According to Professor Andrew Huberman, grounding is a potentially beneficial method to improve your physical and mental health.
This field of research is still very new, but given the limited downsides, Huberman has recommended incorporating the practice into your daily or weekly routine.
In this post, we will explain what grounding is, Huberman’s recommendations related to grounding, and products that can help you perform grounding if you have limited access to the outdoors.
Let’s dig in!
What Is Grounding?
Grounding is a practice of putting your feet directly on the Earth, often with bare feet, typically into the soil or on a lawn.
There are theories that grounding could improve one’s mental and physical health through the exchange of electrons with the Earth’s surface.
Some suggest that shoes, particularly those with rubber soles, may block this electron exchange.
Others theorize that the tactile sensation of touch with the Earth is important.
While there’s some evidence supporting grounding, it’s not super strong and we don’t fully understand what aspect of grounding produces the observed positive effects.
There is limited scientific literature on grounding, but some early studies and anecdotal data have found several potential upsides to the practice.
One study explored the cardiovascular benefits of earthing, or grounding, on improving blood viscosity and red blood cell clumping, both associated with cardiovascular disease.
Another small study found improvements in circadian cortisol levels as a result of having a test group ground themselves while sleeping.
The study used a conductive mattress pad for grounding patients.
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Pain and Recovery
There is limited research on the use of grounding patches to promote wound healing, as well as inflammation related to long-term injuries.
Keep in mind that these studies may have conflicting interests and are based on low sample sizes.
Energy and Mood
Another small study tested a grounding protocol on a group of massage therapists to explore potential benefits.
Patients who used grounding self-reported decreased levels of fatigue, depressed moods, and tiredness.
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Andrew Huberman Grounding Recommendation
Huberman acknowledges that while there are theories and some evidence that grounding (direct skin contact with the earth) can provide mental and physical health benefits, the science is not conclusive.
However, he still recommends getting outside daily and making contact with nature as much as possible, whether taking a walk outside barefoot or hiking while wearing shoes.
Direct skin contact is not necessary to experience the positive effects of being outdoors.
Ultimately, Huberman says that if grounding feels good, go for it, but don’t worry about doing it perfectly.
The key is spending time outdoors.
If you enjoy grounding and it feels good to you, Huber says that he recommends doing it.
Grounding can pair particularly well with getting your morning sunlight.
Huberman Grounding Reddit
On the Huberman Lab subreddit, many users were skeptical but acknowledged the overall potential benefits of going barefoot when grounding.
It’s clear more research is needed in addition to the papers we referenced earlier.
The proposed benefits of grounding, also known as earthing, come from direct skin contact with the earth, especially with your feet.
Shoes, particularly those with rubber soles, may block the supposed exchange of electrons from the earth which proponents argue is the mechanism behind grounding’s effects.
Studies showing benefits have involved people placing their bare feet directly on soil, grass, or sand.
For ideal results, try going barefoot outdoors on clean, natural ground for at least a few minutes daily.
Morning sunlight exposure can be paired with grounding for an added boost.
Any time spent outdoors is beneficial if bare feet are not feasible, but direct skin contact maximizes potential effects.
Huberman jests that you should be wary of areas dogs frequent when considering barefoot grounding.
Grounding Product Recommendations
If you want to try grounding but going barefoot outdoors is not practical, products exist to mimic the effects.
“Grounding mats” allow indoor conductive skin contact by simulating the natural flow of electrons from the earth.
Mats range from simple bare conductive sheets to yoga mat styles.
You can also get grounding bed sheets or pads to stay grounded overnight.
In addition, some people use “grounding sandals” – minimalist footwear with conductive soles – for outdoor walks.
Another brand offers earthing straps that connect to your existing shoes to provide grounding capabilities.
These products offer portable, convenient grounding when direct outdoor skin contact is difficult, although natural outdoor grounding is ideal.
Evaluate claims carefully and understand limitations before purchasing.
Expert consensus is still unsure on the conclusiveness of the science behind commercial grounding products.
How long should I ground for?
There is no consensus on an ideal duration for grounding. Studies showing benefits have tested 15-30 minutes daily. Try 5-30 minutes if aiming to replicate research conditions.
What is grounding your feet to the earth?
Grounding involves direct skin contact, especially with the feet and the earth’s surface. This is theorized to allow electron exchange from the earth to your body, which proponents argue provides health benefits.
Is 5 minutes of grounding enough?
Potentially. Some studies have shown effects with 15-30 minutes daily. But even just 5 minutes can provide benefits from being outdoors.
What are the negative effects of grounding?
There are minimal known risks if done in clean outdoor spaces. Avoid areas with toxins, glass, animal waste, etc., that could cut feet or introduce chemicals.
Can you do too much grounding?
There are no known risks from excessive grounding. Listen to your body cues and stop if you experience any discomfort or skin irritation. Moderation is wise for any new practice.
Can you ground yourself on concrete?
No, concrete blocks the electron exchange, which is the proposed mechanism of grounding. Skin contact must be with natural conductive surfaces like soil, sand, or grass.
Does sitting on the grass count as grounding?
Sitting on grass would provide some grounding effects, but direct foot contact maximizes results. Laying down with your bare back on the grass also provides skin connection.