Get Down-to-Earth to Fix What Ails You

October 29, 2010
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

bxp281077Ground yourself to slash belly fat and zap hot flashes, sleeplessness, and stress.

Which of these scenarios would you prefer? Trouble falling asleep only to awaken several times each night, muscle pain and leg cramps, plus hot flashes. Or this? Falling sound asleep with reduced back, leg, and neck pain, plus fewer hot flashes?

That’s a no brainer! Anyone would take the second option over the first. But wait, what if that meant taking drugs with dubious or even dangerous side effects? In that case, many of us might try to live with the first option—just to preserve our long-term health.

Now research in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine—and a growing number of other studies—suggests a natural, (literally!) down-to-earth, safe way to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, linked to both physical and psychological stress that results in inflammation and pain, sleep disturbances, and imbalance in sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.

In fact, this same study reported the scenarios above—the first before Earthing, which “grounds” the body much the way ground wires allow electrical power to enter your home safely, and the second after a study volunteer had literally reconnected to the Earth while sleeping. At the end of this eight-week test period, 11 out of the 12 volunteers said it took them less time to fall asleep—and all 12 woke up fewer times during the night.

Other benefits from using Earthing techniques while sleeping? Of the 11 subjects who reported pain that interfered with daily activities—before using these grounding techniques—seven found some relief from this experiment. And 10 out of the 12 experienced less pain during sleep!

Three quarters of these study volunteers also reported waking refreshed (rather than fatigued), improved energy levels, and less emotional stress—anxiety, depression, and irritability. And these results aren’t simply subjective.

Researchers Maurice Ghaly, MD, and Dale Teplitz recorded cortisol levels at four-hour intervals for a 24-hour period prior to grounding or Earthing, then measured cortisol levels daily during the 8-week test period. The results? “Grounding the human body to the Earth (“Earthing”) during sleep reduces nighttime levels of cortisol and resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm pattern,” these researchers write.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

I’ve been concerned about the ill effects of cortisol on human health—including female hormones—for decades. “Cortisol is one of the reasons for poor sleep,” explains Clint Ober, who discovered Earthing and spearheaded the research into this grounding technique. “Worry and anxiety stimulate cortisol secretion [which] interferes with sleep and you wake feeling like you have acid in your veins.”

Secreted in the adrenal glands, cortisol is a fat-promoting hormone that creates tummy fat by triggering enzymes to store fat when the body is stressed and perceives “danger ahead.” Since deep abdominal fat contains four times more cortisol receptors than other areas of the body, the stress hormone cortisol is drawn to this area.

Not only does cortisol disturb sleep, but in a vicious cycle, lack of sleep also releases more of this stress hormone, stimulating hunger, interfering with the body’s ability to break down carbohydrates effectively, and contributing to sleep-deprived weight gain. Aging only compounds this fattening cycle, and by middle age, baseline cortisol naturally begins to rise, making it harder to get the sleep we need.

Women and Cortisol
Today we are engulfed in a growing maze of harmful frequencies that lead to belly fat, blood sugar imbalances, cardiovascular disease, accelerated aging, thinning skin, autoimmune problems, erratic sleep patterns, and mood disturbances. My new book Zapped finds women more vulnerable to stress effects from the invisible “subliminal stress” caused by electropollution from antennae, cell and cordless phones, computers, faulty wiring, microwaves, PDAs, power lines, and WiFi that bathes us all 24/7 today.

On average, smaller than males, females are more at risk from electromagnetic fields (EMFs). I also believe that women are more affected by EMFs than men because their sympathetic nervous systems are more biologically attuned to the environment.

Hormones also play a central role in women’s response to Earthing. For instance, cortisol is related to both estrogen and progesterone, which explains why some women report improvements in PMS and menopause symptoms using this grounding sleep system.

In fact, the study comparing people before and after Earthing finds that “changes were most apparent in females.” Here’s what some of these women have to say:

• A 24-year-old woman—who had trouble sleeping for 17 years and also experienced daily headaches (plus migraines before her periods), PMS symptoms (including weight gain), and digestive complaints before Earthing—reported sleeping through the night after three nights of this experiment. Not only did her daily headaches disappear, but she also had fewer PMS symptoms (particularly food cravings, bloating, and depression) and enjoyed improved digestion.

