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Can Earthing Cure Arthritis?

If you suffer from joint pain, there are many treatment options but most are partially effective at best. One new treatment option may be as simple as going outside. Find out more about the practice of grounding for arthritis below.
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If you suffer from arthritis and joint pain, you have probably tried a variety of treatments to get rid of the lingering, aching pain. One treatment idea for arthritis pain floating around the Internet is grounding.

Grounding, or earthing, is stated to relieve joint pain by linking the body with the earth and creating a similar effect as grounding a house. As strange as this might sound, if it works, it could be a viable treatment option for joint sufferers.

But is there any scientific backing to the theory? Can grounding the body really make a difference in joint pain? Read on to find out.

What is Grounding?

According to grounding theory, the earth has a slightly negative charge. When you stand barefoot on the ground, electronics from the earth flow into the body, basically giving it an electrical power boost. The guidelines state that it works best when a person stands on the ground in their bare feet- usually on grass, sand, dirt, or concrete.

The earth contains electrons, which are scientifically documented as an important part of the body. Your body is basically one large electrical current, and the balance of electricity in the body is important. Grounding theory is the idea that you can improve your electrical flow- and consequently, many of the body’s systems (particularly inflammation)- by ensuring you have a frequent connection with the earth.

What Does the Science Say?

While the idea of standing on the ground to improve arthritis and joint pain seems rather ridiculous, there is some science behind it. According to studies, the body generates what is known as “reactive oxygen species,” or free radicals during the process of metabolism. Free radicals are important in right amounts, because they can kill invading bacteria and viruses. However, too many free radicals will lead to the developing of disease- particularly cancer.

The first affect an over-abundance of free radicals on the body has is inflammation. Inflammation is part of the healing process, but chronic inflammation is bad for the body. Typically, many forms of arthritis are believed to be caused be excessive inflammation in the joints.

Free radicals do not contain electrons, but it is possible to reduce the number of free radicals by providing the body with electrons. One way this occurs is with the dietary inclusion of vitamin C, E, and A, as well as ‘polyphenols,’ which are found in foods like tea, apples, coffee, and cocoa.

The second way to provide an additional source of electrons in the body is by standing on the ground, which, if you remember from earlier, has a negative charge that gives off electrons. If the body has a positive charge (from too many free radicals) and the earth has a negative charge, standing on the ground will, in theory, neutralize the charge of the body and eliminate extra free radicals that could lead to inflammation.

Studies on the Effectiveness of Grounding

There have been a few studies on grounding in the fight against inflammation. The most notable study occurred in 2000 and was published in ESD Journal. This study examined 60 people suffering from chronic joint and muscle pain and sleep disturbances. All participants had been suffering from these problems for at least six months.

The study examined the participants over a period of one month. Subjects were divided into two groups. One group slept on a fully grounded mattress, while the other group slept on a partially grounded mattress. In the control group between 87 and 100 percent found their symptoms did not change. The grounded group, however, showed different results, which are listed in the table below:

Grounded Group Study Results 
  • 85 percent fell asleep faster
  • 93 percent slept better
  • 100 percent woke feeling rested
  • 82 percent had less muscle pain
  • 74 percent had reduced joint pain
  • 78 percent felt better overall

In 2012, the Journal of Environmental and Public Health published a review on over 7000 past grounding studies. In the review, the authors found a variety of documented evidence that supported the idea that grounding can be useful for health and reducing arthritis pain and inflammation. The benefits most helpful for treating arthritis and joint pain named in the review are listed below:

Benefits of Grounding 
  • Thins the blood, promoting the distribution of oxygen and discouraging inflammation
  • Reduces stress hormone levels, which can contribute to chronic inflammation
  • Reduces free radicals in the body
  • Keeps white blood cell levels high- which improves the immune system
  • Reduces inflammation overall
  • Improves range of motion in joints
  • Reduces how much pain is felt

Overall, the study authors discovered that the flow of electrons from the earth to the body actually occurs and is visible with scientific testing. The researchers concluded that the earth can be considered a “global health table” and may be as necessary to total body health as sunshine, exercise, and a healthy diet.

