“I want to draw your attention to a special added attraction not advertised on the outside”*

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety.

Antony and Cleopatra. Act II. Scene II.

I know it is in reference to Cleopatra, but William could have been talking about the realm of alternative pseudo-medicine. Just when you think you have seen it all, that every pseudo-medicine that can be invented has been invented, pop, out of nothing, comes another pseudo-medicine. Perhaps that is the true quantum medicine, although I wish there was a corresponding annihilating anti-pseudo-medicine. I have mentioned before that I have been unable to come up with a unique, never seen before, form of pseudo-medicine. I lack the imagination I suppose.

Freak shows have become a thing of past and for good reason. Or if they do still tour, none have come though Portland; it would be difficult to distinguish them from the residents. I kid. Once at the State Fair my boys each paid a dollar to see a giant pig. I passed on the opportunity and regret it to this day. Evidently it was one huge hog. The medical equivalent of the carnival board walk, with all the curious variations, is the world of pseudo-medicines. The giant pig I came across this week is Earthing/Grounding, not to disrespect that enormous boar, because the pork, at least, was real.

Earthing central appears to be the Earthing Institute and the source of much of the information for this entry. I did not read Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? since after going through all the information on the website I suspect the answer to their question is “nope”. Not even close. Vaccines or clean water. But never earthing.

Now I prefer my medical breakthroughs to originate from school teachers, bee keepers, or science fiction writers, but you can’t always find that kind of experience and insight. We have to settle for retired cable television executive Clint Ober, who had the epiphany that perhaps rubber soled shoes, like the insulation in TV cables, insulated humans from the Earth to the detriment of our health. From this insight a pseudo-medicine was born.

The basic concept is best summarized by Dr. Oz by way of Dr. Mercola.

Grounding or earthing refers to contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside or sitting, working or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems, transferring the energy from the ground into the body. Emerging research supports that this may result in reduced pain, better sleep and less inflammation. The logical explanation for the reduction in inflammation is that the Earth’s negatively charged antioxidant electrons enter the body and neutralize positively charged free radicals in the body.

Dr. Oz’s Bottom Line

Before spending money on a device for grounding, try just stepping outside, in your yard. Avoid wood surfaces, as wood insulates you from the earth (Alan Scott knows this all too well. Ed). See if doing so improves your energy levels.

Emerging research…Logical explanation…Earth’s negatively charged antioxidant electrons.
Emerging research…Logical explanation…Earth’s negatively charged antioxidant electrons.
Emerging research…Logical explanation…Earth’s negatively charged antioxidant electrons.
Emerging research…Logical explanation…Earth’s negatively charged antioxidant electrons.
Emerging research…Logical explanation…Earth’s negatively charged antioxidant electrons.

Saying it five times slowly does not help. And no, Dr. Oz, it does not sound like oranges.

All electron are the same. It is a key characteristic of the particle. An Earth electron is no different than any other electron in the entire universe. As indirect confirmation that physicists get the really good drugs, it has been suggested there is only one electron. There is literally nothing special about Earth electrons.

The basic premise of earthing, a premise which appears to be wearing rubber soles to prevent grounding with reality, is that electrons from the Earth ooze into you, inactivating free radicals and reversing inflammation:

Electrons are the “object of affection,” so to speak, of positively charged free radicals, the biochemical agents that cause oxidation in the body. Electrons are the source of antioxidant power. We believe this influx of electrons from the ground serves to potently neutralize or quench free radicals that would otherwise steal electrons from healthy tissue, activity resulting in tissue damage and chronic inflammation at the basis of many common and serious diseases.

I know. It’s no time cube. But close.

The problem with this concept is that while free radicals are looking for an extra electron, those electrons have to be associated with molecules (antioxidants) in order to be utilized. If this were the case, all I would need to do to cure my free radical excess is rub my stocking feet on the carpet; I can build up a charge of Earth electrons quite rapidly that way. And free radicals may be helpful in some situations. Since there is the suggestion that antioxidants may promote cancer, rather than prevent it, if earthing could work, it would probably increase you chance of cancer.

So bad physics, worse biology, what about the literature? There is a list of papers in the research section of the Earthing Institute. I thought it would be a value to see what they had to offer. First up in our sideshow of emerging literature:

Differences in Blood Urea and Creatinine Concentrations in Earthed and Unearthed Subjects during Cycling Exercise and Recovery.”

They measured:

….the electrical potential of the body (Figures 2(a) and 2(b)) and blood parameters (creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN)). Blood samples were obtained before each training session, after 15 minutes of exercise, after 30 minutes of exercise, and after 40 minutes of recovery.

in participants who were either grounded with a wire to a pipe or not during exercise.

They found:

Significantly lower blood urea levels were observed in subjects earthed during exercise and relaxation (Table 2)… Creatinine concentrations in earthed subjects were not significantly changed in the exercise phase but were significantly lower in the 40th minute of the recovery phase in earthed subjects in the second week (Table 3).

If you are bored, go look at table 2 and table 3. I evaluate creatinine and BUN every day in my patients. A couple of years ago they suddenly started reporting the value to two, rather than one, decimal point. No one knew why, not even the nephrologists. One of my colleagues referred to it as precision without accuracy. When I look at table 2 and 3 I see the same value for the creatinine and BUN for each group, certainly within the operational characteristics of the tests. All the creatinines were 1 and the BUNs were 31. What they demonstrated was a stable creatinine and BUN at all phases of the study.

