April 17, 2021
[00:02:57] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:49] Guest Introduction
[00:07:45] Interest In The Concept Of Earthing
[00:17:12] The Origin of The Idea on Grounding
[00:23:23] The Early Days of Clint's Clinical Research
[00:31:00] Podcast Sponsors
[00:33:25] The Body and Grounding
[00:43:30] The Mechanism Of Action For Grounding To The Earth
[00:48:07] Earthing And Grounding From Our Ancestors
[00:50:20] The Best Surfaces For Grounding
[00:53:35] Best Shoes For Grounding
[00:57:15] The Length Of Time To Ground
[01:02:15] Knowing if Your Home Is Grounded
[01:04:05] All Grounding Mats Are Not Created Equal
[01:08:00] The Grounding Patches, Zero-Gravity Chair, etc.
[01:11:23] Closing the Podcast
[01:13:54] Quick Talk About Jet Lag
[01:15:48] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Clint: But, I realized, the next time I die, I wanted to be happy with myself. When you touch the earth, every cell in your body, and specifically, the red blood cells, become negatively charged, equal with the earth. You cannot have charge in a grounded object. You cannot have inflammation. That's the one that's hard for people to get their mind around. You no longer have MS. What you have is you have damage now that was created by the MS.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Well, howdy, folks. If you're a long-time podcast listener, you're no doubt aware that I typically release fresh material for every episode. But, this is a special day, because I am actually re-releasing one of our more popular episodes of late, and it's related to something that, well, at the time that this episode comes out, if you visit the front page of BenGreenfieldFitness.com, I've been talking a lot about lately, this whole idea of the human body being like a battery, all of our cells operating with a certain electrical, if I can talk, electrochemical potential across the cell membrane. And, furthermore, in a recent Sunday post, in which I talked all about ways to harness free energy, I talked about using things like light and water and minerals, and other elements that charge this so-called battery, I described the concept of earthing or grounding, not only by going outside barefoot or climbing trees or rocks or going for a walk in your bare feet in the sand or swimming in the ocean but even the use of technology that can harness the same frequencies that the earth produces and almost magnify those in your own home, such as mats that you can stand on your desk or wrap-around-torso devices or even mats that you can sleep on during the night.
And, so, this podcast episode is quite relevant, related to that. It's unearthing and grounding with Clint Ober. I think you're really going to dig this one. If you heard it already, you may want to take a re-listen, because I've actually re-listened to it and gotten a lot out of it the second time I listened. So, anyways, I will put all of these shownotes for this episode at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/EarthingPodcast. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/EarthingPodcast, where you can check out my guest's book, some of these devices, some of the best practices for earthing and grounding, and a whole lot more. So, sit back and enjoy.
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So, I recently read this book called, “Earthing,” and I've always been aware that getting outside barefoot, and hugging trees, and playing around rocks, and jumping in the ocean, and walking barefoot on sand help with the electrical potential of the human body, but not in as profound and as well researched the way as I really thought until I went through this book called “Earthing.” At the same time that I was reading it, I was gone and I told my kids, “Hey, I'm heading out of town. I'm going to read this book. And the book also has almost like a documentary that covers a lot of the same things that are in the book, and the documentary is called ‘The Earthing Movie.'”
And so, my kids watched the movie while I was out of town, and I read the book, and we came back, and I swear, they haven't put on their shoes since I got back home because they're so into this idea that the earth can heal their bodies. So, they already went barefoot quite a bit. Now, they're rarely wearing their shoes. I'm traveling everywhere with my grounding mat now because I have this portable grounding mat that today's guest sent me. I'm actually standing on one that's in my office right now as well. This book just absolutely blew my mind when it comes to identifying what I think is one of the best solutions for chronic inflammation, for better sleep, for deeper sleep levels, for recovery, and a whole lot more.
The author is named Clint Ober. And obviously, I had to get Clint on the show because this really is the best book that I've read that covers the topic. He has a pretty interesting history that began with cable TV in Billings, Montana, actually not far from where I'm at right now in Spokane, Washington. He'll tell his story to us here as we dive in. But he also owns a company that does a lot of research into a lot of these grounding materials and grounding mats, and things you can sleep on, even like patches you can put in your body. So, what I'm going to do is link to all of Clint's books, to this movie, to his company, everything, if you just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/EarthingPodcast. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/EarthingPodcast. So, Clint, welcome to the show, man.
Clint: Well, thanks, Ben. I appreciate being given the opportunity to visit and explain a little bit about everything.
Ben: Oh, yeah. I'm really excited about this just because I coach some clients and have some folks who hire me to help them out with their sleep and their health and everything else, and I just got almost all of them now buying these grounding mats and grounding shoes and getting outside barefoot even more than I used to after going through your book, because I just wasn't aware how deep the research goes on this stuff.
So, how'd you get into this whole idea of earthing and grounding, which I'm sure, for people who don't know what that is, don't worry, we'll be explaining it to you?
Clint: Well, I'm 75, and I started this research when I was 54. But, what happened, well, first of all, I'll go back to… I grew up in Montana. I spent about 30 years in the communications industry in television, cable television. In that industry, you have to ground everything to the earth in order to maintain electrical stability and prevent charge. It's like in the old days when you had television and you had all these lines and all the static and all of these problems, and interference, electrical interference.
So, when we built the cable systems, the signals were riding on internal cable, so they had a shield where everything was grounded. The shield had to be grounded in order to prevent static charges. But, what it did is it ended up being what allows you to have perfect data today beating your computer, your TV set, and the sound, and so on. So, anyhow, that's where it all started.
But, I grew up on a rural environment ranch, environment cows and cattle, whatever. And, when I was quite young, my best friends were Native Americans, so I have an earthy background. I remember one of the things that my granddad told me, and it's carried me all the way through, is when I was very young, we had cattle and we had to babysit them. So, my job as a youngster, I was probably 12 or younger, was to ride out and just sit there with the cows. And, if you see one balling or someone not acting like the rest of the cows, then you take them out. You take them out of the herd, put them over into a pen. And, then, you go ride the pasture to make sure the grass is not too short, make sure there's no noxious weed, check the water, make sure that the alkalinity is okay, and ride upstream and make sure there's not a dead animal upstream contaminating the water.
And, the theory was very simple. If the pasture is pristine, then the cows will be healthy and happy. If we let them eat noxious weeds or whatever and they get sick, or something interfere with the pasture, then we have to call the vet, call the banker, toss them the keys, and we're out of here because there's no way you can survive financially in that industry if you don't take care of the environment that your cattle are raising. So, I grew up with that prevention concept of don't look at the symptom, look at what caused this. So, that's ingrained in me.
But, anyhow, I spent about 30 years in the communications industry, and one day, I started getting sick, very sick, and I'd been to the dentist and had a root canal done. About a month later, I just kept getting sicker and sicker. And, then, all of a sudden, I started turning yellow. And, so, I kept going back to the doc every week and they said they would run more tests. This testing process went on for about a month. And, finally, I got so sick that I couldn't even get out of bed, so [00:10:46 unin].
Ben: And, so, what were you sick with, exactly?
Clint: Well, at that time, they didn't know, but I had a root canal prior to.
Ben: There's a whole movie about that, that I think recently got banned from Netflix. What is it, Root Cause Movie?
Clint: Yeah, I haven't seen that. But, what happened to me was the root canal had an infection in it. A lot of people, it will attack the heart or the lung, but mine went and settled in the liver. And, at that time, nobody knew. I didn't know and nobody knew. And, so, I went to the emergency room and they put me in CAT scan shortly after I arrived because they couldn't figure out what was wrong. And, then, they found that there was a huge abscess in my liver, and my liver was shutting down and everything was shutting down.
The next morning, the doc went in to see, the doc came and said, “I got some good news and bad news. The good news is we found out what was wrong,” about the abscess and everything. They actually drained it while I was in there. They stuck a big… It seemed like a 12-inch needle in me, and they actually drained —
Clint: … the abscess while I was in the CAT scan.
Ben: I can't imagine what they'd done with the liver, I've had it done with an elbow abscess, and it's pretty nasty.
Clint: Yeah. So, anyhow, they said, then the bad news was that I was only 49 at that time and they said that I was young enough to get a new liver, don't have alcohol history or anything, and the problem was I didn't have enough time. So, they suggested I go home and get my house in order. And, I was on every IV you can think of. At that time, the nurses would come once a day and fix all that stuff up.
But, anyhow, a couple of three or four days later, the doc called and he said they have a young surgeon. This was Swedish Medical Center in Denver. And, they said that they would like to do some experimental surgery and see how much of the liver they can cut out and see if there was a chance that I could survive. This was 25 years ago, so things were a little different back then.
