Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by ask2266, Aug 29, 2013.
I gave mine to a member, but she doesn't come around any more.
Did he/she say whether it helped them?
Thanks for that, Kina. I was about to go into a basic physics lesson on static electricity, the need for a potential difference for electrons to flow, and the fact that the earth shares electrons both ways --- you know, the rudiments of electrical physics. Fortunately, I don't need to as the article you linked and the associated comments covered the topic nicely.
She never gave me feedback, and she hasn't been here since April. She was supposed to send it back if it didn't work, but who knows?
I don't try to apply science to things to which it doesn't apply -- religion, philosophy, ethics, faith, or love for example. I do apply it to the study of the physical universe. That's what it is. It's not about belief. I accept faith. I accept love. I don't accept things pretending to be science that aren't.
Imagine that people came on this board and insisted that ME/CFS is strictly a cognitive issue -- that we believe we're sick when in fact our bodies are unusually healthy. All we have to do to get well is take an expensive class that tells us we're not sick and voila, we'd be well. They continuously argue that it's scientifically valid even though it's completely contrary to the known science. They ignore the solid science showing we have physical abnormalities. It would be irritating. We'd be pointing out the fallacies of basic science. They'd be pointing out that if we'd just believe their assertions, we'd be cured. It would be hard not to get annoyed when they're ignoring basic knowledge of the illness. This situation is no different.
If people want to believe non-scientific methods will cure them, I have no problem with that. Maybe God can cure them. Maybe the ghosts of their ancestors can. Maybe convincing themselves their physical illness doesn't exist will cure them. As far as I'm concerned, that's great. Science does not explain everything. But don't call those things science.
Warning: Off Topic!
I know some of us were around during the era of that rolicking thread: "Paging Dr. Yes." and The Church of False Illness Beliefs. Pasting in from that thread http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/paging-dr-yes.2910/#post-67641:
It has come to my attention
That this forum is overflowing with malingerers,
hypochondriacs, lustful hedonists,
hippies (whoops same thing) and Welsh ex-microbiologists
That is why I have founded
For I have seen your hearts, and they areblackenedby your sins!
Come forward with them now my children, and receive absolut(-ely nothing).
I think the points you make are very pertinent, Kina, and get to the crux of the matter. These points were also my first thoughts.
To reiterate what you are saying: as soon as you make contact with earth, there will be a very brief current flow between you and the earth, which will flow momentarily until you and the earth have reached the same electrical potential (voltage). After that, no more electric current will flow between you and the earth, because current only flows when there is a difference in electrical potential. So the question is, if no more current flows, then how can earthing possibly have any effects whatsoever in the body?
This is the question I have been considering. For my full answer to this question, see the next post below...
Tentative Hypothesis of How Earthing Works
Is Earthing Just in Fact of Form of Microcurrent Therapy?
I have a tentative hypothesis that may explain why earthing (grounding) the body creates measurable physiological effects, which can lead to health benefits.
My hypothesis is that earthing works in conjunction with the constant changes in electric potential in the body caused by the heart beat, and I think to a much greater extent, caused by mains hum-induced electric potential.
Both the heart, and mains hum, induce a time-varying electric potential in the body. This means any earth connection attached to your body will actually "see" a time-varying electric potential (ie, an oscillating voltage) in your body, rather than "see" a body with a fixed, static electric potential.
As a result, while you are earthed, you will constantly have a tiny alternating electric currents moving in and out of your body via the earth connection. This current simply arises from Ohm's law: as the electric potential (voltage) in your body oscillates, a corresponding oscillating electric current will run in and out of the body, with the current always acting to neutralize the continually changing voltage of the body.
These oscillating electric currents running through the body, and in and out of the body via the earth connection will be very small in magnitude, but in this hypothesis, I suggest that these tiny currents are responsible for the physiological effects observed when earthing the body.