Their conclusion is laughable:

Our study shows that blood urea concentrations are lower in subjects who are earthed (connected to the earth potential with the use of copper wire) during physical exercise and recovery compared with the same subjects who are not earthed during the same period of exercise and recovery. These results suggest that earthing during exercise inhibits hepatic protein catabolism or increases renal urea excretion.

What they showed is that the lab parameters were stable all though the study regardless of what was done. That, and perhaps that the editors and reviewers at Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine never read the papers in their journal.

The next on the boardwalk was Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease. An even worse study. Really. Hard to believe it could get worse. 10 patients had their blood drawn. They sat in a quiet room in a comfy chair with their hands and feet grounded and after two hours their blood was drawn again with a finger prick.

What did they do with the blood? It was put in an electric field and the researchers measured

Terminal velocities of the cells in video recordings taken through a microscope. RBC aggregation was measured by counting the numbers of clustered cells in each sample.

And they found that

Earthing or grounding increased zeta potentials in all samples by an average of 2.70 and significantly reduced RBC aggregation.

What they apparently did not have was a nongrounded control and, more importantly, no one was blinded as to which specimen they were measuring. That is the kind of methodology that could even demonstrate basophil degranulation from homeopathy.

I doubt it has any effect that those doing the measurements were:

Independent contractors for Earth FX, Inc., the company sponsoring earthing research, and own a small percentage of shares in the company.

No way could unblinded researchers who own an Earthing company have come up with a biased results, right? Riiiiigggghhhtttt.

Next up is “Emotional Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Grounding, and Improved Autonomic Tone: Clinical Applications“, by the same authors as the previous article, this time without any disclosure statement, but with the exact same picture and description that would be used in the RBC study. In the Pacific NW we appreciate recycling.

The patients sat in a chair for 2 hours while they were grounded or not grounded for random 40 minute intervals and their ECG was monitored.

Falling asleep was permitted but meditation was not allowed.

They then took the electrocaradiogram and did a lot of calculationsto look at heart rate variability. Why? Got me.

The HRV parameters calculated from electrocardiogram recordings during the study were as follows:

  • the standard deviation of R-R intervals (SDRR, standard deviation of R peak to R peak intervals, also known as stan- dard deviation of normal to normal intervals or SDNN);
  • 3 spectral components of the power spectrum density (PSD, the square of the Fast Fourier Transform of the R-R intervals): low frequencies (LF), high frequencies (HF), and very low frequencies (VLF);
  • the ratio LF/HF.

I will confess that I read up on the parameters measured and I lack the background to understand the physiologic importance. The data, as presented, looks like trivial changes made impressive by large axis, but it is so obscured I can’t say. I read and re-read the article and the results never made any sense. So I moved on to:

Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness” which suffers from the same issues: small numbers, multiple comparisons, and potential financial bias. But a more important pattern is revealed in this study, similar to the heart rate paper. They exercised people to make a leg muscle sore then had them sleep on a patented grounding sheet or a sham sheet. They measured 48 parameters: blood work, MRI finding in the leg and pain scales. Lots of data.

Then they presented the data in a manner that I would wager no one could interpret: the Percent Group Differences. Read the paper. Again, I can’t understand what they are measuring and its significance; it is totally obscured. If there is a real change in a parameter there is no way to know. It seems the goals of this paper is to present a lot of data in a manner that looks impressive but without using data in a way that makes it understandable even with close reading.

Similar results, minimal changes presented like major ones, are found in “The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress“. As per the abstract:

Twelve (12) subjects with complaints of sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress were grounded to earth during sleep for 8 weeks in their own beds using a conductive mattress pad. Saliva tests were administered to establish pregrounding baseline cortisol levels. Levels were obtained at 4-hour intervals for a 24-hour period to determine the circadian cortisol profile. Cortisol testing was repeated at week 6. Subjective symptoms of sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress were reported daily throughout the 8-week test period.
Results: Measurable improvements in diurnal cortisol profiles were observed, with cortisol levels significantly reduced during night-time sleep. Subjects’ 24-hour circadian cortisol profiles showed a trend toward normalization. Subjectively reported symptoms, including sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress, were reduced or eliminated in nearly all subjects.

They all knew they were getting the treatment, so it was no surprise that:

At the end of the 8-week test period, 11 of 12 subjects reported that it took less time to fall asleep while grounded to earth. All 12 subjects reported waking fewer times during the night.

Subjective responses are always suspect. The data as to cortisol levels as presented looks impressive at a casual glance, but as best I can tell it doesn’t show much more than normal variation.

The studies all have small sample sizes, often not blinded, the data is obscure and at least one of the investigators is an owner of the company that makes grounding products. Not the most robust of evidence. That is Dr. Oz’s idea of emerging research. Not a giant pig, but it could have been produced by a giant pig.

The Earthing Institute links to where you can buy all sorts of accessories to optimize your grounding experience. Why do so many (all?) push expensive products? Isn’t it a conflict of interest? And somehow I am in the pocket of Big Pharma.