So, anyhow, I went in and had no choice and went through the surgery. And, surprisingly, I survived it. And, it took me about six months, maybe, to be able to walk a mile, because if you don't have liver, you don't have energy. But, in about six months, the liver grew back 100% in size. So, it's not the same liver because your liver has six different little pockets on it, that's all one big thing. But, they had to cut out several. And, so, one of the lobes grew in size and replaced what was taken out. So, I survived.
But, anyhow, in that process, when you realize that this could be the end, all of a sudden, everything takes on a little different view. But, anyhow, one day, when I was recovering and while into my recovery, I woke up one morning and I looked outdoors and they're out the window, and just everything would change. My whole being changed. I was different. And, I couldn't go back to work. I owned a big company, had 500 employees.
Ben: And, then, this was the communications internet company?
Clint: Yes, it was a cable television service company. So, anyhow I looked out this window one day, and all of a sudden, everything was more electrical, more vibrant. I had seen colors that I hadn't remembered ever seeing before. All of a sudden, I looked around the room and I noticed, because I'd done okay and I had about everything you can imagine. I had lots of art, lots of nice things. And, I lived on a mountain top in Evergreen, Colorado. You could see the Vail and the city of Denver, and I was playing king of the mountain 49 years old and the average male counterpart, and I won.
But, anyhow, the point was I realized that I could have died then, and I went through this process of a cathartic experience and I realized that I didn't own any of these things that I had accumulated and collected and spent my whole life and taken care of. And, the other main thing that I went through was, when you get near death, life gets very personal, and it's between you and your maker. It's not about anybody else or anything else. But, I was disappointed in myself that I hadn't done more with my life other than accumulate things, and so on, even though I had done a lot of nice things, entrepreneurially.
But, I realized the next time I die I wanted to be happy with myself, I had done more or my life was worth more or had more value. It was a very personal thing. It wasn't about what anybody else thought. It was just about myself. And, so, what I did is I called my kids and I told them to come and get anything they wanted in the house, any of my personal belongings that they would have taken, had I died. And, they all thought I was nuts. And, in fact, they even called one of the docs and indicated that I needed a psychiatrist because I was acting strange. But, anyhow, I told him, I said, very simple, “I have to do this.” So, I let go of everything. I sold all my assets, gave things away, sold things, and I ended up with nothing left, except two and a half suitcases, my personal items, my clothing. And, I went and bought a small RV and I set out just to get away from the city, get away from everybody and everything. And, I ended up spending a lot of times in national parks. Again, I had this calling. It was the call of nature, whatever you wanted. It was just a calling, something speaking to me.
So, I spent the next three or four years just driving around the United States, spending a lot of time in national parks, as long as they'd let me. And, then, I ended up down in Key Largo, Florida. I was on the bayside, and every night, it was absolutely spectacular because you could see the sunset, the manatees, and the sharks. You can see all the sea life out there. So, anyhow. But, I was standing there one night and I had this feeling come over me, because I'd been out there for about three years. I had this feeling coming over me that I had to go do something. But, I remember going into the RV that night and I had a yellow tablet, and I wrote on it and become an opposite charge. It was something coming. I didn't know where it was coming from or anything, just feelings. To me, an opposite charge would be going out and stirring people up, getting them charged up.
And, then, the second thing I wrote was “status quo is the enemy.” I had not a clue. So, I didn't think anything about it, but I went, headed back to the West Coast. Through a series of events, I ended up stopping one night in Sedona, Arizona, and I just woke up that morning and looked outside and here was this beautiful park-like setting. And, I said, “I'm not leaving here. I'm going to stay here.” So, I spent about a year and a half, two years there, maybe, a little longer.
That's where the story really begins because I was playing with a computer one day and it kept crashing. And I knew it was static electricity. You feel a static charge in your body and you're touching a grounded computer back in those days, the computer would lock up and crash.
Ben: If you touch an ungrounded computer.
Clint: Yes. This is in the old days. The computers now are much better. But anyhow, this is back in '98. So, anyhow, I had to put a piece of tape across the top of my computer or my desk, metal tape, copper tape, and then I connected it to the electrical ground. And then, the electrical ground wasn't working, so I had to fix it. So, I was in this mode of grounding in order to get rid of this static. And then, later, I went out and I was outdoors, and Sedona is a tourist town, lots of people, but this tour bus pulled up, and everybody got out, walked out and in. For some reason, I was fixated with their shoes because everybody had like these brand-new white athletic shoes, and it's like they'd been to a mall and they were on sale because everybody seemed to have the same pair.
I think it was a tour group from Japan and it was just kind of odd, and I don't know why, but I just asked myself, “I wonder if there's a consequence of us no longer being naturally grounded?” Because back when I was a kid, before 1960, we were all barefoot or we had a lot of the sole shoes. Then when we invented the plastics in the '60s, then everybody started wearing these plastic sole shoes. And I really didn't know. I had no clue. It was just an intuitive question. So, I went home that night, grabbed a voltmeter, and I went and tested–grounded it to the earth.
Ben: And you knew how to use all that stuff just from your experience in the communications industry?
Clint: Oh, yeah. No, it was second nature to me. So, I went and I was playing around, and in static, you can see that you have a huge static charge on your body every time you lift your foot off the floor in a home where you have carpets, if you have rubber sole shoes on. And the static is we've built static all the time and we don't recognize it unless it's really dry and you touch–it's over 3,000 or 4,000 volts then you touch a doorknob and you'll see the spark. So, that was very high everywhere, but it wasn't quite in the 3,000 or 4,000. It was 2,000 to 3,000-volt range all the time, depending on whether you're moving or not, or whether you're sitting on the couch and getting up and so on.
But what was more intriguing was that, I set it to the 60 hertz AC, and just started looking at it and I noticed that–and I'm totally familiar with EMI, totally familiar with electromagnetic fields because in the communications industry, you have to shield everything from what we call EMI, electromagnetic interference, and that's noise to us, and in order to have a nice clean signal. And so, I said, “You know, there's something going on here because I don't think it's probably normal to have all this charge on the body.” So, I went to the hardware store and bought a roll of metal duct tape about two or three inches wide, like you would use for heating ducts and so on. And I had laid it across my bed up and down, and then I connected it to a wire, threw it out the window, connected it to a ground rod, threw the second wire out, connected it to a ground rod, connected that one to the meter, so I could test and make sure that it was ground.
Ben: The idea behind the ground rod being that that is the way that we ground just about everything, whether it's a copper rod from going into a home, or the type of ground rod technique that you're using, or even–I mean like some of these mats you sent me, they actually come with rods I can put outside into moist ground if I don't want to plug them into an outlet that's grounded. But essentially, all that rod is doing is it's doing just as the name implies, grounding it to the earth.
Clint: Yeah. It's like, for instance, if you plug a lamp into a socket, you're connecting to the electrical–I don't mean the 60 hertz electrical. If you connect a wire to the little ground port, then you're connecting to the earth, and the earth has a negative surface charge. So, you are conducting–so it's like an extension cord to the earth. So, anyhow, I laid down on the bed, and surely as soon as I set the meter up, then I could take the alligator clip, put it on the metal foil tape, the reading went to zero, where before it was like 4 or 5 volts of EMF charge. The static was all over the place. But as soon as you ground yourself, it all goes to zero.
Ben: So, this was a reading on your body, like you were measuring your own static electricity, and it was falling to zero when you were actually grounded?
Clint: Yes. If you pull up the sheets on a dry day in the summer and you turn the lights off and you turned up, you can actually see the sparks sometimes in your bed. Most people don't pay attention to it because there's enough humidity you don't notice it. But anyhow, yeah, we had static charge on the body and then there was an EMF charge, I mean the electromagnetic field charge. These are noise. I mean, the static electricity is thousands of volts, but the EMF is just background noise type stuff. And as soon as I grounded myself, it went to zero.
But what was most interesting was the first night, next thing I knew I woke up in the morning and the meter was laying beside me and I hadn't moved all night. The significance of that was I was a 54-year-old cowboy. Every kind of pain in your body, skiing injuries, tennis injuries, dumb things like riding and rodeos when I was a kid, anything you could have wrong with you I probably had it. So, I was pretty in a lot of pain, a lot of issues. And I lived in Advil and black coffee. Those are the things that help cope.
Ben: That's all you need, baby, just Advil and black coffee. I mean, I throw a little ribeye steak in there, but yeah, that's all you need to be happy.
Clint: Yeah, exactly. But anyhow, I woke up and I said, “There's something here because I slept better.” I had a couple of friends and I conned them into–“Let me ground you. Let me see what you think of this thing.” Every night I slept better. And then, the guys that were my friends, they were neighbor-type friends, and they said, “You know, surely, there's something to this.” And then, one of them asked me, he says, “Do you think there's any possibility this could have anything to do with arthritis? Because my arthritis is going down.” And I said, “No, I don't think,” and I didn't know.
