Do Grounding Mats Provide Any Real Health Benefits?
The science behind grounding mats is a bit of a mixed bag, but they're thought to help with managing stress, pain, and more.
Something as simple as taking off your shoes and standing in the grass to reap health benefits might sound too good to be true — even meditation requires a certain amount of effort to gleam results — but, there are some evidences that shows simply standing on the earth with bare feet, a practice known as grounding or earthing, can have real improvements on how the body manages stress, anxiety, and even inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
What is grounding?
"The earth is like a battery. High up in the ionosphere is where the earth is positively charged and, on the surface, the charge is negative. The human body is also a battery.Essentially, when you directly connect to the earth, you tap into the natural rhythmic pulsations flowing through and emanating through the earth's surface.
What are the purported health benefits of grounding?
One 2011 study from Gaétan Chevalier, Ph.D. and Stephen, found that after observing 27 participants, those who participated in man-made grounding methods (specifically, placing adhesive electrode patches on their hands and feet) for 40 minutes had improvements in heart rate variability (HRV) after grounding. This translated to a slower heart rate and reduced anxiety and stress. The study authors concluded that "grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events."
If that bold promise gives you pause, your skepticism is understandable.
"Electromagnetic grounding has no role in a positive physiologic change in the body," explains Satjit Bhusri, M.D., F.A.C.C., founder of Upper East Side Cardiology. "The only true example of human grounding is lightning striking the body and using it as a condition to ground to the earth. I would be highly cautious with experimental electricity transmission as a means to a positive impact on health."
How do grounding mats work?
If climate or lifestyle doesn't make it easy for you to practice grounding outside in the traditional sense, there is a way for you to mimic the effects indoors. Enter: grounding mats. A grounding mat is designed to mimic the effects of grounding outdoors by plugging into the ground port of home outlets. So, you're not plugging into an electrical outlet, but rather electrons from the earth passed through the ground wire of the home. Don't worry, most grounding mats come with instructions on how to find the ground port of your home. A grounding mat should be "a non-toxic, mostly carbon-based that looks like a big mouse pad," says Step. "When you touch your skin directly to it, it's almost as if you're touching the earth. The mat is conductive, and it's also connected directly to the earth if you set it up correctly. You can plug it into an outlet that only touches the ground wiring in your home or apartment."
So, should you try grounding or grounding mats?
Despite promising research, there is limited evidence of the impact of grounding whether outside or indoors using a grounding mat) on your health and wellbeing. But, while more research is needed, there's no harm in giving it a try for yourself.