In 2003, electrophysiologists Gaetan Chevalier and Kazuhito Mori at the California Institute for Human Science investigated the impact of Earthing on nervous system function. Fifty-eight healthy adults participated in the randomized, double-blind experiment involving a series of sophisticated brain and muscle measurements. In individual sessions, a conductive adhesive electrode patch was placed on the sole of each participant's foot while seated comfortably in a recliner. The patches were connected to a wire leading outside through a door. Half the participants were actually grounded, that is, the wire was connected to a ground rod, thus replicating the act of sitting or standing barefoot outside. The other participants were not grounded. They were similarly patched, but the wires were not connected outside to the rod. Individuals were then monitored, first for a half hour pre-test baseline period and then immediately for another half hour when they were either grounded or "sham" grounded.
The sham group served as what researchers refer to as "controls." The purpose was to make sure the documented effects were real and not just due to people sitting and relaxing in a comfortable chair. The randomized experiment was double-blind, meaning that neither the participants nor the researchers knew which group was assigned to real or sham grounding. Blinded research is an important tool in many fields of research. Only after the data from the experiment have been recorded do the researchers learn who is who, enabling them to then analyze and compare the results.
EEGs record the electrical signals from your brain as measured on the scalp. Abnormal results may indicate the presence of epilepsy and seizures. EMGs detect the electrical voltage generated by muscle cells. In this study, EMG electrodes were placed on the big shoulder muscles on each side of the neck - the trapezius muscles, so named because of their diamond shape.
The EEG and EMG readings showed that grounding significantly influences the electrical activity of the brain and muscles, even within a mere half hour. In fact, dramatic changes were recorded almost instantly (within two seconds) of Earthing.
In the brain, there was an overall decrease in activity at all frequencies, with a crisp change showing on the left side - the one associated with thinking. Thus, Earthing appears to calm down the busy mind.As far as the muscles were concerned, Earthing produced two intriguing results:
1. Participants with a high level of tension showed a decrease in muscle tension (on both sides). Individuals with little or no muscle tension showed an increase in tension. The result suggests that grounding re-establishes a normal level of tension. The finding paralleled the effect of the earlier cortisol study in which a normalization of the stress-related cortisol level was seen.
The grounded subjects - but not the undergrounded ones - showed large and very slow oscillations (between twenty and forty seconds per oscillation, depending on the individual). This type of oscillation has never been seen before in physiology research.
Keep in mind that the body operates electrically, including your muscles. Nerve impulses instruct muscle fibers to contract. The contractions naturally generate electricity and small mechanical vibrations, both of which produce fluctuating frequencies of electrical potential at the surface of the skin. This is the electric "noise" that EMG measures. An oscillation (a slow vibration) means that contractions generate electricity in a more rhythmic pattern. An analogy would be to compare people walking randomly in a crowd without any particular order versus a military unit marching in unison. The unit is more coherent than a random crowd. The influence of Earthing on muscle suggests more orderly and efficient activity.
The result of this study call for an experiment designed to determine whether greater electrical coherence translates to muscle being able to work longer and harder without fatigue. The implications for improved muscle function go far beyond athletes to the possibility that elderly individuals, at a time of life when they normally lose muscle strength, may achieve longer muscle "mileage" as a consequence of incorporating Earthing into their lifestyles. We believe the findings may represent a normal mode of muscle function not hitherto observed simply because no studies before have involved grounded subjects! Such precedence aside, the overall results provided additional proof of reduced stress and tension levels, and a shift in nervous system balance from a stress-stimulated sympathetic mode to a calmer parasympathetic mode. The study was published in a 2006 issue of the journal 'European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics.'
Source: "Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?"