The Benefits of Grounding: Joovvin’ with Clint Ober
Clint Ober is the innovator behind the Grounding Movement and author of Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? Joovv recently caught up with Clint and asked him to explain the basics of grounding and the potential health benefits associated with putting your bare feet on the earth. This conversation is edited for readability.
How do you describe the benefits and importance of grounding (aka earthing) to someone who’s not familiar?
For decades, scientists have been telling us that we’re facing a major epidemic of chronic disease and that all our modern diseases are caused and fueled by inflammation.
If you ask me, “What’s the most important thing to know about grounding?” the answer would be... it’s one of the most — and possibly THE most — effective way to squelch inflammation.
After 20 years of impressive anecdotal results from grounding hundreds of thousands of people and more than 20 clinical research studies conducted on the benefits of grounding, it’s undeniable that grounding is nature’s built-in anti-inflammatory mechanism, effortlessly reducing and eliminating both acute and chronic inflammation.
Without grounding, the inflammatory process can get out of control. When that happens, your body’s natural healing ability gets dialed down or (in some cases) it gets turned off.
When you curb the inflammatory process through grounding, you enable the body’s miraculous healing capacity to fully engage — that’s when you can see tremendous healing and recovery.
"Ground... as much as you can."
In addition to the anti-inflammatory benefits of grounding, research has also shown noteworthy improvements in...
sleep; pain and stiffness; circulation, blood pressure, and blood viscosity; cortisol levels; stress and anxiety; tiredness and fatigue; energy; mood; blood glucose; immunity; thyroid function; metabolism; wound healing; HRV and vagal tone; serum electrolytes; and athletic performance and recovery.
Plus, anecdotally, people have reported improvements in autism, Parkinson’s, MS, PTSD, TMJ, autoimmune conditions, osteoporosis, pet health and much more.
How did your personal experiences bring you to learn about grounding?
I was raised on a farm with annual crops and lots of livestock. I remember being taught that if a cow in the pasture appeared unwell, I should take her out of the herd and bring her to a holding pen, then ride out to the pasture and identify what could be affecting her health. Look to see if the grass is too short or if noxious weeds are starting to grow. Check the water tanks and ride upstream to make sure no debris is in the water. As a result, I’ve always had an environmental bend on health, meaning that if an animal or a person is ill, then most likely something in their environment or lifestyle is the cause.
Second was that, after I left the farm and took an interest in the newly developing cable television industry, I learned the need for grounding cable TV and telephone wires before they enter the home. This was to prevent lightning from entering the home and starting a fire, but what’s more relevant to our discussion is that grounding also protected the electrical stability of the systems.
With this working knowledge of grounding, in 1999, I noticed that we humans were all wearing synthetic rubber (plastic) soled shoes that prevent our bodies from being naturally grounded.
This caused me to ask myself, “Could the loss of being grounded affect people?” because, before the 1960s, we were commonly barefoot and wore leather-soled shoes that grounded our bodies.
At the age of 54, that question set me off on an over 20 year journey that has produced 24 published peer-reviewed research studies and led to the grounding of countless people around the world that together suggest that the underlying cause of all inflammation-related health challenges is our loss of ground. In simpler terms, our being disconnected from bare-skin contact with the surface of the Earth (for the last 60 years) is a root cause of the modern-day health crisis we’re facing.
How does someone go about starting grounding? Is it as simple as just placing your feet in the grass?
Yes. All you have to do to start grounding is remove your shoes and stand barefoot on the earth. BUT, if you’re someone who cannot or does not want to put your bare feet on the ground, you can ground in the comfort of your own home with an indoor grounding mat.
Should everybody be grounding at all ages?
How long should someone be grounding a day?
In nature and before modern times, we were grounded 24/7.
To me, it’s obvious that being grounded is our most natural state. When grounded, we’re connected to an endless stream of free electrons. After entering our body, the free electrons neutralize the free radicals that damage our healthy cells and lead to chronic inflammation.
Think about it... wild animals that live their entire lives grounded (always making “bare-skin” contact with the Earth) typically don’t experience chronic inflammatory health conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, lupus, MS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, other autoimmune disorders, etc. On the other hand, a large percentage of animals that live indoors with their owners will suffer from the same chronic inflammatory health disorders that people do.
Grounding naturally protected us from the free radicals that cause chronic inflammation and the resulting modern-day health challenges.
So, all this is to say that being grounded 24/7 is most natural (and most beneficial). However, in my experience, I can say that any amount of grounding is good, and more is better!
If a person cannot ground 24/7, the best way to determine how much time a person needs to be grounded is by the amount of pain in their body.
It’s important to know that pain is caused by inflammation… said differently: Pain is a message from your body to your mind that it is on fire and that you need to stop what you are doing and put the fire out.
How long should you ground if you’re in pain?
The best rule to follow is...
If you have pain in your body, you must get grounded and stay grounded until the inflammation is grounded out and the pain stops.
What is the link between inflammation and grounding?
First, it’s important to know there are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is part of a healthy immune system response. It increases blood flow, which delivers more oxygen, nutrients, and white blood cells to the area to speed up the healing process. The role of the white blood cells is to destroy pathogens and/or damaged cells that are located at the problem area. The white blood cells do this by locating and surrounding damaged cells and pathogens. Next, they release an oxidative burst of free radicals, also called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which tear the pathogens and/or damaged cells apart.
