FAQs - EarthingInstitute.net
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is Earthing a new concept?
Why is Earthing so important in an age of high technology?
Why does the Earth’s electric field transfer so easily to the body?
What is the difference between the Earth’s electric field and the electric field used to conduct electricity in my home?
How much “current” is actually being transferred from the Earth's surface via the wire to a grounding product?
What is the difference between Earthing and the use of magnets?
Can I wear any type of footwear and still be earthed?
Can I ground myself outside by wearing electrostatic discharge (ESD) footwear?
Can I ground myself by being barefoot on my concrete basement floor?
Does Earthing occur if I work, stand, or walk barefooted on a ceramic tile floor?
I live in a warm climate with hookworms and roundworms in the soil. I am reluctant to go barefoot.
Can Earthing protect me from cell phone frequencies?
If I sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag am I grounded?
I do not live in North America. Can I plug my Earthing product into a wall outlet?
Do I have to be concerned about being hit by lightning during a thunderstorm if I am grounded in my home?
Q. Is Earthing a new concept?
A. Not at all. Humans have walked barefoot on the Earth, and sat and slept on conductive skins since time immemorial, thus absorbing into their bodies the Earth’s natural electric energy. During the late 1880s, a back-to-Nature movement in Germany featured walking barefoot and sleeping on the Earth for which many positive health claims were made. Modern research on Earthing (also called grounding) was begun in 2000. The ongoing scientific investigations led to the development of conductive sheets, mats, bands, and patches for use indoors. Using them indoors is like being barefoot outdoors.
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Q. In a high-tech age, why is the concept of Earthing so important?
A. What is most profound about Earthing (grounding) is that it is so natural and simple, and that it affects every aspect of human physiology. When you ground yourself, your body readjusts to a new and natural level of functioning that it seems to have been designed for throughout evolution. Many people who have lived grounded for some years say that they do not want to go back to living ungrounded. They feel the difference. Earthing broadly elevates your quality of life to a level that seems not otherwise possible.
James Oschman, Ph.D., an internationally-renowned expert on energy medicine and a member of our board of advisors, describes the phenomenon thusly: “Recently I attended a meeting on the East coast. One of my colleagues came in from the West coast. She had a bad case of jet lag. I told her to take her shoes and socks off and step outside on the grass for 15 minutes. When she came back in, she was completely transformed. Her jet lag was gone. That is how fast Earthing works. Anyone can try this. If you don’t feel well, for whatever reason, just make barefoot contact with the Earth for a few minutes and see what happens. Of course, if you have a medical problem, you should see a doctor. There is nothing that comes close to Earthing for quick relief. You can literally feel pain draining from your body the instant you touch the Earth.”
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Q. Why does the Earth’s electric field transfer so easily to the body?
A. The body is mostly water and minerals. It is a good conductor of electricity (electrons). The free electrons on the surface of the Earth are easily transferred to the human body as long as there is direct contact. Unfortunately, synthetically-soled shoes act as insulators so that even when we are outside we do not connect with the Earth’s electric field. When we are in homes and office buildings, we are also insulated and unable to receive the Earth’s balancing energies.
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Q. What is the difference between the Earth’s electric field and the electric field used to conduct electricity in my home?
A. The Earth’s electric field is mainly a continuous direct current (DC) producing field. Throughout history, life on the planet has attuned our biology to this subtle field. By comparison, home wiring systems in the U.S. use 60-cycle per second alternating current (AC) and in other parts of the world 50-cycle current is common. Unless at very low frequency (less than 10 cycles per second) and/or low power, alternating current is foreign to our biology. AC, and other forms of man-made environmental electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are being researched as possible factors in a variety of stress-related responses. Many people are sensitive to EMFs. Studies show an “association,” but not cause and effect, to some health issues.
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Q. How much “current” is actually being transferred from the Earth's surface via the wire to a grounding product?
A. There is no constant measurable current flow beyond the equalization charge that is instantly transferred to the body when a person lies on a conductive sheet or makes contact with another type of Earthing product. We are talking about numbers of electrons in the trillions and quadrillions. Once the body is grounded, the rate of influx changes, and the body will only absorb that amount of electrons needed to maintain the same electrical potential as the Earth and to restore what is lost in the body’s metabolic processes. It may take many quadrillions to get the body stable. As long as a person continues to be grounded, the body can use the Earth as a natural reservoir, or “power source,” of electrons to maintain a “topped up” homeostatic level that compensates for any attrition of internal electrons. With connection to the Earth, it would thus seem hard for the body to develop any electron deficiency, and, theoretically, any chronic inflammation. The actual amount of charge (electrons transferred) would vary significantly based upon location of the body above the Earth (voltage) and any potential electrostatic charge that has built up on the body. The continuing amount of electrons absorbed by the body to reduce metabolic and immune response free radicals would also vary significantly between people depending upon their life style and activity. This is all extremely difficult, if not impossible, to measure.