Tiny electric currents of microamp (or even nanoamp) magnitude do have physiological effects in the body. Such tiny currents are called microcurrents, and therapy with these tiny electric currents is known as microcurrent therapy. Studies such as this one and this one demonstrate that microcurrents have antioxidant effects, as well as other therapeutic benefits. Other studies like this one have shown that microcurrent therapy boosts ATP production in mitochondria.
My hypothesis is that earthing is, in effect, a form of microcurrent therapy, with the microcurrents being generated by the mains hum or heart beat voltage oscillations, which continually drive a tiny alternating electric current in and out of the body via the earth connection.
Note that microcurrent therapy is similar to the well-known TENS unit electric current therapy, but most TENS units uses much higher current levels, in the millamp range, which has a different range of therapeutic effects compared to microcurrent therapy (therapeutic effects of an electric current depend on the magnitide of the current, and sometimes on its frequency as well).
You may ask: how can I be sure that mains hum electromagnetic emissions, which induce an oscillating electric potential in the body, does drive tiny electric currents in and out of the body when the body is connected to an earth?
Well the proof of this can be found in this study, which observed that the magnitude of the voltage oscillations produced by mains hum on the body were dramatically reduced by earthing the body: now you can only reduce these voltage oscillations if a current is flowing in or out of the body in order to neutralize them. This is basic electrical theory. Ergo, earthing the body in the presence of main hum will create an oscillating microcurrent running in and out of the body whose frequency is equal to the main hum frequency (50 Hz or 60 Hz).
Note that the main hum-induced voltage oscillations in the body are around 1000 times stronger in magnitude that the heart beat-induced voltage oscillations: the above cited study says that mains hum can induce voltages in the body as much as 4 volts RMS; whereas the typical voltages arising from the heart beat are just a few millivolts. So if my hypothesis is correct, mains hum will be responsible for most of the physiological effects derived from earthing the body, with the heart beat having only a minor contribution.
In fact, this idea that the physiological effects of earthing derive mostly from main hum provides an explanation of why natural earthing (walking barefoot in the garden, or out in nature in a forest) may not be as effective as earthing performed within the home. People commented earlier in this thread that they did not experience any effects from barefoot earthing while out in nature, but did experience very strong effects when they earthed themselves at home.
Out in nature there is generally no mains electricity, so therefore no mains hum, so I suggest you will not get the full benefits of earthing, because the voltage oscillations in your body will be only the very weak ones deriving from your heart beat, not the strong voltage oscillations deriving from main hum. So you will have much less current flowing though your body from a natural earth connection when walking barefoot out in nature, compared to earthing at home, and so you may well get less of a therapeutic effect.
In summary: I suggest that the most of the physiological effects produced by earthing may be dependent on main hum, which serves to induce an oscillating electric potential in the body that continually drives microcurrents in and out of the body via the earth connection. Though the heart beat may also play a role in generating much smaller microcurrents.
Thus I suggest earthing may have very little to do with nature, but everything to do with the 50 Hz or 60 Hz hum deriving from the domestic electrical supply!
Which means the view that earthing is "a connection to the natural energy of the Earth" misses the mark; if my hypothesis is correct, the benefits of earthing may arise primarily from the microcurrents driven in and out of the body by the rather unnatural mains hum-induced voltage oscillations in the body!
What Does This Hypothesis Imply, in Practical Therapeutic Terms?
If my hypothesis is correct, and the physiological effects and benefits of earthing are indeed due to microcurrents generated in the body, it may be a better idea to use a proper microcurrent therapy device, rather than use earthing.
The advantages of using a proper microcurrent therapy device are that you can precisely control the current, and you can accurately apply that current to various different areas of the body. By contrast, in earthing, the microcurrents are not precisely controlled, as their magnitude will depend on factors such as the electrical resistance of your earth connection, and your body's proximity to the electricty suppy that generates the main hum.
Furthermore, the microcurrents in earthing will be alternating currents of 50 Hz or 60 Hz (the mains electricity frequencies used in Europe+Australia, and the USA+Canada respectively). These particular frequencies may not be the most appropriate to apply to the body.
