Very few today participate in this little known practice but it is by far one of the most easy to perform and readily available tasks you can do to promote well being amongst your physical and mental health. Known today as Earthing, the qualities and benefits are virtually endless and it is in fact highly enjoyable as well. Let’s explore a little deeper. Research into Earthing spans back into the 1960’s and 70’s at the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Germany. Their findings reported that it is evidently necessary for human beings to be exposed to the electromagnetic frequencies and postulates formed within the Earth as they relate to the overall Schumann Resonance of the Earth itself. Research began to pick up during the 1990’s when a retired cable TV executive, Clinton Ober coined the phrase Earthing himself after extensive research into the topic. He found that sleeping with his body to the ground not only improved his sleep but also his overall health so he began an attempt to spread this information and encourage other people to try it. He also tried to contact doctors and physicians but to no avail. The medical industry thrives on people being sick and prescribing drugs to mask the pain and effects. Any type of natural alternative, especially one that costs absolutely nothing, is viewed as a threat. Clinton Ober continued to be a huge Earthing enthusiast and even released a book in 2010 detailing the concept titled, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? which is available here. He worked together with Dr. Maurice Ghaly, a retired anesthesiologist, to further study the effects. They began to study cortisol levels, which is a indicator of stress and inflammation, to see if the use of an Earth pad would normalize the levels. An Earth pad works as a mattress that will end up resonating the same frequency as the Earth itself by placing a foot long metal rod into the Earth which is attached to the mattress. The mattress consist of conductive copper and silver fibers woven through the fabric as they are able to properly charge the electrons up through the Earth, into the pad, and ultimately into your body. There are also other products such as floor mats that are based on the same principal. The aforementioned study consisted of 12 people who complained of poor sleeping and pain over a span of six weeks. Daily tests were done on their saliva to determine the cortisol levels and by the end they realized that the levels became neutralized and the patients continued to have improved health weeks after the testing period. News of the study reached Jeffrey Spencer who is a specialist in athletic performance and recovery. At the time he was the chiropractor of the United States cyclist team in Tour de France and began to look into the concept of Earthing. It is notes that cyclist begin to have trouble sleeping after a few days of their demanding athletic stints due to changes in their cortisol levels. He observed the excellence of Earthing realizing that it could give his team a great advantage over the competition and prompted his athletes to participate in the process. He noticed over the course of the tour that the athletes sleep was universally improved, cases of tendinitis were at an all time low and basically non existent, the recovery time of injury was accelerated to previously unheard of proportion, the performance of athletes itself was massively improved, and because of this team moral was skyrocketing the entire tour. Dr. Spencer is now a constant user and promoter of Earthing technology for all of his athletes and Earthing products have become standard protocol within the United States cycling team. It is plain to see the obvious logic behind Earthing as sleeping on the ground is our natural state as humans. The use of mattresses and synthetic shoes are completely unnatural for our being which holds the reason why I believe that many health ailments can be reversed and prevented through the use of various types of Earthing. It was not up until recently in our history that humans began using plastic and rubber soles in our shoes, as previously we would have used a natural fabric such as leather, straw, or hemp. Organically made shoes allow normal perspiration through the feet and thus would still be able to properly suck up the precious electrons below our feet. Throughout the Earth there is a circadian rhythm amongst living beings. This is basically a process that biological lifeforms go through on a daily basis, the human example is shown on the left of the diagram above. What is called the diurnal cycle in our planets electric field is the daily clock or ‘time setter’ or our cortisol levels which I mentioned earlier as the chemical indicator of stress and inflammation. This cycle, which usually perpetuates itself up through the ground into our bodies through electrical activity, has been blocked and disrupted through the use of synthetic insulated shoes which is why cortisol levels are completely imbalanced and through the roof in our modern world. Disrupted cortisol levels can lead to a mass array of unique health detriments such as sleep deprivation, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, decreased bone density, decreased