Friday, June 7, 2013

Debunking Earthing

A few days ago I was alerted to a short video on Youtube about something called "Earthing", which is something to do about humans getting energy from the Earth (and I'm not talking about geothermic energy either).

Here is the short video that I watched:

Now the first claim in this video says this:

  • So we all know the sun's energy is crucial for good health.

This is true. The sun's light is necessary for the production of Vitamin D inside of our skin, which is necessary for our bodies. Of course to much exposure can also led to the production of skin cancer too...

The video then goes on to claim this:

  • But did you know that the Earth's energy is also crucial for good health? When we make direct contact with the surface of the Earth, our bodies receive a charge of energy that makes our bodies feel better, fast. This is called "Earthing."

Now this is where we get into the pseudoscience part.

Human beings do not receive energy from the Earth, and there are no studies that show this. In fact, other then from eating and drinking food, we can't receive energy by any actual means.

If you are outside and you "feel" like you are receiving energy from the Earth, what you're experiencing is not the receiving of energy from the Earth, but a placebo effect in which you only think you're receiving energy from the Earth.

The next claim in the video states that:

  • Throughout history people were always "naturally" absorbing the Earth's energy, but in today's world we live most of our lives inside, and even when we do go outside, we usually wear shoes, which prevent us from connecting.

Back in the "good old days" working outside was far more common then it is today. This is because most people tended to have jobs that required working outside. It was also far more common for people back then to die in their 40's and 50's than it is today as well.

People simply didn't live as long in the past as they do today. The reason for that is because of a combination disease and the occasional lack of food. While a lack of food could be a hard thing to prevent back then, one of the things that helped prevent some diseases then (and now) however is shoes. Shoes help prevent us from cutting our feet on things like sticks and rock, and then getting infections from stepping in bacteria and parasite infested water and animal droppings.

Besides all of this, there is still no proof what so ever that we have ever been able to absorb energy from the Earth through our skin.

This claim makes it appear that we better off in the past when more of us were barefooted, when in reality the exact opposite is true.

The next claim then goes on to say:

  • So of course we often feel drained and achy, because we go for days, or even years, without ever touching the Earth.

This is implying that people back in the "good old days" didn't get tired at the end of a work day. This is not true at all. In fact people tended to work themselves to death back then.

Besides that, all people have varying amounts of stamina. Some people can work from dawn to dusk and not get tired, some people can only work for a couple of hours before they feel like they need a nap. Touching the Earth has nothing to do with how we feel during the day.

The following claim made says this:

  • But it doesn't have to be this way. You can start receiving the benefits of Earthing by going barefoot outside. The more time, the better! This alone can be life changing, and it's free!

Really?! Because I've gone outside barefoot many times, and it's never been life changing to me...

Standing out in your yard barefoot for a few hours is not going to change your life. That's just wishful thinking. It takes a lot more then just standing outside barefooted for a person to change their life.

The final claim made states:

  • And if you love feeling great while Earthing outdoors, now you can start Earthing indoors too! Simply connect your Earthing product into the third hole of an outlet, which directly connects to the existing ground rod of your home. This connection lets you safely and conveniently receive Earth's energy from where ever you are, whether that be working, or playing, and especially while you're sleeping, because while Earthing you'll sleep deeper, feel more refreshed in the morning, and wake up looking terrific! And the best part, any one can benefit from this life changing discovery!

It figures. Ultimately they are trying to sell you something.

Feeling refreshed in the morning isn't going to result from sleeping on some special "pad" that's suppose to send energy from the Earth into you body (in fact I imagine if that was to actually happen, it might keep a person awake). It actually has allot to do with your comfort level, which can be affected by multiple factors (the mattress, room temperature, noise, how dark it is) and also much sleep you actually get.

I've checked out the website listed at the end of the video (, and the only things that they are selling are some (in my opinion) over priced "Earthing" pads, some over priced grounding rods (which most people won't even need in first place, as most of the time the grounding holes in the power outlets tend to be grounded), and of course a book on Earthing.

Now also on the website itself there is a lot of inform in the FAQ section about how Earthing (and the products being sold) allegedly works, along with a testimonials section. What the website does not provide is a peer reviewed, scientific study stating that Earthing itself even works, more or less that the products being sold will give you more energy.

The only thing that Earthing in itself seems to be is a bunch New Age woo and energy woo.


  1. One of the main backers of this, Dr Steven Sinatra, has produced this...

  2. Also, the Earthing system isn't designed to deliver energy to your body. It is meant to equalize your energetic frequency with that of the earth, by delivering free electrons which bring a positive charge to 0.