So, I started researching everything I could, everywhere I could to find out about grounding the body to reduce pain and to improve sleep, and there was absolutely nothing. The only thing that was out there was, and if you're doing surgery, you have to ground the body before they open the body up, and in order to prevent a cardio event. Yeah, there was grounding, mental in the yoga and bodywork industry. Everybody gets mentally grounded, but that's being centered mentally, it's not physically grounded.
And so, I kept playing with it and playing with it, and then one day, I went down the University of Arizona and looked in the medical university of libraries there and tried to find out. Nothing. So, I went out to–I said, “There's something here I got to get to the bottom of it.” So, I went to California, went to UCLA first because I figured, “Well, if anybody can figure this out, they could.” But they pretty much left me off-campus. They said I was nuts to think that you could ground the body and it would do anything. So, I ended up doing my own study with a couple of guys that I found at that university who were doing doctoral studies. They helped me to design the study.
And then, I found a nurse lady that helped pull together and we took 60 people, 30 of them we grounded, 30 of them were blinded, and the results were phenomenal. We had significant improvement of sleep, significant reduction of pain, and then all kinds of other things like PMS issues disappeared, TMJ disappeared, just all kinds of issues. And so, I said, “Okay. There's something there.” So, I had enough evidence that I could give it to somebody and say, “Here, let's figure this out.” I went back to the sleep industry and nobody wanted to talk to me there, especially the CPAP industry. That's a different world. And so, I ended up meeting an anesthesiologist in San Diego and he said, “I'd be more than happy to do a study because I don't–” he says, “I don't think there's anything to what you're doing but,” he said, “I'll be happy to prove you're wrong.” And I said, “Fine. Let's do it.” And we did.
And that was on the first study, what we found was–and what he wanted to measure was cortisol, saliva cortisol. And so, we measured. We took little cotton swabs, things, and they treat them every four hours for 24 hours, put them in vials, and then froze them, and then shipped them to a lab. And when it came back, the results were profound. I mean, before, everybody's cortisol profiles were all over the place. And as soon as they grounded, everybody's cortisol synchronized. I think that's in the book.
Ben: Well, what do you mean their cortisol synchronized when they were all grounded?
Clint: Well, before the younger ladies had elevated cortisol, let's say midnight or–like if you don't sleep at night, if you're not sleeping at night, then you have elevated cortisol, and it's produced by your fight-or-flight system because you're thinking about something, you're stressed, something's going on. And so, the cortisol becomes elevated. And then, once they were grounded, then you have to look at the charts. But once they were grounded at midnight, then the cortisol all quieted way down. And everybody's synchronized, meaning, they were in a similar range where before, or before some are more elevated cortisol. Those were the younger people who have high anxiety. And then, the older ladies were–they had exhausted adrenals.
Ben: Okay. So, folks who had sluggish cortisol levels, they seemed to get a slight uptick, well-grounded, while other people with the high cortisol seem to see a downregulation of cortisol almost similar to like an adaptogenic effect.
Clint: Exactly. Yeah, it was really profound. And there's a chart in the book that explains it. What was interesting was at 4:00 a.m.–and this is really significant, at 4:00 a.m., cortisol spikes. It starts climbing all the way 'til about 6:00 a.m. It's a dramatic curve. And before, it was kind of all over the place, but once they were grounded, what was important was at four o'clock, everybody's cortisol went up. And that's what gives you the energy to get out of bed in the morning and hit the day. If you're dragging yourself out of bed, your cortisol is low, or you have adrenal fatigue and so on.
But the main thing is there was no daylight, at four o'clock in the morning, there was no daylight, there was no noise, there was no other environmental cue, cueing, where everybody would say normally, biorhythms are affected by light and by all these things. So, we knew that the earth is the only thing that changes at four o'clock in the morning or about that time. That's when your daylight is coming back around the sun. I mean, the Earth is spinning, so the amplitude of earth's electric field is starting to climb.
So, anyhow, that was a really neat finding. And so, that study led to a host of other studies, but I have to go back to the other study, the first study. What was really, really interesting in that study was I remember one day, we had two people that we were grounding out of 60. And I didn't know who they were or anything prior to going to them. I was just–they were selected subjects. And so, I went out and what I was to do, I had to go and measure the electric fields in their home in the bedroom where they were sleeping. And then, I would put a pad in the bed under the sheet. And then, I would have them lay on it or sit on and I would re-measure the electric field.
Ben: Was the pad natural grounding pad?
Clint: Yeah. It was a conductive cloth that I had bonded to a very thin layer of felt.
Ben: Okay. And you have a cable from that going into an outlet, or do the cable from that going out to a ground rod?
Clint: At that time, I was running it all out to ground rods because I was measuring against pure earth. And what was interesting was I went to one home and they had really high electric fields, EMF, in the home. And this lady had arthritis, all kinds of issues. And so, she couldn't even hold the meter. And I thought, “Well, we're going to get really good results from this subject.” And then, I went to another home across town, and this was an older gentleman similarly had all the arthritic and all of the health issues, cardiovascular, everything you could think wrong with him.
But what was significant is he had no EMF voltage in his home whatsoever. In the bedroom, he had a concrete floor and a bed with the metal bed frames touching the floor. And he didn't have any lamps or anything near the bed. And it was an adobe wall behind him, so there was no wiring in it. So, when he laid in bed, it was just static, nothing. And I thought, “Wow, this is really going to be terrible because this person's not going to experience any results because there's no electric kick.” Because I thought back then it was just eliminating the electric charge and the static charge and the body was producing the results, because I didn't really know. But then a month later, when the results came in, they both had the same results. Here's a high EMF and here's no EMF, but yet they both had improved sleep, significant reductions in pain, significant reductions in arthritic situations, color, energy, everything was better.
And I looked at it and I said, “There's something wrong here because this can't be.” So, I immediately set out to start testing environments with EMF and no EMF, magnetic field, no magnetic field, and so on. And then, it dawned on me it was the earth itself that was connecting to the earth and equalizing the body with the earth. In order for that to happen, you either had electrons leave the body or electrons from the earth come to the body and hold it at earth potential. And then, it dawned on me that it's not the EMF that's causing these–reducing EMF that's causing these benefits, what's causing the benefits was connecting to the earth alone. So, that's how this whole body of work began. And that's when I immediately shifted and started looking at grounding the body. And I knew that the earth had a negative charge.
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Ben: Yeah. I definitely want you to explain to people how this would actually work. Like so far, we've just heard about some little experiments that you did, but I'm sure people are wondering what was happening, like what's going on here that would actually cause someone being grounded to the earth via a rod and a cable, a mat, or being outside barefoot, or whatever the case may be, like what's actually going on.
Clint: Well, it's like static electricity. If you have static electricity on your body and you touch something that's grounded, then there'll be an arc between you and that object. And it can be electrons either coming from the earth or from that grounded object to your body or if it's a negative charge, then it can be electrons coming from your body to the grounded object. And so, what's happening is you're equalizing the charge. So, yeah, how do I explain this? I could go on for hours on the studies and everything.
Ben: Well, I mean, we have time. I don't think you'd necessarily need to delve into the studies. I'd rather hear you explain the actual science of negative ions and how that's affecting the body when we're in some way grounded.
Clint: Right. I have to tell the story of meetings with Stephen Sinatra first because that'll help this all make sense. Stephen Sinatra is a cardiologist and he was a friendly guy. Back then, I had a hard time with docs because they didn't understand anything about electrical. They knew everything about biology, but they didn't understand the electrical side of biology. Anyhow, I met with this doctor, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Ghaly. We got these results and he said he didn't really understand them. He says they are obvious. So, he wanted to meet with–he knew this Dr. Sinatra, and so he said, “Let's go meet with him and see what he has to say about it.” And as soon as I started to explain it and tell Steve that all we have to do is ground the body and we reduce pain. And he said, “This is back in 2002.” He said, “If you're reducing pain,” he says, “what you're doing is reducing inflammation because you can't have pain in your body unless you have chronic inflammation.” And he fell in love with the concept and he got involved with me and he helped with studies and he's been involved ever since.
But anyhow, at that time, the word “inflammation” meant that you twisted an ankle and it ballooned up and it was red and sore and hot. When I started doing a research on inflammation, then I found that inflammation is a primarily cause from neutrophils, if you have a damaged tissue, a damaged cell, like a cut or an injury or whatever. So, neutrophil comes over and it encapsulates the damaged cell and it releases reactive oxygen reactions and oxygen molecules. And these molecules, the word “reactive” means that it's short in electron. And as soon as I heard that word, I said, “Okay. Now I know what's going on,” because the immune system is the electrical. I was looking at the immune system not as an acid, but as an electrical because the cells–everything is–it was just about electrons. I realized that what's happening here is the neutrophils are releasing these reactive oxygen, which are positively charged molecules. And they go and they rip an electron from the pathogen and destroy the structure. And that's the end of a pathogen.
