Support Science Not Superstition
| Homepage | Links | Book & TV List | Contact Us | Blog |



The barefoot way to amazing health?

Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Earthing book Have you ever heard of the natural health therapy called 'Earthing', sometimes called 'Grounding', a therapy as simple as walking barefoot outside? Going by the book 'Earthing', written by retired cable TV executive Clint Ober, along with cardiologist Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D. and health writer Martin Zucker, we wonder why more people haven't heard of this amazing new medical breakthrough, since its subtitle is:

'The most important health discovery ever?'
Someone with Ph.D. and C.N.S after their name opines that,
'Earthing ranks right up there with the discovery of penicillin. This book is probably the most important health read of the 21rst [sic] century.'
One website pushing Earthing therapy claims that,
'Living Earthed broadly elevates your quality of life to a level that seems not otherwise possible.'
Wow! They are big claims. When one thinks of all the amazing discoveries and advances over the centuries in understanding how our bodies function and how diseases can be combated, how important and revolutionary must 'Earthing' be to surpass them all! And yet most people have never heard of it. Newspapers, TV, radio and magazines worldwide, none thought this most important health discovery worth mentioning, apparently it's not important at all. Another Earthing proponent, someone going by the name of Dr. Mercola, writes that 'Earthing may be one of the most important overlooked factors in public health'. So why haven't we heard of it? Is there a conspiracy afoot? Is Big Pharma suppressing this breakthrough? And can it be so simple, that we can regain or maintain great health simply by getting rid of our rubber-soled shoes?

'Earthing' is the silly belief that basically says that if you go barefoot outside you will improve your health. How? By absorbing the Earth's healing energy of course. Don't worry about what type of energy it is, how it's measured, or the mechanism that allows healing. Such questions are insulting and closed-minded. Just read the testimonials and buy the products. What products you might ask, I thought it was as simple as walking barefoot? Well, yes, technically, but since everyone has free access to their bare feet and the outdoors, that would mean that suckers wouldn't need to hand over any money to those pushing this Earthing scam. So the argument is made that we spend a lot of time indoors these days and the really good, high quality healing will only come from Earthing products such as pads and sheets that are physically wired to the earth. You wouldn't want to skimp on your health would you?

So in this article we'll examine whether humans have evolved to have a crucial electrical connection to the earth, and that this earthing connection, eg walking barefoot, can prevent and cure diseases. We'll question whether free radicals actually cause everything from pain and cancer to herpes and 'all of the chronic diseases'. We'll look at the connection between free electrons and free radicals, and we'll consider some mechanisms that free electrons might employ to seek out free radicals and the myriad diseases they apparently cause. We'll wonder whether it's safe to work and sleep while connected to what is effectively a type of lightning rod. We'll argue that if Earthing worked at all, then walking barefoot, or having a shower, is all you need do, no product purchase is necessary. We'll also reveal some of the stupid claims made by Earthing proponents that show that they have no idea what they're talking about. In essence, we'll show how Earthing is nothing but pseudoscience, another scam using scientific language that's designed to fool those that embrace an unfounded belief in the healing powers of nature and the mystical knowledge of the ancients.

What is Earthing?

Earthing banner On this website, one of many that promotes this Earthing therapy, we're told that:

'The surface of the Earth resonates with natural, subtle energies. Ongoing scientific research is discovering the details as to why people feel significantly better when they connect with these omnipresent energy fields. Earthing refers to the process of connecting by walking barefoot outside, as humans have done throughout history ... '
The problem we're told is that:
'modern rubber-soled shoes, made from petrochemicals, prevent us from receiving the healing energies from the Earth'
From the very start the language of this natural therapy suggests it's a scam. It adopts empty, misleading, airy-fairy terms which will appeal to gullible New Agers, the scientifically illiterate, and those that flock to talk of ancient knowledge, with phrases such as, 'resonates with natural, subtle energies ... omnipresent energy fields ... the healing energies from the Earth'. When people start talking like this, all we can visualise is witches making charms and talismans to capture this healing energy and ignorant peasants, arms outstretched, attempting to bathe in it. And when people say that it 'elevates your quality of life to a level that seems not otherwise possible', that almost sounds religious, like something a silly born-again-Christian would say after being sucked in by an imaginary Jesus.

And contrary to their claims, there is no scientific research revealing 'the healing energies from the Earth'. There is radioactivity of course, but we're not so sure that sort of energy is all that healing. These false claims of healing energies are added solely to comfort believers in what, like it or not, is obviously a scientific and technological world. People that want to believe in this type of nonsense aren't completely stupid. As much as they often distrust science, just like religious believers they would still prefer to be told that science offers a degree of support or plausibility to the claims being made. They don't need to understand the science, just be reassured that it's on board, and in fact, often the more complex the science sounds the better. Mention energy fields, quantum mechanics, or a quote from Einstein, and the claims must be true!

So what does Earthing do, and why do we need it?

What sort of fantasy is the Earthing therapy weaving? Why should we ditch our comfy running shoes, and importantly, buy their Earthing products? Yes, buy. It's not a coincidence that all these natural therapists always have something to sell us, and their time and energy always seems to be channeled towards product sales rather than 'ongoing scientific research'.

Earthing Kit

Since this is a scam and not based on real facts and evidence, explanations as to how Earthing works and what it is effective against differs slightly from website to website and person to person, but the following explanation is typical:

'Pain, disease, and other disturbances in our bodies are often caused by chronic inflammation. Such inflammation is, in turn, caused by positively-charged molecules called free radicals. When you make direct contact with the Earth, either by being barefoot outside or via a conductive sheet or mat indoors, the negatively-charged electrons from the Earth are absorbed into your body and reduce the free radicals and inflammation. This is our theory ...'
And by the phrase, 'This is our theory', what they mean is, 'This is our guess, and forms the basis of our scam', something they haven't shown to be true, but want you to believe in anyway. Another Earthing website claims that,
'Food based antioxidants ... are helpful but a regular supply of electrons from the earth can supply them as well. Nature has solved this problem by providing conductive systems within your body that deliver electrons from your feet to all parts of your body. This has been the natural arrangement throughout most of human history. Negative charges have always been available, thanks to the Earth, to prevent the inflammatory process from damaging healthy tissues. All of this changed when we began to wear shoes with rubber and plastic soles, and no longer slept in direct contact with the Earth.'

'For most of our evolutionary history, humans have had continuous contact with the Earth. It is only recently that substances such as asphalt, wood, rugs, and plastics have separated us from this contact.'

We'll look at the 'conductive systems within your body that deliver electrons' shortly, but first we want to question the claim that, 'It is only recently that substances such as asphalt, wood, rugs, and plastics have separated us from this [earthing] contact'. Asphalt, and certainly plastic, are relatively new, but are we really to believe that wood and rugs have only recently been discovered by humans? Statements like this always reveal that these people can write outright lies and not even realise it, and nor do their clients. But let's consider the claim in the previous sentence, that 'For most of our evolutionary history, humans have had continuous contact with the Earth'. The argument is that the human body evolved in a natural, continuous contact with the earth, long before the invention of modern insulating materials, and therefore has developed a crucial relationship with the bare earth. It needs to be in sync to maintain good health. Just as we need essential minerals and vitamins from nature to survive, we also need this equalising Earthing current. Or so the claim goes.

But did we evolve with continuous contact with the earth? We share an evolutionary line with monkeys and apes, and yet many monkeys spend much of their lives in trees, trees made of wood, which would have helped insulate them from earthing currents. Chimps spend a lot of time on the ground but sleep in insulating trees, so why don't chimps suffer from insomnia at the very least? Regardless of the silly claim that we've only recently discovered how to work with wood, humans have actually been using insulating wood for houses, chairs, beds, wagons etc since ancient times, so isolating ourselves from the earth is not a new thing. Apes, monkeys and ancient man were not in continuous contact with the earth, so if earthing currents are important for health, evolution most likely adapted our bodies to work with only occasional contact. We don't need to be plugged in all the time, if at all. We certainly don't need to purchase expensive Earthing or Grounding products. There is no need to be tied to an Earthing wire, or to leap from Earthing pad to Earthing sheet, while at the same time remembering to disconnect them during lightning storms. And regarding lightning and its generous supply of electrons, evidently there's a limit to how many free electrons these Earthing people are happy with. But didn't we evolve alongside lightning too? Why have we evolved to be at one with free electrons from the earth but not the sky? If the ones from the sky are natural but not necessarily needed or beneficial, perhaps the ones from the earth are the same? Just something in our environment, like annoying Christian evangelists, Justin Bieber and keeping up with the Kardashians, things that we can safely ignore?

Yet another Earthing proponent, Dr. Koniver, writes that,

'Earthing is safe, simple and free. ... "It's coming from the Earth, and the Earth's only known function is to support life, which it has done since the beginning of time. So, hopefully, people won't be averse to something new, especially when it leads to better health."'
Simply more New Age nonsense. How can someone be so stupid as to maintain that 'the Earth's only known function is to support life, which it has done since the beginning of time'? The Earth doesn't have a function, and it certainly isn't to support life. Hasn't she heard of natural disasters, and if a naked human was dropped at a random spot on the Earth's surface, they likely wouldn't survive for long since there would be a high chance that the spot would be in an ocean, desert, frozen wasteland or somewhere surrounded by predators. For much of Earth's history the atmosphere was toxic to humans, and if anything, the Earth has been hell-bent on killing us. Earthquakes, tornados, forest fires, tsunamis, droughts, floods, blizzards etc are not our idea of a friendly Earth trying to keep us safe and healthy. And how can she say that she hopes 'people won't be averse to something new', when she's just claimed that we've been using it 'since the beginning of time'? So it's hardly new!