Unfortunately, however, microcurrent therapy units are ludicrously expensive to buy, the cost ranging from hundreds to even thousands of dollars. This is a complete rip-off, because it should not cost more than $10 to $20 to create a simple battery powered device that can supply a few microamps to pass through your body.
There is a list of different microcurrent therapy units here. The cheapest one on this list is the Matrix MCT Patch, a disposable unit that costs $25 and provides around 200 to 500 hours of use before the battery runs out.
I think you are right.
Apart from that in India people say that to preserve your eyesight you should walk for half an hour in the grass in the early morning, when it is still covered with dew. Earthing is not so easily achieved.
UPDATE: After 5 or 6 days of earthing my body during sleep, I found that earthing definitely had a noticeable effect: it created a profoundly deep sleep on the first night, followed by slightly disturbed sleep on all subsequent nights, with strange dreams too.
There were no improvements in my ME/CFS symptoms during this period (if anything I felt a little worse), and no measurable improvements in my POTS level (as determined by my lying-to-standing increase in heart rate). So I have decided to stop earthing for the moment.
Just for reference purposes, here are some useful electrical data relating to earthing, and to the resistance of the human body:
A rough value for the internal resistance of the human body is 300 to 1,000 Ohms.
The resistance of dry skin is usually between 1,000 to 100,000 Ohms.
The skin's resistance is much lower if it is wet or burnt/blistered. This means that when a person is electrocuted in real life, the body's resistance drops as the skin is burned. Another interesting point to consider is that in addition to acting like a resistor, the epidermis acts like a capacitor if placed in contact with a piece of metal (the underlying tissue is like one plate of a capacitor and the metal surface is like the other plate - the dry epidermis is the less-conductive material or "dielectric" in between) . In cases of electrocution by a DC voltage source, this capacitive property has little importance. But if the electrocution is by an AC source, the epidermis's natural resistance is "shorted out", allowing the current to bypass that part of the body's resistance and making the body's total resistance much lower. Source: here.
The skin resistance may vary from 1,000 ohms for wet skin to over 500,000 ohms for dry skin. Source: here.
I also performed some electrical resistance measurements myself, in my back garden:
In my back garden, on a lawn that was not particularly wet nor dry, I staked two ½ inch steel rods exactly 14 inches into the ground, these two rods placed exactly 1.5 meters apart on the lawn. I then measured the electrical resistance between these two rods, and found it to be close to 100 Ohms. (This resistance was determined using a 9 volt battery to drive a current between these to rods, measuring the current passed, and using Ohm's formula: resistance = voltage / current).
I next wanted to measure my feet-to-ground resistance when standing on the lawn. In order not to include my skin resistance and internal body resistance into this measurement, I simply stood on some aluminum cooking foil, and measured the resistance between this aluminum foil and one of the steel rods 1.5 meters away. The resistance in this case was around the 500 Ohm mark.
I then wanted to make the same measurement, but for wet grass. So I threw a whole bucket of water onto one point on the lawn, and allowed to soak in for 10 minutes. I again measured the resistance between my feet and the steel rod 1.5 meters away, the same way as above, but now with me standing (on aluminum foil) on the soaking wet grass. In this case, standing on the wet grass, the resistance between the aluminum foil and the rod was around the 135 Ohm mark.
Conclusion: standing on grass with bare feet provides an earth connection almost as good as one created with a grounding rod.
Indeed, considering that some earthing therapy equipment suppliers place a 100,000 Ohm resistor between you and the earth, the difference in earthing between a grounding rod and standing barefoot on the earth is negligible.
However, as discussed in my post above, I suggest it is most likely the mains hum that you find indoors that is actually driving the therapeutic benefit in earthing; so I think that you need to be indoors to get the benefit of earthing, and that for this reason, standing barefoot on the lawn or earth outside the house, away from mains hum, may not have as much effect. But this is just my own hypothesis, and of course I may be completely wrong.
In order to demonstrate that there is an alternating current constantly running from your body to earth, you can measure this current using a multimeter.