Ben: Right. And that's how an oxygen-free radical actually beneficial for reducing pathenogen– How a free radical actually destroy a pathogen is via that action, but it could have the same effect on an actual cell within the human body like a beneficial cell.
Clint: Yeah. That's fundamentally how the immune system works. And so, what's missing here, what happened was, and it took us a long time to figure all these things out, in 1960, we invented plastics and we put them on the soles of our shoes. And so, everybody is insulated from the earth. We're no longer naturally grounded. But when you take your shoes off and you stand barefoot on the earth, the earth is negative about 20 to 50 millivolts. And what negative means is there's an abundance of free electrons that can move and do work, move and reduce charge. And this is a natural phenomenon, and that's why we ground everything electrical to the earth in order to maintain electrical stability because these free electrons from the earth, they come up the wire just like your refrigerator or your computer if it's grounded.
Ben: And this is kind of weird. From what I understand in the book, the way that the earth actually gets charged with free electrons is via lightning. Is that correct?
Clint: Well, that's part of it. You have it streaming from the sun.
Ben: Okay. So, sunlight would also be a way that the earth is charged with negative ions, lightning. Is there anything else, like wind or temperature fluctuations or things like that?
Clint: Well, it's all relative, but it's basically what happens is during the day, the sun at noon, I mean, it's heating. That's the hottest time of the day. And so, it's exciting electrons on the earth, and that's the highest level. And so, from noon 'til two o'clock, then you have all this evaporation. And so, this is water molecules. They're positive. But anyhow, so they're evaporating. So, you're getting this condensation, I mean, or this evaporation. Then at two o'clock, as the temperature starts to cool in the atmosphere, then there's an imbalance in charge. The negative earth is pushing on the electrons in the cloud. The negative electrons are going to the top. The positive electrons are coming to the bottom. And so, then all of a sudden, you have–
Once there's an equal amount of–there's a welling up of electrons on the surface of the earth–you can't see any of this, but it's happening. And so, as soon as there are enough electrons on the earth to equalize the opposite amount of positive charge in the clouds, then you'll have lightning. So, the electrons–if the lightning is under the clouds, it's coming up from the earth to the cloud and neutralizing the positive charge in the bottom of the cloud. It's coming out the top of the cloud as negative electron is coming back to the earth.
So, anyhow, you have all of this energy recharging and replenishing the negative surface charge of the earth. But it's a little more complicated net, but you have this global electrical circuit, and there are electrons going up and coming down all the time, and it's just keeping the earth energized. But the lightning plays a big role because at two o'clock, wherever you're at on the earth, it's two o'clock, especially in the equatorial regions, there's constant lightning. Yeah, and it's that bad electrical charge because the earth is turning.
Ben: So, even if you're not in the specific locale where there is a lightning storm, you would still, like hundreds or thousands of miles away, still be getting exposed to the negative ions from a lightning storm at 2:00 p.m. in an equatorial location?
Clint: Yeah, because one, the electrons, they–if you can think of it this way. Think of the electrical surface charge of the earth as a little blue marbles or something, micro-miniature marbles, and there's a layer of these blue electrons laying everywhere on the earth. So, it can be discharged and charged. It moves around. It goes up and down depending on the time of day and all that kind of stuff, but there it is forever. This ground potential, these free electrons are everywhere on the earth. The ocean, they're equal throughout the ocean. But anyhow, and then electrical travels at the speed of light. All these things, I mean the electrons, don't necessarily travel that. But anyhow, there's an equalization that takes place around the whole globe. So, it's always there. It's always ground. The only time there would not be a lot of ground would be in the middle of a desert if you're standing on sand that is very, very dry.
Ben: So, would this mean, and I don't want to throw you off too much, but would this mean that if you did want to go outside barefoot and get as many benefits as possible from being outside barefoot, you'd either, A, go out at 2:00 p.m., or B, go out after or as soon as possible like after a lightning storm at whatever time of day it happens to be where you live?
Clint: Well, I personally don't think it matters all that much relative to the body. But have you ever noticed after a rainstorm, you go out and you breathe and you–
Ben: It feels amazing.
Clint: You feel so much better, and that's because there's so much negative charge in the atmosphere.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, that or like swimming in the ocean, those are the two times I feel the most charged up.
Clint: Exactly. For an athlete or somebody that's–sure, absolutely. But for the average person, no. You see, here's the whole concept right here is if the body has a negative surface charge–and I do have to get into the blood study somewhere down the room. But if the body has a negative surface charge, meaning that your body is negative, it's got 20 millivolts of free electrons that can move and reduce charge, it means just like your refrigerator, your computer, or anything else electrical, you cannot have charge in a grounded object. You cannot have inflammation inflamed in a grounded object. That's the one that's hard for people to get their mind around.
So, what I'm saying is what happens with the neutrophil–I mean, we have to go back to the neutrophil here a little bit. For instance, if you put rubber sort of shoes on or live in a home, instead of carpets, sleep in a foam bed, then you're above the earth, you're away from the earth. And so, now, your immune system is going to keep working 24/7 because you're breathing pathogens, you work out, you're building up inflammation in your body, you've got all these things going on. But if you don't, the neutrophils are going to go in there and continuously in microphages and so on. They're going to continuously destroy pathogens and damage cells and all the other things they do.
So, if you don't have enough electrons in your body, when the neutrophil does its job, the oxidative burst to destroy that pathogen, if there's a few leftovers after the pathogens are gone, then within 5, 6, 10 nanoseconds, those reactive molecules are going to steal an electron from something. And the only thing in the environment is probably a healthy cell. So, it'll steal an electron from the healthy cell, damage it, then the immune system says, “Okay, there's more damage,” so it sends another neutrophil to clean that up. And then, there's more collateral damage, continuous collateral damage, then all of a sudden, you have what they call fire or chronic inflammation, then where the body is actually oxidizing itself.
Ben: So, basically, where we're at right now is that you started to observe all these different health effects on sleep, on inflammation, on cognitive function, on recovery, et cetera. And we know that the natural frequencies of the earth, these subatomic particles, these free electrons are the way that this is actually happening. Those electrons have a negative charge. We are actually getting exposed to that negative charge when we are either directly in conductive touch with the surface of the earth by doing something like walking outside barefoot, or when we are bringing that negative charge to us through a grounding rod or a grounded outlet and having something plugged into that like a mat or a patch that attaches to our body that keeps us grounded to earth even if we're, say, inside?
Ben: Okay, got it.
Clint: But the mechanism of how that charge works is the key. And that's what Stephen, Dr. Sinatra and Gaetan Chevalier worked on for a long time because we knew what was happening but we couldn't quite understand how it was happening, just putting a negative charge on the body. So, how did these electrons get everywhere? What happens? And so, one day we were in Essex, Connecticut and he had like 13 people come to a meeting. And most of them were cardiologists or high-profile medical people, and he drew their blood and looked at the blood before, and everybody including himself, everybody had kind of thick sticky blood, rouleaux formation.
Ben: It's called rouleaux formation?
Ben: When blood is clotting like that?
Clint: Yes. It stacks up like butter chips or something. And then, some were better than others, but they all had some form of–they didn't have this pretty beautiful blood that you would think a cardiologist would have. Then what we did is we drew blood, we grounded them for 30 to 40 minutes, each one of them. All we did was put patches on the bottom of their feet and connect them to a ground rod driven into the earth or to the electrical ground of the building. And then, we drew the blood again. They weren't giving any food, nobody was eating anything, and there was no water or anything like that.
But everybody's blood separated perfectly. There was distance between all of the red blood cells. So, that asked the question, how did that happen? So, then Gaetan Chevalier, who is an expert in this, we figured out a way to measure the electrical surface charge on red blood cells, and what we found was–and all of this information, all these studies are available at the Earthing Institute. But what we found is we increased the negative surface charge on the blood cells, red blood cells, by a factor of 2.7. It's huge.
Ben: And that was just via grounding?
Clint: Just via grounding. And what happened was–
Ben: And what were you using to do that?
Clint: Well, we just put patches on the bottom of the feet and grounded them to–what happens is the red blood cells, when they become more negatively charged–I mean, I think every cell in the body becomes negatively charged. So, every cell has more electrons on its surface. So, now, these reactive oxygen species from neutrophils or microphages, whatever, they can steal an electron or two from a cell and not hurt it. But what happens is now, these red blood cells, they repel each other like negative magnets. You put them together and they push each other apart. So, all the blood cells are pushing each other apart.
