Earthing or Grounding for Back Pain Relief
Another simple thing you can try for back pain is earthing. Also known as grounding, earthing is a way of utilizing the earth’s natural electrical charge to have a positive effect on the body.
It works on the principle that the earth’s surface is rich in free electrons, giving it a subtle negative charge. When you come into conductive contact with the earth, this charge is transferred to your body. In the body, free electrons act like antioxidants and protect cells against damage from free radicals. Some of the many benefits of earthing include reduced inflammation and pain, better sleep and lower stress levels.
One of the easiest ways to experience earthing is by walking outdoors, barefoot, bringing the soles of your feet into direct contact with the earth’s surface. Because this is not always practical, you can also use a specially designed product which allows you to earth indoors. This could be a mat, a pad or an earthing sleep system.
Earthing for back pain works by reducing inflammation. Inflammation happens in response to an injury or infection. White blood cells rush to the affected area and trigger a cascade of chemical signals and activity, working to protect the body against foreign pathogens. This all results in the familiar symptoms which we associate with inflammation – redness, heat, swelling and pain.
This 2010 study showed that earthing reduced the amount of time taken to recover from delayed onset muscle soreness. This is a common condition that can occur following excessive exercise. The study concluded that earthing reduced the levels of certain white blood cells and affected blood chemistry in such a way that acute inflammation was greatly reduced.
Earthing also regulates levels of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is one of the hormones involved in the “fight or flight” nervous response. It also has the effect of stopping the inflammatory process. This 2004 research study found that earthing normalized cortisol levels throughout the day, improved sleep and reduced pain.
You can read more about the benefits of earthing and how earthing works.