I have always preferred to go barefoot, indoor and out, although I have lost the calluses of youth that make it easy to walk on rough surfaces. I never feel any different between barefoot and shod except for the icky feeling when a slug squishes between the toes. However, there is no simple pleasure that cannot be medicalized by the pseudo-medical industrial complex requiring expensive equipment.

One of the sad aspects of pseudo-medicines is making all aspects of life a therapy to prevent or treat disease. Diet, exercise, sleeping, even walking barefoot is not done for the simple joy and pleasure these actions can bring. It becomes medicalized, a therapy. Seems a sorry way to live a life.


Posted in: Clinical Trials, Energy Medicine, Science and Medicine

Leave a Comment (66) ↓

66 thoughts on ““I want to draw your attention to a special added attraction not advertised on the outside”*

  1. tgobbi says:

    Didn’t Jerome “Twinkie Defense” Rodale espouse the idea of walking barefoot through the morning dew decades ago? He believed that this was a good way of absorbing energy.

  2. oldmanjenkins says:

    It appears the researchers suffer from a deplorable level of confirmation bias and magical thinking. It also appears they have created a “condition” and oh yes, a “cure” in their products.

    I will have to tell my dialysis patients they have to keep themselves upright in their dialysis chairs with their bare feet firmly planted on the ground (for 4 hours) to better their Kt/V and URR. Of course this might be a problem if someones BP starts to drop and they need to go into trendelenburg, but I am sure these wizards of snake oil science have a product that will keep them “grounded.”

    We need a SBM program (Discover, TLC etc have all gone woo for the $) in the arena of MythBusters called Quack Busters (we will need to get approval from Warner Bros as they have the rights to this name from a cartoon made of the same name).

  3. Still to come: watering, winding, and firing.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Love your ‘nym. Robots of Dawn was my favorite book series growing up and still probably one of my favorites of all time. So hard to choose from Asimov, but I just loved that one the most.

    2. Mark Crislip says:

      It took a beat of about three, then I laughed out out

  4. rork says:

    Though I have a bit of a masochistic tooth, I really don’t want to bite on those papers.
    But it caused me to think I missed my calling: On a hot day with fairly cool, moist ground, they might get less sweat from the earthed, so I suggest picking an endpoint correlated to that, maybe electrical conductance on the skin. Or measure the variation over time as one group earths and unearths, cause comparing variances is always the best way to design experiments, means are so boring. I can Fourier transform, remove the high frequencies, and back-transform, or just do the tests directly on the “spectral decompositions” – ewwwww, cool.
    Another suggestion: ringworm or other micro-parasites that are unknown to science enter your feet, and reduce your risks of autoimmune disorders. I have special scientifically proven earth for the purpose, send money.

    There very much is anti-pseudo-medicince. The writing here proves it frequently. Thankyou.

  5. goodnightirene says:

    Please tell me that Earthing is not the reason K.D. Lang was barefoot throughout her concert I attended about a year ago. Please. I know she’s into Budddhism, but she doesn’t seem outright stupid.

    A native Northwesterner stands out in the Midwest with three recyle carts compared to her neighbors’ one, not to mention the composting, rain barrels, chickens, and numerous rhododendron bushes (they do not get as big here), but alas, I shall not feel the squish of a big fat banana slug (a pox on the aggressive European black slug who attempts a takeover) between my toes anytime soon here in Packerland.

    1. mousethatroared says:

      @ goodnightirene – google is amazing

      From an interview with K.D. Lang

      “AM: You talk about being free in a live setting, you often sing barefoot (in concert). Why is that?

      k.d.: Cause it feels good.

      AM: Are you barefoot most of the time?

      k.d.: Yeah.

      AM: Does it make you feel more grounded while singing?

      k.d.: Yeah. I feel more stable, more natural. It just really feels better and more comfortable.”

      There you go – grounded, but not in any sort of electrical current sense.

      Personally I prefer to garden barefoot, but most of our slugs are safety off the ground eating my hostas. Sadly, I can’t really use a shovel barefoot, so I do wear boots sometimes. I am alway envious of the huge rhododendron in the south and northwest. I used to have several really large ones at the back of my house, that must have been 50 years old, but I lost them to borers…what a shame.

    2. mousethatroared says:

      goodnightirene “I know she’s into Budddhism, but she doesn’t seem outright stupid.”

      Did you realize that this implies that someone who is a buddhist is somehow subtly stupid?

      1. irenegoodnight says:

        Mouse, many thanks for the follow-up on Ms. Lang–what a relief!
        As to the relative brightness (or dimness?) of Buddhists, I can only say that to an atheist, it’s all silly. Personally, Buddhism probably offends me less than, say…Mormonism. Sorry if I’ve offended you personally in any way in case you are a Buddhist–and very sorry about your Rhoddies. :-(

        1. mousethatroared says:

          I’m not a Buddist, I’m not not a Buddist. I tend to be a scavenger of human beliefs and outlooks, always looking for something useful. Some Buddist approaches are useful in dealing with being overly attached to a desired outcomes and ruminations, for me.