After reading all this you might infer that men, women and children throughout history, barring the last century or so, must have lived a life free of 'Pain, disease, and other disturbances'. After all, they were sensibly earthed their entire lives. We're assured that 'This has been the natural arrangement throughout most of human history', and it only 'changed when we began to wear shoes with rubber and plastic soles, and no longer slept in direct contact with the Earth'. And yet this is totally false. Throughout history mankind has not only been plagued by health problems, but had almost nothing to treat them with. Pain and disease was not unknown. Without doubt, the best time in history to be alive health wise is right now. But sans rubber-soled shoes and bathed in 'the healing energies from the Earth', why didn't ancient man escape the ravages of pain and disease? And why aren't the millions of modern humans that still live in primitive third-world conditions, still connected to the earth in the same way as our ancestors were, enjoying far better health than insulated Westerners? Also, many people working in the electronics industry spend all day earthed to prevent static electricity damaging electronic components, and let's not forget those carefree and barefooted nudists. So why aren't these two groups noticeably healthier than the general population? And of course there is no evidence or even any suggestion that they are. Indeed, why isn't pain and disease just a new thing, like planes, trains and automobiles, brought about by technological progress? Why do many people think that life for our ancestors, even the recent ones, was generally healthy and happy, just minus the modern technology and wearing different costumes?

Perhaps it's because there is this silly belief that ancient societies lived in an idyllic world, a real paradise, at one with nature where everyone glowed with perfect health and happiness, a so-called Golden Age. People claim that the likes of the American Indians and Polynesians lived an ideal life in harmony with nature until the arrival of Europeans. Of course this is a myth, one happily maintained by the likes of Hollywood. Movies set in ancient times nearly always portray their Raquel Welchheroes and heroines in perfect health. Men are always handsome with impressive physiques, a dashing haircut, a full set of teeth, clean fingernails and perfect eyesight. Women are beautiful with perfect skin, lustrous hair, perfect teeth, a good fitting bra and never have unshaven legs or armpits. The morality of our heroes always matches ours, rather than the morality of the society in which they lived. Their houses, while primitive, are always clean and hygienic. We are never shown the toilet. More often than not, we are given the impression that their day-to-day lives were not too bad, that we could have lived happily in that time. This is a nonsense, people complain now if their cell phone has to be switched off for an hour, if their favourite Reality TV show is cancelled, if there is a hair in their soup, or if they have to share a hotel bathroom. People think that 21st century camping or watching an episode of 'Survivor' on TV is experiencing how ancient man lived. Newsflash: It's not, not by a long, long stretch. Health wise they did not have our medical knowledge and consequently they suffered greatly. They certainly lived much closer to nature than do we, but this was of no benefit to them, in fact it actually caused many of their ills. Many diseases have been passed onto humans solely because of our ancestors' close proximity to animals, to nature. Other diseases infected humans because our ancestors wouldn't always bother to wash nature off their hands before eating. Nature may certainly be natural, but that doesn't mean it's always beneficial or even harmless. Ebola is natural, as is arsenic, as are tigers and sharks, but they'll all kill you given half a chance.

We could stop right here. The claim is that Earthing works as a therapy because our ancestors were constantly earthed, meaning that they were 'receiving the healing energies from the Earth', and thus they were always in glowing good health because of that connection. But of course that's blatant nonsense. Historical evidence undeniably reveals that our earthed ancestors suffered from ill-health to a far greater extent than what modern humans do, they often died from what we now consider minor aliments, and for most of history their life expectancy was roughly half of what ours now is.

The entire Earthing scam fails if truly huge groups of people, such as our ancestors and many people in third world countries, are shown to actually be worse off health-wise by living an earthed life than those wearing fancy running shoes. In effect, a scientific study has been performed, with our ancestors using the earthing method, and modern Westerners as the control group wearing the insulating shoes. The sample size was humongous, there was a control group, and it was effectively blinded since no one knew they were part of an experiment. The clear conclusion is that earthing doesn't ensure better health in the slightest. It's as worthless as prayer and psychic healing. Unfortunately logic and evidence is not a strong suit of the people tempted to buy these worthless Earthing products, they get their vision of what life was like in the past from Hollywood, and as the above photo of a prehistoric woman shows, even a million years ago women were clearly very healthy, and buxom. It must be all that bare skin cavorting with nature.

The cause of disease and the miracle of Earthing

So how might Earthing work, you know, if it did?

In an above Earthing quote we were assured that, 'Pain, disease, and other disturbances in our bodies are often caused by chronic inflammation'. Elsewhere we read that, 'Inflammation is a condition that can be reduced or prevented by grounding our bodies to the Earth'. Earthing proponents highlight the book, 'The Inflammation Cure: How to Combat the Hidden Factor Behind Heart Disease, Arthritis, Asthma, Diabetes & Other Diseases', which claims that 'inflammation is now believed to be the underlying cause of more than 80 chronic illnesses...' Many websites pushing natural cures, not just Earthing websites, see inflammation as the cause of most, if not all, illness. The image below was found on one such website. They argue that free radicals are the cause of inflammation and antioxidants the cure. The point of difference with Earthing is where to get those antioxidants from. As one Earthing proponent says, 'Food based antioxidants ... are helpful but a regular supply of electrons from the earth can supply them as well'.


We're told that the free electrons released by Earthing travel to 'sites of pain and inflammation and then begin neutralizing the inflammation', and that Earthing 'Defuses the cause of inflammation'. But is this true, is pain and disease caused by inflammation? Well, as the joke goes, I'm not a gynaecologist, but I'll take a look.

Seriously, none of us are doctors, but our understanding is that inflammation is generally a symptom of disease, not a cause. It's like a fever, a symptom of illness, not the illness itself. You don't catch a fever or inflammation, you catch a disease which causes a fever and/or inflammation. From an article on the 'Medical News Today' website we read that:

'Inflammation is the body's attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens — and begin the healing process ... Inflammation does not mean infection, even when an infection causes inflammation. Infection is caused by a bacterium, virus or fungus, while inflammation is the body's response to it ... Inflammation is part of the body's immune response'.
These natural therapists are all about getting back to nature, so why are they now trying to circumvent nature? If inflammation is part of the body's natural immune response, do you even want to switch to off? The above article notes that:
'Initially, it is beneficial when, for example, your knee sustains a blow and tissues need care and protection. However, sometimes inflammation can cause further inflammation; it can become self-perpetuating. More inflammation is created in response to the existing inflammation'.
So it appears that inflammation is generally a good thing, assisting with healing, but that it can sometimes get out of hand and needs to be suppressed. But this is not how Earthing claims to work. First, it falsely claims that inflammation is the cause of disease, whereas it's merely a symptom, and secondly, it claims it will blindly eliminate inflammation, even when it may be assisting healing.

Putting aside the questionable claim that it's a good idea to prevent the body's immune response from causing inflammation as it heals, how does Earthing claim to neutralise inflammation? Well, as quoted above, proponents claim that inflammation is caused, not by the body's immune system, but by 'positively-charged molecules called free radicals'. However, we've seen little evidence for this claim. Free radicals can certainly be harmful, damaging the body by causing cell damage and are implicated in aging, strokes, heart disease, cancer and possibly even diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. But in all the plentiful (and believable) literature on the dangers of free radicals and how we can help eliminate them from our bodies, little mention is made of them causing inflammation. It is plausible that free radicals could on occasion trigger an immune response resulting in inflammation, but you can't go from that to the claim that chronic inflammation often causes 'Pain, disease, and other disturbances in our bodies', eg inflammation causes herpes and hepatitis.

Apart from chronic inflammation, what else do Earthing proponents claim that Earthing therapy can be used to treat, with the implication that free radicals are the cause? Looking through the Earthing advertising, here are some conditions (copied directly from their websites) for which Earthing is claimed effective:

  • Pain, disease, and other disturbances
  • more than 80 chronic illnesses
  • Heart Disease, Arthritis, Asthma, Diabetes & Other Diseases
  • Insomnia, the chronic pain of multiple diseases and injuries
  • exhaustion, stress, anxiety, and premature aging
  • chronic diseases, allergies, auto-immune conditions
  • chronic pain
  • multiple sclerosis
  • efficient removal of toxins
  • circadian rhythm disruptions, hormonal disorders, cortisol disorders
  • heart rate variability problems, herpes, hepatitis
  • synchronise internal biological clocks, hormonal cycles and physiological rhythms
  • low energy
  • better sleep and reduced pain
  • asthmatic and respiratory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, sleep apnea, and hypertension
  • blood circulation and thinning
  • thyroid function, blood sugar, and blood pressure
  • muscle tension
  • headaches
  • normalizing, detoxifying, and energizing
  • jet lag
  • health-disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
  • improves blood viscosity, heart rate variability, inflammation, cortisol dynamics, sleep, autonomic nervous system (ANS) balance, and reduces effects of stress

First note how vague phrases like, 'Pain, disease, and other disturbances, more than 80 chronic illnesses, Other Diseases, chronic pain and chronic diseases', tell us absolutely nothing. They are simply there to ensure that no matter what afflicts you, from a headache or sore back to malaria or AIDS, Earthing could be the answer to your ills. Many sufferers won't see their disease listed, but will assume it's covered by 'Other Diseases'. Conversely, if your disease is not eased or cured by the Earthing products you've purchased, the sellers can simply say that your disease is not included in their list of 'Other Diseases'. And there are no refunds. The only disease that they specifically identify that (we believe) is potentially connected to free radicals is heart disease, and perhaps arthritis. The rest have no recognised connection to free radicals.

But of the health complaints that are mentioned and implied, what a wonderful therapy Earthing seemingly is, able to eliminate simple jet lag, fix a diabetic's serious insulin problem and shield us from harmful EMFs; a real cornucopia of cures. Made all the more impressive since these problems in reality all have different causes and affect different parts of the body and yet are all eliminated by the one metaphorical bottle of snake oil.

What's with the free radicals?

If free radicals aren't actually implicated in the conditions that Earthing professes to treat, why mention free radicals at all? When talking about Earthing, why not just continue being vague and noncommittal, as they did with 'Pain, disease, and other disturbances'? Two reasons we suspect. In recent decades the media, and not without some justification, has turned the notion of free radicals into something to fear, things that cause us harm and that should be eliminated from our bodies. Of course, like radioactivity and black holes, people often don't know too much about them, merely accepting that they're not good for our wellbeing. So it makes sense to choose something that the public recognises as harmful and already believes that they would do well to eliminate from their bodies, even if they aren't feeling unwell at the time. And how much better it is to have a product that you can market to both unhealthy and healthy people!

Having settled on Earthing as a potential new alternative health therapy and money making business, the second reason to adopt free radicals is related to what earthing does, and it's all about electricity.

