following is an article reported on a subject which may
be of interest to our readers. The paper has not been reviewed
for its validity by the technical staff of the ESD Journal.
In some cases we may have either supporting or desenting
the human body to earth reduces chronic inflammation
and related chronic pain
by A. Clinton Ober
The purpose of this paper is
to present evidence that grounding the human body to earth
reduces chronic inflammation and related chronic pain. More
specifically, the evidence presented demonstrates that,
when the body is electrically grounded to the earth, the
direct current (DC) voltage of the earth creates, in effect,
a natural electron shield (faraday cage) on the surface
of the body. This natural shield then prevents environmental
50-60 Hz electric fields from creating electron disturbances
in the body that elevate free radical levels and promote
chronic inflammation and related chronic pain.
Chronic inflammation and free radicals
The normal inflammatory response is, in part,
a burst of free radicals produced by the immune system in
response to an injury. This natural production of free radicals
occurs to prevent infection and to promote healing at a
site of injury.
In simple terms, a free radical
is an electrically charged particle. This electrical charge
occurs because the free radical is missing an electron.
To become stabilized, a free radical must "steal"
its missing electron from another molecule. When the electron
is stolen from an invader (e.g., bacteria), the invader's
molecular structure is damaged, which leads to its death
(as intended by the immune system). When there are no invaders
left to destroy and when there is a lack of electrons available
from antioxidants to stabilize excess free radicals, free
radicals then turn to the only other source from which they
can steal electrons - healthy cells. The resulting damage
to and death of healthy cells, from loss of electrons to
free radicals, further signals the immune system for additional
help. This sets up a continuous autoimmune response (creating
more free radicals), which promotes chronic inflammation
and tissue damage, commonly referred to as oxidative stress.
Chronic overproduction of free
radicals by the immune system results in inflammatory-related
disease such as arthritis, arteriosclerosis, heart attack,
Type II diabetes, lupus, MS, asthma, inflammatory bowel
disease, etc. A classic example of the damage caused by
excess free radical production is the chronic swelling and
joint degeneration of arthritis.
A chronic inflammatory condition
can only stop when the excess of electrically charged free
radicals in the area of inflammation is stabilized and the
attack on healthy cells ends.
radical levels are increased by exposure to environmental
It is known that exposure to
environmental 50-60 Hz electromagnetic fields increases
concentrations of free radicals, lengthens their lifespan,
and enhances the probability that they can do damage to
the body (Bonnafous 1999, Brezitskaia 2000, Cannistraro
1980, Eveson 2000, Fernie 2001, Fiorani 1997, Hanel, 2000,
Jajte 2000, Koana 1997, Roy 1995, Simko 2001(A), Simko 2001(B),
Scaiano 1995, Scaiano 1994(A), Scaiano 1994(B), Supino 2001,
Varani 2000, Yoshikawa 2000, Zmyslony 1998).
The human body, in modern times,
is most chronically exposed to common household and workplace
50-60 Hz electric fields that continuously radiate from
all electrical wiring and plugged in cords. When the body
is insulated from the earth and is in the proximity of an
electric field, the body becomes a dipole antenna that measurably
attracts an electric field's lines of force. This causes
the lines of force to become denser between the body and
the electric field's source. The known effect of an electric
field on the body is that it excites (disturbs) electrons
of the body and creates unnatural induced voltage in the
body. (US Dept of Energy, DOE/EE-0040) (On The Physics of
Fields, Dolbear, Science, Volume 14, Issue 360, 442-444.)
