A Brief (and Certainly Incomplete) History of Earthing
Information about the healing power of the Earth, as applied throughout history by different cultures, is challenging to find. Our knowledge of what they knew can best be described as scant. Some dedicated anthropological detective work would likely turn up some fascinating evidence of Earth healing.
Physical contact with the ground was an ordinary way of life in past times. People walked barefoot or used animal hides (leather) for footwear or bedding. These practices allowed transference of the Earth’s energy into the body.
What is clear is that a law of Nature is at play here: a built-in healing asset of Nature: the electric charge of the Earth. Something timeless. It is logical to think that countless healers and sages were aware of specific benefits and therapeutic effects.
We can look at the long history of Chinese knowledge and find reference to Qi (pronounced chee), a central principle, regarded as the energy or natural force that fills the universe. Heaven Qi is made up of the forces that heavenly bodies exert on the Earth, such as sunshine, moonlight, and the moon’s effect on the tides. Earth Qi, influenced and controlled by Heaven Qi, is made up of lines and patterns of energy, as well as the Earth’s magnetic field and the heat concealed underground. And within the Earth Qi, individuals, animals, and plants have their own Qi field. All natural things, in this concept, grow and are influenced by the natural cycles of Heaven Qi and Earth Qi.
Earth Qi is absorbed, without our thinking about it, when we walk barefoot, which may explain why it’s so relaxing to walk without shoes and why exercises geared toward strengthening the body and relaxing the mind (yoga, tai chi, and qigong, for instance) are often practiced without footwear.
Traveling back to the late 1800s, a wave of interest in natural health began to take shape in Germany, spearheaded by Adolf Just, who is now seen as one of the early champions of naturopathy.
Just introduced healing methods that revolved around a vegetarian diet, steering clear of alcohol and tobacco, and promoting the practice of walking barefoot and sleeping on earth's ground. His approach captured the interest of people around the world, planting seeds for naturopathic movements in the United States and other regions.
In his book, Return to Nature!, he introduced a concept he named “Earth power.”
He became a strong believer in the healing magic sparked by the barefoot contact with the Earth. He illustrated the idea by saying, “The feet,” are to humans what roots are to plants. Just believed that through our feet, we soak up essential energy and strength from the Earth.
Furthermore, by “sleeping on the ground,” he explained, the whole body shakes off its sluggishness, reigniting its vital energy. This fresh burst of energy, according to Just, could help rid the body of old unhealthy matter, ushering in a wave of renewed health, liveliness, and unexpected strength and vitality.
We've acknowledged Just’s contributions in our book on Earthing, and similarly, we've also recognized the foresight of Mattheo Tavera, an innovative French agronomist. Over five decades ago, Tavera talked about the significance of “electric nutrition” derived from the ground for not only plants and animals but also humans. His enlightening perspective on the energy exchange between the Earth and all living entities is elaborated further in this text.
Before Tavera's time, a handful of French biophysicists were curious about grounding and its effects back in the 1920s and 1930s. We are now looking into what they discovered.
It's evident that Native Americans had a profound respect and understanding of Earth's importance. This perspective is well articulated by the late Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear), a noted writer, teacher, and tribal leader from the Lakota Sioux community:
“The old people came literally to love the soil. They sat on the ground with the feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the Earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with their bare feet on the sacred Earth. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing.”
Clint Ober's Work
In the late 1990s, a retired cable TV innovator began exploring the concept of electrical grounding in relation to the human body.
Clint Ober had spent 25 years contributing to the burgeoning cable industry, which promised consumers clearer images compared to traditional broadcast television. He founded a leading cable installation firm in the U.S.
Now, you might wonder, what does cable TV have to do with health? The connection is quite intriguing. The clear image quality of cable TV is due to a shielding mechanism that keeps signals secure and free from external interference. The cable has an inner copper conductor encased by a mesh shield. This shield is electrically grounded to the Earth, allowing the Earth to either provide or absorb electrons, preventing electrical charge build-up in the system. The shield harmonizes its potential with that of the Earth’s surface, ensuring the signals through the conductor remain stable and clear.
Post retirement, Ober started pondering how his cable TV know-how might relate to the human body. He noticed that the common use of synthetic-soled shoes disconnected people from the Earth's grounding effect, which stabilizes not just cable TV but all electrical gadgets globally. This basic observation led him on a scientific exploration, unveiling a growing understanding of Earth's potential to preserve health and support healing, a realization bearing significant clinical relevance.
Ober initiated methods to harness Earth's healing energy indoors for individuals to benefit from while sitting or sleeping. He has sponsored the majority of research on this subject, and a considerable amount of findings is now accessible (details can be found on the research page on this website). These findings suggest that grounding to the Earth induces favorable and significant physiological alterations, including inflammation reduction, which holds vital clinical significance. Due to Ober’s efforts, a foundation of research has been established, hopefully encouraging more exploratory studies in this domain. It's an exciting frontier with much to be discovered and gained. The practice of grounding or "Earthing" unveils a natural, enhanced level of physiological functioning, shedding light on a more accurate definition of what's considered normal.
Ober, along with some predecessors, are trailblazers who have resurrected a crucial natural principle, awaiting humanity's recognition of its immense health and healing potential.
Ober’s discovery of Grounding
In 1998, Clint Ober decided to test an idea on himself before trying it out on his friends. He created a simple setup to connect his bed to the Earth's natural energy, much like what happens when you walk barefoot outdoors. Using everyday materials like metallic tape and a wire leading to a rod in the ground outside, he made his bed conductive to Earth's energy. Surprisingly, he found that this setup helped him sleep better and lessened his chronic pain, to the point where he stopped needing painkillers to sleep. Encouraged by his own results, he created similar setups for his friends, who also experienced better sleep and less pain.
In 2000, aiming to explore this effect further, Clint organized a larger experiment with the help of a nurse. They found 60 people, men and women, who had trouble sleeping and dealt with chronic pain. Clint visited each volunteer's home to install a conductive pad on their beds, connected to the Earth's energy through a rod outside their windows. Yet, for half of them, he added a spacer that blocked this connection, creating two groups for comparison. One group was genuinely connected to Earth's energy, and the other was not, although none of the participants knew which group they were in. This setup was aimed at understanding better if what he termed "Grounding" could indeed help people sleep better and reduce their pain.
The original findings in five critical areas of health sparked research which continues to this day. As of 2020, some two dozen studies have been conducted. We continue to learn how grounding has the potential to affect, and significantly so, a wide range of modern ailments.
Time to fall asleep:
Grounding Research in Poland
In 2010, after the release of a book on Grounding, we came to know about the efforts of two doctors from Poland who carried out a number of experiments and studies to understand how the Earth's natural electric charge affects the way our body functions. These doctors are Karol Sokal, a private practicing cardiologist, and his son Pawel, a neurosurgeon working at a military clinic. They shared their findings in various medical journals.
Through their investigations, the Polish doctors came to believe that grounding, or connecting physically to the Earth, not only impacts how our body operates but may play a key role in controlling our hormonal and nervous systems.