Grounding (also called earthing) refers to being in direct body contact with the earth. Some examples of grounding include swimming in a lake or the ocean, walking barefoot on soil or grass, or using commercially available grounding equipment such as grounding sheets, patches and mats indoors which are designed to connect the body to the earth. Grounding utilizing products can be done by connecting to a rod planted in the ground outside or plugging the equipment into the grounding system of a building.
Covid-19 is a pneumonia-like inflammatory respiratory virus [1, 2], so people with pre-disposing conditions (asthma, COPD, high blood pressure, heart or lung conditions, weakened immune system, diabetes, sleep apnea or hypertension) are much more susceptible to have bad symptoms. This is similar to what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza .
On July 24, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Covid-19 can be a prolonged illness, even among young adults without underlying chronic medical conditions. Note that the same pre-disposing conditions mentioned above are also frequent severe after-effects that can follow recovery from the virus. The only wellness “claim” for Earthing is that you are likely be pleasantly surprised when you try it .
According to a testimonial in the Earthing Institute testimonials page, after 8 months nonstop suffering of hyper inflammation in his lungs and low blood oxygen levels due to covid infection, one month of grounding brought to this highly skeptical individual amazing results. He obtained these results by walking on the sidewalk with leather sole moccasins. He wrote that by the end of the month he is pretty close to normal again. He also stated that his PTSD has decreased to the point of being able to get off many meds .
Similarly, feedback from a lawyer whose wife developed coronavirus symptoms wrote “A grounding patch on her chest has helped her immensely” .
It is testimonials like these that inspire us to investigate the potential of grounding to help covid-19 long-haulers.
Further, extensive study and feedback from those who use this approach have revealed that grounding makes a dramatic difference in situations of respiratory distress, including those caused by severe asthma, allergies, COPD and flu . Dozens of research studies have revealed that Earthing brings virtually all measurable physiological and biochemical properties toward balance . This is important because of observations of widespread systemic effects of the virus. Reduction in blood viscosity is also an important effect, since virtually all cardiovascular disorders have been associated with elevated blood viscosity . Further the corona virus has been reported to have important negative effects on blood oxygenation while grounding shows evidence of the opposite effect .
Study Design Overview
Based on the information presented in the previous section, a pilot case-study research project is proposed here with 12 participants. All participants will be long hauling covid survivors. These subjects will be grounded by sleeping directly on a single sleep mat and pillow cover for one month. At the beginning, in the middle (after 2 weeks) and at the end of the study, they will fill 3 questionnaires to determine their pain level, their mood and their level of happiness and they will also wear a device to monitor their sleep patterns.
Demographics. Male and female of any ethnicity.
Eligibility requirements: 18 years or older, having documented covid symptoms lingering for at least 3 months. Prospective participants must not have used any prescribed medication for at least one month before their inclusion to the study. Further, they must have no cardiovascular condition such as asthma or heart beat irregularities, not received treatment for any mental disorder or taken any psychotropic medication in the past year, not pregnant, not used any recreational drugs or cigarettes or vaping for one year and no alcohol for 2 days before participation. Additionally, participants must not have used grounding on a regular basis by going barefoot outside regularly or using grounding products to ground at home.
Recruitment. Participants will be recruited from advertisements in social media, by emails or other electronic means, including word of mouth.
Compensation: Participants with keep their grounding sleep mat and pillow cover as compensation for their participation.
Institutional Review Board.
The study will be submitted to BioMed IRB of San Diego. All participants will provide written informed consent prior to the experiment.
This project will be performed in each participant’s home.
Grounding will be accomplished by having participants sleep directly on a single sleep mat and pillow cover. These grounding products will be purchased with fundraiser money. The single sleep mat will be the Earthing Elite Sleep Mat (https://www.earthing.com/collections/sleep-kits/products/earthing-elite-sleep-mat) and the pillow cover will be the Ground Therapy Pillow Cover (https://www.earthing.com/collections/sleep-kits/products/ground-therapy-pillow-cover-kit).
Health History Inventory – modified. Participants will be asked to fill a modified HHI (HHI-M) form at the same time they are sent the informed consent.