On my multimeter, I found that around 0.2 μA of AC current was running between me and earth, when I was indoors. And when I moved my body or limbs to within 1 foot or less of a power adaptor plug (power adaptors contain a transformer that creates an oscillating magnetic field in proximity of the adaptor), I found that the AC current flowing to earth went up to around 1.0 μA. So if you are in close proximity to any power adaptor plug or any mains electrical device containing a transformer, your body will pick up more mains hum, and this will increase the current flowing to earth.
To conduct this test yourself, get a multimeter (you can buy one for less than $10), hold the metal probe of one of the two test leads of the multimeter in your hand, and connect the metal probe of the other lead to earth. You will now be connected to earth through the multimeter. Set your multimeter to the AC microamps range (μA), and you will be able to read the AC current running between you and the earth (for this test, make sure you are not earthed in any way other than via the multimeter connection to earth).
Given the original poster's experience you may need more than those few nights on the pad to see benefit, or her particular combination of antivirals (with this approach topping off the tank so to speak).You'd have to balance the potential trade off of bad sleep over the course of weeks vs any potential virus die off (or whatever the operating benefit might be).
I'll be the first to admit that after my early months of insomnia, now mostly abated, I will not trade a relatively decent night's sleep for anything. The thought of therapies that may involve 6months plus of ongoing discomfort in order to possibly get better or possibly get worse are not terribly attractive (chelation, pharma antivirals).
Ask2266 said that her dysautonomia appeared to be much better after just four days, suggesting that if earthing helps, if helps very quickly.
I may continue doing some earthing during the day, rather than at night. I will do this simply by taping some aluminum cooking foil to the desk area just by my mouse mat, such that my wrist contacts the foil when I use the mouse. This aluminum foil will be connected to the mains power earth terminal (via a resistor of around 20 to 100 kOhms).
By the way, ask2266, were you taking any other herbs or drugs at the same time as the earthing that seemed to help your dysautonomia?
Good point, I had the incorrect memory that she had needed about two weeks to see benefit. Should have just reread the thread! Keep us up to date on how the wrist-grounding approach goes....
I have all I need so it doesn't cost me a thing, I will try and see how it goes, I will keep you posted and report back
My medication is in my signature. I had not added anything new in the past 6 months except the earthing.
Although my viral levels were very high when tested in October 2012 (Koglenik, my doctor, couldn't believe that my CFIDS wasn't back, they were so high), I have been on monolaurin since February 2013, and I had some die-off from that, so I have a feeling my viral levels are down now. How much they are down, I'm not sure. I plan to get some bloodwork next week and will let you know.
My CFIDS doctor (Kogelnik) told me that EBV and other herpes viruses can live in the autonomic nervous system, and he thinks that is where the dysautonomia comes in. Therefore, it is feasible that the monolaurin, combined with the blood thinning capabilities of earthing, got the viruses down enough so that the viruses are not impacting the autonomic nervous system as much. However, I feel like the cortisol regulating effects of the sheet had something to do with it, too.
As to how it works, I understand that once you reach the potential of the earth, current/electrons no longer flow. However, that assumes that our charge doesn't change internally. If free radicals are nothing more than positively charged particles that are constantly being produced from various biochemical processes, then wouldn't we be constantly needing a supply of electrons to squelch these bad boys? Isn't that why we are advised to eat antioxidants, for their supply of electrons? If that is the case, wouldn't we borrow electrons from the negatively charged earth as long as we were connected to it, if we were constantly producing free radicals that needed squelching? Is chronic inflammation nothing more than an electron deficiency?
Another thought I've had was that in the holistic world, there is much talk about whether the body is in an acidic state or an alkaline state. Acidic states are seen more often in chronic disease and cancer. Although this is not true across the board, acids are more likely to be positively charged and bases/alkaline are more likely to be negatively charged. Could the benefit of earthing be that it is turning the body back to an alkaline state?
