By James L. Oschman, PhD
Published in J Altern Complemen Med 2007, 13;9:955–976
A number of studies have found and documented immediate physiologic and clinical effects of grounding or earthing the body. The most reasonable hypothesis to explain the beneficial effects of earthing is that a direct earth connection enables both diurnal electrical rhythms and free electrons to flow from the earth to the body. It is proposed that the earth’s diurnal electrical rhythms set the biological clocks for hormones that regulate sleep and activity. It is also suggested that free electrons from the earth neutralize the positively charged free radicals that are the hallmark of chronic inflammation. It is thus proposed that free or mobile electrons from the earth can resolve chronic inflammation by serving as natural antioxidants.
A number of past studies have shown that earthing produces statistically significant and nearly instantaneous reductions in overall stress levels and tensions in the body as measured by elecroencephalograms, electromyograms, and blood volume pulse.
At the moment the earthing lead is connected, there is a virtually instantaneous normalization in tension. Muscles that are tense relax, and muscles that are hypotoned develop normal tension.
A variety of clinical trials are discussed and summarized.
Inflammation is now thought to be the underlying mechanism of more than 80 chronic illnesses involving almost every human organ system, including diseases of the nervous, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and respiratory systems as well as the skin and connective tissue. In all of these diseases, the underlying problem is similar – the body’s immune system is causing harm to the organs it was designed to protect.
Inflammation is defined as “a localized protective response in trauma or microbial invasion that destroys, dilutes, or walls-off the injurious agent and the injured tissue.” Acute inflammation is characterized by the classic signs of pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function.
Electrons as Antioxidants
The inflammation theory connects chronic disease with a situation that is describable in electronic or energetic terms. A free radical is a molecule that is missing an electron. Its destructive effects are explained in terms of the rapid and violent reactions taking place as electrical charges are redistributed between the reacting molecules. Oxygen is the ultimate “oxidizing agent” while the electron is the ultimate “reducing agent.”
Since inflammation is a consequence of deficiency in negative charge, any mechanism that delivers electrons to a site of injury will lessen the likelihood of a persistent vicious cycle of inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and antioxidants are electrically charged molecules that carry excess electrons to sites of inflammation where they reduce free radicals. Our hypothesis is that free or mobile electrons can act directly on free radicals, and that this happens naturally when the body is in contact with the earth, which is a natural source of free electrons.
It thus appears that free (mobile) electrons from the earth can serve a simple and direct anti-inflammatory role by neutralizing free radicals. The phenomena described in this paper raise questions about the very nature of the inflammatory response and the role of free or mobile electrons in physiologic processes. These issues will be discussed further in subsequent publications.
Reprint requests: Dr. James L. Oschman, Nature’s Own Research Association, P.O. Box 1935, Dover, NH 03821.