This process creates residual free radicals that need to be neutralized by free electrons. If you have an abundance of free electrons in your body, the free radicals will all be neutralized quickly and effectively and the acute inflammation will subside when the immune system is finished destroying the damaged cells and pathogens and repairing the area by delivering nutrients, removing waste, and rebuilding tissue. However, these days, many people don’t have enough free electrons, so the inflammation grows and grows, turning into chronic inflammation.
This is because the free radicals that don’t get neutralized by free electrons damage nearby healthy cells — causing these once healthy cells to become newly damaged cells that the immune system will have to destroy with more oxidative bursts. This creates more cell damage and the process turns into an endless chain reaction that keeps repeating over and over, which increases the inflammation and leads to a never ending cycle known as chronic inflammation. It’s like the body is on fire and the fire keeps spreading, getting more and more out of control.
Modern science tells us chronic Inflammation initiates and fuels all modern disease — a chronic disease epidemic that has never been seen in the history of mankind.
William Joel Meggs, M.D., Ph.D. wrote, “Inflammation may turn out to be the elusive Holy Grail of medicine — the single phenomenon that holds the key to sickness and health.”
And Professor Donald Ingber of Harvard Medical School wrote, “Many ostensibly unrelated diseases, in virtually all fields of medicine and surgery, have a common dependence on abnormal cell behavior triggered by local inflammation.”
So, how can grounding help with this chronic inflammatory response that’s like a fire that’s growing with each passing day, leading to a worldwide epidemic of chronic inflammatory disease?
The Earth’s surface is negatively charged, which means it has an abundance of free electrons. When the body is grounded, it absorbs free electrons from the Earth. These free electrons can neutralize the free radicals that are created by the oxidative bursts (described above), which prevents damage to nearby healthy cells. When there are enough free electrons to neutralize all the free radicals caused by the oxidative bursts, you eliminate the possibility of acute inflammation getting out of control and turning into chronic inflammation.
If you already have chronic inflammation, you can put out the fire by grounding. You must ground yourself enough to absorb the amount of electrons needed to neutralize all the free radicals that have not yet been neutralized. The more you ground, the more electrons you absorb. The more electrons you absorb, the more free radicals you neutralize. The more free radicals you neutralize, the more you slow down the inflammatory cycle — eventually, the chronic inflammation subsides. When the inflammation goes away, the pain stops. When the fuel for your illness (inflammation) no longer fuels your illness, your body can stabilize and recover.
There was a 20 participant research study (using indoor grounding mats) done on grounding using thermography imaging. Medical thermography (infrared imaging) is used by doctors and scientists to photograph inflammation in the body. You can read the results from each participant and see before and after thermography images at UltimateLongevity Below is one example from the study.
Do different types of surfaces change how grounding works (as in, whether you’re on grass, or sand, or a grounding mat)?
Whether you’re standing, lying on, or touching mud, grass, dirt, sand, or a grounding mat, you’ll be absorbing free electrons from the Earth. Wet ground slightly enhances the flow, so wet mud is a bit better than dry sand. The ocean is very conductive because of the salt in the water, so submerging yourself in the ocean is very effective.
That said, don’t overthink it... any grounding is good. Ground any way you can, as much as you can.
Some cement is grounded — some is not. In the past, cement was poured directly onto the Earth. More recently, they lay plastic on the ground before pouring the cement, to prevent weeds from growing through the cement. If you see cement with weeds growing through it, that cement may be grounded.
Another tip is... the more of you that’s touching the Earth or a grounding mat, the more electrons can flow into you — more surface contact equals more electrons. When you can’t put your whole body on the Earth or grounding mat (or in the ocean), the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands are the best connection points. Also, the longer you stay connected, the more benefit you’ll get, because more electrons can enter as time passes.
That’s why sleeping grounded is so effective. When you sleep grounded your whole body is contacting the grounding mat for 6 to 8 hours at a time (or more).
When it comes to the electrical rhythm of the earth and biological clocks, how does grounding impact our alignment with circadian rhythms?
In one of our early studies (using indoor grounding mats), we learned that, when people were grounded, their cortisol secretion profiles were normalized. Their cortisol levels peaked at 8:00 AM, like they naturally should. Because there was no daylight involved, that only could have been caused by the change in Earth’s electric field that occurs around 8:00 AM in the morning. We’ve since learned that changes in the amplitude, or strength, of earth’s resonant electric field influences all circadian rhythms and body cycles.
CORTISOL PROFILES BEFORE & AFTER GROUNDING
What’s the connection between grounding and immunotherapy?
The connection between grounding and immunotherapy is simple. The immune system is chronically challenged when there is chronic inflammation or “fire” in the body. When you’re grounded, the free electrons you receive from the Earth reduce and prevent inflammation. This frees up the immune system so that it can work to restore and maintain health instead of constantly taking its energy to deal with the collateral damage of chronic inflammation, which causes even more inflammation, which leads to an endless, ever increasing amount of inflammation in the body. Once you ground, the inflammatory cycle slows and eventually is no longer and the immune system can function normally again. I believe, without a doubt, that grounding is nature’s perfectly designed immunotherapy.
Do you see a connection between grounding and healthy light intake?
Yes. Modern living environments have insulated us not only from the Earth’s electrons, but also from the Sun. Standing barefoot on the Earth outside in the sunlight, coupled with sleeping grounded at night, is the most beneficial healing practice anyone could incorporate into their health regime. Nothing can be more effective for the body than to be charged with photons from the Sun and free electrons from the Earth, which are both fundamental to maintaining all life and the health of all life on this planet.
Do you have any questions about grounding you’re still working out?
Still working every day to better educate people about grounding and have the message reach people who are looking for natural ways to create good health for their families and communities.