Using a voltmeter referenced to earth, this disturbance
of the body's electrons is measurable on the surface of
the body as 50-60 Hz voltage.
shielding effect of the earth's natural electric field
It is common knowledge (and
demonstrable with a voltmeter) that physical contact with
the earth maintains the human body at the natural electrical
potential (voltage) of the earth. When the body is electrically
coupled with the earth, the DC electrons of the earth and/or
its related electric field, then residing on the surface
of the body, absorb the excitation effects of 50-60 Hz environmental
electric fields. By transferring (offsetting) the attraction
of an electric field from the body (which has a limited
supply of electrons) to the earth (which has an infinite
supply of electrons), excitation of the body's electrons
is significantly reduced. When the body is shielded with
the DC of the earth, the electrons of the body are then
protected from being disturbed and held "hostage"
as 50-60 Hz induced body voltage and away from their normal
functions. Shielding, via grounding, allows the body to
have all of its electrons available to carry on their normal
functions in the body, which include the stabilization of
excess free radicals. [The shielding of electronic cables
and electronic equipment by grounding their housing to the
earth is widely used as a method to prevent internal electromagnetic
interference - EMI.]
naturally grounded before modern times
It is not widely known that
on the surface of the earth lies an invisible flow of electrons
that encompasses the entire earth. Further, this natural
flow of electrons and its related electric field also exists
on the surface of all conductive objects (including people,
plants and animals) in physical contact with the earth.
The earth's electron current flow and its electric field
also pulsate at approximately 10 Hz (similar to alpha brain
waves) and follow a rhythmic 24-hour circadian rise and
fall in amplitude. For example, as measured in Tucson, Arizona,
the earth's current is weakest just before midnight, rises
rapidly at 8AM, reaches a peak just before noon, decreases
till 3PM, reaches a secondary peak between 5PM and 6PM,
and again drops to near zero at midnight. This diurnal pattern
is similar at any location on earth relative to the daily
revolution of the earth. (The Natural Electric Currents
of the Earth, Scientific Monthly, Vol 43, issue 1:47-57.)
significance of the earth having a natural pulsating voltage
is the fact that humans, before modern times, lived in direct
physical contact with the earth. The human body at that
time naturally conducted and maintained the earth's voltage
on the surface of the skin and throughout the respiratory
and gastrointestinal tracts (which are conductive). Today
humans wear synthetic soled shoes and live in environments
that electrically disconnect (insulate) the body from the
earth. As a result the body no longer maintains the natural
voltage of the earth on its surface and no longer resides
under the protective umbrella of the earth's direct current
the body to earth reduces chronic inflammation
demonstrate the effects of restoring the natural direct
current and electric field of the earth to the surface of
the body, individuals with long-term chronic inflammation
were grounded to earth. Two methods of grounding the body
are presented below.
A conductive patch is placed on the body near site of chronic
inflammation. The patch is connected via a fuse-protected
conductive wire attached to a ground rod placed directly
in the earth. (Examples below show typical results.)
(Photo above shows subject with chronic inflammationin
knee. Conductive patch placed on subject's knee. Ground
rod (photo at right) placed directly in the earth.)
After: 7 nights using ground patch
(Subject (age 65) with chronic pain and inflammation in
ankle, (photo at left), reported that significant relilef
from pain occurred within minutes of grounding via the patch.
After grounding for 7 nights, (photo at right), inflammation
disappeared and circulation significantly improved.)
Diabetes lower leg After:
7 nights using ground plate
Subject (age 47) with Type II diabetes (photo at left).
After 3 nights of grounding, subject reported significant
relief from pain of neuro-pathy and improved sleep. After
7 nights (photo at right), reduction in redness and inflammation
demonstrated significant improvement in circulation. Subject
also reported improvement in energy levels and overall sense
of "increased well-being".
A conductive-grounded bed pad (photo at right). Bed pad
is placed on top of mattress (fitted sheet goes on top of
pad). Bed pad is connected via a fuse-protected conductive
wire attached to a ground rod placed directly in the earth.
methodology #1, localized grounding (grounded electrode
patch placed near site of inflammation) provides a path
for the direct current of the earth to flow to a site of
inflammation. The visual results produced by localized grounding
(shown in photos #4 and #6) demonstrate that restoring the
DC of the earth to the surface of the body stabilizes normal
electron transfers (neutralizing excess free radicals) and
methodology #2 (sleeping on a ground plane such as a conductive
grounded bed pad placed under a bed sheet) also stabilizes
excess free radicals. When lying on an earthed ground plane,
and insulated from direct contact with it by a sheet, the
body does not conduct the DC of the earth but instead electrically
couples with and conducts the DC electric field radiating
from the earthed ground plane. This creates a natural shielding
effect (faraday cage) on the surface of the body that prevents
environmental 50-60 Hz electric fields from disturbing normal
electron transfers in the body that otherwise elevate free
a recent pilot study, conducted to identify the biological
effects of grounding the human body during sleep, this second
grounding method (sleeping on a grounded bed pad) was utilized.
