So what do you do if you cannot walk barefoot in the outdoors? Maybe weather or health prevents you from getting all the health benefits you need for grounding. Fortunately, there is a solution. You can purchase several types of earthing products, including earthing mats that allow you to have a connection to the Earth that works the same way as going barefoot. The question is, do grounding mats actually work?
How Do Grounding Mats Work?
When we are in direct contact with the Earth using our bare skin, we exchange ions with it. This exchange balances the electrical charge in our body until we reach what is known as a steady-state or ground state.
Direct contact with the Earth is always the best way to ground, but earthing tools, such as grounding mats and grounding sleep mats, are meant to replace this contact when you cannot get it. Earthing products mimic the electrical current of the Earth, which carries a negative charge. Stress, exposure to electronics, and staying inside all day cause a buildup of positive ions in the body throughout the day.
Wearing rubber-soled shoes inhibits us from the positive influence of the Earth’s negative ions. When we directly connect to the Earth, the Earth, and your body naturally exchange ions, which reduces the positive charge in your body until they equalize.
Foundations of Earthing
Clint Ober conceived the concept of earthing in the 1990s. At that time, he worked installing cable television systems. To have a clear signal, he knew that you had to place a connected wire into the ground. Otherwise, the system would have static. It would be staticky until the system reached a steady state, and then the signal would be clear.
Ober began experiencing back pain and wondered if connecting ourselves to the Earth with a ground wire would have any benefits. He developed a sleeping mat with a wire that ran outside and connected to a rod in the ground. To his surprise, his back pain soon cleared up. He then conducted experiments on his friends and found that they experienced benefits like deeper sleep, reduced pain, and other benefits.
What Are Earthing Mats?
Earthing mats come from the original idea and sleeping mat principle invented by Clint Ober. They often have a conductive side that connects to a wire. Instead of running the wire out to a rod in the ground, they use the ground wire on the building’s electrical system to connect you to the Earth.
Don’t worry; you will not use the positive and negative prongs, which could cause electrocution. You will use the ground hole only, which is at the bottom of the three-prong outlet. The transference of ions between you and the Earth is passive and occurs naturally. You cannot and should never try to plug the earthing product into an old-fashioned two-prong outlet or to any other hole in the outlet other than the bottom one that is round and stands by itself.
An Earthing mat connects to the negative ions on the Earth using the ground wire of your home’s electrical outlets, but are earthing mats effective? Is this the same as going barefoot? In reality, the same system that grounds the electrical system in your home is identical to direct bare skin contact with the Earth. However, there might be some reduction in the ion flow if there are things like insulation in the way, but this should not be the case in most homes. The ions will flow as freely as they would if you place your skin on the ground.
Health Benefits of Earthing Mats
The practice of earthing is a natural medicine practice. It is not a new method but has been around for several 100 years. The discovery happened when patients with tuberculosis showed improvement after being exposed to the outdoors and sunshine. In modern times, it has received a considerable amount of attention and is backed by several clinical studies. It is beginning to be taken more seriously by those in the medical profession as an adjunct or complement to standard medical practices.
The health benefits of connecting to the Earth are measurable. This critical connection has been shown to improve several health conditions. These include improved sleep and a reduction in chronic pain, lower cortisol levels and stress, better immune response, better heart rate variability, and improved glucose regulation. It has also been shown to improve thyroid regulation and balance other hormones. These are only a few of the benefits that have been associated with the practice of earthing or grounding.
In one study, a group of athletes was assigned to perform exercises on grounding equipment. One group was assigned the real grounding mat, and the other group received mats that looked identical to the grounding mats, only they were not connected to the Earth. The athletes did not know which group they had been assigned to before this study. The athletes were then asked to do a series of squats. Those not on the genuine grounding mats tired out much earlier than those on the placebo. In addition, those on the genuine grounding mats experienced less inflammation, faster recovery, and a more robust immune system response as measured by blood tests.
The use of Earthing products is showing to affect exercise outcomes. They are also showing to positively affect mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. The health benefits of connecting to the Earth are currently the topic of many studies in environmental medicine.
How to Use Grounding Mat
It is essential to read the instructions on any earthing product that you purchased. There are many products available on the market. They can have different features and materials, and the uses are slightly different. There are general instructions that apply to most, but you should always read the directions for your particular mat before you use it the first time.
When you receive the package, it will contain the mat or an earthing connection sheet for your bed. There are also earthing bands available that you wear on your arms and legs. Products are also available that allow your pets to experience the benefits of grounding too. They will also have a wall plate and connection ground rod. Some come with an earthing connection tester and a splitter cord.
