Many new technologies could radically change how we live and interact with the world. Grounding mats are amongst them. You may have never heard of these items or what they do, so if this is the case and you are intrigued, our simple introductory article below should help. So, what is a grounding mat? Let’s find out.
The Concept of Grounding
Grounding is not a new concept. It is widely known that the earth’s surface has negative ions and a negative charge. In contrast, the earth’s atmosphere has positive electrons and a positive charge.
When the earth’s surface comes into physical contact with human tissue, we can take on free electrons and thus build up a static charge. This connection creates an equilibrium, and it is known as the earthing hypothesis.
Historically, to achieve this balance, people walk barefoot. In this way, your body has a physical connection with the ground and thus can absorb the earth’s charge. This equalising process and pass of free electrons into our body has many potential health benefits, as you will see more in detail below.
How a Grounding Mat Works
Unfortunately, in Western culture, walking barefoot isn’t always acceptable. Moreover, this practice isn’t always possible unless you live in the countryside or have a garden. Ideally, you have to walk on green grass, dirt, or sand; for example – walking on concrete or man-made items doesn’t have the same effect.
But, this is where earthing products come in. A grounding mat is plugged into a power outlet and generates a continuous mild negative charge. This device serves to replicate the ionic charge of the earth’s surface inside without actually going out to make contact with it.
For a grounding product to work, you must have physical contact with it – this could be any body part, but most commonly, it would be your hands or feet. This direct touch, combined with the mimicking of the earth’s energy, means that you can reap the positive effects without walking barefoot outside.
Indeed, evidence is mounting, and more than a decade of studies show that practising grounding therapy or using mats can help. Potential benefits include improved sleep and blood flow, pain relief, lower inflammation, and reduced effects of chronic disease.
How to Use an Earthing Mat
The basic concept of using a grounding mat is simple. You plug it in and place an exposed body part on the mat for a set time – easy.
This is why it is important to find a mat shape and design that suits your lifestyle. For example, a mouse mat or desk mat could be the best choice if you have a home office or workstation. If you are a yoga lover and meditate regularly, a fitness grounding mat might be a better option.
Some Tips for Using Grounding Mats at Their Full Potential
Start Off Using the Mat for Shorter Periods, Such as 40 Minutes
Firstly, don’t use your mat for long periods immediately. There is no guarantee how the human body will react to it. Therefore, start small and only use the mat for 40 minutes to one hour.
Build up the Usage Length Over Time as You Get Accustomed to It
Indoor grounding is something that you should progressively undertake. Once you are comfortable with it, you can increase the usage time.
Don’t Expect Radical Benefits Overnight
It’s also important to realise that every human body is different. Thus, the benefits and reactions to an earthing mat can vary wildly. Don’t be discouraged by this – find out what works best for you.
Everyone Is Different and Has a Varying Reaction to Grounding Mats
Lastly, having direct contact with the earth near a conductive surface or a large electrical outlet could result in a lethal electrical current surging through your body. Therefore, always read the manufacturer’s instructions and take care in positioning your earthing mat.
Different Types of Earthing Mats
Aside from the potential health benefits, a great positive of grounding mats is the variety of designs available.
The basic concept of a grounding mat is straightforward. You need conductive materials in an uncomplicated shape, such as a rectangle, and a connection to a power outlet. Manufacturers have produced many variations of mats, including:
- Grounding Mouse Mat
- Grounding Desk Mat
- Grounding Yoga and Fitness Mat
- Sleeping Earthing Mat
- General Purpose Mat
The grounding mouse mat is a brilliant and simple product that is convenient to use. It is a square or rectangular piece of material typically slightly smaller than an A4 piece of paper. You utilise it in exactly the same way as a traditional mouse mat. However, it is connected to a power outlet and emits a low negative charge.
Therefore, whenever you use your computer, you can improve your well-being and benefit from the physiologic processes provided by the earthing mat.
Similar to the mouse pad, this model is a larger version. Today, mouse mats are not as popular. Instead, people prefer to use larger desk mats. These have the exact same purpose, but instead, they are big enough for your mouse and keyboard to rest on. As a result, when using the grounding desk mat, your hands and wrists come into contact with it, making it more effective.
The combination of yoga and meditation works perfectly with grounding mats and can create a positive immune response.
Yoga grounding mats are much large – typically the same size as a traditional yoga mat. They still provide padding and comfort. However, you can plug them in and reap the health benefits that grounding offers.
A sleeping grounding mat is the best option for those whit nighttime issues. This is a very large mat that usually sits on top of your mattress.
Some sleeping mats require that you lie directly on them without any top sheet. However, some models still work if you have a top sheet between your skin and the mat.
Either way, this type of mat can be turned on at night and should help improve your sleep quality and make you feel better when you wake up.
General Purpose Mat
There is also a range of general-purpose mats available on the market. These are multifunctional and, therefore, can be used in different ways.
These items are usually medium-sized – smaller than a yoga mat but larger than a mouse mat. People often keep these under their keyboards or even in front of their sofa while watching TV, for example.
This is a good option if you want a versatile earthing mat that can be used in many situations.
The Potential Benefits of Using Earthing Mats
Earthing mats and their benefits are still being researched and investigated. As of yet, there isn’t a huge supporting body of evidence to prove their health implications – more studies are required.
However, the research that has been conducted shows that earthing mats work and that they could be the most important health discovery in recent years. Based on current evidence, potential benefits could include:
- Reduced heart rate
- Improved nervous system
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Help regulate sleep
The strongest areas of research are centred on sleep and stress. It has been shown that lying on an earthing mat can help improve your sleep quality. Amongst the benefits, you could notice longer rest periods untroubled but also wake up feeling fresher and with less muscle fatigue.
Similarly, the conductive material of grounding mats should help balance our system and reduce things like stress and anxiety. This equilibrium could be great if you suffer from depression, for example.
Another potential, less researched benefit includes helping with Autism and Alzheimer’s and also having positive effects on those who suffer from insomnia.
Keep Yourself Grounded
You should now better understand what a grounding mat is and how it works. The interesting type of technology behind this product can potentially boost your overall health.
If you struggle with sleep quality, high blood pressure, or inflammation, using a grounding mat at night could give you relief. Just remember that the results may vary from person to person, and the positive impact of using earthing mats is still being researched.