If you’ve ever walked barefoot on the earth, you might have felt recharged and reinvigorated. This sensation isn’t a mere coincidence. Instead, the positive effects we feel when we let our feet touch the Earth’s natural surface—an activity called grounding or earthing—allow the electrical charges in our bodies to become neutralized.
It’s been credited with the ability to soothe and revitalize us while offering several other health benefits. Fortunately, we don’t have to keep scheduling daily trips to beaches and forests. Grounding mats are a convenient way to keep everything balanced.
Here’s what you need to know about grounding mats.
First, How Does Grounding Work?
Grounding creates a connection between your body and the Earth using the Earthing hypothesis which states: “when direct skin contact is made with the Earth’s surface or a grounded system indoors, the body’s electric potential equalizes with the Earth’s potential thereby maintaining the body’s access to the Earth’s negative surface charge (electrons).”
We’ll explain this in simpler terms:
- The earth’s surface is negatively charged.
- When it comes in contact with human tissue, there is an immediate release of positively charged free radicals from the body. (Free radicals could lead to chronic inflammation, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, and more.)
- The inflow of negatively polarized electrons from the Earth’s surface neutralizes some of the oxidative stress that has accumulated in the body, reducing the damage.
Sounds good? It gets even better.
The human body generates bioelectricity. It uses ions for the flow of electrical signals through the body. Our nervous system taps into these electrical impulses to control different aspects of the brain and body. It helps you move your limbs, feel and experience different sensations, think, breathe, and digest food.
Hence, electrons from the Earth could play a big part in how we function.
Grounding Mats Can Replicate This Effect
Walking barefoot on grass, sand, or mud is one of the easiest ways to harness grounding energy. A grounding mat is an excellent alternative.
It’s made of a conductive material that creates an electrical connection between your body and the Earth’s surface via an electrical outlet. You can tap into the Earth’s energy from the comfort of your home or office.
All you need to do is place your feet on it and you’re all set to absorb the beneficial electrons!
If you live a fast-paced lifestyle with little access to natural environments, using a grounding mat could be beneficial.
Health Benefits of Grounding Mats
While related research is still in its early stages, there is mounting evidence that grounding mats offers numerous health benefits. Most studies credit them with:
1. Battling Depression
Approximately 280 million people worldwide have depression, a mental health condition that negatively affects how one thinks and feels. A 2015 study showed that just 1 hour of grounding could have more positive effects on one’s mood than relaxation.
2. Counteracting Pain
Chronic pain is an epidemic. Estimates suggest that 20% of adults suffer from pain globally, which makes it a public health priority. While over-the-counter painkillers help ease symptoms, grounding is a more natural treatment method with no side effects. It has been shown to have a dramatic impact on pain.
3. Improving Sleep
An estimated 50 to 70 million people have sleep disorders that interfere with their energy, mood, and performance. Grounding the body during sleep could help.
An Earthing sleeping mat might reduce the stress hormone cortisol and resynchronize its secretion. It also deepens your breathing, promoting relaxation and the production of sleep-inducing melatonin. All these can improve sleep quality.
4. Reducing Cardiovascular Risk
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death. They’re responsible for an estimated 17.9 million lives every year, nearly 32% of global deaths!
5. Regulating Stress-Induced Anxiety
Stress-related anxiety can produce a range of physical and psychological symptoms. Grounding mats could lessen its effects.
According to an animal study, they can reduce anxiety-like and learned helplessness behavior and the expression of c-Fos and CRF immunoreactivity in the brain. As such, they decrease stress responses by regulating the corticotrophinergic pathway.
Since mental hyperarousal can lead to insomnia and insomnia can cause anxiety, grounding therapy could help you stop the vicious cycle.
6. Tackling Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s defense against harmful stimuli. It cannot be addressed quickly enough, especially since it can cause tissue damage and fibrosis. The ability to reduce inflammation has also been recognized as an emerging mechanism of cancer pathogenesis.
Fortunately, grounding can help. Multidisciplinary research shows that grounding alters the numbers of circulating neutrophils and lymphocytes while affecting various circulating chemical factors that lead to inflammation. It can also reduce muscle soreness, normalize cortisol, and lower creatine kinase, a sign of damage or disease in the muscles.
Word to the Wise: Consider Safety Risks
Grounding or earthing is a safe practice, especially when conducted in nature.
But when you use grounding mats, which tap into electricity, there may be cause for concern. That’s why it’s recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting it up. And if you have an underlying health condition, always go to your doctor first.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Take Home Message
Grounding mats have immense potential for improving your physical, emotional, and mental health. And because they don’t have side effects, they could offer a great way to enhance our overall well-being.
Start using the mat for 20 to 30 minutes a day, then gradually increase the time as your body gets used to the sensation. Don’t expect immediate results. Though some report improvements within 24 hours, it could also take weeks. Ultimately, the benefits can be different from one individual to the next.
We recommend using it at night while you sleep since that is when your body repairs and recharges itself.