Lastly, when Clint Ober originally discovered the sheet, he assumed that it's only benefit was that it shielded people from EMFs from other sources. However, they discovered some research from Germany in the 1940s (I think) where they put some people in a box underground for a month or so. The box was covered so as to shield the electromagnetic field of the earth. After a month or so, everyone was extremely sick and could not sleep. They took the covering off the box and put them back down there for another month, and everyone returned to normal sleep and health. So the people were less effected by lack of sunlight than they were the lack of an electric field. And the lack of EMFs played little part in the outcome. This study is in the earthing book, so take it with a grain of salt, but I thought it was interesting that it seemed to show benefits aside from the shielding from the EMFs.
Ah, I have signatures turned off in my preferences, so I did not see your signature. Let me just put the medications you are taking here:
I wouldn't have thought that the antiviral effects of monolaurin are playing a role in your earthing health benefits, since it usually take weeks if not months for antivirals to start to take effect, and you experienced effects within days of starting earthing. So your improvements in symptoms seem too fast to be due to an antiviral action.
Though it is certainly conceivable that a viral infection of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) may be the cause of dysautonomia. Dr Chia says that enteroviruses can enter the vagus nerve where this nerve joins the stomach, and climb all the way along the vagus nerve, up to point where this nerve reaches the brain, and then this virus may enter and infect the brain as well. Presumably once an enterovirus enters the vagus in this way, it may remain there permanently (the vagus is of course part of the ANS).
Earthing + SSRI = Dysautonomia Cure??
Since you experienced improvements in your dysautonomia symptoms in a matter of days, one might speculate that this might be due to some alteration of neurotransmitter function in the ANS, as this would tend to lead to immediate results.
Citalopram, the SSRI drug you are taking, might conceivably be involved in this, in altering your ANS neurotransmitters.
From the Wikipedia article on postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome: "Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), and paroxetine (Paxil), can be extremely effective in re-regulating the autonomic nervous system and raising blood pressure."
Perhaps earthing somehow increases the effects of this citalopram SSRI on the ANS and/or the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. It's something to speculate on anyway.
The studies I quoted earlier in this thread indicate that earthing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system anyway, just on its own; but this in combination with a SSRI may work even better.
Here are some studies that look at the effects of SSRI drugs on the autonomic nervous system and HPA axis:
➤ The effects of amitriptyline, citalopram and reboxetine on autonomic nervous system. A randomised placebo-controlled study on healthy volunteers
➤ Short-term sertraline treatment suppresses sympathetic nervous system activity in healthy human subjects
➤ Effect of single-dose sertraline on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system, autonomic nervous system, and platelet function
➤ Short-term fluoxetine treatment enhances baroreflex control of sympathetic nervous system activity after hindlimb unloading
The electric charge in any system (such as the human body) can never change, unless more charge is externally added or taken away from the system. This is known as the law of conservation of charge — which is a fundamental law of the universe. So the charge in the body cannot change by any internal process — even by free radical formation, or changes in acidity or alkalinity.
Regarding free radicals: note that free radicals can be positively charged, negatively charged, or have no overall charge at all. What makes a free radical is not its charge, but the fact that it has one or more unpaired electrons; it is these unpaired electrons that make the free radical very reactive.
I am for the moment sticking to my hypothesis that mains hum in the body underpins earthing. Mains hum will cause a constant alternating voltage in the body, and if the body is connected to an earth, this alternating voltage will cause an alternating electric current to constantly flow to-and-fro, in and out of the body. I think it is this constant alternating electric current flow which likely forms the basis of the health effects of earthing.
In fact, both acids and bases are electrically neutral. Although acids are proton donors — that is, acid molecules will very readily give away a proton, which is positively charged — the acid molecule itself is electrically neutral, because the positive charge of its proton is balanced by a negative charge in the rest of the acid molecule. Similarly for bases.
How long were you taking citalopram before you started earthing, incidentally? If you started taking citalopram not long before you commenced earthing, then citalopram might well be the sole reason for your improvements in dysautonomia.