Brief Mood Introspection Scale. The BMIS is an open-source mood scale consisting of 16 mood-adjectives to which a person responds (e.g., Are you "happy"?). The scale can yield measures of overall pleasant-unpleasant mood, arousal-calm mood, and it also can be scored according to positive-tired and negative-calm mood . The BMIS requires participants to rate the extent to which they currently feel each of 16 mood adjectives on a 7-point response scale. Both scales (overall pleasant-unpleasant mood, arousal-calm mood,) have good factor validity and reliability .
McGill Pain Questionnaire. The McGill pain questionnaire, or MPQ, is one of the most widely used multidimensional pain scales in the world. In the MPQ, the evaluation of pain is divided into three categories: sensory, affective and evaluative. The questionnaire is self-reported and allows individuals to describe the quality and intensity of their pain by using 78 adjectives in 20 different sections. This pain scale demonstrates that different pain syndromes/conditions can be consistently described with specific groups of adjectives. It is not only used to treat current pain and monitor chronic pain, but also helps determine the effectiveness of any past interventions for the same type of pain. The McGill pain questionnaire was developed in 1971 by Dr. Melzack and Dr. Torgerson at McGill University in Montreal, Canada . Since its introduction in 1975, it has been used in over 500 research studies and has been translated into 18 different languages. It is considered valid, reliable, consistent, useful and quick to complete. A short form version has been developed in 1987 by the same author .
Oxford Happiness Questionnaire. The OHQ was developed by psychologists Michael Argyle and Peter Hills at Oxford University. This is a good way to get a snapshot of the participants current level of happiness .
Log Form. Each morning, participants will note on a form how much time they slept that night.
Disposable single use sleep monitor made by Itamar Medical (www.itamar-medical.com)
Hypothesis 1: At the end of their participation, participants will show significant improvements in their mood as shown by the BMIS.
Hypothesis 2: There will be significant decrease in pain levels as seen with the MPQ.
Hypothesis 3: Participants happiness will be significantly improved at the end of their participation.
Hypothesis 4: The sleep monitor will show dramatic improvements in the quality of their sleep at the end of their participation compare to their initial sleep quality.
Once a participant returns a signed informed consent form and the HHI, a grounding sleep mat and pillow cover will be delivered to them. Participants will also be given a sleep monitor and asked to wear it the first night they sleep on their new sleep mat and pillow case. They will also be asked to fill the BMIS, the OHQ and the MPQ and they will be instructed on how to use the Log Form.
At the end of every two weeks, participants will again fill the BMIS, the OHQ and the MPQ and they will be also instructed to wear a sleep monitor for the next night. At the end of the 4-week period, participants thanked, and they will be told to keep the grounding sleep mat and pillow cover.
As a follow up, three months later, participants will again fill the BMIS, the OHQ and the MPQ (and maybe asked for a last time to sleep one night with the sleep monitor?)
Data analysis will be performed using NCSS/PASS 2000 edition licensed with Dawson's book: Basic & Clinical Biostatistics, Third Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2001. Parametric and non-parametric (when the data is not normally distributed) mean comparison statistical tests will be used to compare mean values of all parameters for both objective measures and self-report measures. Other statistical tests may be used as needed.
An alpha level of 0.05, one-tailed, will be used for all data related to a hypothesis.
1. Wang, d., Hu, B., Hu, C., et al. (2020). Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus-Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA, 323(11): 1161-1169.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pneumonia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354204
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-who-is-at-risk/art-20483301
4. Ober, C. and Oschman, J.L. (2020). Prevention and/or recovery from corona virus infections. International Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism., 6(1): 022-024.
5. Earthing Institute website: https://earthinginstitute.net/long-hauling-covid-survivor/
6. Earthing Institute Research page: https://earthinginstitute.net/research/
7. Chevalier, G., Sinatra, S.T., Oschman, J.L., and Delany, R.M. (2013). Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity – A Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(2):102-110. https://bit.ly/31zUgCR
8. Earthing Institute website: https://earthinginstitute.net/blood-oxygenation/
10. Mayer, J. D., & Gaschke, Y. N. The Experience and Meta-Experience of Mood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1988;55: 102-111.
11. Melzack, R. The McGill Pain Questionnaire: Major Properties and Scoring Methods. Pain 1975;1(3):277-299.
Dr. Chevalier teaching a class at Quantum University.
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