immune response, over immune response, mood disturbances, autoimmune diseases, abnormal glucose levels, and much more. When the immune system detects a threat it goes through a three stage method to dispose of the threat. It first notices the threat and in terms goes into a sort of alarm mode in which it is preparing for combat so to speak. It then begins to resist and fight off the threat ending in exhaustion from a hard battle. Cortisol is an interesting chemical, it sets off the bodies three stage method even when there is no actual threat to ward off. The body begins going through the motions but since there is not necessarily anything to worry about your cells thus exhausted themselves for no reason leaving you very susceptible to actual threats that may come your way. Cortisol, as we know, is a great indicator of stress but it is also one of the best indicators of inflammation. Inflammation is the result of a deficiency of negative charge and it is often associated with free radicals which we will come to in a moment. Inflammation can be linked as the root of almost every chronic disease involved at almost every level of the body including the nervous,gastrointestinal, endocrine, and respiratory systems as well as the skin and connective tissues. It has also found to play a major role in the aging process itself. Inflammation itself is the act of quarantining an area of infection in the body while the immune system attempts to destroy all of the infected cells. The immune cells emit oxidizing particles to destroy invading microorganisms but to regain their neutral electric charge they tear the electrons off the invaders and other damaged cells. In an ideal situation the inflammation would stop after all of the damaged and infectious cells are removed but in many cases due to poor nutrition and lack of proper energy levels, the process does not stop and some free radicals migrate from the original quarantined area to nearby spots on the body and begin to damage healthy cells. Free radicals in simple terms are corrupted molecules that are missing an electron and are therefore considered very dangerous. They stem from a combination of numerous sources as you can see above but the effects of free radicals cause violent reactions within the body as electrical charges are redistributed among molecules. These violent reactions are the breaking of chemical bonds responsible for the cell walls of bacteria, cell membranes, DNA, and damaged collective material. The process is comparable to watching a fire in which the oxygen tears electrons from the bonds holding matter together freeing heat and light. The funny thing about free radicals is that many of them are ultimately caused by the failure of ending the inflammatory process as outlined earlier, and they continue to cause more inflammation throughout the body. On the outer level this can be viewed as heat, redness, itchiness, swelling, pain, and loss of motion. The easiest method in combating these violent invaders is to gain more electrons as this will neutralize the molecules electric charge (which is the root of the corruption) making them harmless and the Earth just happens to offer the cleanest most readily available electrons right at your very feet. The pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs made synthetically are actually lab designed to become free radicals after suppressing the inflammation as they do not stop the source and cause of inflammation. Since the drugs are giving up their electrons to cover the inflammatory process, they then are missing electrons themselves making them another threat that your body further strains itself fighting. The drugs were designed this way for the very purpose of keeping you sick so you will have to purchase additional drugs which will obviously make you a reoccurring customer to the drug company creating a vicious cycle of sick business. I would suggest, as an addition to Earthing of course, eating foods that are high in antioxidants as this will quell and prevent free radicals and inflammation. An easy and delicious way to deliver powerful antioxidants is to eat organic cocoa beans, studies show that they contain three times the antioxidants as green tea which is a well known antioxidant provider as discussed here. The Earth has a virtually endless supply of pure electrons as they are constantly being generated by the solar wind entering the magnetosphere, the ionospheric wind, and a multitude of meteorological activities. Stepping on the ground barefoot will allow your body to naturally nourish the many corrupted systems within you by salvaging the electrons below. Electrically conductive pathways between the surface of the skin and internal organs can be measured by tools such as the electrocardiogram and the electroencephalogram which both use electrodes placed on the skin to detect electric fields emitted by the heart and brain respectively. Since there is a connection going outwards from your organs to your skin, the circuit will then obviously work in reverse allowing electric signals to go through your skin inside. We are continually being bombarded by immutable electrical and magnetic fields through the use of present technology. Our current fields