And everybody, their face turns pink after they're grounded for 20, 30 minutes. Their fingers, everything, everybody's color comes up. So, now, what happens is when the red blood cells–because now they can go single file into the capillaries and oxygenate the tissue, and then bring out the debris and so on. So, the mechanism of action, when you touch the earth, every cell in your body, and specifically, the red blood cells become negatively charged equal with the earth. It's like here's a red blood cell and here's a big round planet, they both have the same electrical surface charge. So, that's nature. That's a phenomena of nature. But it's also why we ground everything to the earth in order to put that charge on it, in order to prevent harm from an electrical event.
So, that's Stephen and Gaetan I credit with that, and that is the discovery of the decade because–and that's why we wrote on the book it's the most important health discovery ever. All you got to do is go stand barefoot on the earth and they will normalize your blood viscosity and clean up the inflammation in your body.
Ben: Well, what I found interesting in the book was this stuff isn't–it's not necessarily new. I mean, I know you titled the book, “The Most Important Health Discovery Ever.” But can you explain what our ancestors knew about earthing and grounding? Because it seems to me that there's pretty good evidence that this isn't the first time humans have become aware of the power of being connected to the earth.
Clint: Yeah. You have to realize that when we wrote the book, we knew about certain cultures like Prana and things like that. We tied that together. But when we wrote the book, nobody–when we would go to look and research, we couldn't find anything. But after we wrote the book, then we started getting lots of reports, like in Germany, France, and all other. People 100 years ago, they're doing the same thing that we're doing. They knew that there was a benefit, but they didn't know the science behind it. So, all we did was put the science behind it. It's not new, but you can go back thousands of years to Hinduism, all of that.
Ben: Yeah. Well, Chinese medicine, and one of the main kidney points is actually in the bottom of the feet, and the way they treat that is by connecting the feet to the earth. I think it's translated to growing a root. But that's actually one of the healing methods used in traditional Chinese medicine, particularly for the kidney function.
Clint: No. Absolutely. We know all this now, and we tied it all together. And so, yeah, this goes way back before there was any knowledge whatsoever. But there was another piece of it. People were all barefoot and they lived on the earth. And so, they didn't need to know about grounding because they were all automatically grounded.
Ben: Well, I don't know if people were always barefoot. I mean, I would imagine that in a realm of thorns and sharp rocks and walk long distances without getting chafing on the bottom of the feet that people used covers or services on the bottom of the feet, but they were conductive, right?
Clint: Yes. But I think the average person, like if you go to any of the indigenous cultures, even when I grew up, all the kids were grounded, I mean, were barefoot. We were barefoot, all the Native Americans, we were all barefoot. They had moccasins and they would wear them when it was appropriate or when they needed to. But day to day and moment to moment, we were barefoot.
Clint: So, in that state, you have health.
Ben: Well, that's actually something I wanted to ask you about is conductivity of surfaces because people will ask me, well, if I'm walking barefoot on asphalt, let's say I'm jet lagged and I think grounding everything is fantastic for jet lag. By the way, it's one of the first things I do when I get off a plane. If I'm at a hotel, I go out to the backyard grass behind the hotel and make some calls barefoot, or I'll go for a walk to the grocery store and just hold my shoes in my hand, and sometimes on a concrete or asphalt, sometimes on grass. But when it comes to conductivity of the surface you're on, does it matter? I mean, can you compare and contrast like dirt versus grass versus cement or concrete or asphalt?
Clint: Yeah. The best way to answer that technically, concrete is fine, dirt, grass is fine, asphalt is not necessarily and it's not a good conductor of ground. So, it's really concrete, or earth, or grass.
Ben: Well, what about three things? A, trees. Because those are connected to the ground, I'm curious what trees would do if you're just like–because there's a lot of people who are into hugging trees for health. Well, would rocks do, like if you're rock climbing? And then, also, what about water? What about those three things?
Clint: Yeah, water. I mean, rocks, if you're climbing on rocks, you're grounded. If you're standing on rocks, even though you can't measure it very well, there's enough moisture and there's enough conductivity in those. Anything outdoors, you're pretty well-grounded. Water makes it quicker, easier. But water itself is not conductive, which is kind of interesting. So, yeah, just barefoot in grass, dirt, and concrete, and rocks.
Ben: Now, what about saltwater like the ocean? Because it was my understanding that if you jump in the ocean, that you are getting some of the effects of negative ion exposure.
Clint: Yeah, you're perfectly grounded. You can't get more perfectly grounded than jumping in the ocean.
Ben: Okay. So, it needs to be saltwater?
Clint: Now, a lake is a little different because a lake, if it has a lot of minerals, it's going to be fairly conducted. But some lakes don't. And so, they're less conductive. Distilled water is not conductive. It's the mineral in the water that makes it conductive. That's why I always encourage drinking mineral water, I mean, spring water because it's got a natural amount of minerals that our bodies are used to getting that away. But anyhow, did I answer that question?
Ben: Yeah, yeah, I think you got it. And did you say–you said trees are grounded as well, feel like climbing a tree?
Clint: It's a different phenomenon. Certain trees, if you can feel the tree, feel the branch, or feel the trunk and it feels cool, then it's grounding. But if it's got a lot of bark on it, you're not really grounding electrically, I mean, electron-wise. What you're doing is anything alive on this planet, every human being, every bug, every tree, every bird, everything, emits an electromagnetic field. Some people call it auras and whatever and so on, but we all emit these electric fields. The tree has an electric field. So, if you walk underneath of a tree or hug a tree, then your electric field–and yes, electric fields are going to couple up. They're going to become one. The bigger of the two is going to have a resonant frequency, like the tree is going to be resonating the natural earth's frequency, where if you have shoes on, you're not. You're resonating with the environmental frequencies and so on.
Ben: What about these shoes? And I actually want to get your opinion on this because I have some sandals that are called Earth Runners sandals. I have like a carbon plug built into the bottom of them. I know there's another company called Pluggz that makes grounding or earthing shoes. If you somehow figure out a way to get metal in the bottom of your shoe or copper like a lot of these companies use, do you think that's sufficient? Have you looked into that at all or seen any research on it?
Clint: Well, I've done a lot of research on shoes. In fact, I made up a nice black rubber flip-flop like the Havaianas, and I put like a one-inch plug in it, and I developed this carbon plug. And then, I went to a longevity conference and I did this for David Wolfe. And we went to a longevity conference that he had in Costa Mesa. I think we ordered a container. There's like 16,000. We sold them all out in just a few weeks, and then we ordered another container. But in the process, everybody's kept complaining about it. “Well, hey, I want a different color. I want some bling. I want this. I wanted different sizes and whatever.” And I said, “Excuse me, folks, I'm not in the shoe business. I don't want to be in the shoe business.” So, I walked away from the shoe. But I told everybody else, “Here's how you do it. Go do it.”
I've also worked with Nike and various other people, people from Nike and so on. And it's interesting the shoe industry, they say, “Well, this may be true and all of these things, but we're not going to make any grounded shoes until people come running into our store and say, ‘We want a grounded shoe,' then we're going to make them.”
Ben: Yeah. Well, I know it's even on Amazon, like Amazon sells like a grounding shoe strap where you can just take any shoe like a Nike or rubber shoe or anything and wrap this strap around it, and apparently, it grounds the shoe. I haven't yet tested that or messed around with them at all, but have you seen those?
Clint: Yeah. That's from the electrostatic discharge industry.
Ben: Yeah. It's called the Earthling.
Clint: Yeah. Really, there's all kinds of people doing all kinds of things out there. I encourage all of it. Not that all of it works, but if it doesn't work, it'll fade away. If it does work, then people will grab onto it and bring it about. But in the ESD industry, if you are a visitor to a factory where they make chips or software or electrical components, or you're going into a cleanroom, they will make you put one of the straps in your shoe so that you don't have any static charge on your body when you're in that environment. So, that's an old, old technique. People who work in the gasoline industry, dynamite industry, you have to have grounded shoes there, you have to have a grounded shoe device of some kind.
And so, that works. I mean, there's no question about it. They don't last very long as a problem. It may only last a day or an hour, or some may last weeks. I would like to work on that but I can't because my footwork is focused on the research, the science getting the books out, and getting the movies out. And there are millions of people that want to be in the shoe business and I encourage them to do it because the most important thing you can do in this world today is ground these shoes so these kids–because all of our kids are sick today. I mean, diabetes, almost 40% of them can be diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is an inflammation-related health disorder. You can't have it if you get grounded and stay grounded.
Ben: Yeah. Not my kids, they're barefoot almost all the time, unless we go to the grocery store. They are building our tree fort right now with nail guns barefoot. It may be not the safest thing, but I mean that's just the way they roll, and they've been doing even more since they watched this documentary on earthing. You've got a lot of the science and you've got a lot of the research in your book, but of course, I want to talk about some people who just go reading the book, which is fantastic, by the way, and people do need to read it.