of AC electric field induced voltage measured on subjects'
bodies while lying in their own beds
a six-week period, eight female subjects were grounded to
the earth during sleep. Conductive bed pads were placed
on their own beds (under the fitted sheet) and were connected
to a fuse-protected ground wire attached to a ground rod
that was placed directly in the earth outdoors.
electric field induced body voltage (from exposure to common
electrical wiring and cords near the bed), created on subjects'
bodies while in bed, averaged 2.9 volts pre-grounding. Levels
were significantly reduced, averaging 0.004 volts, when
subjects slept on the earthed bed pads.
circadian secretion of hormone cortisol, a known biomarker
associated with stress and chronic inflammation, was measured
in subjects pre- and post-grounding.
Cortisol measurements by Sabre Sciences Laboratory of
San Diego, CA using a standard radioimmunoassay
1: Normal circadian cortisol profile
Fig. 2: Test subjects' circadian cortisol profiles pre-sleeping
Fig. 3: Test subjects' circadian cortisol profiles sleeping
unstressed individuals the normal 24-hour circadian cortisol
secretion profile follows a predictable pattern, lowest
at 12 midnight and highest at 8AM (see figure 1). Abnormal
cortisol secretion during sleep is associated with sleep
disorders and chronic inflammation, and can also contribute
to abnormal glucose levels, decreased immune response, mood
disturbances, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain,
fatigue, decreased bone density, autoimmune disease, high
blood pressure and heart disease.
pre- and post-grounding charts (figures 2 and 3) illustrate
the significant stabilization of cortisol secretion as a
result of sleeping grounded, with a resynchronization of
the groups' circadian profile, much more in alignment with
the normal circadian cortisol secretion profile. Seven of
the eight females had a reduction in high to out-of-range
nighttime cortisol, averaging a 53.7% reduction, and six
of the eight subjects had a rise (averaging 34.3%) in 8AM
levels to more normal levels. In the two subjects whose
8AM cortisol levels were abnormally high, their cortisol
levels dropped 38%.
were also asked to record their subjective experiences of
sleep, pain and emotional stress throughout the study period.
Significant improvements in sleep as well as alleviation
of emotional stress (irritability, anxiety and depression),
were reported. Additionally all types of chronic pain were
reported to be significantly reduced, indicating that inflammation
levels in subjects' bodies decreased as a result of sleeping
grounded (see case study reports below).
complete study, The biological effects of grounding the
human body during sleep, as measured by cortisol levels
and subjective reporting of sleep, pain and stress, Maurice
Ghaly, M.D. and Dale Teplitz, M.A., will be published late
2003 / Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine.]