have been enormously distrusted, becoming somewhat toxic, due to the mass amounts of cellphones, wi-fi, and satellite signals. Since we are not regularly being in touch with the ground, our bodies have no chance to rewire to the proper natural Earth field and are stuck being influenced and attuned to the distorted frequencies that are in the air. This is the key which affects our cortisol levels (through the circadian rhythm) mentioned earlier. When we are not in touch with the Earths natural electrical state, through the use of insulated shoes for example, our body then begins to equilibrate with the fields of the atmosphere which is prominently positive whilst we need a more negative charge maintained by electrons. Going back to the original idea, the Earth can provide you the perfect source of electrons to realign your electrical levels from the masses of electromagnetic pollution we are witnessing today. Since our DNA structure is mostly crystalline and we are made up of a high percentage of water we are in fact great conductors of electricity which is what makes Earthing such an easy task in inheriting electrons. Although the conductivity varies from place to place based on water and mineral content, the water level, and vegetation the connection between the body and Earth is barely effected. Along with all of the above outlined benefits, Earthing provides a sense of familiarity and comfort as it is embedded within our very being as our ancestors did nothing but walk barefoot. Earthing can also provide a very spiritual experience as your body and consciousness relives it’s natural connection with the Earth. For those of you who meditate, I would suggest doing so outside barefoot with your legs and feet touching the ground. This will not only give you those previous electrons but it will also act as a catalyst and inducer of the meditative state, allowing you to reach it faster and more efficiently as well as leaving you with a sense of wholeness, connectivity, and love. Everyone of the face of this planet can be immensely benefited by the simple act of Earthing and there is new research starting to surface that it may even be a key in helping cancer patients. Even if you do not want to spend money on any Earthing accessories such as the mattress pad or floor mats, just making the effort of going outside barefoot for 15 minutes a day will work wonders for your health and well being. Aside from this article there is an agglomeration of other information out there readily available at your fingertips on the Internet alone. I’d suggest, as with anything, taking the time to research further into Earthing yourself as I am sure you will find even more great reasons to kick off the shoes and go for a stroll in the yard. Sources: http://www.earthinginstitute.net/commentaries/oschman_antioxidants.pdf Earthing:The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? (Clinton Ober, 2010) http://www.earthinginstitute.net/index.php/research http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/291541/ http://www.earthinginstitute.net/studies/earthing_human_physiology_2006_pt1.pdf http://www.earthinginstitute.net/studies/earthing_human_physiology_2007_pt2.pdf http://www.earthinginstitute.net/statements/understanding_earthing.pdf http://electromagnetic-pollution.com/main/page_solutions_earthing.html http://www.earthbreathing.co.uk/sr.htm
Long before the newest social fundraiser swept the globe, there was an age where dumping water on your head was not only a common practice but was promoted as a way to boost strength, health, and mind alike. Although most will cringe at the very thought of dumping cold water on yourself, this has actually been a practice within various civilizations for aeons and has numerous benefits. Stemming back thousands of years, this ancient formula of simply submerging your body in cold water has been used by cultures all over the world to train warriors and to sky rocket the health of commoners alike. One of the earliest known forms of dousing comes from the days of the Roman Empire in which the elite soldiers would take scorching hot baths in custom made saunas leading to an eventual freezing cold rinse off. The vikings also had a similar practice in which after a long hot bath they would rinse off by rolling in the snow. In Finland there is term known as ‘avantouinti’ which translates to ‘ice hole swimming’. This was done first by drenching yourself in sweat in a souna and afterwards plunging yourself into freezing water. The Samurai warriors in Japan also used dousing as a way of clearing your energy aura of any baggage as Samurai factions were known to say that dousing clears the spirit. There is also a process in Japan known as Misogi which is a series of rites and training to reach spiritual passage, one of these are of course the act of immense cold water dousing. The most recent explosion of popularity of use of this technique actually began in Russia in the form of RMA or Russian Martial Arts. Created by Vladimir Vasiliev, the Russian Martial Art of Systema incoporates five essential principals which are:
1)Cleaning the body through the use of fasting.
2)Health through correct movement.
4)Interaction with nature.
5)Strengthening the body with water.