Every object around us, the ground we stand on, our cell phones and our own bodies are all made up of molecules, which are collections of atoms. Normally atoms are electrically neutral, the positive protons balanced by the negative electrons, but by losing or gaining outer electrons they gain a net positive or negative charge respectively. So the surface of different objects can have differing electrical charges, either positive, negative, or neutral. Electricity is about balance, and what we know as electric current will flow between objects that have opposite electrical charges, ie positive and negative. This difference in charge is known as a potential difference, measured as the voltage between two objects. To reach a balance once they touch, current will flow from one object to the other until both objects have the same electrical charge. Electrical current is almost synonymous with electron flow, in that negative electrons flow from a negative object to a positive object until charge is equalised, and the flow ceases. But we should also mention that current actually flows in the opposite direction to electrons, but in this discussion that technicality only confuses the matter, so we'll talk of current flow and electron flow as if they were the same thing.

Most of us have experienced a static electricity discharge after shuffling across the carpet and then touching our finger against some metal that is earthed, or a fellow human, and felt the zap of an electric shock. Lightning bolts, which can have an electrical potential as much as 100 million volts, are simply far, far more powerful examples of the same thing, electrons flowing between two objects of differing electrical charge. Since our bodies, like clouds, can build up a net charge that is different to the earth below us, every time that we make contact with the earth electrons will instantly flow between the earth and our bodies to equalise the charge, bringing us into electrical balance. And not just the earth, any object that our body touches that is at a different electrical potential will cause an exchange of electrons. When two naked human bodies touch, there will be a quick, minute current flow from one to the other until they balance.

And with electricity there are conductors and insulators. Conductors are materials or mediums through which electrons can flow freely, such as metals and water, whereas insulators, such as rubber and air, inhibit the flow of electrons. For an equalising current to flow between our bodies and the earth, our skin needs to make direct contact with the ground, or to touch an electrical conductor, such as a metal wire or pipe, that in turn makes direct contact with the earth. Place an insulator between us and the earth, such as rubber shoes and tyres or wooden floors and plastic chairs, then no current, no electrons, will flow, and we will remain at a different electrical potential. Could this isolation be a problem health wise? The people that want to sell you some expensive Earthing products say Yes!

OK, so earthing involves the flow of electrons into the body (sometimes), or more correctly, onto the surface of our body, our skin. How does this relate to free radicals? My dictionary defines free radicals as 'An atom or group of atoms having at least one unpaired electron, which makes it highly reactive', and also, 'An organic compound in which some of the valence electrons are unpaired, occurring as a normal byproduct of oxidation reactions in metabolism'. As we've said, electricity is about balance, and so this electrical charge drives free radicals in our bodies to pair up their unpaired electrons, which makes them harmful since they don't care what damage they cause as they seek stability. We've read that,

'[when free radicals] react with other molecules, they tend to do so in such a way that they pair their unpaired electrons. They can do this in many cases by appropriating an electron from the other molecule ... Another way free radicals can react is by combining with a compound to form a new, larger radical...'
And yet another description:
'Electrically neutral atoms and molecules are stable, being neither attracted nor repelled by other atoms or molecules. Free radicals, being either positively or negatively charged, are attracted to molecules of opposite charge, and repelled by molecules of the same charge. This electrical charge drives radicals to pair up their unpaired electrons, and this makes them harmful as they scavenge and damage stable molecules to achieve electrical neutrality'.
There is no doubt that free radicals are not something you want to collect in your body, they are the metaphorical bull in a china shop. But note that crucially there is no mention of current flow, instead, chemical reactions bring about the electrical changes.

But Earthing proponents claim that since free radicals can seemingly be neutralised by simply adding electrons, and we've learnt that earthing can add free electrons to the body, so the Earthing argument is that these free electrons flow through the body seeking out and neutralising free radicals. Free radicals needing electrons is the problem, and it's claimed that Earthing with a ready supply of free electrons is the solution. Problem solved by returning to nature. If it sounds too simple a solution and too good to be true, we believe it is.

Earthing pathways — is it water, blood, nerves, collagen or fairies?

So let's agree that earthing does cause a flow of electrons and adding electrons to some free radicals can neutralise them. Let's also ignore the reality that free radicals are normally neutralised by exchanging electrons through chemical reactions rather than current flow. If we are to consider current flow as the source of electrons, can these free electrons on your skin ever reach the free radicals to make a difference? Generally speaking, we would say no. And if a cure can never reach the parts that need it, then it's no cure at all. It's no good talking hypothetically — IF we could match up this free electron with that free radical then a potential problem would be eliminated. If that's never going to happen in practice, then it's no different to saying, IF ONLY we could spread out all the wealth and food in the world then everyone would be happy. Nice idea, not going to happen.

So why aren't free electrons going to get down and dirty with free radicals? For one, they live in different neighbourhoods. Do they just hail a cab and request to be taken to the nearest free radical hangout? Perhaps not, but then how do they get to where they need to go? These Earthing proponents say that to get free electrons from the earth (A), a metal stake must be driven into the ground and a continuous solid wire must run from this stake through your house to your Earthing pad, and from there the pad must make continuous contact with your bare skin (B). A continuous conducting pathway must exist between earth and skin for electrons to flow from A to B. So far so good. But if we now imagine that a positively-charged molecule, a harmful free radical, has just been created and is now lurking in a cell just to the left of your kidneys, which we'll call point C, how does the electron flow, or electricity, get from B to C? A real electrical conductor exists between A and B, because we created it, but what natural electrical conductor exists between B and C, between your big toe that's touching the Earthing pad and a very specific free radical that's just to the left of your kidneys?

The Earthing crowd have recognised this problem, or were likely told of it, and either ignore it, or respond with explanations like the following:

'Nature has solved this problem by providing conductive systems within your body that deliver electrons from your feet to all parts of your body. This has been the natural arrangement throughout most of human history.'
Of course you'll notice that their explanation is rather vague, mere hand-waving, and simply asserts with no detail or evidence that a suitable transport system does indeed exist in the body. Just like the religious and their talk of an invisible soul, we're expected to trust them that the conductive system that they desperately need to make their method work must be in there somewhere. OK, so no one has actually found it and described it yet, but if they can make an obscene fortune selling their Earthing products, they may, in the future, set aside some funds to look for it. But probably not.

Added to the problem of how the free electron gets to its destination, is how the free electron even knows that it needs to travel to this cell just to the left of your kidneys where a free radical exists. The positive charge of the free radical is minuscule and can't be detected on the skin and thus won't attract any negative electrons sitting on the skin. There is no single 'wire' connecting the two through which the current can flow. And to even get free electrons onto the skin and ready to hunt for a positively charged free radical in the first place, the piece of skin that touches the earth has to be positive to attract the negatively charged free electrons. If the skin contact point is negative, or at the same potential as the earth, then earthing electrons won't even flow into the body at all, and the free radical will remain free. Worse still, if the skin contact point is negative and the earth you're touching is positive at that point, then free electrons will actually flow away from the body, putting the body at even more risk from free radicals, if the claims made by Earthing advocates are to be believed.

The only form of matter that we can think of that does have free electrons floating around is plasma. Distinct from solids, liquids and gases, plasma is the most common form of matter in the universe, it's what stars are made of. But it's very rare on Earth, it's found naturally in lightning bolts, but not in your body. Plasma is an electrically charged gas where extreme conditions have ripped the electrons from atoms and has kept them from reforming and neutralising the gas. As we've said, lightning bolts are a form of plasma, and they can have a temperature hotter than the surface of the sun. Plasma, because of the conditions required to keep it a plasma and keep its electrons free, is not something we would what to have in our bodies. So that leaves solids, liquids and gases to make up the matter within our bodies through which to conduct electricity. None of which generally have free electrons floating around. Only some of these tissues or fluids will be electrically conductive, and those that are must form a continuous path from the skin to the site of the free radical if a current is to flow. Even if there is a conductive medium in place, there must still be sufficient electrical pressure to create a flow, to 'push' electrons from one end to the other. One end must be sufficiently positive and the other sufficiently negative with no conflicting charges in between. And frankly we're not convinced that a single positively-charged free radical molecule, or even a group of said molecules, would be of sufficient charge to force a current flow from the skin, which, relative to the molecule's size and charge, is an astronomical distance from it. And believe it or not, skin is actually a poor conductor. It does conduct electricity, but it has a much higher resistance than does metal or water.

And importantly, free electrons do not actually flow from earth to a free radical in some distant cell. It's current that flows, very quickly, whereas individual electrons move quite slowly. In a typical metal wire electrons move at less than a tenth of a millimeter per second. It's the electrical charge that flows quickly. One shouldn't think of free electrons floating around like helium balloons in the atmosphere. With that said, for electrons to get from B to C, either an electric current must flow between B and C, requiring a conductive medium, or molecules with 'spare' electrons must do so. Earthing proponents claim that it is free electrons that are moving, not molecules, so an electrical current must flow. So are there untold conductors carrying electrical currents branching out from the body's earthing point, your skin, that reach every point within our body? And again, it must reach every part of our body, every organ, every tissue, every cell, since we're told that Earthing 'affects every aspect of human physiology', and we know that free radicals can potentially be found in any and every cell. We know this because we need oxygen to live, and oxidation, the process that utilises oxygen, occurs throughout our body, within every one of our trillions of cells. We also know that harmful free radicals are a byproduct of oxidation, thus they are created and found throughout our body. Therefore the free electrons supplied by Earthing must range far and wide in their hunt for free radicals.

One candidate put forward as a natural electrical conductor is the water in our bodies:

'Please keep in mind that the Earth is infinitely large ... When you are connected to the Earth, you are at one with the Earth and have an infinite supply of electrons ... Just like the Earth, your body is mostly water and minerals, and both are excellent conductors of electrons. As we move upon the Earth our bodies are able to transfer these electrons from the Earth to our bodies'.
As everyone should know, the Earth is NOT 'infinitely large', and nor does it 'have an infinite supply of electrons'. They lose all credibility right there, spouting such clear nonsense. Also the Earth is not 'mostly water and minerals'. Certainly there is more water on its surface than land, but it's surface is a small fraction of its total mass. These are just falsehoods thought up by people ignorant of reality and science, designing a fictional world that will assist their scam.