age 53 - Post Menopausal
Difficulty going to sleep
Wake up 2-3 times a night for last 3 years
Muscle cramps in legs
Chronic muscle pain through-out body (myofacial)
End of Study Reports
"Fall asleep faster and easier"
"My neck pain is lessened"
"My leg and foot cramps have lessened"
"Arm and lower back pain were gone by the very first
"TMJ problem significantly improved"
"Reduction in hot flashes"
age 24 - Menstrual cycle regular
Trouble sleeping for 17 years; takes a long time to fall
asleep; wake up after several hours and can't sleep again;
wake up exhausted
PMS: migraines one week before period
Menstrual cramps, mood swings, bloating, irritability, depression,
weight gain, hot flashes
Digestion: bloating, nausea, diarrhea, gas, constipation
End of Study Reports
"By the third night, decreased time to go to sleep
and slept through the night"
"Able to fall back asleep within a few minutes after
waking up and no more nightmares"
"Wake up refreshed instead of exhausted"
"No more daily headaches"
"Re: PMS - decreased food cravings, bloating, depression
and hot flashes"
"Digestion improved with less bloating, constipation
age 52 - Post Menopausal
Sleep very lightly
Wake up feeling tense several times during the night
Wake up feeling tired in morning; feel tired all day
Pain in left hip, sporadic for several years
Allergies (food and airborne) since age 13
End of Study Reports
"Have felt more rested and feel like I need an hour
less sleep per night"
"Stopped having any pain at all in my left hip"
"First few days, I experienced tingling and heat in
areas of my previous physical injuries - similar to an acupuncture
treatment. After approx. 3 days, these vague feelings subsided"
"Allergies have definitely lessened"
"I noticed that I stopped clenching my jaw at night"
age 42 - Menstrual cycle regular
Trouble falling asleep; light restless sleep
Waking feeling tired; also, trouble waking up from naps
Fibromyalgia since 1992 car accident; a lot of joint pain
- arms, legs, ankles
Gastrointestinal upset - gas
End of Study Reports
"The general quality of my sleep improved - not immediate,
but a gradual change"
"Sleeping much deeper"
"A lot less fatigue because of less pain"
"My fibromyalgia has improved considerably because
of diminished pain and fatigue; the joint pain is gone with
occasional pain in the left arm"
"I am feeling much better, I haven't been sick at all"
age 44 - Menstrual cycle regular, periods heavy
Trouble sleeping; wake up 2-3 times each night with physical
Numb fingers left hand 4 months, carpal tunnel
PMS: bad cramps, painful heavy periods and uterine fibroids
many years, breast tenderness, mood swings, weight gain
Hot flashes at night [or may be night sweats]
History of anxiety attacks
End of Study Reports
"Gradually sleeping better"
"Two episodes of waking up between 4:30-5:30 AM with
anxiety that subsides by early afternoon.
"Less numbness in hand and fingers, especially at night;
not needing to wearing a brace at night"
"Menstrual period not as severe; cramps not as strong"
"Feeling better physically and emotionally"
age 51 - Post Menopausal (last period one year ago)
Some trouble falling asleep
Wake up from hip pain; also wake up from a hot flash between
4 and 5 AM
Wake up with a headaches every morning (last 3 months)
Wake up tired and feeling groggy (last 3 months)
Hot flashes all day (for one year) as well as during sleep
Hip pain, possible arthritis (1-2 years)
End of Study Reports
"Disappointed that I did not sleep any better"
"No significant change except for less occurrence of
age 31 - Irregular menstrual cycle; period ceased for one
year and restarted 3 weeks prior to study start date, then
ceased again during study
Problems getting to sleep
Trouble sleeping, discomfort from neck, toss and turn till
Feel unrested in the morning
PMS: bloating, breast tenderness, weight gain, acne (during
Allergic to some foods (last 2 years)
Digestive problems: gas, constipation, bloating, heartburn
of Study Reports
"At first my body responded quickly
by feeling completely relaxed. But due to stress (planning
my wedding) I then went through several weeks of soreness
in my neck. But I've noticed I sleep a lot more comfortably
overall than I have in the past couple of years."
"Deeper relaxation once I get to sleep"
"Digestive system is getting better…less stomach pain
age 50 - Menstrual cycle regular
Trouble falling asleep since childhood
Trouble waking up; fatigue
Muscle aches and leg cramps - many years
Lower back pain and intestinal pressure due to uterine fibroids
PMS: fibrocystic breast tenderness, bloating, cramps, irritability,
mood swings, food cravings
TMJ causing occasional headaches
End of Study Reports
"Less stress about going to sleep after a lifetime's
worth of sleep disorders"
"Somewhat less trouble falling asleep
"Have gradually woken up feeling more refreshed whereas
I almost always felt fatigued"
"Leg cramps almost completely gone"
"Less backache and pain"
"Less PMS and even less fibrocystic; less cramps and
irritability with PMS"
"More even-tempered and greater sense of well-being;
a low-grade, background feeling of stress I've always had
seems to be diminished"
"TMJ greatly reduced"
evidence presented in this paper demonstrates that grounding
the human body to earth reduces chronic inflammation and
related chronic pain
to the modern day loss of natural grounding (wearing synthetic
soled shoes and living in environments that insulate the
body from the earth), exposure to 50-60 Hz electric fields
creates measurable induced voltage in the body. This unnatural
voltage consists of electrons of the body that are "held
hostage" during exposure and held away from their normal
functions. In effect, this creates a shortage of electrons
in the body in terms of normal functioning. This results
in increased free radical levels that promote chronic inflammation
(oxidative stress) and related chronic pain. Grounding the
human body to earth shields it from environmental electric
fields and restores the body's natural bio-electrical homeostasis.