          But, I’m not offended. I do know Buddists who are exceptionally bright, though. So I wondered how you could draw the conclusion about someone’s intellectual abilities based on one variable. But, it sounds like you are speaking more to your lack of affinity for Buddism and in that regard I can only say, to each his own.

  6. Michael Finfer, MD says:

    “Grounding or earthing refers to contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside or sitting, working or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems, transferring the energy from the ground into the body.”

    Using such conductive systems during a thunderstorm could be an excellent way of picking up lots of extra electrons.

    1. tgobbi says:

      Finfer MD states: “Using such conductive systems during a thunderstorm could be an excellent way of picking up lots of extra electrons.”

      Ouch! I really hate it when that happens…

  7. nelar says:

    Earth Grounding and Earth Acupuncture (yes, it exists) seem like a woo-match made in heaven, since after all grounding might make you sick if the earth you are standing on is suffering from “geopathic stress”. Oddly enough, I couldn’t find any occurrence of the two practices working with each other, though that only seems a matter of time… Besides, it’s always helpful to have an excuse handy for why a woo method doesn’t work (Well, you would feel better but the ground you are standing on has been stressed and until that’s healed, you won’t feel the benefits you would get from standing on healthy ground).

    1. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD says:

      Excuse me but Acupuncture does work! Not for the reasons you all think.

      The Earthing whatever is a gimmick based on flawed logic and will fade away.

      Since the AMA has sanctioned the gimmicks of back surgery, knee surgery, hip surgery and cholesterol meds, we have to live with them and patients have to pay a hefty price of the malpractice pain and suffering.

      1. NorrisL says:

        Acupuncture does not work! Just look at the trials comparing the use of so called “real” acupuncture needles at so called “real” acupuncture sites vs the use of wooden toothpicks at “not real” acupuncture sites and with no skin penetration. The outcomes of multiple trials as described above showed that “so called real” acupuncture and the use of wooden toothpicks at incorrect acupuncture sites resulted in an approximately equal effect from both forms of quackupuncture.

        The outcome indicates that real acupuncture is no more than placebo!

        1. You are reading from the imperfect and flawed articles. Please don’t embarrass yourself spend some time doing a proper review.

          Actually you should study all the definitions and evolutions of the word “acupuncture” it is not a simplistic entity. It is more akind to surgery.

      2. windriven says:

        Rodrigues is an intellectual fraud and coward. He uses these pages to peddle his infantile delusions but refuses to confront the fact that modern medicine has changed the human condition in revolutionary ways while the quackery that he advocates only seems to ‘work’ where actual outcomes can’t be objectively measured.

        We do not have “alternative chemistry” or “alternative aeronautics” or “alternative physics” because these delusions have nothing to offer while their non-alternative counterparts have delivered everything from smart phones to supersonic flight. So too the difference between medicine and the quackery that masquerades as “alternative medicine”. I’ve offered Rodrigues untold opportunities to prove me wrong, to humiliate me with the power and majesty of his quackery.

        So far, only the sounds of silence.

      3. windriven says:

        Rodrigues is a total intellectual fraud and coward. He uses these pages to peddle his infantile delusions but refuses to confront the fact that modern medicine has changed the human condition in revolutionary ways while the quackery that he advocates only seems to ‘work’ where actual outcomes can’t be objectively measured.

        We do not have “alternative chemistry” or “alternative aeronautics” or “alternative physics” because these delusions have nothing to offer while their non-alternative counterparts have delivered everything from smart phones to supersonic flight. So too the difference between medicine and the quackery that masquerades as “alternative medicine”. I’ve offered Rodrigues untold opportunities to prove me wrong, to humiliate me with the power and majesty of his quackery.

        So far, only the sounds of silence.

  8. stanmrak says:

    The pity is that some readers won’t try earthing because there aren’t enough valid studies to ‘prove’ that it works or that it “doesn’t make sense” to a scientist. None of this means that it doesn’t work. Personally, I’ve been sleeping this way for almost 3 years and I really appreciate the fact that I need 2 hours less sleep every night, and wake up more refreshed than ever before, not to mention that my chronic back pain I’ve had for 20 years is almost completely gone. Can a placebo effect possibly work that long? Who cares?

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      The pity is that some readers won’t try earthing because there aren’t enough valid studies to ‘prove’ that it works or that it “doesn’t make sense” to a scientist

      Well, sure, why try something randomly with no reason to think it works Stan? There are a billion things one could possibly do and almost all of them will be worthless with some of them harmful. Seems damned silly to go out and try every random thing just cuz.

      But, in this case, it is even worse. We have plenty of data and evidence to inform us that this particular idea really probably won’t work. It doesn’t make sense on so many levels that the already slim chance of something random not working is made even slimmer by knowing what is involved.

      1. Calli Arcale says:

        I explained to him that I’ve effectively tried it before, since I have to be grounded when I’m working with product in the engineering lab (and I know damn well my grounding strap works, because we have to test it every time we plug in, and it’s monitored — if it isn’t grounding me properly, it’ll scream, the idea being to make it too unpleasant to get lazy with your grounding around a computer that costs as much as a small house). Didn’t stop my headaches.