The true statement that the human body is largely made of water, and water conducts electricity, implies that it's obviously easy to get a current to flow from the skin to any point within the body where it might be needed. And by current flow we mean a flow of electrons, an infinite number of which evidently flow from the earth when you make contact with it. Of course it's by no means an infinite number, and, relatively speaking, only a minute number could ever leave the earth and enter your body. And if ever a truly sizeable number of electrons did choose to enter your body, as they do when one gets hit by lightning, the effect is usually harmful, sometimes fatal, and far from a good thing.

But do very, very low levels of current or electrons flow easily around the body from any point to any other point? This has to happen for Earthing to work. While the body may be 70% or so made of electrically conductive water, there isn't a wire-like, single continuous flow of water to every positively-charged molecule (free radical) in your body. The body is made of some 100 trillion cells, and the cytoplasm inside cells is largely water. However our understanding is that the molecules inside these cells and those making up the cell walls will vary greatly in electrical charge. Many will be neutral, some will be positive and some negative. Even if a positively-charged molecule exists within a cell, suspended in its cytoplasm, the outside surface of the cell, its 'skin', could be negatively-charged or electrically neutral rather than positive. And the surface area and net charge of a cell would be enormous in comparison to a single molecule residing deep within it. Picture yourself standing alone, shivering, at the centre of the continent of Antarctica, a huge frigid wasteland, and shouting for help as a blizzard rages. Do you think anyone on an icebreaker in the ocean several thousand kilometres away will notice you? That's analogous of what's it like to be a positively charged free radical inside a typical cell. So even if there were free electrons near this isolated negatively-charged or electrically neutral cell, they would not be attracted toward it, and there is no way that they could penetrate the cell wall in search of positively-charged molecules. To passing free electrons this cell would not just be a true black box, with its contents completely hidden, but it would be ringed by the equivalent of frosted windows, armed sentries and vicious guard dogs discouraging electrons from even looking too closely.

With the cell in this electrical state there is no way that a free electron can get into the cell, or even know that it needs to. Of course there are channels through which molecules can get in and out of cells, this is how they receive nutrients and remove waste, but these channels have not evolved to admit free electrons, who will then roam the cell on the lookout for positively-charged free radicals.

For the Earthing method to work, every positively-charged free radical in need of an electron has to somehow find and utilise electrically conductive channels to the surface of our bodies, our skin, signaling their need for a negative electron. Without these channels there is no way the free electrons can sense the need or get to where they are needed. These trillions and trillions of 'wires' would have to be continuously accessed every microsecond and then quickly switched off as free radicals form, signal their presence and are then neutralised. Importantly, we must also remember that some free radicals are actually negatively-charged molecules, rather than just positively-charged molecules as the Earthing crowd claim. Even if negatively-charged free electrons provided by Earthing successfully zapped all the positively-charged free radicals (because they are electrically attracted to each other), they would have no effect whatsoever on negatively-charged free radicals (which would repel negatively-charged free electrons), and which are just as harmful as their positive siblings. It's a bit like seeing a young child playing with two loaded guns, and you take one of them off him, thinking that he'll be perfectly safe now. Our point is, even if Earthing did zap positively-charged free radicals, the diseases that they claim free radicals cause would still ravage the body, since there are still plenty of negatively-charged free radicals left to run amuck. The existence of these dangerous negatively-charged free radicals that are impervious to Earthing is a major shortcoming of their therapy and one which they never mention.

What about the body's circulatory system as another alternative for a conductor? The blood stream, being a continuous water-based electrically conductive channel, could that be a path for electron flow, since it does go to every cell? But the problem we see here is that minute blood vessels, called capillaries, that interconnect with skin cells that might have received a negative charge from earthing, all flow back to the heart. They don't get to stop off at other cells that might be on the way, whether they have free radicals in them or not. Also capillaries don't actually touch the cells, transfer from capillary to cell and vice versa is through tissue fluid which surrounds body cells. And again, capillaries, veins and arteries aren't single channels from point A to point B that could maintain a consistent charge and current flow from end to end. Veins and arteries branch into an enormous network of much smaller capillaries. Even if a capillary from a skin cell had a negative charge, this capillary joins up with all the surrounding capillaries, which may have differing charges, and these then join up into one vein, and the blood in the vein will have a net charge based on combining the differing charges of all the capillaries. For example, if 8 positively-charged capillaries combined with 2 negatively-charged capillaries, then the blood in the resulting vein would, we're guessing, have a net positive charge. The individual charges have been lost. And regardless of what this charge is, it goes to the heart, not in search of positively-charged free radicals. But if there were suddenly a lot of electrons dumped on the skin cells because of Earthing, could they swamp all the capillaries, negatively-charging the veins? Perhaps, but for a current to flow, the heart must be positively charged, and why would that be the case? Even if it was, the free electrons would simply flow to the heart until both skin and heart were balanced and the flow would cease. The free electrons would be free no more, locked up in heart tissue, and thus are not free to go hunting for free radicals elsewhere around the body. So while the blood could plausibly shift electrons, it isn't going to the right places for Earthing to work.

An axillary and similar part of the circulatory system is the lymphatic system, in which fluids travel around the body. But it too appears to fail as a conduit for the Earthing current for the same reasons as the blood stream.

Neuron What about that other conductive channel in the body, the nervous system, made up of the brain, spinal cord, nerves etc? Doesn't that actually use electricity to signal from point to point? Indeed it does, but rather than lend support to Earthing, it speaks against it. Of the billions of nerve cells or neurons, half are in the brain, around 100 billion, and they all pass signals along their length using electricity, while signalling between individual neurons is with chemicals. Ion channels along the length of a neuron open and close in sequence and alter the electrical potential along its surface, and a current flows. It would be like watching a Mexican wave in a stadium crowd. This unimpeded flow of electrons, or more correctly, electric charge, simultaneously and independently along billions of neurons is utterly crucial for our minds and bodies to function normally. We rely on the currents passing along these neurons, or not passing as the case may be, and the electrical potential across the synapses between neurons to run the body. We see, feel, hear, smell and taste things because neurons in the eyes, skin, ears etc transmit electro-chemical signals to the brain. We can think about what our senses tell us and search our memory solely because neurons in our brain are continually communicating with each other using very precise electrical potentials. After reaching a decision we can signal our muscles into action, again using electrical signals along our neurons. On the scale of things, these electrical signalling currents are very small, we don't feel them, whereas you certainly can feel man-made electricity if it enters your body accidentally.

Considering all this natural electricity flowing through our bodies, our problem with Earthing is what effect this Earthing current that is claimed to reach every cell, every neuron, would have. Of course there could well be an electrical current flow when you earth your body, if there is a potential difference between the two, such as a static electricity discharge that we've mentioned. But we would argue that the electron flow is simply between the two surfaces, our skin and the metal object. Earthing would only equalise the voltage between the earth and your skin, not between the earth and all your internal tissues and organs, molecules and atoms. The flow happens because there is an imbalance in electrical charge between the two surfaces. As soon as electrons can be conducted between the two there is a very brief flow to balance the charge. Once the charges are equalised the current stops, that's why there is only a quick zap and why you can't keep zapping your friend. Usually it's so small you don't feel anything when you earth yourself during your daily activities. Yes, the electrical charge on the surface of your finger has changed, but this charge is far too weak to suffuse your entire body, reaching the deep recesses of every cell and making them go, Ahhhhh ... that's nice. As someone who has unintentionally felt a high current that does go much further into your body (and lived to tell the tale), trust me when I say the difference between a static zap and an invasive current seeking your inner recesses is not at all nice.

But let's assume that there is some unknown electrical channel between our skin and every one of our trillions of cells, and especifically our neurons, and that the earthing current can easily reach them. As we've said, the tiny electrical potential at any point on every neuron is crucial if the body and mind is to function properly. If this Earthing electron flow makes contact with all our neurons, and it must since it has no idea where the evil free radicals are hiding, then it must alter the electrical potential of untold neurons, and thus corrupt the signalling of the entire nervous system. Muscles would contract or release for no conscious reason, your memories would change or disappear, your senses would report all manner of nonsense, your heart, which relies on a precise electrical pulse, might beat irregularly or not at all, and you might suddenly think you're in the presence of gods, or the Smurfs. Our mind would be scrambled to a degree, and your body might take on the appearance of an epileptic fit or complete paralysis. After all, epileptic seizures are caused by uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. And unlike computers where you can press Ctrl-Alt-Del and reboot back to the default settings, how might the brain be reset back to what it believed before you were silly enough to earth yourself? Who makes regular backups of their mind? Evidently networks of neurons in our mind store our memories by maintaining crucial and varying electrical potentials across neuron synapses. If an infinite supply of Earthing free electrons are let loose in the brain, blindly neutralising electrical charge wherever they can, then one can only assume that memories and signalling — thinking — must be corrupted. There is no way that these free electrons would know that they weren't to mess with molecules in the brain.

Rather than curing your affliction, at best you might be turned into a vegetable, at worst you'll be dead. Of course if you believe in this pseudoscientific nonsense, becoming a vegetable might be an improvement intellectually. But it matters not, since Earthing obviously doesn't fry our minds or nerves, or in fact have any major effect on our nervous system, or in curing disease.