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Q. What is the difference between the Earthing technology and the use of magnets?
A. Although the use of magnets produce some therapeutic effects when properly applied, magnets cannot provide free electrons, nor can they connect the body with the naturally balancing electric frequencies of the Earth. Earthing technology used inside your home or office connects you with the Earth’s electrons in the same way as if you were standing barefoot on ground outside.
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Q. Can I wear any type of footwear and still be earthed?
A. No. Standard plastic/rubber or composite soles do not conduct the Earth’s electric energy. Most shoes today are made from those materials. You need leather or hide soles, which used to be the primary footwear materials in the past. Leather itself isn’t conductive, but the foot perspires and the moisture permits conduction of the energy from the Earth through the leather and up into the body. In addition, moisture from walking on damp ground or sidewalks could permeate up into the leather soled shoe. Thickness of the sole can also be a factor, and specifically that a very thick leather sole may not allow the moisture through. Moccasins are the best type of natural conductive footwear. Leather isn’t quite as good as bare feet on the ground but certainly much, much better than standard soles that are insulating. Hopefully soon shoe companies will begin making grounded shoes.
Q. Can I ground myself outside by wearing electrostatic discharge (ESD) footwear?
A. ESD shoes are primarily designed for discharging static electricity but to a degree they ground the body beneficially. They are better than regular shoes but not as good as going barefoot. The difference between grounding and static discharge is that grounding instantly equalizes your body at Earth’s potential. Static discharge, generally called a soft ground or a dissipative ground, has an inline 1 meg ohm resistor in the ground cord which is design to slowly bleed off static electrical charges (contact and separation charges). These charges are created on the body by clothing and shoes whenever you move your clothing with arm movement or walk or sit on any synthetic material. The ESD industry uses dissipative grounding to prevent a rapid discharge of static electricity that might otherwise blow an electronic circuit or sensitive chip.
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Q. I live in Chicago and my cement basement floor is cold, so I am reluctant to ground myself bare foot on that surface. Could I get grounded there by using an un-insulated metal container, filled with warm water and still get the same results?
A. If bare feet directly on the floor is uncomfortable, you can use a metal container as you suggest.
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Q. Does Earthing occur if I work, stand, or walk barefooted on a ceramic tile floor?
A. It depends on whether the tile floor sits on a concrete slab or on the ground. If directly on a slab or ground, the energy could come through. If the tile sits on plywood or some other kind of wood, plastic, or vinyl understructure, you are not likely to get any conductivity. It also depends on what kind of tile. Ceramic tile with a glazed finish on the surface will, like glass, probably prevent conductivity.
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Q. I live in a warm climate where we are reluctant to go out barefoot due to parasites in the soil like hookworm and roundworm. The soil never gets cold enough for the parasites to die off.
A. If being barefoot outside is risky, Earthing sheets and mats allow you to be grounded inside. The best opportunity to gain the many benefits of Earthing is to sleep grounded.
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Q. Can Earthing protect me from cell phone frequencies?
A. The protective potential of Earthing has not been tested yet on cell phone exposure. There is no research indicating that Earthing will or will not protect a person from exposure to cell phones signals, microwave radiation, or radio frequencies. What we know is that Earthing reduces significantly the induced body voltages generated by simple exposure to common household 60 Hz EMFs continuously emitted by all plugged-in electrical cords (even if the appliance is off), internal wiring, and all ungrounded electrical devices in the home or office. Based in the cases we have seen of people extremely sensitive to such EMFs it is prudent to be grounded as much as possible in the home or office.
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Q. If I sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag am I grounded?
A. Some part of your body needs to be in direct contact with the Earth in order for you to get the full benefit of Earthing. The skin of your body needs to come in contact with the “skin of the Earth.” It can be a bare foot, or arm, for instance, sticking out of the sleeping bag in contact with the Earth.
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Q. I do not live in North America. Can I plug my Earthing product into a wall outlet?
A. We receive many questions about using Earthing products around the world. To assist you, we have compiled some basic facts you will need to determine the best connecting options for you. Earthing products are designed to be used with an Earthing ground rod placed in the soil outside next to a window or door, or via a grounded wall outlet inside the home or office. Individual conditions in your home, office, and country may dictate which of these options you use to connect to the Earth.
The first thing you need to know is that Earthing products do not operate on electricity, so it does not matter what the electrical current is in your country (whether 110 volts or 240 volts, etc). Earthing products simply allow the natural, gentle energy from the Earth outside to be carried inside. When you make physical — bare skin — contact with the Earthing product it is the same as if you were standing or walking barefoot outside. This is what creates the benefits of Earthing.