• A 44-year-old woman with fibromyalgia since a 1992 car accident—who had trouble falling asleep only to sleep lightly and restlessly at night and suffered considerable joint pain as well as GI upsets before Earthing—reported diminished pain (joint aches gone) and fatigue after sleeping grounded. Besides “sleeping much deeper,” she said she felt much better. “I haven’t been sick at all.”

• A 52-year-old menopausal woman—who suffered daily fatigue and sporadic hip pain, slept lightly (waking up tense every night), had had allergies since she was 13, and poor digestion before this experiment—”felt more rested” after Earthing. Besides losing the pain in her hip, “I stopped clenching my jaw at night” and noticed a definite lessening in her allergies, “better digestion,” and “deeper relaxation.” In addition, she reported that her husband (though not a study participant but who shared her Earthing mattress bed pad) “has more energy” and “stopped snoring.”

I started using Earthing technology six months ago and have enjoyed similar benefits. I use the Earthing Universal Mat under my computer or place my bare feet on it while sitting or lying down. This mat connects to the Earth through a ground cord via the Earth ground port of an electrical outlet or can be used with an optional ground rod (purchased separately).

And like the women in this study, I sleep better at night on Earthing Fitted Sheets, available for all mattress sizes. Made from white 240-thread count 50/50 poly cotton fabric woven with conductive silver fibers, these sheets connect to the Earth with a ground cord. A more cost-effective, portable option may be the Earthing Bed Pad, a half sheet that tucks around the bottom half of a regular fitted sheet.

Other Reasons for Earthing
As the research grows, so do the benefits of reconnecting to the Earth. Besides supporting sound sleep and relieving pain. Earthing has been shown to thin blood and improve blood pressure, normalize heart rate, and even speed recovery from intense athletic activity.

Electrophysiological measurements indicate more efficient cardiovascular, nervous system, and respiratory function with Earthing. And preliminary evidence suggests significant improvement in biochemical factors associated with metabolic syndrome (or prediabetes) with this natural grounding technique.

There is even an appearance factor at work here. One woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) participating in a one-day Earthing study visited the restroom at the end of her session—only to rush back to the testing center exclaiming excitedly, “I look different,” she said. “Like I used to look years ago!”

Other women have made similar comments—even after just an hour of Earthing. The impact on appearance and feeling better probably comes from a combination of factors: sounder sleep, absence of pain, reduction of stress, and more natural and balanced functioning within the body. For more information on Earthing and its products, go to or read my latest book Zapped.

Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution
Fat Flush for Life
Hot Times, How to Eat Well, Live Healthy, and Feel Sexy During the Change

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Rosalie Wilson

    As terrific as “Earthing” sounds, I was very surprised to read as an exception to every product mentioned that if you take either Synthroid, or Armour, you must check with your physician, because any of these products can affect your heart rate, or cause palpitations.

    First of all there is the difficulty of trying to explain “Earthing” to many doctors, but second, I don’t understand why the above “side effect” should be the case when dealing with products of this nature.

    I was so excited to read about all of this, and then very concerned when reading that basically anyone dealing with true Hypothyroidism, or in my case Hashimoto’s Syndrome had this as a complication.

    I would appreciate any input on this matter.

    Thank You

  2. Liz

    It is as natural as walking barefoot to be connected to Earthing products but since the thyroid function is improved as a result, you may not need as much medication and can be overstimulated in the meantime.

  3. Kathleen

    OMG A-L !! Had I known this YEARS ago (I’m a Fat Flush fanatic since several years now, but this is the first that I’ve heard of this). Think that you have saved my life now with this one… THANK YOU so so so so much with this posting / info today. God Bless & cheers from your biggest fan in Brussels, Belgium !!!!!!!

  4. Randye

    I’d love to try grounding, but I live on the 4th floor of a 12 story apartment building. Is my only choice going to the nearby park and walking barefoot — or sitting with bare feet on the ground — for 1/2 hour or so?
    Thanks for any input.

  5. Carol

    Randye – To clarify, Earthing products allow you to be grounded even when you’re on the 4th floor of a 12 story building! As long as the electrical wiring is up to code, and your wall outlets are grounded, you can plug the Earthing product right into a regular wall outlet! Hope that helps!


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