        I’ll continue to ground myself in the lab, of course. We’re building computers that people’s lives will depend on in one way or another (we build avionics computers for the military and NASA); so I guess this is one time when grounding yourself can actually be good for someone’s health. ;-)

        1. gravitybear says:

          Ha! This is the first thing I thought of: If grounding worked, then people who work with sensitive electronics would be the healthiest of us all.

    2. mousethatroared says:

      Stan – It not that I’m not willing to “just try” something that isn’t proven and doesn’t make sense scientifically. It’s that the list is so long, I have to prioritize.

      I choose to start with things that I find pleasant. James Brown (Queen, the Soundtrack to Pitch Perfect….the music list alone will take a lot of experimentation), a lovely comfortable mattress topper, looking at pictures of gardens, a tasty latte, anything with ginger in it, soft clothing, going out to the movies, staying in for the movies, different types of movies (Did you know it’s scientifically proven that watching David Lynch movies reduces existential angst…oh well, I’m not going to try that, I find most David Lynch too distressing). Shopping for roses bushes, the list goes on and on.

      Earthing happen to be very low on my list…I’m not sure that I’ll live that long.

      1. DevoutCatalyst says:

        You didn’t find Eraserhead deeply soothing ? Mouse, what we going to do about you ?

        1. mousethatroared says:

          Luckily, I find existential angst to be a nice change of pace from my regular day to day angst.

      2. Kathy says:

        You seem to have an incurable disease Mouse : enjoying lots of things. With a list like this (which I’m sure is representative not comprehensive), you probably lack the earnest anxious face of the Cam-concious. Also you very likely have a sense of humour. You are therefore, sadly, excluded forever from the ranks of The Blessed Believers.

    3. RobRN says:

      Stanmrk… All of your observations are subjective and highly susceptible to confirmation bias!

    4. Sawyer says:

      Abort stan, abort! I’m normally out of my element with most medical topics here, but you’re getting dangerously close to an area I know quite a bit about. Care to explain how those zeta potential measurements from the first paper are anywhere close to accurate? Can you derive the Helmholtz–Smoluchowski equation for us and show where it is valid?

      I have a notebook full of failed experiments on electrokinetic transport, and I know how easy it is to screw up a measurement or apply the wrong equation. Too bad I didn’t work with Chevalier or I could have published all of my terrible work!

  9. stanmrak says:

    OK, so if you are a scientist and have back or joint pain, you take Tylenol because peer-reviewed studies have proven that it’s safe and effective for this… oops, maybe not – as Harriet’s blog on Tylenol revealed just a couple of days ago. Just because something has been ‘proven’ to safe and effective in peer-reviewed studies doesn’t always mean that it is, and vice-versa. You can find a limitless number of examples throughout history. Studies are as much a marketing tool as they are scientific inquiries. I certainly wouldn’t recommend following them blindly. Science may be reliable, but scientific studies? Studies can, and do, fool scientists all the time. For example, there’s a link above that refers to a study that claims that certain antioxidants can increase your risk of cancer. That study is as bogus as any I’ve ever seen, yet it’s presented here as fact because it supports the author’s contention.

    1. Sawyer says:

      You’ve backed yourself into a corner here. If Earthing has significant physiological effects, it can carry the same types of risks that normal drugs do. I’d argue magically changing the zeta potential of red blood cells would have a host of unforeseen consequences far beyond the risks of Tylenol. Yet you wholeheartedly endorse it.

      You don’t get to have it both ways. The only reason Earthing carries lower risks than Tylenol is because it does NOTHING.

    2. Greg says:

      Exercise works wonders, particularly strength training and stretching.

    3. MadisonMD says:

      Stan wouldn’t know science if it kicked him in the rear. How can a man be so self unaware as he peddles his own untested chemical-laden pills?

      Stan does not find it suitable to concern himself with mechanism and coherence. Thus he is able able to accept beliefs that conflict with large bodies of knowledge of physiology, biology, and even fundamental physics. It possible to do so when you are scientifically illiterate and ignorant. Add a lack of critical thought and a touch of conspiracy and you have a man who is both overly credulous to quackery and lacks the ability to differentiate facts from fiction using mechanism and coherence.

      So Stan relies purely on empirical evidence of his own personal experiences to support the latest fad. For example, Stan hasn’t been abducted by Aliens since using the grounding pad… which ‘proves’ its value to a scientific ignoramus with a daffy-duck definition of ‘works.’

    4. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD says:

      I would have to agree with stan, that acetaminophen is many times more dangerous than altering minute energy fields.

      In terms of repeatability of positive outcomes I would go with needles and leverage.

      1. MadisonMD says:

        I would have to agree with stan, that acetaminophen is many times more dangerous than altering minute energy fields.

        Duh. And obviously getting pierced by needles by you is many times more dangerous than acetaminophen.

        In fact, seeing you is more dangerous than seeing another licensed acupuncturist since:
        (a) You don’t deem it necessary to use sterile technique. SSR says:

        NO need to clean the skin unless the person works in a slaughterhouse or cleans up poop for a living.

        (b) You claim to shoot the 15% of patients who do not respond. SSR says:

        75-85% get better with the seat of my pants and needles. The other 15% I shoot and put in a grave out back.

        (c) You deem your diploma and license provides you the right to experiment on your patients. SSR says:

        Once a physician gets a diploma and license we actually have a legal right to experiment with people’s lives.