    1. It doesn't matter what it is suppose to do, the fact is it doesn't work...

    2. Try it before you dismiss it. You don't have to buy anything except a few parts at a hardware store. Here are the instructions:

  3. Actually it does work. I had my doubts too so I tried it for free by walking barefoot outside on a lawn (with no pesticide treatments) 3x a day for about 5 min each. I felt better, much better. Still I though maybe it was something else or even a temporary placebo effect. Then it rained for 2 days straight. I was achy again. As soon as it was dry I commenced my routine and felt much better after 2 sessions.
    But you don't have to take my word for it. You can try it yourself. In fact you can even test your frequency change with a body voltage meter.

    1. Just because you believed that it did. What you experienced is what's called the placebo effect (I.E. you felt better because you believed it would make you feel better). As for the voltage meter it doesn't mean anything.

    2. Your 'frequency' change? Do you know what voltmeters measure?

  4. I'm very lucky to have found your blog. I'm sure this will be useful for my report about the holistic approach to cancer treatment. I chose this topic for our school thesis because of it's growing following and also because of my curiosity with Natural Science. Anyway, I'm trying to give my report an unbiased approach, so if you don't mind I'd like to include this article for my paper's list of references.

  5. Sure works for me! Been sleeping on an earthing mat for over two months and no longer awake at 3:00 am. That alone makes it welk worth it.

  6. The thing is, Locke, you haven't refuted or even addressed the theory of grounding. Without this the "it's the placebo effect" argument could be used to refute any health claim. I'm not a 'grounder'; I came here trying to find out what the explanation is (if any). Presumably something along the lines of the body being charged relative to earth and thus free electrons will flow to or from the earth if suitable contact is made (e.g. walking barefoot in wet grass). There may or may not be a link between inflammation and charge on the skin. Chronic inflammation is known to be bad for health. Or similar.

    1. Actually the placebo effect argument can be used on a health claim that ha been tested and proven under controlled conditions not to work. This link might help explain it better:

  7. Grounding is an electrical phenomenon. Being an electrical engineer, I have a few thoughts on this:

    A bed is probably not going to be truly insulated (un-grounded) unless one takes pains to make it so, such as suspending the bed frame on plastic furniture pads, and keeping those insulating pads squeaky clean. Mattresses and bed sheets are not perfect insulators, so bed grounding can be assured by simply attaching a wire from the middle outlet pin to the bed frame. The tiny electrical current seeping through the poorly conducting mattress and bed sheets is sufficient to make the electrical potential of the bed occupant identical to the surrounding earth.

  8. I stood in my wet lawn and used a grounding pad for weeks. I felt no change with my sore knees or any other improvements. This is bunk.

  9. I could debunk the debunk. I won't go into my theory of why I think this Earthing thing may have some merit. I don't know if the Earthing thing works or not. To quote a famous line from a famous movie... "Frankly my dear, I don't give a dam*." However, I will add my two cents concerning the placebo effect. If it works... what's wrong with that? If you tell me the sugar pill you are about to give me is a potent pain reliever and will treat my migraine and it does make my migraine go away... how is that a bad thing? The placebo effect can work and does in some cases.

  10. While it's possible Earthing is a hoax because of the apparent lack of evidence, your counterclaim that there's nothing to this theory seems also to lack evidence. You say, "Human beings do not receive energy from the Earth, and there are no studies that show this. In fact, other then from eating and drinking food, we can't receive energy by any actual means." I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "actual means," but I think you mean through the skin and other tissues (other than sunlight). On the other hand I do believe we can receive electromagnetic energy, hence the concern about cell phones and living near power lines. Does the earth produce its own electromagnetic energy? I think so. What'e your evidence for your claims? You refer to the "placebo" effect. Have there been studies on this subject, which have been verified through clinical trials with the technology in question AND placebos that show there is no difference between subjects using this technique and those not using it? Can you please cite those studies? Otherwise, your skepticism is founded on a similar lack of reason. I would like to know if "Earthing" is effective or not, and am looking for real science one way or the other, not just opinion. Thank you.

    1. I agree - the author of this article brings no actual science to the table. I can't tell you if "earthing" or "grounding" actually has an effect on inflammation, but from my little experience with chemistry I don't understand the author's claim that we can't receive energy from the earth. We are constantly transferring energy between our bodies and the earth and many other objects/people. Static electricity is just one simple example. I know everyone reading this had experienced a static electricity shock, so to claim that you haven't received energy from the earth is asinine.

      Oh btw, I totally wasn't paying attention to whether my foot wire was attached to the ground and just assumed it was. I didn't feel anything after a while so I had to check. Sure enough, it wasn't. I realized that this is also something I can objectively feel. Also, it makes sense that the blood flow they tested works. I have more libido after keeping my body at a constant capacity. It does make sense that earthing has potential to effect the body because of the nature changing electric charges are elementary to chemical reactions which are fundamental to blood function.

    3. Two words, Null Hypothesis, it's a thing.

  11. Excellent article debunking the earthing/grounding myth. If you feel that grounding helps you feel better, that's absolutely fine, do it. But don't kid yourself that it's anything other than a placebo effect.
    Russell Eaton, author of "Don't Eat Your Broccoli: The Shocking Truth",