earthing and grounding

What is grounding or earthing?

Grounding (earthing) are made up pseudoscientific nonsense. It does not work. It is mostly supported anecdotes and testimonials, which should be a red flag. If there is any benefit to be gained from it, then that claimed benefit is probably due to the placebo effect or regression to the mean or mood changes etc.

The practice of grounding or earthing is allegedly based on the idea that direct physical contact with the Earth’s surface can have various potential health benefits such as cardiovascular disease, enhancing the immune system and reduce inflammation. Advocates of grounding suggest that connecting with the Earth’s natural electrical charge by walking barefoot on soil, grass, sand, or by using conductive materials (that you can buy from them) can lead to improved well-being. The claims that they make violate some of the basic laws of physics, despite the widespread claims that grounding is based on physics!

The claim is one of bringing the earth’s free electrons into the body and you need to connect to the earth to ‘help top up on energy and rebalance the body’s systems‘ (ie typical nonsensical pseudoscience babble). Electrons are electrons and there is nothing special or different about the electrons from the earth.

There are claims that research shows that it works, but that is not the case. Most studies are generally poorly done (eg no control group) or have a poorly done inappropriate analysis of the results and do not stack up to scrutiny or critical analysis. Many of the studies are also done and funded by those selling ‘grounding’ products. The alternative health community are certainly critical and skeptical of BigPharma funded studies, but somehow think that its okay when those selling alternative health products do the same thing.

A 2010 book on earthing (2nd edition in 2014) called it “the most important health discovery of ever“. If that was the case you would have thought that after this amount of time, if it was true, they have got the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Its been debunked so many times in so many places.

Oh, and there is nothing wrong with going barefoot outside and ‘connecting’ with nature if you want to. Its a great thing to do. I do it. Just don’t make up silly pseudoscientific claims about it benefits.

About the author

University lecturer, clinician, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger, dad