But I did have another question for you, and that's how long do you need to do this? I mean, can you just go outside, touch the ground for 60 seconds in the morning, you soak up all the negative eyes and you're good to go, or do you need like a certain amount of time in a grounded or an earth state?
Clint: No. You need a certain amount of time. I mean, there's a lot of people out there go touch a leaf, go do this, go do whatever. It's all kind of craziness. But you have to, first of all, think. In nature, we were always grounded. We always lived in a grounded environment. To give you an idea, let me put it in perspective. In 1960, if you went to a medical doctor or practitioner, 90% of the visits were for infectious disease, childbirth, and acute injury. Today, 90% of the visits to a practitioner are for an inflammation-related health disorder, an autoimmune disease, something is stressing the body, insufficiency, blood, autoimmune system can't maintain health. And 10% for infectious disease and so on, or less.
So, we've had a dramatic shift in our health and everything that we got. Supposedly, better water, better food, better whatever, that's all questionable and I'm not going to get into that argument. So, in nature, I mean before 1960, as kids, we were always grounded, and there was no such thing as sick kids when I was young. I mean, some kids might have some asthma and things like that, but that's primarily when they're indoors. When they would go outdoors or jump in a swimming pool, the asthma would disappear.
So, what I'm trying to say is it's like the animals in the wild, they don't have any of these issues. So, humans, your immune system works 24 hours a day. The body is a capacitor. I mean, so you are creating radicals in your body at all times. There's a lot of the metabolic process, there are lots of other things going on, the food you eat, the air you breathe, so on. In nature, you would be grounded 24/7 and you could not have inflammation in your body. You have the inflammatory burst, the oxidation, but that is a natural process and that's a very short-term process, but the chronic inflammation.
So, in order to get grounded, if you have pain in your body, you need to stay grounded until the pain disappears because it will. Let me give you an example. The people I have worked the most with are lupus and MS, and those related family of disorders. You can take a woman who has MS. That's neutrophils, microphages oxidizing the myelin sheath that covers the nerves. But when I ground somebody, if I take a patch, an electro patch, put it in the palm of their hand and connect it to the earth, be of the electrical ground or the ground rod, then I can honestly look at that woman and say, “You no longer have MS.” And she may have had it for 10 years. I said, “From now on, you no longer have MS. What you have is you have damage now that was created by the MS.”
But we've put out the fire. As soon as we put the patch on the body, then the body becomes flooded with free electrons, and then it stops that oxidative process. It stops the neutrophils from oxidizing the myelin sheath. What we found over the years–I can ground somebody with MS during sleep for eight hours and she gets up in the morning at eight o'clock, nine o'clock, and she can go for a couple hours, and then the pain will start coming back. So, then eventually, we started grounding them for like 16 hours a day with patches or bands or whatever, and then they could make it through until they went back to bed that night. But so it's like if you go ungrounded for 12 hours and you go grounded for 12 hours, you got an equalization here. But the more grounded you are, the more you put out the fire of inflammation, and then the more healing can occur.
Ben: Okay. So, basically, it's like the more the better, but what would the minimum effective dose be?
Clint: Until the pain stops.
Ben: What if you're not in pain? What if you're going after health or longevity? I mean, like, are you going to see a change in negative ion potential by touching the ground for 60 seconds, or are we talking about like a necessary time of at least 10 minutes or something like that?
Clint: I'll let you answer this. How long does it take the blood to circulate?
Ben: Like one beat of the heart for the entire body?
Clint: No, the complete circulation of the blood in the body.
Ben: I don't know.
Clint: I think it's like 22 minutes or something like that.
Ben: Okay. All right.
Clint: So, if you want to really get your blood charged up and–because your body does act as a capacitor, and you will hold that charge but you need to be grounded for probably, I would say, 30 minutes.
Clint: So, what's happened is you put the fire out, first of all. Then you got the healing mechanisms are kicking in. But at the same time, you're building up that store of electrons on the red blood cells and every other cell in the body. So, then when you disconnect or put your shoes back on, you're going to be able to go for quite a while. A few hours, but then you're going to get fatigued and run down and your color is going to change. That's a signal you get grounded again.
Ben: Now, you sent me a couple of these grounding mats, like I'm standing on one right now while we're talking. I think it's called the Everything Mat that just plugs into the wall or can be run outside and put via grounding rod into the ground. And then, I also have one that I'm now traveling with. It's like a grounding or an earthing mat that I can put next to my bed. It comes with like a testing cable or a testing device that you plug into the outlet to ensure that the outlet is grounded before you plug in the mat. Now, how common is it for an outlet to be ungrounded for people who are buying a grounding mat and plugging this into that outlet in their home? I mean, isn't it required for most homes to be grounded–for an outlet to be grounded?
Clint: Most homes that are sold, they have to have ground in the bathrooms and the kitchens. Now, homes built before 1960, that era, a lot of them do not have ground. There was no need to have ground. They didn't use it. We didn't have all the electrical type devices we have now. So, a lot of those homes don't have a ground. And off times, what happens is they remodel those homes and they'll go in and put in new outlets, but there's no ground wire in the back of the–I mean, in the system. It looks like there's a grounded outlet, but when you stick a ground in, it doesn't register as ground because there is no ground wire connected to the outlet. So, if you have that situation, then you have to use a ground rod or have an electrician come and he'll drill a hole through the wall and put a dedicated ground rod into that outlet that you're going to use it.
Ben: Okay. So, you plug it into any outlet that's grounded, or you run it through the wall, and it looks like–I think all the mat you sent me came with both options. But the other question I have for you is you have this website. Your website is Ultimate Longevity. And I'll link to that. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthing, I'll link to that.
But I mean, you can buy grounding mats on Amazon. Like, why wouldn't somebody just go grab one of these on Amazon Prime? Is there any difference between the technology or anything like that that you're using? I mean, are all grounding or earthing mats created equal, or how does that work?
Clint: Well, they're not created equal, I can assure you.
Ben: And I'm not throwing you a softball here. I don't know. I'm just curious.
Clint: Yeah. No. Well, what it is, as soon as we started marketing these products–and by the way, you have to realize, these products came into being by accident. When we were doing our studies, everybody wanted the patches, they wanted this, they wanted that, so we ended up–this is an accidental business. But as soon as we started manufacturing the products, then when Amazon came along board, then Amazon would go out and encourage everybody to knock everybody off and have it made in China and whatever and start your own business.
And we had hundreds of people come along and start manufacturing grounding products, earthing product using our name. At $100 million dollars, you would go broke with the legal process of trying to keep everybody off, so you can't. So, it's an unfortunate situation out there. But the Amazon is primarily where this is at, and I'm a member of Amazon and I cannot buy anything on Amazon because I don't know how to go to the store. But a lot of the mats are not complete. The cables they have are not sufficient. A lot of them are silver with cotton, and we stopped producing that product a few years back and had to change because they didn't last long enough.
Men, when they work out and sweat and their sweat hits the silver in the sheets, then it oxidizes the silver and destroys the silver. So, we had to quit producing this. But we spent years developing this carbon block. And in a way that it could be used, it was safe, it didn't have off-gassing or didn't have all the issues and the problems. And a lot of the knockoffs do have serious outgassing problems and so on. I don't really know. It's not that I want to be the only person in the world supplying grounding products. There are seven billion people out there. I mean, lots of people need to do this.
But right now, the best thing on the market are the products that we offer because, one, we spent years developing them, and the main thing that we are after is they have to have the function. First of all, they have to be able to ground you, and then they have to be able to do it safely. And safely is not just the electrical. I mean, all of our cords have 100K resistor in them. So, there can be no electrical event. All of these things are important. And these people that just jump into it and try to copy everything we're doing, the black mats that they're selling, some of them have failed, some of them have this, some of them have–but again, I can't talk about any specific one unless I measure it.
But for safety and reliability, we've been around for 20 years putting these things together. And the number one thing for me is safety, electrical safety, and then it has to function, it has to ground you, and then it has to do it in a form that is comfortable for you or you can use in your environment. So, I think for what we offer, the quality of the cords, the product, and we stand behind all of our products, there's nothing out there that will compete with them.
Ben: No. When I was talking to Dr. Jeff Spencer, I think he was actually one of the first people I ever heard talked about grounding and earthing when I was at the Ironman Hawaii Sports Medicine Conference like nine years ago. That was when I first met Dr. Spencer. And he was working with Tour de France teams at the time. I think he was with Team RadioShack. He was using these patches on them every night to help them recover more quickly between stages. The patches–basically, all you do is just plug one end of the cable into an outlet, and then the other end of the patch you just stick it, because I have a bunch in my office. So, I just stick this to any surface of my body after it's plugged in?
