negative side effects of earthing

Know the Different Negative Side Effects of Earthing

Concerns about the potential negative side effects of earthing are common among people new to the phenomenon of grounding. While many proponents of this method talk regularly about its health benefits for the immune system, autonomic nervous system and chronic inflammation, little guidance exists about potential disadvantages.

Part of the reason is the nature of this practice. Traditional grounding techniques, which involve walking barefoot on the earth, have very few dangers that come with them. If you’re strolling in a safe space with no dangerous animals, sharp objects, or lightning storms, you shouldn’t worry about any significant risks.

However, there’s also very little research into earthing and all the grounding sheets or pads emerging on the market to mimic the benefits of outdoor exposure for people who can’t walk barefoot outside.

If you’re planning on trying a grounding mat or similar device to balance your electrical charge, reduce blood viscosity and protect against chronic disease, here’s what you need to know.

What Are the Adverse Effects of Improper Earthing?

Earthing or grounding is the holistic process of balancing our bio-electrical system. The human body naturally functions according to a series of electrical signals sent between cells to ensure everything can operate harmoniously. Excess charges gained from electrical surroundings and products like smartphones can upset this balance.

Earthing proponents state that placing bare feet in contact with the ground can counteract our electrical fields. The free electrons, creating a negative charge within the earth, balance the excess “positive” one of our bodies. According to holistic health advocates, offsetting our electrical charge then helps to reduce our body’s inflammatory response, pain levels, and even feelings of stress. However, you must practice earthing safely and carefully to deliver the correct results.

There are different ways to “ground” yourself in the modern world. Direct contact with the earth outside is only safe in an environment where you know you’re not going to walk over anything dangerous or expose yourself to environmental and public health concerns.

It’s also important to be aware of the electrical environment around your grounding path. If there’s a lot of activity surrounding you due to wires and currents, this may worsen your body voltage and cause more issues with your electrical signals.

Outdoors, lightning storms and high voltage environments can also be extremely dangerous when walking barefoot. This is why it’s important to be mindful of your landscape before you begin earthing.

For people who can’t practice earthing outdoors, there’s also the option to use an earthing mat with a grounding plug to achieve similar balance. However, these particular products can also come with certain dangers. Appliances or cables around your devices which aren’t adequately grounded could increase your risk of an electric shock. Home-made earthing sheets assembled with mesh wire can also cause nicks, cuts, or infections when prepared improperly.

Can Earthing Be Harmful?

Lack of research into earthing and its ability to reduce stress, improve health, and deliver better sleep also means there’s limited professional medical advice to follow in this arena. Most earthing products are deemed relatively safe when used according to the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. This often means you’ll need to ensure you’re using your grounding products correctly and check for any wiring faults before you start earthing.

Similarly, outdoors, natural body grounding is widely considered a safe method, provided you’re cautious about where you practice it. However, there are a few potential risks you’ll need to be aware of if you’re going to try earthing for the first time.

Whether you’re sitting on a grounding mat or walking barefoot outdoors, be wary of the following factors.

Risk of Shock

Earthing is all about balancing electrical charges. If you don’t approach this process carefully, there could be a risk of electric shock. If you’re absorbing the earth’s energy outdoors, the risk of shock will often come from walking in dangerous environments or lightning storms. These threats are exceptionally high if you use a grounding pad or similar product to help absorb the earth’s energy.

Indoors, the risk of shock comes from the grounding devices you might use. These conductive systems can be pretty effective. However, their ability to absorb ungrounded electricity means you may experience a shock if there are a lot of electrical devices around you. When using a piece of earthing equipment, it’s worth making sure you’re not exposing the device to additional charges.

If several high-voltage electrical systems are running around your home or grounding products, you may be safer to avoid earthing. Some experts even advise not using earthing products in cities where there may be a severe electrical charge.

EMF Exposure

a man experiencing chest pain while working

Some of the most significant concerns around the potential negative side effects of earthing are linked to the exposure we can get to electromagnetic fields. Additional research is needed to understand the potential dangers of EMFs. However, some people believe over-exposure can cause problems with the nervous system leading to respiratory and heart issues.

Some people also suggest that there are connections between EMFs and certain types of cancer, though this has yet to be proven through significant scientific study. For those concerned about EMF exposure, the most critical risk is likely to come from using ground mats and grounding products indoors.

When you attempt to achieve a grounding effect indoors with an artificial product like an earthing mat, this may also be drawing a current from surrounding electrical appliances. Many manufacturers recommend switching any devices with a high electrical current off before you begin. However, this may not be possible if you live in an area with many EMFs.

Dirty Electricity

Similar to the concerns some people have about EMFs influencing earthing products, there’s also a common belief that it’s possible to plug grounding products into “dirty electricity”. If you insert your grounding product into an outlet without testing it first, you could be drawing the wrong kind of energy into the conductive systems you’re using to ground your body.

Rather than getting the negatively charged electrons for harmonising your systems, you may end up with a more significant positive charge, which could increase your experience of anxiety, depression, inflammation, and other symptoms.

A good way to avoid this potential risk is to test the earthing products and outlets you’re thinking of using before you begin your practice. A multimeter should be able to give you a better insight into whether your plug sockets are correctly grounded. If they’re not, you may need to consider a more traditional and safer earthing method.

Let’s Be Careful When Using Grounding Products

Aside from the potential risks caused by EMFs and ungrounded electricity mentioned above, some people also worry that adverse side effects could emerge from using grounding too often. While earthing on its own isn’t considered to have any negative repercussions, it can initially cause some people to feel unwell.

If you’re very sensitive to electromagnetic fields, or you notice a rapid change in your cortisol levels and general wellness, this could cause a slight shock to your system. Some manufacturers recommend gradually exposing yourself to the benefits of earthing mats and grounding products at the beginning to avoid these side effects.

You may start with 10 to 40 minutes of grounding per day. Taking it slow can help you keep your risk levels low. However, if you do notice any side effects, they will unlikely be extremely severe unless there is a problem with your earthing strategy.

Overall, there are very few harmful side effects to earthing when it is practised with care and caution. However, experts do agree everyone responds to this process differently. If you witness any of these, you may need to consider cutting down on your earthing practices until you discover the root cause of your discomfort.

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