        You have still not responded to my question of whether you provide informed consent. I have asked a second time.

        Now I am asking a third time, SSR. Do you provide informed consent before you experiment on your patients? Why are you avoiding the question?

        1. Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD says:

          Of course I do. So you think I’m that stupid??!! What is your real name?

          If you are concerned with the health and wellbeing of patients you should question the AMA/Ruc committees and advocate for a better informed consent for joint replacement surgeries to include alternative.

          Get this — patient who have no insurance and pay cash for the pain care like a shoulder, neck back or knee — i offer them a money back guarantee!
          No one has asked for their money back but most will refer me friends and family.

          1. MadisonMD says:

            Which IRB approved your protocol and informed consent to experiment on your patients?

          2. MadisonMD says:

            Also I notice you don’t have anything listed on, SSR. Aren’t you aware that clinical trials need to be registered there?

          3. Calli Arcale says:

            “Of course I do. So you think I’m that stupid??!!”

            Do you really want us to answer that?

  10. Mark Crislip says:

    I remember this as a Mark Twain anecdote, but I can’t find it on the webs, so it may be a false memory or associated wtih another author. I do not doubt someone will find the reference.

    As I rememner it he had to sleep with an open window. He was in a house where all the windows were painted shut and he tossed and turned unable to sleep until in frustration he heaved his shoe at the window, heard the breaking glass, felt the fresh air, had sigh of relief and fell right to sleep.

    In the morning he discovered his shoe had broken a glass pane in a cabinate and the windows were intact.

    Sort of an archetype for all who improve with a pseudo–medicines or sleep grounded

    1. Sawyer says:

      I googled “shoe window cabinet sleep” and came up with a Feng Shui website. Not what you were looking for, although it demonstrates the exact same principle! :)

  11. Greg says:

    The biggest benefit to going barefoot is to your foot muscles. Along the same lines I read something about wearing shoes causing health problems because it insulates you from the effects of the earth’s magnetic core. I guess the premise is similar just stated differently.

    1. Calli Arcale says:

      Insulates you from the Earth’s magnetic core? That’s a good one! :-D

      In case anyone wondered, wearing shoes cannot possibly shield you from the Earth’s magnetic core. The Earth’s magnetic field is very large by our standards. Only a very privileged few have ever climbed above it, the crews of Apollo 8, and Apollos 10-17. Even the ISS crews do not leave the influence of Earth’s magnetic core.

  12. Frederick says:

    If i want a good dose of electrons, I’ll just plug my fingers in the Wall socket, only 1 second of it and I’ll be full it Super-duper electrons. Or I will end up Like Bender, huuuum electricity

    Sarcasm Mode : ACTIVATED

    @Stan Oh yeah that is so stupid to test thing objectively, with a rigorous protocols, to be sure it work and that the Results are not falsified by people and or by biases LIKE a confirmation bias. Stupid scientist, who want to understand the universe, when anybody can come up with a theory and claim it is true, just because he believes in it. Pffffff science what a waste of time.

  13. Lytrigian says:

    One of my colleagues referred to it as precision without accuracy.

    I wonder how often a successful clinical trial of some CAM modality requires looking at more decimal places than equipment can accurately report, or more than can be justified by the precision of the raw data? Might be worth a look at some point.

    1. rork says:

      I have no problem using estimates of transcript abundances with 10 decimal digits in them. Rounding them before doing a statistical test would make no sense. I leave all those digits in place when making data public in repositories (GEO), as do most others.
      But if ya see people writing “p less than or equal to .05″ rather than just less than, suspect they got p=.053. Unless inconvenient because there are so many p-values to report in a figure, I always just give the damn p-value rather than saying what they were less than, often to 2 significant decimal digits, even if that’s more digits than it really deserves. Folks using an asterisk to say p was less than .05, but not saying what it was, in a data set where only 1 or 2 tests are being performed, should be unacceptable, but is common in biomedical literature, cause review sucks.
      Don’t accept “p was bigger than .05″ in papers easily – reader may care if it was .06 or .66. Authors sometimes struggle to get p above .05 as well as to get it below it – in discussion they’ll say it’s of no importance, and they may have let themselves drop it from a multivariable model, where, if left in, it would have destroyed the significance of their pet explanatory variable. Throwing inconvenient variables under the buss is pretty common trickery, and comes in several flavors (e.g. you first “dumb them down” so p gets above .05 in some previous model, then ditch them).

      1. Sawyer says:

        I think you are vastly overestimating the competence of these authors. The idea that they would purposely tweak their p-values suggests they at least know how to do experiments correctly. My measurements (p-value <.05) indicate that they don't.

        I tried looking up Gaétan Chevalier on UC Irvine's website and couldn't find any record of him. I'm guessing their biology department wasn't too keen on extending his research after learning what he was spending his time on.

  14. Kathy says:

    This sounds like a modern version of the old Greek mythological story of Hercules (aka Herakles) fighting the earth giant Antaeus. Antaeus was the son of the Earth Mother .. he got invincible strength and immediate healing of wounds by touching the earth. Hercules discovered that using the usual Greek wresting method of throwing him to the ground didn’t work – quite the opposite – so he held Antaeus off the ground until his strength dissipated enough to kill him.