Grounding for Your Health

According to Clint Ober, and Stephen T. Sinatra, authors of the book “Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?” a lack of grounding could be a major undiagnosed factor in chronic diseases like arthritis. The book calls this condition, “electron deficiency syndrome.”

So, how can you use this strange-sounding practice to improve your health and joint pain? Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t take long.

How to Ground the Body

According to the studies in the review, it will take about 80 minutes of contact with the ground to fully charge the body and transfer to blood cells. However, on a case-by-case basis, many people see positive results from a much shorter period. Anecdotal reports state that standing on grass, dirt, or sand for just 20 minutes can have a positive effect. Sitting or lying on the ground can also have a positive effect.

Ideal Grounding Surfaces
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Wet grass
  • Porous cement or brick
  • Ceramic tile

These surfaces are ideal-although standing on ceramic tile on a second floor, for example, probably will not provide any grounding benefits. Surfaces like tarmac, asphalt, wood, plastic, vinyl, or rubber will not provide any grounding benefit. Just remember it this way, to benefit from grounding, you should stand on the actual ground. Some stores also sell grounding mats, which may also be effective.

One of the easiest ways to stay grounded is to exercise barefoot on a ground surface outdoors (grass, sand, or dirt).

Can Grounding Cure Arthritis?

In short, not exactly. Grounding will benefit overall health and reduce inflammation, but it is not likely to reverse an existing disease. With grounding, you can expect to have reduced pain and swelling, and if continued along with other beneficial steps outlined below, may provide an eventual lessening of the disease.

However, if you are overweight, eat an unhealthy diet, and never exercise, it is unlikely that grounding alone will cure your arthritis.

What Else Helps Arthritis?

In addition to grounding, there are a few other steps you can take to benefit arthritis. These include:

Reducing Omega 6 Fats

According to Earthing Canada, a diet high in omega 6 fats make the enzyme COX-2 enzymes more active. This enzyme is the enzyme responsible for creating inflammation in the body. Simply by reducing omega-6 fat intake you can reduce inflammation and joint pain.

Supplements and Diet

Improving the diet will, naturally, lead to better health overall. Including a variety of nutrients, herbs, and supplements in the diet may help reduce joint pain. According to Arthritis Today, the following supplements and herbs may be most helpful:

  • Evening Primrose
  • Cat’s Claw
  • Ginger
  • Omega-3 Fats
  • GLA
  • Frankincense
  • MSN
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Turmeric
  • Capsaicin
  • Boswellia
  • Probiotics
  • Green tea

Alternative Treatments Arthritis Today cites four non-drug treatments that can be effective at reducing arthritis pain and may help prevent the severity of the disease. These treatments include:

Non-Drug Treatment Options for Joint Pain

Ice massage: Rubbing an ice cube on a painful joint in circular motions can help temporarily reduce pain.

Exercise: Walking and other gentle exercises can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, and can reduce excess weight, which can cause inflammation.

Meditation: Stress is linked with chronic inflammation in the body. Actively working to reduce stress can have a positive benefit on overall inflammation. Meditation is an effective way to reduce stress levels.

De-stressing activities: Getting enough rest, avoiding high-stress environments, and even simple activities like drinking a cup of tea at night can have positive effects on stress levels.

Grounding, the Simplest Treatment for Joint Pain

If you knew you could reduce joint pain simply by walking on the grass, wouldn’t you have started doing that a long time ago? There is enough scientific research to back grounding or earthing is a viable treatment option for arthritis and joint pain. Of course, walking on the dirt alone will probably not stop all your symptoms, but it can definitely reduce the pain and stiffness that you feel every day! Combining grounding with other healthy practices, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and some anti-inflammatory supplements can help you equip your body to fight chronic inflammation from the inside out.

Sources


http://www.drbriffa.com/2012/04/18/earthing-important-discovery-or-mumbo-jumbo/

http://www.esdjournal.com/articles/cober/earth.htm

http://earthingcanada.ca/chronic-inflammation-and-arthritis/

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