A Calmer Nervous System Through Earthing
It was inspired by a recent conversation I had with a person wondering if Earthing might be able to help her recover from anxiety, she attributed to sensitivities she has to electrical devices and chemicals.
From my learning about, and experience with Earthing, I already knew it has a beneficial effect on the nervous system.
I wanted to see if I could make some more clear connections as to why Earthing has helped some people overcome debilitating symptoms they attribute to EMF exposure, for example.
I’ll refer to the girl that inspired this investigation as Leah for the sake of simplicity and avoiding the use of her real name.
Leah referred me to some information she had been looking at online that is meant to help people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Electric Hypersensitivity Syndrome, among other things.
There were 2 specific programs she had been considering. They are the Dynamic Neural Retraining System and the Gupta Amygdala Retraining; Both are meant to be helpful for conditions like MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity).
I did discover a common thread of understanding in these systems and how they connect to what Earthing does for the nervous system.
The Dynamic Neural Retraining System and The Amygdala Retraining System are both meant to help a person overcome sensitivities.
On a very basic level, It is believed by the creators of these programs that the sensitivities of sufferers are attributable to a conditioned response that associates stress with whatever the stimulus is.
For example, in a person who suffers from multiple chemical sensitivity, the individual may have been exposed to chemicals which produced some physiological stress, at the same time they were experiencing some form of psychological stress, such as strong emotions; and their brain created an association between the chemical and the psychological stress.
The creators of the programs say your brain will err on the side of caution to protect you from a real threat.
Although the chemical or other stimulation caused some level of physiological stress, it might not be life threatening; but because it was experienced when you were in some kind of heightened emotional state or psychological stress when you encountered it, your brain created a strong defense to it.
It is then hypothesized that exposures to similar stimulation might initiate the same protective response of the nervous system; leading to conditions like MCS, for example.
It’s a known fact that stress or emotions of fear cause the sympathetic nervous system mode to kick in; initiating the flight or fight response. In this mode your body prepares for extreme muscular action.
This is where Earthing and the therapy programs listed above cross over in their possibility of helping an individual.
The Dynamic Neural Retraining System and the Gupta Amygdala Retraining focus on helping a person to recondition their responses to particular sensitivities in order to normalize their autonomic nervous system function. The aim of these therapies is to create new neural pathways in response to the stimulation which creates the undesired symptoms, so a person can function normally again.
As hypothesized, once the person’s limbic system of the brain no longer associates the stimulus with life danger, the sympathetic nervous system is no longer aroused by the chemical or other stimulus, and normal autonomic nervous system function resumes.
It is the returning of the autonomic nervous system to normal function, that Earthing has in common with these therapies.
The difference is in how it gets you there. When you place your bare feet on the earth or get grounded with some type of earthing device, your physiology changes on many levels.
One of the big changes that takes place involves a switch from a dominating sympathetic nervous system mode to a dominating parasympathetic nervous system mode; the 2 modes being part of your autonomic nervous system.
When your autonomic nervous system is functioning normally, the parasympathetic mode is slightly dominant.
The parasympathetic mode is known as the rest and digest mode; That’s because your body is able to relax and perform normal functions such as eating and sleeping in this mode.
For a person who’s been living in a state of heightened sympathetic arousal for a long period of time, their bodies often break down, because they are not able to relax and recover, and properly digest food.
There are 2 Earthing studies that help explain, in part, how this switch to the more relaxed mode is occurring.
One study revealed a normalizing of cortisol, of people that slept grounded. You can sleep grounded in the same way as people in the study did by sleeping on Earthing sheets.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Cortisol is normally highest in the morning around 8 a.m. and lowest at night around 12 midnight. The rising of cortisol in the morning helps a person to wake up and start the day.
If stress causes cortisol levels to remain high the sympathetic nervous system becomes over active and health can take a dive.
The normalizing of cortisol resulting from sleeping grounded generally helps a person to sleep better and contributes to a balanced autonomic nervous system.
Another Earthing study also verified a shift from the sympathetic nervous system dominance to the parasympathetic. This study is known as the heart rate variability study.
In the HRV study, of 28 people, including 14 men and 14 women, Earthing was shown to improve heart rate variability. Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra points out that when the autonomic nervous system is functioning correctly it supports good heart rate variability.
He also reveals that the shift in the autonomic nervous system to the more calming parasympathetic mode follows immediately after you ground yourself.
This is a very basic explanation of how Earthing helps to restore your nervous system function to normal. You can listen to the whole audio of the book Earthing free online, as of the time this post is being published.
Restoring your nervous system assists your body in resting and recovering more fully. Earthing is promising in it’s ability to help people make this shift.