  15. As the owner of a barefoot-inspired footwear brand, Xero Shoes, I get emails almost daily from people asking me to make a “grounding shoe,” or imploring me to read Earthing (because it’ll change my life).

    They often ask me to make leather sandals, despite the fact that leather (especially treated leather) was previously used as an insulator in early electronics.

    When these people read Ober’s book, they’re given a coherent-sounding narrative. Without the understanding of physics, chemistry, or biology that contradicts this narrative, they’re unlikely to change their opinion about the veracity of grounding, especially if they’ve had a personal experience that, they believe, proves it true.

    I like to respond that, thanks to evolution, we’ve gotten good at identifying pleasant feeling surfaces with our feet. And the pleasant feeling may, in fact, have some beneficial psychophysical effects (few deny the relaxation that occurs when you take off your shoes and walk in cool grass, or on a wet beach). But these effects, and the cause of them, have nothing to do with “becoming in tune with the frequency of the Earth,” let alone some imagined anti-oxidant effect.

    1. Oh, and don’t forget the movie that “proves” Earthing is true, The Grounded” —

      My favorite part of the movie is how they edit David Suzuki so he SOUNDS like he’s endorsing Grounding/Earthing without him every doing any such thing.

    2. scedastic says:

      Good to know you have some critical thinking skills. I have a lot of miles in your shoes. Thanks for posting here.
      My opinion of you and your business model just increased.
      Do you think if people understood science classes better this kind of stuff wouldn’t get, well, a foot-hold?

      1. Thanks for the kind words, scedastic. If you check out the Xero Shoes blog, you’ll probably see that I’ve taken to task the bad thinking on *both* sides of the barefoot running world (there’s almost as much mythology within the community as there is criticizing it).

        I’m not sure if more science education is the solution.

        One thing we’re lacking in the US is a good understanding of rhetoric and cognitive biases; know some of that and it’ll take you pretty far.

        Worse, reporters don’t seem to know (or be willing to opine about) bad science and, therefore, report correlations as if it’s causality and, like I mentioned above, that leads to a coherent-but-inaccurate narrative that’s hard to shake.

    3. Frederick says:

      Good comments, it is not because being barefoot is pleasant that it will heal you.

      I like to walk barefoot in the grass, I use my lawn mower only every 2-3 week, so my grass his tall and smooth, i like that feeling. I pretty it as no effect at all beside being pleasant, but i like when spring and summer come, i can stop wearing socks in the house. But i really dislike walking on rock barefoot, and i really don’t like being barefoot in shoes, when i wear shoes, i have to be in socks. I have sandals for when i go to beach ( or when i kayak and boat ride) but as much as a like walking barefoot in my house and on my lawn, i don’t like sandals. :-)

      1. weing says:

        I used to love running around barefoot. Except in rye or wheat fields after mowing.

    4. Sean Duggan says:

      I was going to comment that the “barefoot” aspect of it all is more likely the beneficial bit, but you beat me to it by several days. :) As someone who grew up in kentucky, and has done martial arts for years, I can’t emphasize enough how unhealthy constant shoe wearing is for many people. Shoes are hot moist incubators for all kinds of nasty bacteria, mold, and fungi. They keep your feet from breathing and promote unhealthy shapes for your feet. They’re the equivalent, in many ways, of corsetting, a practice that emphasizes fashion over health. Now, like corsets, there are exceptions for medical reasons. There are people who are flat-footed or splay-footed and need shoes to promote the proper growth. And there are valid areas where you want to cover up your feet such as winter weather or dangerous walking surfaces, but I am baffled why so many people continue to wear shoes once they’re no longer needed. It’d be like if our culture promoted wearing thick gloves everywhere because we wear them in the middle of winter or when working on barbed wire.

      So, long story short, “grounding” in an electrical sense has no relevance to the increased health and well-being of going barefoot.

  16. Peter s. says:

    Is there, at last, nothing that Mehmet Oz won’t endorse? How does he live with himself?

    Then again, some doctors will endorse anything, I suppose. From one of my favorite sites, a selected list of some modalities he offers.

    NEUROTRANSMITTER TESTING via a single afternoon urine specimen has provided great insights into the biochemical cause of anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, migraines, etc. Neurotransmitter Repletion has been an effective option for many of my patients. Most of the time urine testing is not necessary to initiate or even manage neurotransmitter balancing.

    ADVANCED TESTING using in office survey forms, urine and saliva testing, Electro-Interstitial Scanning (EIS) and single nerve sensory conduction studies (SCNT). We find our Meridian Energy Assessment a valuable tool for gathering data about you acupuncture meridian status. It may provide insight when no other pattern emerges. These tests may be considered non-standard and therefore can not be used alone to make a diagnosis, which usually requires a combination of data and insight from multiple sources. REBA testing and Acupuncture Meridian Assessment using EDS are also available.