Some Earthing advocates have proposed yet another mechanism that apparently allows electrons to police the body, and that's to utilise collagen, and it's put forward in Clint Ober's book 'Earthing'. It's not a widely pushed explanation, claiming that electrons simply travel through the water in our bodies is probably the favourite explanation in Earthing articles, along with not really explaining how it works at all. Ober's book claims that,

'If you have a battlefront with positive-charged free radicals running amok inside your body, guess what's going to happen when you make contact with the Earth?
Big negative-charged Earth overwhelms little, positive-charged free radicals.
Science backs up the common sense. Science tells us that the body is one dynamic conductor of electrical impulses, or in the words of biophysicist James Oschman, "the living matrix." ... the surrounding environment, from your head to your toes, contains an extracellular network of conductive collagen and other proteins that are "hardwired" to cell membranes. Thus, the living matrix inside and outside cells provides a body-wide network for antioxidant electrons, a pathway hooking up all parts of the body, including the nervous system and all sensory receptors, with all parts of every cell, including the genome in every cell. This pervasive system has extensions into every nook and cranny of the body'
Actually, science often doesn't back up common sense. Common sense says the world is flat and that the Sun goes around the Earth. Common sense may suggest that a 'Big ... Earth overwhelms little ... free radicals', but a little baby can lift a fluffy toy and easily overwhelm the gravity from a big Earth. You can be badly led astray by believing that reality will always match up with what common sense suggests. The body certainly does contain a lot of collagen, it's evidently the most common protein in the human body and is a major part of the body's intercellular spaces. But that said, we haven't heard science describe collagen as a 'dynamic conductor ... the living matrix ... a pathway hooking up all parts of the body'. This is all pseudoscience stuff, hijacking a molecule that is found throughout the body and claiming, without evidence, that it is the mysterious conduit that allows the white-hat-wearing electrons to hunt down the black-hat-wearing free radicals. As a wide-ranging conductor it is beset with similar problems to that of blood circulation and the nervous system, in that collagen is not a continuous conductor that electrically connects 'every nook and cranny of the body', and since there is no collagen in your DNA strands, it certainly doesn't reach into 'the genome in every cell'. And if it did, we again suspect that instantaneously zapping every molecule, cell, tissue and piece of DNA in your body to the same electrical potential would cause only great harm.

Another potential mechanism that we suppose we must consider would be chakras and their energy pathways, as utilised in other natural therapies such as Reiki and therapeutic touch. But all this is pure fantasy and little different from believing that Earthing fairies might be responsible for seeing that the electrons get where they are needed. And yet, based on some of their own statements — 'natural, subtle energies ... omnipresent energy fields ... vital force' — it appears that this mysterious supernatural influence is the only thing that might 'explain' how Earthing works. But once you resort to gods or the supernatural as an explanation you are effectively saying that you have no idea. Replacing one mystery with another is no answer, it is an admission of ignorance and defeat.

So there, we've just used basic science to suggest that their explanations as to how free electrons might hunt down free radicals are all badly flawed. But we're not scientists or even doctors, so perhaps there is some 'conductive systems within your body that deliver electrons from your feet to all parts of your body', that we're not aware of. But if this were the case, why don't the Earthing experts reveal exactly what it is with evidence to support their claim? Simply saying the transport system might be water or blood or collagen is no different to saying it might be very small fairy couriers. We're not the first to question their inability to provide believable explanations as to how Earthing could work, and their ignorance coupled with their willingness to spout nonsense just further confirms it's all a scam.

How evolution really deals with free radicals

What about the claim that free radicals are a modern problem released by our insulating lifestyle, and a return to nature would see them banished once more? The fact is that free radicals are created simply by the process of living, by metabolism within our body. Oxygen is essential to us, and free radicals are a natural, albeit potentially harmful, byproduct of the body's process to gain energy from it. So it makes sense to think that evolution might well have found a way to eliminate or limit the effects of free radicals. And might this free radical police force be Earthing, simply running barefoot across the plains? It seems not.

Scientific and medical research has discovered that our bodies have indeed evolved mechanisms to combat the harmful nature of free radicals and to repair the damage they cause. There are antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, and beta-carotene and enzymes, including superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase. This same research has found no indication that free electrons from an earthing current play any part in eliminating free radicals. This in itself is quite damaging to the free radical killer claims of Earthing. But it gets worse. As we've said, earthing by natural means and the resultant balancing electron flow has been with cells and the organisms that eventually evolved into the human body from day one, it's nothing new. So logically, if earthing alone was and is utterly effective in eliminating free radicals from a body, there would have been no need or reason for mechanisms such as the above antioxidants to slowly evolve to perform this function. There would, after all, have been no free radicals causing a problem, and no free radicals for the new molecules to practice on. It's clear that the above antioxidants evolved eons ago, not just since we started wearing rubber soled shoes, so why did they evolve the ability to mop up free radicals if earthing was already doing such an efficient job? The obvious answer is that earthing has never had any noticeable effect on free radicals.

Furthermore, as harmful as free radicals can be, it is nevertheless essential for the functioning of our body that at least some exist. For example, the free radicals known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) evidently play an important part in cell signalling. Now, if the infinite number of free electrons let loose by Earthing were as effective as claimed and blindly zapped free radicals, including the ROS, then again the signalling function of the ROS would never have evolved (but it has), and secondly, even if they did evolve somehow, Earthing would quickly eliminate them before they could do much signalling, and rather than improve our wellbeing, our health would suffer because of impaired cell signalling. Furthermore, some free radicals play a role in assisting macrophages destroy harmful bacteria, again demonstrating how important they are to life and health. Thus Earthing currents, if they could indeed efficiently and blindly destroy all free radicals as claimed, would need to be something we actively guarded against, carefully insulating ourselves against them, ensuring we always had our rubber-soled shoes on and never, ever, went barefoot.

But what if Earthing really does work?

What if, you might argue, Earthing has some minor health benefit? Nothing to do with free radicals or curing 'more than 80 chronic illnesses', but perhaps it helps with insomnia, for example. We might not be able to explain why it might have some benefit, but would it be worth buying the Earthing products just to get a slightly improved night's sleep? Again, we suspect not.

Barefoot The question is, if Earthing could be beneficial, how long do you have to be earthed or hooked up for it work? If indeed it is as simple as walking barefoot to get the mail or just touching the earth, if the healing electron flow is almost instantaneous, why buy an expensive product to achieve this and then remain inconveniently connected? We argue that the Earthing transfer happens very quickly, and the Earthing proponents generally agree, as their following comments indicate. (Our emphasis is UNDERLINED).

'As soon as a person comes in direct contact with the Earth the electrons inside the body "feel" the effect of the ground potential of the Earth's electric field ... The body settles and equalizes electrically to the ground potential almost instantaneously. The information that a new potential has been established in the body is transmitted, also almost instantaneously, to the autonomic nervous system, which then responds by "adjusting" electrical activities throughout the body. Muscle tension and skin conductance, and maybe also brain waves, are adjusted in a few seconds at the most'.

'If you don't feel well, for whatever reason ... 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'.

'There is no constant measurable current flow beyond the equalization charge that is instantly transferred to the body ... This is all extremely difficult, if not impossible, to measure'.

'The difference between grounding and static discharge is that grounding instantly equalizes your body at Earth's potential'.

'When you come in direct contact with the Earth there is an immediate and natural shift in your body'.

The Earthing proponents agree that the equalising electron flow between earth and body happens instantly and then ceases. Thus there is no good reason to remained connected since nothing more is going to happen. So why won't a deliberate or accidental earthing contact serve the same purpose as the products they want us to buy? When we wash our hands under flowing cold water, often several times a day, water that is earthed and is thus earthing us and supplying us with all these free electrons, why is this not restoring our body to the same healing potential as it would if we purchased and stood on an Earthing pad? Why when we simply touch an earthed piece of metal, say a kitchen tap or faucet, are we not instantly healed? It only takes an instant for the charge on the two surfaces, hand and metal, to balance electrically, and after that no more current, no more electrons, will flow. Continuing to maintain contact will only ensure we both remain balanced, and this prevents any further free electron flow. Regardless of how many more free electrons might be needed around my body to hunt and destroy free radicals, none can flow from the earth since the earth and my skin are now one. We are at the same voltage, there is no potential difference, and thus no electrical current, no electrons, will flow to correct a difference that doesn't exist. If Earthing worked as claimed, that electrons flowed to electrically balance my body with the earth, and then went on to hunt down free radicals, then this flow from the earth would only last for a fraction of a second. Again, there would be no advantage in maintaining my contact with the earth. Thus if Earthing truly did have a healing benefit, a momentary contact with an earthed fixture or running water would suffice, something we all unconsciously achieve everyday, so there's no need to work, play and sleep on specially designed and purchased Earthing products. Like the air, the earth is free and all around us. If fleeting electrical contact with the earth truly is a natural healing method, go with the real thing and don't bother with the expensive, inconvenient and artificial mail-order alternative.

How easy is it to stick with the Earthing program?

Is it even remotely possible to lead an 'earthed' existence? Most people in their day to day lives are not in a position to strap themselves to an Earth lead or stand barefoot on an Earthing pad all day, the things that these people want to sell you. Perhaps someone working at a desk from home could keep themselves strapped or leap barefoot from one pad to another, but who else? And since naked skin must be in near continuous contact with the Earthing pad or sheet, usually meaning bare feet, that will require that houses be heated to where going barefoot is comfortable, even in the depth of winter. This could result in huge heating bills for some people, to allow furry slippers and thick socks to be swapped for naked feet. With safety in mind, how many employers in Western countries would let their employees working outside work barefoot? And even some that work inside barefoot, such as strippers, wouldn't be walking on earthed surfaces. Yet we're told that, 'When Earthing is stopped, symptoms tend to slowly return', so they want you to stay Earthed 24/7, year round, to avoid reverting to ill health. And remember that while people are sold Earthing sheets to sleep on, which would rack up a few hours of healing, some Earthing proponents, but not all, recommend not to sleep earthed if there's a risk of getting struck by lightning, an event which would probably negate any previous health gain. And even for those that do manage an occasional run across the lawn barefoot, is this fleeting contact sufficient? Apparently not or else this is what the Earthing folk would recommend. Earthing proponents say their products should preferably be connected to Earthing pegs, stakes driven deep into the ground, advising their clients that, 'Our preference is that the products throughout the world be connected to Earthing ground rods'. Simply lying an earth wire on the ground is not enough to ensure a good earth connection, as evidenced by household electrical earths. In drier climes companies needing an effective earth for such things as telecommunication equipment to work properly can't rely on just a single earthing stake, they must bury a large-area earth-mat instead. And at times they must even water the ground where the mat is buried, to lower the electrical resistance and make it work effectively. So clearly simply standing barefoot on the ground is not always the same as being strapped to an earth stake via an Earthing pad. Barefoot on damp ground is probably not too bad, but barefoot on dry grass, sand, dirt, concrete etc could be a waste of time as far as Earthing goes.