Clint: An athlete's best friend is the patches. Anybody who has their health is seriously compromised, their best friend is the patch because what the patch does is–your skin has lots of resistance. So, grounding the body is–it's going to ground, but if you ground with a patch, an electrode patch, what it does, it's like a direct contact and so electrons can actually flow faster, and it's going to ground you faster. The patch allows you to put the ground closer to the area where you need them. So, it's a shorter path to ground because when you ground the body, sometimes you got a lot of inflammation. The ground will be used of fixing that inflammation before it gets to the issue that you're trying to solve.
So, the patches–it's like I had a triathlon athlete here yesterday, and he had shoulder issues, cramps in his legs, and all this stuff. I'm putting the patches on and doing various things. And I said, “Here's your problem.” Basically, he's out working out but he's not grounding himself after he works out. He's waiting 'til going to bed or doing something, or when the pain comes up. But anyhow, you can put the patch anywhere on the body, and I don't care what your pain is, when five minutes is gone. And so, what you're doing is you're just taking a firehose and pouring water on a fire.
Ben: So, you could put on specific injury spot too if you want to do the patch?
Clint: If it's an open sore, put it nearby.
Ben: Okay. I'm referring to like an orthopedic injury or something like that.
Clint: Yeah. Just put it right on. I always use two with athletes. I always put one on the bottom of the foot and one wherever the injury or the issue is.
Ben: Okay, got it. Now, tell me about this freaking chair. You've got like a $3,500 chair on your site and this blew my mind when I looked at it. I got a chair envy. Tell me about the chair.
Clint: The chair is–it's a Zero-Gravity Chair. It's made companies like Human Touch that make the standard zero-gravity chair. And what we did is we put the conductive material that we have on the mats, the sleep mats and the universal mat. We used the black material that we put on those and we covered the entire chair with it. So, when you sit in the chair, then you are totally grounded. I mean, you are rock-solid grounded, because it's a huge ground plane. It's a lot of ground. And it was designed primarily for wellness centers and spas, and we primarily sell it to the spas. But now, people are starting to buy it individually. Older people, a lot of people sleep in it. And so, it's just a comfortable chair. I went overboard because I wanted the best rock-solid chair that you could get. And everybody wants to sit in a Zero-Gravity Chair. So, when we have a seminar or we're at a demonstration group, group demonstration, everybody wants to sit in the chair. They don't know it's grounded and they just want to sit in a Zero-Gravity Chair.
Ben: But it's also got like heat and massage and everything else, and then the zero-gravity position is grounded?
Ben: That's pretty cool.
Clint: It's a killer app for the people that can use it.
Ben: I was going to say, yeah, if you like doing nice things.
Clint: Yeah. And we use it for–well, in the salons and so on. A lot of people use it in wellness centers for drips and for all kinds of things just to make people comfortable and grounded, get the inflammation out of their body–
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Clint: –while they're being treated so they have better outcomes.
Ben: Well, we didn't even scratch the surface of all the research. I mean, you've got like at least 20 different peer-reviewed research studies that have been conducted on grounding, and then a ton that you guys have sent me for everything, from stress and anxiety to HRV, like improvement in HRV, improvement in vagal nerve tone, improvement in blood glucose, serum electrolytes, wound, healing. So, what I did is over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthingpodcast for those who are a little bit more research minded, I'm just going to put a link to all the different research studies that Clint sent over to me.
And I'll also link to everything we talked about in today's podcast like the movie and the book and some of the grounding equipment, Clint's website. And there's also–we have a pretty fat–it's not like a discount code, it's a bunch of bonus materials like the book and the video and a bunch of other stuff you get when you order from his website. So, what I'm going to do also is put that over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthing. Or if you just want to buy a mat or some patches or whatever right away, you can go to ultimatelongevity.com/ben. That's Clint's website, ultimatelongevity.com/ben, and that'll automatically give you all the bonus materials if you get a mat or whatever.
But what I own right now is I've got the desk mat that I stand on while I'm working. And then, I've got the earthing mat that I just fold up and take with me when I travel because it just fits right into my carry-on. And then, I have some of these patches that–I haven't even opened the patches yet. I haven't started messing around with the patches, but I'm looking forward to getting injured sometimes, so I can actually toss them on and see how those feel. And then, of course, I've got my Earth Runner sandals that I just wear whenever I'm traveling or I've been flying around or whatever. So, this is really cool stuff, and I would highly encourage anybody who wants to take a deeper dive to read the book because Dr. Sinatra and Clint dive deep, deep into the science in the book. And we didn't even scratch the surface of it today, but I would recommend the book as well. So, anything else you want to throw in there, Clint?
Clint: Yeah. Think of the patches as power recovery. You got to recover fast.
Ben: I'll open this box now after we hung up.
Clint: Because that's what we do with the athletes, like Tour de France, all of them. It's about recovery. It's by staying in the game. And so, that's what the patch is really all about. Other than that, I could go on for hours, but I did want to say one thing. You're talking about jet lag?
Clint: When you fly–and we discovered this in one of our studies. We had three nurses that lived in New York and they were flying to San Diego daily, whatever. We measured their cortisol and their cortisol was three hours off from everybody else's. We couldn't figure that out, and now we realized that it's the–when you get out of a plane and you're not grounded yet and you measure cortisol, it's going to be three hours up. But if you ground them for 15 minutes, just have them take their shoes off, stand barefoot on the earth, then the cortisol syncs up to a normal timeframe. So, that's what gets rid of jet lag because if your cortisol is three hours off, then you can't function.
Clint: But it syncs up. I mean, the rhythms of the earth synchronize in and regulate the circadian profiles of so many things in our body.
Ben: There's so many fixes for jet lag like ketone esters, and glutathione, and charcoal. But I mean like if there's anything, like water, earthing, and sunlight–I mean, if there's nothing else you do, at least those three variables make a profound difference in my opinion. And I travel a lot.
Clint: Yup. There you go. Cool. Anytime if you have any other questions, holler at me. That's what I spend my life doing is trying to explain all this and sharing it.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Clint: The main thing is, take care of the kids, anytime get the kids grounded because these generations, we got to get the shoes fixed.
Ben: Yeah. My kids are definitely grounded. So, Clint, thanks so much for writing this book, for being a part of this movie, for filling all my listeners in. And again, if you're listening, just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthingpodcast. If you want to shop around for a bunch of Clint's stuff or buy a very fancy chair, you can go to ultimatelongevity.com/ben. And in the meantime, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Clint Ober signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
I recently read the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! (and my twin boys also watched the accompanying documentary “THE EARTHING MOVIE“).
Although I already knew about the importance of having an intimate connection with the planet we live upon, this book blew my mind when it comes to identifying one of the best solutions for chronic inflammation, better sleep, enhanced deep sleep, and much more. Since reading it, I've been traveling everywhere with my grounding sleeping mat, wearing my Earth Runners every day, and my boys have barely even touched their shoes. In the book, author Clint Ober introduces the planet's powerful, amazing, and overlooked natural healing energy and how people anywhere can readily connect to it. This never-before-told story—filled with fascinating research and real-life testimonials—chronicles a discovery with the potential to create a global health revolution.
So obviously, I had to get Clint on the show!
Clint Ober is the innovator behind the Grounding Movement & CEO of Earth FX Inc., a research and development company located in Palm Springs, California. A series of seemingly unrelated synchronistic events dating back to his early childhood led to a groundbreaking discovery that’s being recognized as the greatest health discovery of all time.
Grounding has now become a massive international movement—causing people to shed their shoes and reconnect electrically to the surface of the Earth.
Clint first learned about grounding when installing cable TV systems in Billings, Montana in the early 1960s. A decade later, he formed Telecrafter Corporation and built it into the largest provider of cable installation services in the United States. This company specialized in the proper grounding of cable installations for safety and TV signal stability.
In the 1980s, he turned his attention to the developing computer industry and partnered with McGraw-Hill to distribute live digital news services, via cable, to PCs. This led to the development of the first cable modem and an increased awareness of the need for proper system grounding.
Following a health challenge in 1995, Clint retired and embarked on a personal journey looking for a higher purpose in life. During his travels, he noticed people wearing plastic and rubber-soled shoes that insulate the body from Earth. He wondered if no longer being naturally grounded could affect us. The question led to an experiment that suggested grounding alone reduced chronic pain and improved sleep.
Thereafter, he developed a working hypothesis: Grounding the human body to the Earth normalizes the functioning of all of the body’s systems — the body utilizes the earth’s electrical potential and free electrons to maintain its internal electrical stability, normalizing all of its self-regulating and self-healing systems. Over the past twenty years, he has supported over 20 research studies* that collectively demonstrate that grounding reduces inflammation and promotes normal functioning of all body systems.
