So, one day I chose to use some of the points that I had collected on some old credit card and I bought myself an earthing mat on Amazon. It was only $2 and the following is what I got in the kit: a leather mat, a conductive cover, a wire, an outlet tester, several promotional documents, a book and a DVD.
The contents of the package.
The movie in the DVD utilizes a lot of rhetoric techniques that are often seen in religious/spiritual and new age healing videos. There is beautiful and epic music playing while they attempt to convince you that their product is a fabulous discovery. To me some of these techniques, the ones that appeal to emotion, reduce the credibility of the concept of earthing for health. I can however see how this is a very effective persuasive technique.
The promotional materials, the book, and the DVD.
In my college "Physics for Scientists" class a professor said that for something to be "science" it must meet these two qualifications:
- First, we must make a prediction.
- Second, we must say "how much" is required for the prediction to be occur.
So, if the claim is that "EMFs are bad for health." Then we have to determine the "how much" is necessary to produce an effect.
Frankly I'm quite skeptical to the idea that most electromagnetic fields are dangerous. My understanding is that EMFs (electro magnetic fields) can cause harm when we concentrate waves and up the amplitude (like in the case of microwaves--which vibrate the water and thus result in producing hot steam to cook foods), and when we are exposed to higher frequency waves (which also require lots of energy to produce). Usually the EMFs that tend to be commonly known as harmful, which are high frequency ones, are ultra violet rays (UV rays, such as those from the sun), X Rays, and gamma rays. These three mentioned are very short waves, high frequency, beyond the visible light, and do cause damage in a short time. Infrared, microwaves, radio, and others, are below the visible spectrum. These later waves have less energy, so to make them dangerous requires some effort. Whether these lower wave length rays are dangerous due to prolonged exposure is an interesting idea, and I assume that they are much harder to prove as dangerous.
If you could see the number of waves going through you right now you would be quite scared. Not just our usual electronics, like laptops/tablets/phones, produce EMFs. In physics classes we learn that every place where there is a current (electrons moving) there will be an EMF produced. Therefore, every single wire in your house produces it, distant radio towers produce it, and all power lines do the same. Furthermore, this also means that even your own nervous system, which is an electric system, will produce EMFs. Although, I presume the EMFs that our bodies produce are quite small in comparison to other sources. Nature also produces these fields in many other ways--such as when lightning occurs, volcanoes erupt, the sun sending us that beautiful UV rays, etc.
The electromagnetic spectrum is very interesting, and there are plenty of videos available online that go into deep and entertaining explanation.
The leather grounding mat, cable, and the outlet tester.
The outlet that you should plug the one cable needs to be grounded.
My desk is one place where the grounding mat seems to fit just fine. It could be used as a form of mouse pad.
Since it's hard for me to determine "how much" is required to produce negative effects then I have to remain skeptical. One day I may invest more time into studying the available research--I think that with my current level of education I cannot fully understand all the concepts yet. If earthing/grounding for health purposes is true then having an earthing mat could be a very good thing to have! But, I admonish people to be skeptical because there are plenty of other health scams going around--we have to look at numbers and known how to do maths to be sure that we are not getting scammed! Well, I spent $2 on the kit, so if this is a scam I didn't lose much. ;-)
For those interested in the literature I have listed below the references in the included book. By the way, the title of the book is "Earthing: The most important health discovery ever?" by authors: Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, and Martin Zucker. Enjoy!
Franceschi C, Bonafe M, Valnsin S, et al. "Inflamm-aging: an evolutionary perspective on immunosenescence." Annals New York Academy of Sciences 2006; 908:244-254. (abstract)
Gorman C and Park A. "The fires within." Time, Feb 23, 2004; 38-46. (article)
Meggs W. The Inflammation Cure. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. (book at Amazon)
Oschman JL. "Our place in Nature: reconnecting with the Earth for better sleep." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2003; 10(5): 735-36. (article)
Suckling EE. The Living Battery--An Introduction to Bioelectricity. New York: Macmillan, 1964. (book at Amazon)
Bach JF. "Why is the incidence of autoimmune diseases increasing in the modern world?" Endocrine Abstracts 2008; 16(S3): 1. (abstract)
Bower B. "Slumber's unexplored landscape." Science News Online Sept 25, 1999. (abstract)
Gish OH. "The Natural electric currents in the Earth." Scientific Monthly 1936; 43(1): 47-57. (abstract)
Max Planck Institutes. Research cited in Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis by James L. Oschman (Churchhill Livingstone, 2000): 101.
Stein R. "Is modern life ravaging our immune systems?" Washington Post Mar 4, 2008. (article)
Tavera M. "The sacred mission" (translated by George Verdon) ESD Journal 2008; http://www.esdjournal.com/articles/sacredmission.htm
Williams ER and Heckman SJ. "The local diurnal variation of cloud electrification and the global diurnal variation of negative charge on the earth." Journal of Geophysical Research 1993; 98: 5221-5234. (abstract)
Chapter 3 (none)
Cho HJ, Lavretsky H, Olmstead R, et al. "Sleep disturbance and depression recurrence in community-dwelling older adults: a prospective study." American Journal of Psychiatry 2008; 165(12): 1543-1550. (abstract)
Ghaly M and Teplitz D. "The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain and stress." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2004; 10(5): 767-776. (abstract)
Irwin MR, Wang M, Ribeiro D, et al. "Sleep loss activates cellular inflammatory signaling." Biological Psychiatry 2008; 64(6): 538-540. (abstract)
Ober AC. "Grounding the human body to earth reduces chronic inflammation and related chronic pain." ESD Journal Jul 2003; http://www.esdjournal.com/articles/cober/earth.htm
Ober AC. "Grounding the human body to neutralize bio-electrical stress from static electricity and EMFs." ESD Journal Jan 2000; http://www.esdjournal.com/articles/cober/ground.htm
Simpson N and Dinges DF. "Sleep and inflammation." Nutrition Review 2007; 65(12, part II): S244-52. (abstract)
Amaly W. "A pilot study test of grounding the human body to reduce inflammation." Unpublished data.