    INFRARED THERMOGRAPHY was added January 2006 with state-of-the-art equipment. Dr. Kaslow has been trained by one of the most experienced, well-respected thermographers in the world. The procedure is entirely non-invasive, safe, discrete, and has excellent predictive value for early detection of abnormal breast physiology. Although not a replacement for X-ray mammograms, functional thermography not only serves as an early warning system for trouble but may help determine an appropriate management strategy. In April 2012, the software program was upgraded to enable full body thermography in addition to breast thermogram imaging. This has enabled a much more wholistic view of the body and provides a better understanding of the structure and physiology from the head to the feet.

    PHOTON DIRECTED ACTION including Low Level Laser (LLLT)has been a powerful adjunct to treating oral, dental and upper respiratory infections. The mechanism of this FDA approved modality include stimulating the cells and tissue to function optimally. In addition we have had dramatic responses reported using our Photon Directed Action (PDA) protocol for allergens and toxins. Several patients have virtually eliminated their allergy symptoms and medication need using this technique.

    ANODYNE photodynamic therapy aids in accelerating healing. See more about this therapy in the web page on Anodyne.

    1. Peter s. says:

      I meant to mention this modality as well, as perhaps closest to the subject at hand.

      Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Fields (PEMFs)

      Our Earth has a magnetic field that fluctuates (pulses) and this pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) is a key component for life. The Earth’s PEMF acts as
      •a guidance system for planes, birds, and bees, etc.
      •a catalyst for every biochemical reaction that happens on Earth.
      •Early proof of our need for the Earth’s pulsed electromagnetic fields, (often referred to as “PEMFs”), was observed after Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin from the Soviet Union circled the Earth in April 1961. Yuri returned from space and suffered from depression, decreased metabolism, impaired perception, bone loss, and muscle degeneration and died at the age of 34 from mysterious circumstances. And he was only in space (and without the magnetic field of Earth) for less than two hours!

      Subsequently, research confirmed human cells deprived of pulsed magnetic fields die quickly; in fact many researchers refer to PEMFs as “The Fifth Element.” Along with food, water, oxygen and sleep, the body needs PEMFs to survive. Unfortunately the Earth’s magnetic field is getting weaker and some research suggests that it is almost 100 times less powerful as it was during the time of dinosaurs.

      Each of the approximately 75 trillion cells in your body vibrates or oscillates. Using the appropriate frequencies, electromagnetic impulses can induce resonant vibrations to stimulate a variety of cellular functions. However, only specific range or spectrum of electromagnetic frequencies are readily accepted by the body (called the biological window) trigger physiological responses.

      One key function of the cell membrane is to regulate the environment for biological processes inside the cell. This is achieved through selectively allowing water, nutrients, and elements to enter or leave the interior of the cell. One way the cell membrane achieves selective “permeability” is through the establishment of a membrane potential. The membrane potential of a cell is the voltage difference between the interior of the cell and the exterior of the cell. The cell’s normal membrane potential is 70-90 mV (milliVolts). In a state of illness or disease, the membrane potential is reduced to 30-40 mV. PEMF normalizes cell membrane potentials.

      PEMF therapy is similar to charging a battery, which is each and every one of your cells. PEMF stimulates atoms, increases electronic spin, aligns molecules, and generates very small microcurrents that tend to run along nerve pathways. This leads to an increase in intercellular communication, metabolic processes in part due to increased circulation, oxygenation, alkalization, ATP production(the form of energy used by cells to perform work such as running enzymes), and optimized cell membrane potential. As a result, cells regenerate, oxidative stress and inflammation is reduced, immune responses are more robust, the feel-good endorphins are boosted, depleted adrenal and other endocrine gland functions are restored. Healing, rejuvenation, and regeneration. This is the foundation of PEMF therapy.

      1. Egstra says:

        PEMF therapy

        Dr. Oz recommends it — that’s all I need to know its value.

  17. Lost Marble says:

    Is anyone else confused about why you should buy expensive things to provide grounding? Isn’t the whole point to touch earth with bare feet? If it was plausible we should all replace our floors with dirt shoveled up from our yards. Free, though you might need to borrow a shovel.

    1. stanmrak says:

      You can buy a grounding cord for less than $20 that will last you a lifetime… and will allow you to ground yourself 24/7 if you want. Not many folks can go barefoot all day every day. The cord works the same way – you’re not losing anything.

      If you are really cheap, you can rig up your own cord for just a few dollars at Home Depot.

      1. Chris says:

        Here you go:

        You and John Scudamore must have been twins separated at birth. Except he was the one who got is bum burned by a satanic ley line.

  18. stanmrak says:

    So many peculiar comments on a self-proclaimed “science-based” website! Very little science, lots of unsubstantiated assertions, unsupported conclusions, bad analogies and declarations – but no actual evidence to back them up. Apparently, if something confirms your already-established prejudicies, it good science!

  19. stanmrak says:

    An example of really bad science that’s used to ‘validate’ the author’s argument.

    “Since there is the suggestion that antioxidants may promote cancer, rather than prevent it, if earthing could work, it would probably increase you chance of cancer.”

    The study referenced in no way could be considered good science. I hope he was joking.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Obvious troll is obvious.

  20. Has anyone tried ‘MOONING’ , which requires placing the bare buttocks on the earths surface , so that ‘ECLECTIC ENERGY’ can be used to stimulate the root chakra?
    Perhaps an opening for a research paper titled ‘Mooning: Intuitive earthing techniques of the Family Canidae’ ?

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