Earthing / Grounding
What is Earthing?
The moment we come into a direct contact with Earth, free electrons balance the positively charged ions, atoms, or molecules. Knocking out an electron from the outer shell is actually the creation of free radicals (unpaired electrons) which is happening round the clock. Culprits are myriad chemicals, polluted air, contaminated water, and food sources. Plus layers upon layers of the man-made electromagnetic radiation in our living and working environment.
Free radicals are involved in chronic inflammation and multiple diseases. By earthing your body, you are allowing free electrons to balance the positively charged ions, atoms, or molecules. In this process, the nervous system is shifted from stress-dominated mode to one of the calmness and better sleep.
What does actually happen?
“Earthing” comprises of two phenomena:
1) Ionic balance is a process of neutralizing the body’s positive ions created by knocking out an electron from the outer shell. It is achieved by the flow of free electrons from Earth into the body the moment it comes in contact with Earth. This electron deficiency balance restores, ions, atoms, and molecules to their normal biological functioning. Given that it is a biological process, it may take 20 min or so to feel the difference.
2) Capacitive coupling is the voltage induced into the body by the electric fields (EFs) in our living and working environment. It mimics a continuously charging capacitor. However, from the moment the body is earthed till it is disconnected, the body voltage gets dissipated into the earth in a form of currents flowing at levels characterized by the size of the body and the intensity of the induced electric fields.
Example: If I’m walking barefoot under 230 kV power line, I expect 32 microamps to flow through my body to the ground. This would not cause any instant damage to the body organs, but a long-term exposure could lead to health problems. Conversely, if I walk on the beach with barefoot, I feel relaxed comfortable and energetic. It is not the sand doing the magic, it is rather the free electrons from the salty quagmire.
Tests and experiments
What I noticed from tests I came across, is that measurements were taken with reference to the electrical ground (3rd prong of socket outlet). Since the ground and the neutral are joined at the main switchboard (fuse box), measurements taken against electrical ground are unreliable as they are influenced by the dynamic changes of the neutral wire’s potential to Earth.
At the end of the day, what are the measurements for? When you are grounded, you become an extension of the earth. Body voltage measured against ground would read zero. It is like testing self against self.
Improper grounding system
Since the fundamental reason for the grounding of home appliances and machines is to protect the household and workers from electrocution. For maximum protection, earth resistance has to read 5 ohms or less. Nonetheless, this grounding should NOT be used for body earthing, because any short circuit between a line and the neutral would be hazardous, especially if the earthing resistance was above 5 ohm which is the case in most installations. To mitigate and protect the grounded body, suppliers of grounding sheets recommend 100 k Ohm resistor be connected in series.
So why take the risk? For this reason, we recommend a separate “organic” ground.
In the house under assessment, I installed a separate ground made of 4 ft copper-coated rod measuring 4.7 Ohms earth resistance to which the earthing fabrics were connected. The separate ground rod must be at least 5 m away from the electrical ground rod to avoid inter-coupling. I measured the voltage between the separate ground rod and the electrical ground (third prong) and found a potential difference between them high enough to trip the earth leakage circuit breaker IΔn 0.03A (30 mA)!
As you may notice, body earthing is not straightforward. It does not work by purchasing an earthing bed-sheet, connecting it to the nearest earth prong and voila… It is not as simple as that. Of course, your body voltage would drop to near zero as you become an extension of Earth. This is not an achievement. What matters the most is the current levels continuously flowing through your body to the earth. In other words, what are the levels of the electric and magnetic fields induced in your body by the external sources around your bed? Also keeping in mind that the earthing sheets and the earthed body together attract the AC electric fields like a magnet making it even worse than a non-earthed body, i.e. floating.
Recommended Earthing procedures
- We don’t recommend getting connected to electric ground (3rd prong of a socket outlet). There are situations where the potential of the electric grounding rod is higher than the body voltage. Keep in mind that you are getting connected to the neutral wire. In this case, the desired health-benefits are near zero or even more harmful than the non-earthed body, i.e. floating. Some people experience discomfort after body earthing —is a testimonial.
- Before Earthing either direct or separate, make sure that the electric and magnetic fields in your sleeping/working environment are eliminated or minimized by switching off the sources or by keeping a distance.
The moment you get connected to Earth, two things happen:
1) The induced body voltage would dissipate to ground causing currents to flow through the body to ground. For a given external electric field, the strongest induced electric field is when we are grounded, in other words, the body turns into a magnet for the electric field lines.
2) The electric fields induced by external magnetic fields are dissipated to the ground in a form of current flow. Both the induced fields and their resulting currents would continue to flow through the body to earth as long as the body is in contact with the earth (i.e. grounded).
It is important to note that currents flowing through a grounded body generated by the induced electric and magnetic fields are proportional to body tissues conductivity, the body size, the frequency, and the external magnetic field intensity.
By eliminating or reducing the electromagnetic sources in your sleeping/working environment, you are also reducing to a great extent the high-frequency voltage transients (HFVT) also known as Harmonics generated by electrical appliances like light dimmers, FL/CFL, chargers, inverters, just to name a few. High-frequency voltage transients are another layer of induced currents in human body proportional to the frequency, ranging from 1KHz to 100 KHz commonly known as the “Dirty Electricity”.
Earthing your body without any consideration to the electric and magnetic fields levels in your environment could be counterproductive.
Before becoming an extension of Earth, make sure that the current flowing in your body induced by the electric and magnetic fields around you is near zero. Otherwise, it is recommended to sleep floating (not earthed) rather than becoming an “earthing node”.
The idea behind earthing is to allow free electrons to flow from the earth to the body in a safe way.
If affordable, sleeping grounded under shielded bed Canopy would put the above-mentioned concerns to rest. The shielded Canopy if grounded would shunt the electric field lines and reflect the radio frequency radiation from internal and external sources. The magnetic field would be at its lowest by switching off the appliances or keeping a distance. Shielded Canopy would act as a Faraday Cage along with a shielding floor mat under the bed.
Return on investment is paid off in a good “Health”!
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Featured Image: shows an earthing sheet 2 meters in length, 61 cm width, wrapped around the mattress with elastic straps. The earthing sheet is connected to a separate ground without protective resistance.
If you have no option but to connect the sheet directly to the electric ground rod (3 rd prong), in this case, 100 k Ohm resistor has to be connected in series for protection.
The cost of a “separate” earthing kit is NZ$220 includes:
- Earthing sheet 2 meters in length, 61 cm width (the 4 elastic straps sewed),
- two clamps,
- ground wire 5 meters,
- Copper rod 1 meter long, &
- Amalgamating tape.
The cost of “direct” earthing kit is NZ$200 includes:
- Earthing sheet 2 meters in length, 61 cm width (the 4 elastic straps sewed),
- one clamp,
- Resistor 100 k Ohm,
- ground wire 2 meters,