Omoigui S. "The origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response: a unifying law of pain." Medical Hypotheses 2007; 69: 70-82. (abstract)
Oschman JL. "Charge transfer in the living matrix." Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 2009; 13: 215-28. (abstract)
Pischinger A. Extracellular Matrix and Ground Regulation: Basis for a Holistic Biological Medicine. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2007 (revised and updated English translation of Das System der Groundregulation: Grundlagen Fur eine ganzheitsbiologische Theorie der Medizin, originally published by K.F. Haug, Heidelberg, 1975). (book on Amazon)
Ridker PM et al. "Inflammation, aspirin, and the risk of cardiovascular-disease in apparently healthy men." New England Journal of Medicine 1997; 336(14): 973-79. (article)
Ridker PM et al. "C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation in the prediction of cardiovascular disease in women." New England Journal of Medicine 2000; 342(12): 836-843. (article)
Salvioli S et al. "Inflamm-aging, cytokines and aging: state of the art, new hypotheses on the role of mitochondria and new perspectives from systems biology." Current Pharmaceutical Design 2006; 12(24): 3161-3171. (abstract)
Applewhite R. "The effectiveness of a conductive patch and conductive bed pad in reducing induced human body voltage via the application of earth ground." European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics 2005; 1: 23-40. (article)
Brown R, Chevalier G, Hill M. "Pilot study on the effect of grounding on delayed onset muscle soreness." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine April 2010. (abstract)
Chevalier G, Mori K, Oschman, JL. "The effect of earthing (grounding) on human physiology." Eruopean Biology and Bioelectromagnetics January 31, 2006; 600-621. (article)
Chevalier G and Mori K. "The effect of earthing on physiology (part II): electrodermal measurements." Subtle Energy Medicine 2007: 18(3): 11-34. (abstract)
Chevalier G. "Changes in pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygenation, perfusion index, skin conductance and their variability induced during and after grounding human subjects for forty minutes." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine January 2010. (abstract)
Feynman R, Leighton RB, and Sands M. The Feynman Lectures on Physics (vol II). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1964: Chapter 9. (book on Amazon)
Jamiesona KS, ApSimona HM, Jamiesona SS, et al. "The effects of electric fields on charged molecules and particles in individual microenvironments." Atmospheric Environment 2007; 41: 5224-5235. (abstract)
Ober AC. "Grounding the human body to neutralize bio-electrical stress from static electricity and EMFs." ESD Journal 2004; http://www.esdjournal.com/articles/cober/ground.htm
Ober AC and Coghill RW. "Does grounding the human body to earth reduce chronic inflammation and related chronic pain?" Presentation at the European Bioelectromagnetics Association Annual Meeting, November 12, 2003, Budapest, Hungary.
Oschman JL. "Can electrons act as antioxidants? a review and commentary." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2007; 13(9): 955-967. (article)
Oschman JL. Perspective. "Assume a spherical cow: the role of free or mobile electrons in bodywork, energetic and movement therapies." Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 2008; 12: 40-57. (abstract)
Oschman JL and Kessler WD. "Energy medicine and anti-aging: from fundamentals to new breakthroughs." Anti-Aging Medical News Winter 2008: 166-171. (article)
Yang J. "No shows? No problem." July 15, 2009; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/no-shoes-no-problem/article1219575/
Chevalier G and Sinatra ST. "Emotional stress, heart rate variability, grounding, and improved autonomic tone." (In press). (article)
Fontes A, Fernandes HP, et al. "Measuring electrical and mechanical properties of red blood cells with double optical tweezers." Journal of Biomedical Optics 2008; 13(1):014001. (abstract)
"Global high blood pressure situation growing dire, but doesn't have to be, new health report says." Medical News Today May 18, 2007; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/71331.php
Shaper AG. "Cardiovascular disease in the tropics." British Medical Journal 1972; 4(5831): 32-35. (abstract)
Puotinen CJ. "Earth energy." Whole Dog Journal January 2008: 17-21. (article)
Beasley JD and Swift J. "The Kellog Report: the impact of nutrition, environment & lifestyle on the health of Americans." Annandale-on-Hudson, NY: Bard College Center, Institute of Health Policy and Practice, 1989. (book on Amazon)
Council of State Governments. "Costs of chronic diseases: what are states facing?" Trends Alert 2006. (article)
Fly Light Aviation Meteorology. "Atmospheric electricity"; http://www.auf.asn.au/meteorology/section11.html
McLafferty S and Wang F. "Rural reversal? Rural-urban disparities in late-stage cancer risk in Illinois." Cancer 2009; 115(12): 2755-2764. (abstract)
Wolinsky FD, Bentler SE, Cook EA, et al. "A 12-year prospective study of stroke risk in older Medicare beneficiaries." BMC Geriatrics May 9, 2009; 9: 17. (abstract)