I've been taking citalopram since 2001. In fact, I cut my dose of it from 40mg to 20mg in 2012.
Regarding the electric concepts related to earthing: It can unfortunately be difficult to grasp these concepts if you do not have some background training in electric theory.
Much of the literature you find about the benefits earthing does not help either, as this literature tends to present earthing as connecting to some kind of mystical force of the Earth, or tends to ascribe some fabulous health properties to electrons, as if electrons were some magical health supplement.
It also does not help that researchers that have looked into earthing have no theories as to why earthing seems to have health benefits and induce physiological changes (which is why I felt the need to come up with my own hypothesis on the mechanism behind earthing).
Just to help people understand the electrical concepts, the following analogy may help. This analogy helps explain the difference and relationship between: electric charge (measured in Coulombs), electric current (measured in Amps, or milliamps), and electric potential (measured in Volts).
You can think of the electric charge in a system as analogous to the water in a vessel. If we wanted to increase the amount of water in the vessel, we might get a hose pipe, and use this to add some water to the vessel. When we do this, the amount of water pouring into our vessel per second from the hose pipe analogous to the electric current flowing in an electrical wire or cable. The higher the electric current, the more electric charge flows along the wire per second. The thing that drives the water through the hose is the water pressure at the tap. Water pressure is analogous to the electrical potential (voltage). Just as a higher water pressure will drive more water current along the pipe, a higher electrical potential will drive a higher electric current along a wire (which translates to more charge being pushed along an metal wire per second).
An electric current in a metal wire consists of the movement electrons (which are negatively charged); in metals, there is an abundance of electrons that are free to move around (ie, the electrons are not stuck to specific atoms, as they are in non-conductors), and so a soon as you apply a voltage (an electrical pressure) to the wire, this pushes the electrons along the wire, which forms a current.
However, inside the human body (which consists of around 42 liters of water containing dissolved salts) an electric current will largely consist of the movement of salt ions within water, rather than electrons. Salt ions come in both negative and positive electrical charges. For example, common salt (sodium chloride), whose chemical formula is NaCl, will, when dissolved in water, form the ions Na+ and Cl- which are positively and negatively charged respectively. It is the movements of these electrically charged ions that form the basis of much the electric current through the salty water (like the blood) within the human body. (An electric current does not care what type of electrical charges are involved; electrons or ions in water will work just as well to form an electric current, as they both carry an electric charge. As long as those electrons or ions in water are free to move, then an electric current can be set up, as an electric current is simply the movement of electric charge.)
So inside the body, I think an electric current will primarily comprise the movement of positively and negatively charged salt ions, rather than electrons. Much of the electrical activity of human cells themselves revolves around the movement of salt ions in the cell: these cells actual pump salt ions (like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium ions) in and out of the cell, in order to generate an electric potential across the cell membrane. When an electric signal runs along you nerve fibers, it does so by movements in ions across the cell membranes.
So if my hypothesis on earthing is correct, then the mains hum alternating electric currents in the body that I posit form the basis of earthing will likely largely consist of the movement of salt ions in the body, rather than electrons.
In the mitochondria withins cells, though, this electric current from earthing will I think be carried by electrons, and protons too, as mitochondria operate with electrons and protons.
In terms of the effects of a tiny electric current on mitochondria, this is an interesting study:
➤ The effects of electric currents on ATP generation, protein synthesis, and membrane transport of rat skin (1982). Full paper here.
This study found that microcurrents from 10 to 500 microamps increased mitochondrial ATP production by 500% in rat skin. ATP of course is the energy output of the mitochondria. This microcurrent also increased amino acid transport into cells by 70%. However, when the study authors increased the current to 1000 microamps (= 1 milliamp), the ATP production was actually reduced. So smaller electric currents work best in terms of increasing the ATP produced by mitochondria.
I just started the book, The Body Electric. It is really good so far. It's by a doctor who studied limb regeneration and electricity in the body. I wish you would read it too, so you could explain it to me!!
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