findings support this conclusion, as follows: when the human
body is grounded (1) induced body voltage is significantly
reduced; (2) cortisol, a well-known biomarker for stress
and inflammation, normalizes; (3) test subjects experience
a significant reduction in chronic inflammation and related
chronic pain; and, (4) current research (see reference list
below) confirms that exposure to environmental 50-60 Hz
electromagnetic fields increases free radicals and lengthens
their life span in the body.
studies are now underway at the California Institute for
Human Science to further identify and quantify the physiological
effects of grounding the body to the earth. These findings
will be reported when available.
thanks to SPIWestek (www.spiwestek.com) and to Lead-Lok
Biomedical (www.leadlok.com) for their technical assistance
in the development of the personal grounding systems used
in these studies.
- Frequently asked questions regarding personal grounding
Can I ground myself to a home electrical outlet ground or
to a water pipe?
No! Personal ground systems must be connected directly to
the earth. All home electrical ground systems and water
systems to which they are bonded carry measurable induced
voltage from adjacent hot wires. In reference to earth,
induced voltage measured on water systems and electrical
ground systems averages 400+ millivolts AC. Further, these
ground systems also conduct transient fields from the grid
and associated home electrical systems and appliances.
At work I wear a grounded ESD bracelet. Does that produce
the same grounding effect?
Conventional ESD bracelets are primarily used for dissipating
static electricity created on a person's body (from clothing
and synthetic materials) to prevent damage to sensitive
electronic components. During preliminary investigation,
we tested these products for use in our studies and found
the 1 Meg resistor, built into existing ESD ground cords,
prevents 60 Hz electric field induced body voltage from
dropping below 300-400 millivolts AC. In our studies we
found the most beneficial health results of grounding were
achieved at levels below 10 millivolts. We could only reduce
AC induced body voltage below that level with the use of
a 10 mA fuse.
measure 60 Hz electric field induced body voltage, place
a ground rod in the earth and run a ground wire into bedroom,
connect to voltmeter set on AC. Lie down on bed, make skin
contact with positive lead (at any point on body, EKG electrode
patch can be used for skin contact.), reading will display
60 Hz electric field induced body voltage. To measure effects
of grounding body with a conventional ESD bracelet, run
a second ground wire from the earth and connect it to the
ESD bracelet coil cord and place bracelet on arm. Lie down
in same location and re-measure body voltage. Reading will
show that 1 Meg resistor holds induced voltage on the body.
Remove bracelet/coil cord and ground body directly, induced
body voltage will measurably drop to near zero in reference
to the earth.]
What about protection from an electrical event?
In the medical and electro-static discharge (ESD) industries,
there are well-established guidelines for personal grounding
safety. Those guidelines, used for protection from an electrical
event, are incorporated into the devices used in the above
studies. The electrode patch and conductive mattress pad
ground systems contain inline UL approved 10 mA fuses. The
conductive wire used in ground systems is a 10-strand tinsel
RFI configuration with an aggregate 20-gauge surface rating.
The grounded conductive top fabric of the bed pads is constructed
using dissipative carbon fibers with a 1x105 surface resistance.
This means the conductive carbon fibers dissipate charge
at a rate of approx. 2.5 mA, or less, which is 4 x lower
then fuse rating.
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ã 2003. A. Clinton Ober. All rights reserved
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