The reality is that in today's modern world, most people would find it difficult to stay tethered and earthed for any length of time during the day, and thus wouldn't receive its full benefits health-wise. But rather than dismiss Earthing as nonsense when they fall ill or remain ill, people would likely blame themselves since they were told that, 'When Earthing is stopped, symptoms tend to slowly return'. When one person asks, 'What happens if I stop sleeping grounded?', they're told that when people 'stopped Earthing. Their gains began eroding. We advise people to make Earthing part of a healthy lifestyle routine and keep grounding themselves. Don't stop'. Once you start, they have you hooked for life.

But of course sophisticated people know this crap doesn't work, so naturally Earthing proponents must have excuses ready to explain why after buying their products you've fallen ill, remained ill, or after a brief respite, your symptoms have returned. Unless you were trying Earthing to get rid of a cold or mend a fracture, things that the body handles naturally, then of course Earthing will be a failure, so clients must be convinced that the failure is due to their actions. They didn't stay Earthed long enough or the connection wasn't good enough, so it's their fault they're still ill, just as priests tell Christians that if their prayers aren't working it's because they're clearly not praying hard enough. It's never the fault of the method, it's always the fault of the person using it. We're just glad that x-rays and antibiotics work even if your belief in them is not as sincere as it could be.

The mystical side of Earthing

To convince us that Earthing has a health benefit, it must be seen to eliminate something that is causing harm. Enter the free radicals, the cause of disease, and their simple elimination by the Earthing electrons. Of course one could naively bring up the discoveries of medical science and suggest that it's the likes of bacteria, viruses and genetic errors that cause disease, but it would be difficult to explain how Earthing could combat those causes. Thus the Earthing proponents ignore them. Diseases, they claim, are caused by chronic inflammation, which in turn is caused by free radicals. End of story.

So, Earthing's free electrons seem to match up with free radicals and neutralise them, and this appears to be a nice scientific explanation. Not that natural therapists and their clients always need an explanation. Having no real idea of how a therapy might work that accords with science has never stopped those promoting alternative therapies. Just think of homeopathy that had to invent the nonsense of water having a memory, therapeutic touch and its silly chakras, and faith healing and its invisible gods. But Earthing leans more torwards pseudoscience rather than pure mystical superstition since they introduce scientific sounding phrases and concepts that to the scientifically illiterate sound believable.

Earthing magic But of course even Earthing proponents fall back on mystical sounding claims for those that prefer them, telling us that, regarding those free electrons, 'The signal they carry includes all of the subtleties inherent in Nature that our bodies have attuned to throughout history'. We're asked to believe that, 'Earth's eternal and gentle surface energies ... deliver the natural healing energy of the Earth into your body', and that this has a connection with Qi, which 'is a central principle in the long history of Chinese wisdom and is seen as the energy or natural force that fills the universe. From India's Vedic tradition the equivalent concept is prana, or "vital force"'.

Even these idiots feel the need to invoke nonsense to help sell their scam. For example, the 'Earthing' book has a foreword by James Oschman, Ph.D., author of 'Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis', and the websites quote from his articles supporting Earthing. They tell us that he is 'an internationally-renowned expert on energy medicine and a member of our board of advisors'. In our view energy medicine is just a pseudoscientific term, and we've heard it mentioned in connection with everything from Reiki, therapeutic touch, faith healing, cellular memory, crystal healing, acupuncture, homeopathy and aromatherapy to psychometry and after-death contact via mediums. You can read a review here of Oschman's book: 'Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis', where Harriet Hall, MD, debunks it.

Hall tells us that, 'James Oschman believes that the phenomena of energy medicine can be studied, measured, and explained by science without invoking any mysterious life forces or unmeasurable subtle energies'. Note how Oschman evidently believes energy medicine can be explained 'without invoking any ... unmeasurable subtle energies'. And yet we've been assured that Earthing involves 'natural, subtle energies' and 'omnipresent energy fields' that are 'extremely difficult, if not impossible, to measure'. There is a clear contradiction here — can the energy be measured or can't it? — but this is typical in works of pseudoscience. Hall concludes that,

'This book masquerades as science, but it amounts to little more than speculation and polemic in support of a preconceived belief. The tragedy is that energy medicine believers now have a book whose very title may lead them to think there is "proof" that their experiences have a scientific basis. Many scientifically nave readers will be convinced. Critical thinkers will not.'
Some advocates even directly invoke religion and God to promote Earthing, this from Gabriel Cousens:
'People have lost touch with the Earth. From a biblical perspective, people who lose touch with the Earth lose touch with God. Earthing reconnects us to the planet, to others, and, in a sense, to God.'
We've noticed too that people that believe in one silly therapy often believe in a whole host of them. We've already debunked a similar therapy, that of magnetic therapy, but Earthing proponents claim that it, like their therapy, also works. They tell readers that, 'the use of magnets produce some therapeutic effects when properly applied', and that, 'There is no problem with using an Earthing sheet over a magnetic mattress pad. The magnets in the magnetic mattress pad produce a static magnetic field that would naturally go through and extend beyond the surface of the Earthing sheet'. Why would someone consider buying an Earthing sheet if they've already bought and slept on a magnetic underlay, which they believe also works? Wouldn't it have already treated their affliction? And if it didn't, why would they be silly enough to throw their money at yet another silly health scam? Can't they learn from their mistakes?

Some more silly claims from the Earthing experts

Would you expect that a lawyer touting for business could actually help you with your legal problems, and a plumber with your plumbing woes? Of course you would. So why wouldn't you also reasonably expect someone promoting and selling a health therapy that borders on the miraculous to help with your health problems, whatever they might be? But strangely this is not what those pushing Earthing products do when real, serious health problems arise. They suddenly start denying that they ever mentioned that Earthing was 'The most important health discovery ever'. Look at the following from an Earthing website that is at first promotion, then panicked denial, then back to promotion:

'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'.
Notice that they first say, 'If you don't feel well, for whatever reason', and 'for whatever reason' could of course cover anything from a headache to contracting Ebola, then you should try Earthing, since 'There is nothing that comes close to Earthing for quick relief'. But notice also what's buried in between those two promotional claims, a sneaky disclaimer: 'Of course, if you have a medical problem, you should see a doctor'. Of course they have a medical problem you moron, that's why you're trying to scam them with your Earthing products! They didn't visit your website looking for cheap flights to Hawaii. How can they make a claim to 'what is perhaps the greatest health discovery of our time', and then deviously insist that it has nothing to do with medical problems? And how can they then immediately follow up with, 'There is nothing that comes close to Earthing for quick relief'. Really, nothing comes close to Earthing, not even the doctors you've just recommended? This kind of manoeuvring to absolve one from blame when Earthing doesn't work should scream SCAM! But it gets worse. Following on from this, in the website's FAQs we read this:
'Q. How long will it take to relieve my symptoms?

'A. Everybody is different and symptoms are different and with different causes. Earthing does not cure anything ... You may experience benefits for certain issues you were not even expecting improvements in and there may be no change in other areas'.

What do they mean that there are 'different causes', isn't it all due to free radicals running amuck because we are no longer earthed, or have they forgotten? Of course there are different causes, so their answer is correct, as is the following admission that is buried in their above answer:
'Earthing does not cure anything'
If only they were as honest and frank in everything else they write. And of course their admission that the ups and downs of your health problems will seem to have no relationship to what Earthing is claimed to do is best explained by the fact that Earthing does nothing, ie 'Earthing does not cure anything'. Matching this frank admission, they also clearly advise us that:
'We do not describe Earthing as a "treatment" or a "cure" for any disease or disorder. Instead, it can be said without any equivocation that the human body evolved in contact with the Earth and needs to maintain this natural contact in order to function properly'.
OK, the first sentence is merely another legal disclaimer so clients can't complain and claim that they were promised a cure, that they would get better, and they didn't. But weren't they promised miracles, remember the claim that Earthing 'elevates your quality of life to a level that seems not otherwise possible'? But naturally they don't want potential clients going away believing that Earthing is not 'a "treatment" or a "cure" for any disease or disorder', or else people would never go on to buy their products. If you were to believe them and were convinced that Earthing could NEVER treat your disease or disorder, then how stupid would you be to still buy an Earthing device? And yet, even when these natural therapists admit that they really can't treat or cure a single health problem, untold morons will still waste money on products that they were clearly told don't work!

Another Earthing website advises potential clients:

'Earthing and Health'

'Please note that none of the statements made here constitute medical advice in any way or any claim for cure or treatment of any medical condition. Always consult with your personal physician regarding any personal health care issues.'

So again they're clearly saying, if you have a genuine health or medical problem, then see a doctor, don't buy one of our silly products and expect a cure. You have been warned!

The problem is that even though they admit that 'Earthing does not cure anything', these honest admissions are just a couple of sentences buried in amongst thousands of other sentences that claim just the opposite, and are easily overlooked. Remember that they say that Earthing eliminates inflammation and harmful free radicals, combats 'Pain, disease, and other disturbances', relives exhaustion, stress, anxiety, and premature aging, treats heart rate variability problems, herpes, hepatitis etc, so how do these blatant claims of being able to treat or cure tally with the above disclaimer? Which should we believe? Even if we don't know which, one must be a lie, and why should we trust anyone that includes blatant lies in their sales pitch? Even in the above quote where they deny the effectiveness of Earthing as a health therapy, the very next sentence implies that making and maintaining an earth contact WILL treat the body so that it can once again 'function properly'. This implication that Earthing our body will naturally restore us to good health is, after all, the whole point of Earthing. If reconnecting to the earth as suggested won't treat our afflictions and ills, won't bring us back into sync with healing energies, then why bother? We might as well just pray to some invisible god, just as useless but at least it's free! It's always amazing how insistent these natural therapists are that their wacky methods work, and yet the lying cowards all sprinkle their literature with denials and disclaimers to the contrary. More evidence of a scam.