You should always read the instructions and ensure that the system works with your house voltage. In the United States, they should be 120 volts, but in European houses, currents are often much higher. Plugging a unit designed for US voltage could cause an electrical fire or potential shock hazard. Make sure that you purchased one that rates for your country and the outlet you plan to use. You should not plug them into an outlet rated for 220 volts, such as an outlet designed for a major appliance.
How much time should you spend on a grounding mat?
You cannot overdose on the Earth’s energy. Once your body reaches a steady state, it will not be able to take on an unhealthy amount of negative ions from the Earth. When you use the mats according to the instructions, there are no known health concerns associated with them.
How Do You Clean an Earthing Grounding Mat?
Wash grounding mats as you need to use a non-corrosive cleaner. You can use a mild detergent, but never use bleach or other oxidizing agents, such as ammonia or harsh cleaning products. It is also recommended that you do not apply lotions or oils to any part of your body that will contact the mat or sheets during use. Many people place earthing sheets underneath the regular sheet set for comfort, but this is not necessary.
How do you connect earthing mats?
To use the mat, connect the cord to the connector port on the product. You can then plug your connecting cable into the ground plug of your electrical outlet. You cannot use the mat in a two-prong outlet or on any outlet that does not have a ground wire connected. If you are uncertain about the ground wires in your home or office, it is best to consult an electrician to make sure that you are not plugging them into the live wire by mistake.
Once the grounding mat is plugged in, you can place it under the keyboard where your wrist or forearm makes contact. You can also put it under your desk and place your bare feet on it. It is a good idea to try to get the most bare-skin contact with the mat as possible.
How do I know if my grounding mat is working?
Many earthing mats come with a tester that tells you when the connection to the Earth is working. Once you have tested the connection and know everything is working correctly, you are free to put your bare skin against it.
Which side of the grounding mat goes up?
Earthing mats have a conductive side that has a shiny appearance. They also usually have a sticker to indicate which side goes up. This connector is usually on the side that faces down.
Does grounding work through clothes?
Just like the Earth’s energy, grounding works best when you have direct contact with the mat. Grounding mats can work through natural fiber clothing or cotton sheets, but the effect is not as good. Damp clothing or moisture from the body can help improve conductivity.
Can I leave my grounding mat plugged in?
You should always use your grounding mat responsibly, just like you would any other electrical device. Keep the cord away from children and pets. You should always follow the directions regarding whether you can leave your particular product plugged in all the time or whether you should disconnect it after each use. Check with the specific manufacturer.
Other Benefits of Grounding Mats
We have already discussed the health benefits of earthing and using grounding mats on physical and mental health outcomes. They are an excellent solution for the elderly or those who cannot get outside due to mobility issues. People are using them for their pets, and they are great for inclement weather, working in an office, or a city environment.
The key is to get as much time on the mat as possible. That way you alleviate the daily stresses, so they don’t build up. You can use your grounding mat while watching television, surfing the Internet, or reading a book. Using a grounding mat while you sleep is an excellent way to get more grounding time into your day.
What to Look For in a Grounding Mat?
When purchasing a grounding product, it is always good to make sure it is made of sturdy, good-quality materials. You should also make sure that it is Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) approved for safety. They come in a wide variety of materials, sizes and have different features. It is always a good idea to read reviews about any mat that you intend to buy. You can find many kinds of earthing products. The most important factor is finding one from a good manufacturer with a solid reputation.
Earthing Mat Dangers/Are They safe?
For the most part, earthing mats are safe for most people. However, some people should consult their physician before using one. People who are taking blood thinners, anti-inflammatories, or thyroid medication should consult with their doctor. You should also consult your physician if you are on any medication just to be sure.
If you have never tried earthing before, it is usually a good idea to start slowly and then increase the amount of time as you get used to it. Some people have experienced dizziness or nausea when they first start using them. These symptoms are usually mild and will go away after using the mat for a week or two. It is usually recommended that you try to work up to a minimum of 30 minutes per day or a little longer. There is nothing wrong with sleeping an entire night on an Earthing mat once you are used to it.
Earthing mats connect to your home electrical outlet, so you should always use safety precautions. For instance, you should not use the product while bathing or around water. You should also make sure to keep it safe from pets who could chew it or puncture it with their nails.
You should never leave small children alone around an earthing mat due to the cord and conductive material that could pose a hazard to them. It is not recommended that you use grounding devices during thunderstorms. You should always read the directions and follow any safety precautions listed by the manufacturer.
Earthing products are an excellent way to practice grounding when you cannot walk barefoot outside. They come in many different sizes and shapes, and there is significant clinical evidence to support the changes they produce in the body. As with any other product, it is always a good idea to research before purchasing one. Many people report improvements in sleep, mood, and a reduction in pain in as little as a week. If you have not tried it before, this is something that you might want to consider to help you feel better and get the most out of your life.