Our preference is that the products throughout the world be connected to Earthing ground rods, however many people like the idea of simply plugging them into an electrical outlet ground port in their home or office. For people who live in tall apartment buildings (high rises), a ground rod may not be feasible, and for people who do not have a grounded electrical system in their home or office, the only option is the ground rod.
The following explanation covers two options for connecting Earthing products. The electrical terms “ground” and “Earth” have the same meaning. In Spanish, the term is “tierra.”
Option # 1: Plug-In
There are many different outlet configurations around the world. Some are grounded (Earthed). Others are not. For this reason, if you want to plug into a wall outlet you will have to determine first whether your electrical system and outlets are indeed properly grounded. An electrician can determine that for you or you can purchase a simple outlet ground checker at an electrical supply or hardware store locally.
Outlets with only two holes and no Earth/ground strip or Earth/ground pin or hole means there is no Earth/ground present. You must use a ground rod. This is quite common in older homes. Keep in mind, however, that an outlet with three holes, or two holes and an Earth/ground strip or Earth/ground pin or hole, does not necessarily mean that the Earth/ground is actually connected. The individual outlet must be tested for correct wiring.
In the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and parts of the Caribbean, the electrical systems in homes and offices that have been grounded utilize what is know as “Type B” electrical wall outlets. To determine what type of outlet is used in your country, go to the following web site: http://electricaloutlet.org/ The cords that come with Earthing products are designed to fit directly into the ground ports (third hole) of grounded Type B wall outlet or into the female receptor end of Earthing ground rod cords used anyplace in the world. The Earthing cords will not usually fit into international ground ports or contacts.
If your outlets are grounded, you will need to obtain a grounded outlet adapter for use with North American appliances in your country. Earthing products come with a 12 foot (about 3 ½ meters) long cord. One end snaps onto the product and the other (male) end inserts into the ground (Earth) port of the appropriate adapter that is then plugged into a properly grounded electrical outlet. Adapters are available through local electric supply stores or through the Internet. In many European countries, the Schuko adapter below is commonly used. VP 11B - Grounded Europe Adapter - USA to Europe Heavy Duty Adaptor Plug German Schuko from VCT electronics distributed by Amazon
Do not buy a universal adapter. Some universal adapters look like they have the Earth/ground connection but when tested they do not work. Others have loose intermittent connections that will minimize the benefits you expect from Earthing.
If you do not have a grounded outlet, you will have to use a ground rod (Option # 2) or have an electrician connect your electrical outlet(s) to the Earth.
Option # 2
Earthing sleep systems (sheets and recovery bag) come with a 12-inch long ground rod included. The Earthing mats do not include the ground rod. If you want to use a ground rod for use with a mat, it must be purchased separately.
The ground rods are inserted into the ground (dirt, garden bed) outside/below a window or door adjacent to where the Earthing product will be used inside. It is very simple to do. If there is only concrete and no adjacent Earth in which to put the ground rod then this is not an option for you. The Earthing ground rod has a 40 foot (13 meter) cord attached to it. You can run the cord under a window or door, just being careful not to sever the cord. The cord from the Earthing sheet or mat is connected to the ground rod cord, male end into the female end. Again, very simple. This is how you set up the ground rod.
The cords that come with each product can be connected to a grounded outlet (or outlet adapter, as described in Option # 1) or a ground rod. If additional length is needed, Earthing extension cords can also be purchased.
Available also are splitter cords, into which you can insert the cords from any two Earthing products. The splitter connects either to a wall outlet (or outlet adapter) or to the ground rod cord. All Earthing product connection cords contain a current limiting 100k resistor.
These products can all be seen at
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Q. Do I have to be concerned about being hit by lightning during a thunderstorm if I am grounded in my home?
A. Lightning is a massive natural phenomenon that is unpredictable and challenging to totally protect against. It is poorly understood. Homes are rarely hit by lightning. When this happens, the lightning usually takes the path of least resistance to the ground, such as large conductive systems like the plumbing pipes, electrical wiring network, or telephone and cable TV lines, all of which are directly grounded to the Earth.
The National Safety Council reports that the odds of dying from a lightning strike in one year are 1 in 6 million (www.nsc.org/research/odds.aspx). To put this in perspective, the chance of being hit and killed by an automobile as a pedestrian in the same period is 1 in fifty thousand—a risk 120 times greater. What these statistics suggest is that being hit by lightning is rather unlikely. However, follow standard lightning safety guidelines as directed by National Weather Service (www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov) if you live in a lightning-prone area. Disconnect your Earthing device and don’t use it during lightning and thunderstorms.
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