months ago

Spoken like true wisdom!

JT
JT
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Erik
Erik
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
alias
alias
4 years 6 months ago
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… Read more »
Mims
Mims
4 months 30 days ago

Beautifully said Eric. Humility in the face of the ineffable is sadly lacking in the modern world.

Barney Shannon
5 years 2 months ago

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

rob
rob
5 years 2 months ago

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.

William Trumbower
William Trumbower
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Martin Zucker
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Steve
5 years 2 months ago

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.

pseudowit
pseudowit
5 years 2 months ago
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!
cTo
cTo
5 years 2 months ago
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,… Read more »
Martin Zucker
5 years 2 months ago

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

Primal Toad
5 years 2 months ago
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… Read more »
alias
alias
4 years 6 months ago

“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.

Animanarchy
5 years 2 months ago
My parents kicked me out and recently let me move back in until I can find an apartment, with some rules to follow, one of those being that I have to go to bed at 11pm, a sleeping time that I find difficult to adhere to. As an alternative I suggested that I set up a tent outside and exit the house through the basement to sleep there once I’m tired so as not to wake anybody up when I go upstairs. They thought I was crazy! Sleeping outside? In the fresh air? Close to nature? You think it’s healthier?… Read more »
knepper
knepper
5 years 2 months ago

I heard the author (Sinatra I think) interviewed on talk radio, and he was pretty convincing. It may be he doesn’t understand correctly why it works, but there seems to be something there. The originator stumbled onto the technique by accident, and was intrigued because his own chronic pain seemed to disappear. He tried it on some friends and acquaintances with chronic muscle pain, and they got similar results. Hard to argue with results.

hiker
hiker
5 years 2 months ago

I love going barefoot, and I don’t particularly have nice feet. Too bad. It feels good and my feet are stronger for it. Now I’m trying to figure out how to do winter. Thinking heavy wool socks and minimal shoes/sandals. Used to wear my Birkenstocks like that.

Animanarchy
5 years 2 months ago
Sounds like a good idea. In the last few winters I’ve worn normal socks under normal running shoes, even when on long treks through deep snow. Usually I can tolerate at least an hour of this before my feet, ankles, and lower legs start to get too numb/painful. Of course the shoes aren’t doing my feet any favours but I assume the little bit of exposure to the cold is healthy. I wonder if rubber socks exist? You could wear thick wool socks or a couple pairs of them under long rubber socks that hug your legs tightly, which would… Read more »
Jota
Jota
5 years 2 months ago

I first heard about grounding having a positive health effect from a David Wolfe video (I know, I know…). He’s since made shoes called “Grounders.” I’m not thoroughly convinced on the whole thing.

Nelly
5 years 2 months ago
Very interesting! I’m getting shoulder surgery in a couple days (my first time ever being put under) and I’ve been trying to find anything that might help with the healing and recovery. I’ve already been told by a natural-movement-fanatic friend of mine that I should work on barefoot running to keep some aspect of my training up – now there’s even more reason to give that a try! As for the “woo-woo” part of it – as long as it could help (pretty heavy anecdotal evidence in those thermograph images) and can’t hurt, I figure, what’s the harm in trying… Read more »
Martin Zucker
5 years 2 months ago

Please check out the Earthing research and scientific commentaries. They are posted at http://www.earthinginstitute.net Keep in mind that Earthing is new and so is the research. This is a new frontier, and an exciting one at that.
Martin Zucker, co-author of the Earthing book

Stevemidd
Stevemidd
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t wish to sound negative, but I don’t intend to go charging in to any new theory unless I’m positive there is some current scientific grounding for the idea – maybe I need something a bit more down to earth?

Adog
Adog
5 years 2 months ago

what could be more down to earth than your feet on the ground?:)

Martin Zucker
5 years 2 months ago

The answer below says it all. To paraphrase an old Bob Dylan tune, the answer my friend is flowing in the ground.
Martin Zucker, co-author of the Earthing book

alias
alias
4 years 6 months ago

“what could be more down to earth than your feet on the ground”, yeah it was funny but it’s that kind of reasoning that makes me not going to read the book, because I believe the book is full of it.

And of course, too much anecdotal evidence have also been reported.

Are there any RCT’s with double blindness on the “earthing effect” and preferably with objective reporting of the subjects health states? Then please let me know.

Torsten Nielsen
Torsten Nielsen
5 years 2 months ago

I am on the other hand feeling rather positive, so I think it is time for me to put my feet down to the ground for some negativity – to balance things out 😉

Here I go – charging off – pfft!

Regards,
Torsten Nielsen

Dayle
Dayle
5 years 2 months ago
Michael Sandler has a section in his book “Barefoot Running” about the physics of getting grounded. Besides the dissipating of electric charge aspect of going barefoot, he also discusses the natural 7.83 Hz Schumann resonance frequency of the earth, and how it supposedly matches the natural frequency of our brain. He also says that the 7.83 Hz is an average, that it changes predictably throughout the day, and that going barefoot in the morning is especially beneficial since it ties you into this natural variation which then positively affects your circadian rhythms. And he’s also way into the grounding sheets… Read more »
Peter@themensdomain
5 years 2 months ago

If nothing else it’s a great excuse to go camping….

Reiko
Reiko
5 years 2 months ago

Living electrical matrix? Sounds like Avatar… I guess James Cameron was right!

David
David
5 years 2 months ago
I have a phd in physics. The more I learn about physics the more I realise the absolute minute amount we know about anything at all. If it makes you feel good forget about why for the most part. You can attempt a hypothesis and extrapolate but in reality you know nothing and at best you’re working under massively simplified approximations. We have reliable models for certain things but there are enormous gaps in our knowledge in areas such as this. I would forget about their scientific explanation for the grounding effect, I haven’t read the book but I’m pretty… Read more »
Scott
Scott
5 years 2 months ago

Amen,

Their explanations are just hypotheses which they have not even attempted to test. The only studies have been on the effects on biological systems.

The truth is, most of us want a good ‘story’ to explain why something works. The true mechanisms may not be understood for millennia.

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