So what might it feel like to excitedly rip your newly purchased Earthing product from its box and earth yourself for the first time? We're told that:

'When people are grounded through the feet (either by standing barefoot on the Earth or via grounded EKG patches in experiments), they sometimes feel a tingling sensation moving up the legs. We associate this with the apparent movement of electrons up into the body'.
We've spent plenty of time over the years going from insulated shoes to walking barefoot on the Earth, as no doubt have you, but we can't say our legs have ever tingled when we did so, and no one else we know has ever mentioned that experience either. We're told elsewhere that people often experience 'feelings of ease and well-being', and that 'Many people notice that they feel better when they walk barefoot on the Earth'. Of course it does feel pleasantly different when you walk barefoot along the sand or through the grass on a nice day, the same as skinny dipping feels better than swimming clothed, but the feelings of serenity, tranquillity, freedom, relaxation and enjoyment gained when relaxing and strolling about as nature intended will be brought about by a state of mind, not by vigilante free electrons sweeping into our bodies to do battle with free radicals. Let's remember that in the Western world the opportunity to walk barefoot often means these people are relaxing on vacation, at the beach in the weekend or barbecuing barefoot in the backyard, and it is this change of pace that lets them feel better. We doubt that some poor, starving family in Darfur or Bangladesh feel better as they step barefoot from their dilapidated huts each morning. But confusingly, we're told elsewhere that 'some people may feel some temporary discomfort or even flu-like signs, pain or achiness. In practically all cases, this experience is fleeting ... The feeling might last a few days at the most'. Maybe they feel this way because they are genuinely ill and need real medical treatment, and I know if I had a headache that lasted a few days I wouldn't call it fleeting! Essentially they are saying that on connecting yourself up to your new purchase, if you feel better ... or worse ... or nothing at all, this is proof that it's working! Yeah right!

For the next point we want to make, let's again remind ourselves what this therapy claims to be all about: 'The objective of Earthing the body is to replicate standing barefoot on the Earth and equalizing the potential of the body with the potential of the Earth'. On an Earthing website the following question is asked:

'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'.

Note that they claim that EDS shoes are 'not as good as going barefoot' because those shoes use a 'resistor in the ground cord'. A resistor is a component designed to limit the flow of electric current. It's claimed that the EDS shoes are not as good as their Earthing products because true natural 'grounding instantly equalizes your body'. But elsewhere in the literature we read that their 'Earthing products have a built-in 100K ohm resistor in all ground cords for safety'. First they criticise a competitor's product because of its use of a resistor, then we discover that their products also have resistors. Lest you think that the value of the resistor makes the difference between being effective or not, they then add that both products work at Earthing the body: 'This occurs both with either a 1 megohm or a 100K ohm resistor, the difference being a fraction of a second slower with the bigger resistor'. I know that in an era of fast food and instant gratification we hate waiting on things, but surely we wouldn't even notice the 'fraction of a second' difference between the two products? But would it just be a 'fraction of a second' difference? In this article — "Earthing" Is a Bunch of Crap — physicist Chad Orzel writes,
'So if you drop a 100,000 Ω resistor in there, you're increasing the resistance by nearly a factor of 100,000, which reduces the rate at which electrons flow in from the Earth by the same factor. What's that mean? Well, in order to get the same health benefit of one second of electron flow between you and the Earth due to direct contact — standing barefoot on the ground, for example — you would need to spend 100,000 seconds in contact with their mat. 100,000 seconds is about 27 hours, a bit more than a day.'
But why do they need the resistor at all? The argument is that Earthing proponents are trying to exactly 'replicate standing barefoot on the Earth', the condition found in nature, since this is what our body has evolved to be part of. So why are they placing a resistor in the circuit, altering the natural one to an artificial limiting connection between body and earth? We're assured that:
'Earthing products simply conduct the actual frequencies of the Earth to your body without any simulation ... The signal they carry includes all of the subtleties inherent in Nature that our bodies have attuned to throughout history. Earthing is totally natural'.

'Throughout human history we have tuned into the cycles of Nature for survival and health'.

'Earth's eternal and gentle surface energies ... deliver the natural healing energy of the Earth into your body'

If 'Earthing is totally natural' and we need the 'the actual frequencies of the Earth ... for survival and health' (whatever that means), why do they not provide a product that will deliver exactly that? Why are they modifying our connection with nature? Might not their modification alter or suppress these imperceptible 'natural, subtle energies'? How would they even know what effect their resistor is having on the electron flow, and thus the 'natural healing energy of the Earth', since elsewhere they have admitted that, 'There is no constant measurable current flow beyond the equalization charge that is instantly transferred to the body ... This is all extremely difficult, if not impossible, to measure'?

This admission of theirs regarding the Earthing current is worth repeating: 'This is all extremely difficult, if not impossible, to measure'. This means that they have NEVER measured this healing current that they claim is at the root of their therapy, one that reaches every cell of the body, and they believe that it is probably impossible to do so. So how do they know it even exists? They don't, they've just invented it to sell their scam, and since they believe it is likely impossible to detect, they aren't even looking for it. And conveniently, being impossible to detect, if scientists say they can't measure it, proponents will say that this isn't because it doesn't exist, but simply because technology isn't sensitive enough. Our technology is sensitive enough to measure the voltage changes on microscopic individual neurons, but not to measure a current powerful enough to reach and change every cell in the body! It's like looking for ghosts, they don't show up on our instruments either, for some reason that the ghost hunters never explain. Perhaps it's because, as philosopher Delos McKown said, 'The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike'.

But again, why the resistor, why don't they want us to experience the same effect as if we were 'standing barefoot on the Earth'? The resistor must alter the natural connection, so why do this if natural is best? Is there possibly a genuine safety risk with being properly earthed as nature intended? Apparently yes, and one answer we're offered is that, 'All the authorized Earthing products ... have a built-in resistor that limits the flow of current in order to prevent the unlikely possibility that electricity would flow through the connecting wire and possibly hurt someone'. However we doubt that a resistor is the best element to prevent a dangerous or fatal current flowing from faulty household electrical equipment, after all, electrical circuits have fast-acting fuses and circuit breakers for safety purposes, not a little resistor. What about the risk of lightning, that question has also been put to them: Earthing sheet

'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 ... being hit by lightning is rather unlikely. However ... Disconnect your Earthing device and don't use it during lightning and thunderstorms'.

What do they mean by claiming that lightning 'is poorly understood'? Do they still think that gods such as Zeus or Thor might be tossing lightning bolts down depending on how we behave? That it's all about misbehaving mortals and perhaps nothing to do with electrical earthing? Also note that when they describe the items in your home that are directly connected to earth and will thus act as a path for a lightning strike, they deviously fail to mention that, thanks to their Earthing products, your body is now also directly connected to earth. And the National Safety Council, when considering the likelihood of you being hit, is not expecting you to be deliberately acting as an earthed lightning rod during a lightning storm. But what you need to take from their answer is that they still recommend that you 'Disconnect your Earthing device and don't use it during lightning and thunderstorms'. Good advice, but there's a problem here. Many lightning storms occur as you sleep, and the first hint that you might get that there is a storm about is when the lightning seeks you out to say Hi. So to follow their advice and be safe you should never earth yourself when you sleep, or even during the hours of darkness when you can't see an approaching storm, or in buildings where you don't have a constant, clear view of the entire sky. Best to leave your Earthing product in it's box. And yet elsewhere we read this comment that they make about lightning:
'...many people ask about the risk of being struck by lightning when a person is grounded. The fact is that Earthing does not affect the chance of being electrocuted by lightning'.
Neither comment mentions the resistor added to their products, so clearly it's not there to protect you from a lightning strike. But contradicting that other statement, this one clearly says there is no added risk being grounded, even during aEarthing sheet lightning storm. So which is correct? Lighting strikes between clouds and ground seek the path of least electrical resistance, and earthed lightning rods try to provide this, tempting the lightning away from buildings and humans etc. So of course, earthing yourself does affect the chance of being electrocuted by lightning, since you are impersonating a lightning rod. Not a big tall, efficient one, but a lightning rod nevertheless. As their above answer noted, lightning is attracted to 'large conductive systems like the plumbing pipes, electrical wiring network, or telephone and cable TV lines' which are all 'directly grounded to the Earth', and so is your Earthing mat or Earthing sheet. I remember when I was a kid lightning struck the phone lines as my mother was talking on the phone. The lightning blew the phone off the wall and six feet across the room. Luckily my mother was not hurt, the phone being made of Bakelite. However, if she had been hanging onto an earth strap, I fear the outcome may have been quite different. Our advice, better safe than sorry, so don't make yourself a target by earthing yourself when there is a possibility of lightning, day or night.

And thinking about the effect lightning can have, we noticed this query:

'Q: Can I get too much of the Earth's energy by sleeping grounded every night?'

'A: ... Our body knows exactly what to do with what the Earth provides for us. When we connect to the Earth the amount of the electrons we absorb is driven by the amount our body needs to balance the electrical charge of our body. It is always the perfect amount.'

Always the perfect amount? Try telling that to someone that's just absorbed all those lightning electrons that the natural world provided.

We're continually told that, 'It is important to understand that inflammation is a condition that can be reduced or prevented by grounding your body to the Earth, the way virtually all of your ancestors have done for hundreds if not thousands of generations'. Let's not forget that, in reality, our ancestors were in no way protected from inflammation, but Earthing proponents aren't ones to let facts stand in their way of a sale. Evidently the problem of our modern age goes beyond being just vulnerable to old-fashioned inflammation, since we've invented new ways of causing inflammation. But fear not, Earthing can still come to the rescue, if we would but buy the products:

'We live in an infinite sea of electromagnetic frequencies ranging from airplane communications to garage door openers to cell phones and radio stations. They are all around us. When you are insulated from the Earth, that is, ungrounded, all these frequencies can perturb the electrons of your body and interfere with normal electron transfer activity going on in the body. When you are connected to the Earth, you are at one with the Earth and have an infinite supply of electrons. The man-made environmental frequencies can't perturb the Earth ... or, by extension, you. So you reduce the perturbation of your own cells by connecting your body to the Earth.'
We're not sure exactly what they mean by electromagnetic frequencies interfering with 'normal electron transfer activity', we suspect it's just pseudoscience talk, but it is true that we are awash with EMF, always have been to a degree. The majority are effectively harmless, and even though some are harmful, such as UV radiation and some microwaves, we can see no reason why Earthing your body would protect you or heal any damage done. For example, let's remember that radios only work because the radio frequency perturbs the electrons in the antenna, and all radios used to be earthed. If earthing greatly reduced and even stopped these perturbations as claimed, then your radio wouldn't have worked. And if earthing a radio didn't stop the perturbations, why would earthing your body do so? This sounds like another example of pseudoscience, the use of valid technical terms to impress and misinform. Let's look at quotes from another couple of websites that imply that Earthing can protect us from the effects of EMF:
'Earthing appears to minimize the consequences of exposure to potentially disruptive fields like "electromagnetic pollution" or "dirty electricity."'