All of these steps are equally important but for the purpose of this article,we will only delve into the fifth principal. Aside from the many health and mind benefits we shall explain in detail later, the fifth principal of water dousing actually ends up relating and strengthening all the previous steps. At first cold water dousing is a shock to the body but this is actually developing a threshold of stability changes in which no sudden changes in nature tend to reach, therefore preparing the body for the harsh elements present in the wild. Natural changes in temperature and climate will seem like child’s play after enduring vigorous cold water training. The chilling water creates an environment for the lungs and throat in which air flow is much more clear, allowing a greater feeling of relaxation. Mastering the dousing technique teaches the body to keep a steady upright posture while under uncomfortable and painful (depending on the level of chill you choose to undertake) physical stress. The Systema teaches that the ability to handle the dousing training directly correlates to the type of person or character the individual has become. For example if you avoid cold water altogether, rather staying nice and cozy in the warm water you will be viewed as someone who is a quitter and has many weaknesses. While on the other hand if you rise to the challenge your self image will also reflect that, with the makings of a true champion. Classic dousing involved cold water in a bucket and pouring it over yourself, this signifies the initiative and determination needed to master the arts. Many enthusiasts have described dousing as a liberating and freeing type of feeling in which near the end of the session your body feels alive with warm hot energy. Vladimir Vasiliev wrote in the Systema guidebook describing dousing as follows,
“It’s almost like having a mini-explosion take place inside of you.Your body temperature rises to nearly 42.2 degrees Celsius (that’s nearly 108 degrees Fahrenheit). It feels like a pleasant warmth and surge of energy inside. Meanwhile, this explosion of warmth will kill off most bacteria and viruses. Indeed, 40 degrees Celsius is deadly for most viruses and bacteria and this procedure raises body temperature 2 degrees Celsius (and nearly 4 Fahrenheit) above that.”
Hot water draws blood to the surface of the skin, sort of like a protective wall from the heat which causes the vessels to expand. Cold water instinctively causes the opposite effect, with the vessels tightening, draining blood out of the extremities with all of the lactic acid and built up toxins along with it. Within moments the skin and muscles are bombarded by fresh new blood coupled by loads of oxygen. The sudden rush of blood and oxygen has a few peculiar effects such as: stimulating glandular activity, increasing muscle tone and nerve force, improved digestion and increased metabolism, boosting the immune system, increased blood count, stimulates the brain and central nervous system, and of course improved blood and oxygen flow.
There was a study done in 1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England which showed that cold water dousing caused an increase in virus fighting white blood cells as well as testosterone and sperm count. According to the study, the heightened metabolic rate which is caused from the bodies attempt to warm itself, activates the immune system which then releases more white blood cells to combat the threat. White blood cells are a key factor in warding off dangerous free radicals, virus, and bacteria. There is a growing body of researchers who are looking into the correlation between cold water and stroke patients. There was a study where 19 stroke patients who’s conditions were not improving from the use of medical grade drugs were monitored over a period of three months. Ten of these patients were given cold water treatments that are identical to dousing. At the end of the three months the ten who underwent the water treatment had significantly lower disability with higher motor skills and kinesthetic awareness. There is new research also looking into whether lowering the temperature of stroke victims immediately after the stroke could reduce brain damage and whether continued use can limit further damage through pharmiseutical drugs. In Russia scientist are also studying if applying mild hypothermia to stroke victims would be beneficial. In the United States a new theory is making its rounds stating that diabetics submurged in dry ice baths have had a decrease in symptoms and an increase in muscular performance. Ice baths are also becoming a staple in the treatment of heat stroke.
Cold water dousing is on the verge of becoming the next big trend within the ever prevailing health conscious and athletic culture alike. During the 2003 Rugby World Cup, many athletes were noted to have used ice baths in order to hasten recovery time and keep fatigue at bay. Coupled with proper eating and frequent physical activity, cold water can accelerate your weight loss due to the boost of metabolism. Cold water showers have proven to be an excellent treatment for depression and insomnia due to the relaxing properties. On the flip side, having a cold shower in the morning can act as an energy shot.
The only risks involving cold water dousing are if you have had a history of heart issues. If this is the case I would suggest subtly cooling your showers over time so your body doesn’t get quite the shock effect. After continuously cooling down your showers, try implementing only cold showers and view the results.
Based on the evidence, cold water dousing could easily sky rocket to become a staple in our daily lives. The pros of prolonging a healthy happy life vastly outweigh the cons of having a scorching hot shower which is ultimately deteriorating your health. Next time someone nominates you for an ice bucket challenge, you’ll be happy to oblige.
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