By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Page last updated April 13, 2023.
Can “Earthing,” or grounding, for an hour each day help you look younger? Recent research indicates, “yes”: connecting with the Earth’s natural surface energy for an hour a day can improve blood circulation in the face, and may enhance facial tissue repair.
What is Earthing?
Ever wonder why it feels so good when you go barefoot outdoors? Why you become more calm, yet feel recharged? Earthing – simply put – is absorbing the Earth’s natural energy. When you lay in the grass or walk barefoot on the beach, you’re Earthing, or grounding. I like to call it “Vitamin G” – G for Ground because it can have an antioxidant effect in your body. Mounting research and anecdotal evidence indicate that the natural energy infusion we get from the Earth offers numerous health benefits such as balanced nervous system activity, healthier blood, and reduced inflammation and pain.
If you can’t get outside often enough for a good energy infusion, you can achieve the same results by sleeping, working, or relaxing indoors while using Earthing devices: sleep mats or sheets, floor mats, patches or bands that are designed to conduct the Earth’s natural energy.
Earthing as a Face Therapy
Lead researcher Gaétan Chevalier, Ph.D., of the Developmental and Cell Biology Department at the University of California at Irvine, made the exciting discovery that Earthing could offer anti-aging and beauty benefits through a 2014 study. Forty subjects were either grounded or fake-grounded for one hour while relaxing in a comfortable recliner chair equipped with a conductive mat, pillow, and patches. Sophisticated laser and thermal imaging cameras documented physiological changes in the subjects’ faces during each session.
The laser analyses showed, for the first time, how grounding impacts facial blood flow, and that grounding can rapidly improve blood circulation in the face. Here is what a picture of that effect looks like:
Improved facial circulation (right image) after 20 minutes of grounding, as documented by a Speckle Contrast Laser Imager.
The fake-grounded participants showed no such effect. The pattern you see above relates to a more efficient regulatory effect on blood flow by the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and adds to the understanding of how Earthing would generate a beauty effect, and why people often say they look better and younger after they start grounding.
“The results demonstrate, for the first time, that even one-hour contact with the Earth restores blood flow regulation to the face that may enhance skin tissue repair, health and vitality, and optimize facial appearance, which may also have broad implications for overall cardiovascular function and health.”
Thermal imaging (TI), also known as thermography or infrared imaging, is a widely used evaluation method to asses early breast cancer formation, various pain and musculoskeletal problems, arterial disease, and many other conditions. TI cameras record tiny changes in skin temperature to create a color-coded image map reflecting normal or abnormal functioning of the body. The images with variations and patterns of colors are studied by experts just as radiologists interpret X-rays and MRI images.
In the beauty industry, improved facial circulation is a major target of various face therapies and products.
Not only does Earthing research indicate potential to reduce pain, and improve sleep and energy, but now points to a beauty and appearance dividend, as well.
References and Resources:
- Chevalier G. (2014) Grounding the Human Body Improves Facial Blood Flow Regulation: Results of a Randomized, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 4, 293-308. doi: 10.4236/jcdsa.2014.45039.
- Ober C, Sinatra ST, Zucker M. Earthing: the most important health discovery ever? (2010, 2014).
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