'Positive electrons in the form of free radicals (ever heard of those guys?) can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the ground balances this out as it is a negative grounding charge. Our bodies and cells have electrical energy, and especially with the high prevalence of Electromagnetic waves, Wi-Fi and mobile phone waves, many of us have a high amount of positive electrons built up in our bodies.'

But again, the woman in the second quote has been confused by pseudoscience, and simply reveals her ignorance of real science. She talks of 'positive electrons', when of course there are no such things, and suggests that there's a difference between 'Electromagnetic waves', and 'Wi-Fi and mobile phone waves', when they are the same thing. It's idiots selling fantasies to other idiots.

We disagree of course, but the above claims clearly assert that Earthing can protect you from 'an infinite sea of electromagnetic frequencies'. But on another Earthing website, we read this Q & A:

'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.'

Note how this answer completely contradicts the previous ones. We have no idea how that honest answer slipped in since it is at odds with all the other Earthing proponents that insist that Earthing can definitely protect you from 'health-disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields (EMFs)'. In another question about the use of Earthing pads in cars, a person asks whether 'The radiation will only be radiated back into the body'? The Earthing advocate answers that, 'The use of a grounded seat pad has nothing to do with radiation. Any electrical radiation would exist on the body whether it was touching the vehicle or not'. Again, they seem to be oblivious to what other Earthing proponents are claiming. When those selling Earthing products fail to agree on what their products can and can't do, then it shows that there is no good evidence to support those making the extra claims, eg that Earthing protects against EMFs. If the evidence was robust, then they'd all stand behind it.

Here's another nonsense claim from Earthing proponents:

'Ungrounded laptops (without a three prong power cord) can generate significant electric fields ... Place the laptop directly on the Earthing mat to ground the computer'.
So why aren't laptops, and many other modern electrical devices, earthed or grounded? Grounding of electrical equipment (via and earth lead in the power cord) used to be common, because most had metal cases and an internal electrical fault would hopefully see any lethal rouge current flowing out the earth lead rather than through the metal case and then the body holding it. However the cases of modern tools such as laptops and electric drills are plastic. They have their internal electrical circuitry enclosed by an insulating plastic shell, some items like drills have two plastic shells and are said to be double-insulated. But just as it is now very difficult for electricity to escape these devices, it is equally difficult for an electrical earthing current to get in. The Earthing experts say to 'Place the laptop directly on the Earthing mat to ground the computer', but there is no way that this would ground or earth the computer. How could these supposed electrical experts not know this?

In the next quote another Earthing proponent and equally ignorant electrical expert then contradicts the above claim by saying that all electrical equipment is earthed, even the likes of unearthed laptops it seems:

'most people wear synthetic-soled shoes that insulate their bodies from the Earth's energy field that stabilizes not only cable TV but all electrical equipment — industrial or residential — throughout the world.'
The reality is that even the electrical equipment that is earthed is mainly connected this way for safety reasons, not to stabilise it. The next quote continues with this flaky belief that everything needs to be stabilised and synchronised with 'the healing energies from the Earth':
'Earthing immediately equalizes your body to the same energy level, or potential, as the Earth. This results in synchronizing your internal biological clocks, hormonal cycles, and physiological rhythms, and suffusing your body with healing, negatively charged free electrons abundantly present on the surface of the Earth.'
There is no evidence that going barefoot does anything towards 'synchronizing your internal biological clocks, hormonal cycles, and physiological rhythms'. Nor would we want there to be. If the Earth had a certain 'energy level, or potential', then everyone would be synchronised to this one level. The biological clock of people in vastly different time zones would all be synchronised, no matter whether it was midday or midnight where they were. The hormonal cycles of two women, one pregnant and one not, would both be synchronised and stabilised to some Earthly value. The physiological rhythms of growing teenagers and of people of middle age would be synchronised. Do we see any of this happening? Of course not. The 'internal biological clocks, hormonal cycles, and physiological rhythms' of our bodies have to operate independently of a certain 'energy level, or potential' of the Earth. Our biological clocks do take some cues from the environment, daylight hours for example, but sunlight varies around the Earth, as does our response to it. If it's argued that the electrical potential does vary geographically, then our 'internal biological clocks, hormonal cycles, and physiological rhythms' would fluctuate wildly depending simply on where we walked barefoot or touched something that was earthed. The release of hormones in our bodies does vary greatly depending on what we're doing, eg eating, having sex or running from a vicious dog, and we wouldn't want free electrons from the earth to blindly take control of these hormones.

Then we get this desperate claim for efficacy:

'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.'
That claim is as empty as saying that back in ancient Egypt, the locals talked of gods for which many positive religious claims were made. Any fool can make empty claims, as these Earthing advocates do, the crucial question is whether there is any good evidence to support them. But of course they don't provide this evidence, and note how they had to go way back to an obscure German group in the late 1880s to find someone that thought as they now do.

And we just had to include this claim from Earthing proponent Dr. Koniver, an M.D. and general practitioner, who says she's 'studying the effects of Earthing on obesity':

"Every person in my study, except for two, is losing weight with no other changes in diet or exercise," she says. "I have a patient who is losing over 10 pounds a week, doing nothing different besides Earthing."
Seriously? We're asked to believe that someone can lose over 10 pounds a week, every week, through a method that essentially involves nothing more than simply standing barefoot on the lawn! How could anyone be that stupid to believe such ridiculous claims? Why is obesity a growing problem if it's that easily to shed the pounds, and why hasn't this revolutionary new weight loss program become famous if we can all forget the exercise, get back on the sofa and Facebook and eat all the junk food we want, as long as we make sure we plonk our naked butts on an Earthing pad?


Like most 'natural' therapies, Earthing apparently relies on some mysterious element that can somehow differentiate between normal molecules and cells and those that are rebelling. The free electrons somehow know not to go near the majority of brain cells, but by utilising invisible pathways they quickly seek out and leap on positively-charged molecules that are obviously intent on mischief. While strangely ignoring their evil twins, the negatively-charged molecules. These therapies all have a mystical component, since something otherworldly seems to be guiding them on their healing mission. They're all imbued with an ability to roam magically through our bodies breaking all manner of physical laws in order to vanquish disease.

We've shown that there is no good evidence that humans evolved to need a continuous electrical connection to the earth, no evidence that free radicals cause 'all of the chronic diseases', nor that free electrons will eliminate them. We've argued that the various mechanisms put forward by the Earthing crowd are implausible, and that being continuously Earthed would be very inconvenient, expensive, at times dangerous, and all for no health benefit whatsoever. It's also quite clear that those pushing Earthing products are either devious and dishonest or sincere but ignorant. Either way, it's a scam and people are wasting money and time on worthless products.

And even with this claimed miraculous healing power, isn't it strange that nonsense therapies like this never actually cure anyone? They make plenty of claims of success, but just like Jesus healing the sick and raising the dead, they're all just fanciful stories that we're expected to gullibly swallow. They offer no evidence that their silly stories ever actually happened, or any explanation as to how they might have happened. And yet still they all end up asking for money, money that they expect believers should hand over based on nothing more than Granny's personal testimonial and the claim that we should trust primitive beliefs over modern knowledge. They push the childish belief that ignorant, superstitious people from ancient times understood and were in harmony with the natural world, which granted them the health, overall wellbeing and natural healing abilities that modern people have lost.

Earthing proponents tell us that 'Our ancient ancestors ... had a firm understanding of the importance of being in connection with the Earth. For them the Earth was sacred. It was the Mother that brought life to all. Throughout human history we have tuned into the cycles of Nature for survival and health'. Yet for people to fall for these bogus claims of natural healing, natural therapists and those selling the natural healing products must suppress the worrying contradiction that humans are now healthier and longer living than at any point in history. They must divert us from asking for evidence of efficacy — that they actually work — or for insisting on explanations on how they might work. Like believing in religion, we are to accept their claims on faith, and are told that the mechanism of healing, where it appears to conflict with scientific knowledge, is mysterious and beyond science's ability understand. It's hoped that we won't wonder why these miraculous, simple and inexpensive natural therapies, if it's so obvious that they work, are not used by modern medicine, and are never found in hospitals nor recommended by doctors. And generally most intelligent, knowledgeable people aren't suggesting that they should be. And well, they shouldn't, since naivety, wishful thinking, ignorance and superstition is not how we should run our health system.

If there is any validity to a proposed new therapy, and the thought that Earthing might have a health benefit is perfectly reasonable, then it must be properly investigated. Randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trials must be performed to demonstrate its efficacy and safety, and a theory developed and tested to explain the mechanism. This investigation must be carried out and a decision reached by appropriate experts, it is not a case of putting out a single, simple book written for the general public entitled: 'Earthing — The most important health discovery ever?', setting up a lot of websites selling Earthing products, and then letting the public decide. An idiot asked me once, rhetorically, 'What do bloody scientists know about these things!?' Well, compared to you and I, quite a lot actually. It's always a clear sign of pseudoscience when promoters of a new and controversial claim put their case to the layman rather than the expert, to the bookshop in the high street rather than the peer-reviewed academic journal. They seek profits from their claims rather than experimental confirmation of them. They seek celebrity through TV talk shows rather than recognition and respect through a Noble Prize. They seek to improve their own lives through increased product sales, not the lives of others through improved health.

Authors:   John L. Ateo,    Rachel C.
Copyright 2016, by the 'SILLY BELIEFS' website. All rights reserved.

Readers' Comments:    Add a Comment       View Comments

Links to Articles

Steven Novella

earthing (grounding)
Skeptic's Dictionary

"Earthing" Is a Bunch of Crap
Chad Orzel

More Mercola Misinformation: Grounding In Reverse
Eric Hall

| Homepage | Links | Book & TV List | Top of Page | Blog |
Support Science Not Superstition


Last Updated Jul 2016