During this discussion, you'll discover:
-How Clint became interested in the concept of earthing…7:45
- Clint grew up in rural Montana; childhood friends were Native Americans
- One of his jobs growing up was to take care of cows on the pasture and to troubleshoot if one of the cows fell ill
- “If the pasture is pristine, the cows will be healthy”
- This instilled a prevention mentality: look at the cause, not the symptoms
- Spent 30 years in the communications industry which taught the basic fundamentals of grounding
- Came down with an infected liver after a root canal and was deathly ill
- He underwent an experimental operation which removed a good portion of the liver
- After 6 months, the liver had regrown to its normal size
- This caused a shift in perspective and priorities; live a life of more value than before
- Gave up all his worldly possessions, bought an RV and spent lots of time in national parks
- While in Key Largo, FL, Clint had an inspiration:
- “Opposite charge”
- “Status quo is the enemy”
-How a busload of Japanese tourists gave Clint his big idea regarding grounding…17:12
- While living in Sedona, AZ, experienced problems with computer crashing; identified static electricity as the problem
- He saw a bus full of tourists, all wearing rubber-soled shoes
- Intuitive question: Are modern shoes preventing us from grounding with the earth?
- Began testing the charge in the earth with a volt meter
- Grounded himself to the earth via metal duct tape:
- Static reading on his body went to zero
- Slept the night without moving (was typically in a lot of pain)
- Friends reported reduced pain, lowered arthritis
- Like an extension cord to the earth
-The early days of Clint's clinical research on grounding the body with the Earth…23:23
- There was very little research on how grounding with the earth reduces pain and improves sleep
- He attempted to find answers at UCLA but was basically laughed off the campus for his ideas
- Two doctoral students at UCLA helped him design a private study:
- 60 participants: 30 grounded, 30 ungrounded
- Those who were grounded reported reduced pain, better sleep, among other positive results
- Similar results among those exposed to EMF and not exposed to EMF
- A skeptical anesthesiologist in San Diego was willing to help with the research; he was interested in saliva cortisol levels in his patients
- Cortisol levels went from erratic to synchronized (within a similar range) after grounding at midnight during the study
- Cortisol spikes from 4-6 am without grounding
- Everyone's cortisol went up beginning at 4 am (with no other environmental cues) when grounded
- Cortisol spike is what gives motivation to get out of bed
- The only possible change at 4 am is in the earth, as the sun is about to rise
- Measure electric fields in bedrooms where participants were sleeping via a grounding pad
- The earth itself equalizes the body with the earth; electrons leave the body, or come to the body from the earth
- EMF levels had no discernible effects on two subjects; connection with the earth was the key
-What is going on in the body when a person is grounded with the Earth…33:25
- Stephen Sinatra: “When you're reducing pain, you're reducing inflammation”
- Led to a different understanding of inflammation
- Inflammation is caused by neutrophils: encapsulates damaged cell and releases reactive oxygen
- Reactive: short on electrons
- Plastic-soled shoes prevent us from being naturally grounded to the earth
- When you stand barefoot on the ground, the Earth is negative 20-50 millivolts
- The Earth has negative ions from lightning and the sun
- Noon is the high point for the sun exciting the electrons on the earth
- Imbalance in charge beginning 2 pm (constant lightning)
- You'll feel the effects of lightning from far away locales
- The air feels amazing after a thunderstorm because of the negative charge in the atmosphere
- If the body has a negative surface charge, you can't have charge in a grounded object
- Leftover pathogens steal electrons from a healthy cell, which triggers an immune response, leading to chronic inflammation
-The mechanism of action for grounding to the earth…43:30
- Clint and Dr. Sinatra's study had the following results (via grounding):
- Reduced rouleaux formation (clotting) in blood cells
- Blood cells separated perfectly after grounding for 30-40 minutes
- Increased negative surface charge of red blood cells by a factor of 2.7
- Red blood cells, when negatively charged, repel each other
- Face and skin color turns pink after being grounded for 20-30 minutes
- Better able to oxygenate the tissue
- Mechanism of action: when you touch the earth, every cell in your body becomes negatively charged equal w/ the earth
- Normalize blood viscosity, clean up inflammation in the body
-What our ancestors understood about earthing and grounding…48:15
- A century ago, people in Europe were discovering the benefits of grounding, but didn't know the science behind it
- One of the healing methods for the kidney in ancient Chinese medicine is grounding with the earth
- Our ancestors didn't need to know about grounding; they were barefoot or wore conductive footwear
-The best surface when it comes to conductivity between the Earth and the body…50:20
- Concrete, grass, and dirt are ideal; asphalt is not
- Rocks are good conductors
- Saltwater is the optimal way to ground; freshwater speeds up the process but is not itself conductive (unless it contains minerals)
- Springwater has a natural amount of minerals
- If you can feel the tree and it feels cool, it's grounding; bark inhibits the grounding process
-Best shoes to properly ground with the earth…53:35
- Earthrunners grounding sandals
- Pluggz grounding shoes
- Earthling grounding strap
- Shoe companies are reluctant to produce grounding shoes without adequate demand
- Work environments that are potentially flammable require grounding shoes, or the ability to be grounded w/ the shoes
- Diabetes is inflammation-related; you can be grounded and have diabetes
-The length of time required for a person to become grounded with the Earth…57:15
- In the 1960's, most doctor visits were for infections diseases, childbirth or acute injury
- Today, most visits are for inflammation, autoimmune disease
- There were no sick kids in the 60's
- The immune system works 24/7
- If you have pain, stay grounded until the pain disappears
- MS patients stay grounded for up to 12 hours per day
- Minimum effective dose: around 22 minutes, the time it takes the blood to circulate through the body
- Put the fire out (inflammation), then let the healing mechanisms kick in
-How to know whether or not your home is grounded with the Earth…1:02:15
- Homes built before the 1960s were not grounded; there was no need for it at the time
- Remodels of older homes don't necessarily have grounding, even though new outlets are installed
-All grounding mats are not created equal…1:04:05
- “Ours is an accidental business”
- Mass production has compromised the quality and efficacy of the mats
- It would be futile to take legal action against all the pretenders and copycats
- Clint maintains his products are the best on the market; although he wishes more would get in the business
- Electrical safety is the #1 priority
-The grounding patches that are an athlete's best friend…1:08:00
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
– Clint Ober:
- Ultimate Longevity: Check out Clint's indoor grounding products at Ultimate Longevity. You'll get FREE* 2-day shipping (as long as the order is over $99) and a FREE* copy of the Earthing paperback book by Clint Ober (included with every Ground Therapy Sleep Mat purchase). Plus all orders get 3 bonus videos available online for immediate streaming or download (access link provided on order confirmation page)!
- Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever!By Clint Ober
- The Earthing Movie
- Earthrunners Grounding Sandals
- Pluggz Grounding Shoes
- Earthling Erthe Grounding Strap
- Zero Gravity Chair
– Other Resources:
Note from Ben: “I didn't even have time, today, to delve deeply into ALL of the over 20 peer-reviewed research studies that have been conducted on grounding, but I do want to at least give you a comprehensive list of the vast results that have been seen in the research, so far – impressive results have been seen when it comes to inflammation, pain, stiffness, circulation, blood pressure, blood viscosity, HRV, vagal tone, cortisol, stress, anxiety, depression, tiredness, fatigue, energy, mood, blood glucose, immunity, sleep, thyroid function, metabolism, serum electrolytes, wound healing, athletic performance and recovery, and more. There have also been anecdotal reports of improvements in autism, Parkinson’s, MS, PTSD, autoimmune conditions, and pet health, just to name a few. But I'm going to put all that below! Enjoy!”
- Quick View: Grounding Research Results
- Initial Grounding Experiment Conducted by Clint Ober: Improved Sleep And Reduced Pain
- Medical Thermography Case Studies: Clinical Earthing Application in 20 Case studies
- Electrical Grounding Improves Vagal Tone In Preterm Infants
- Emotional Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Grounding, And Improved Autonomic Tone: Clinical Applications
- Effectiveness of Grounded Sleeping on Recovery After Intensive Eccentric Muscle Loading
- Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness
- The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress
- Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease
- Earthing the Human Body Influences Physiologic Processes
- The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood
- Effects Of Grounding (Earthing) On Bodyworkers' Pain And Overall Quality O Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial
- Changes in Pulse Rate, Respiratory Rate, Blood Oxygenation, Perfusion Index, Skin Conductance, and Their Variability Induced During and After Grounding Human Subjects for 40 Minutes
- Differences in Blood Urea and Creatinine Concentrations in Earthed and Unearthed Subjects
during Cycling Exercise and Recovery
- Grounding After Moderate Eccentric Contractions Reduces Muscle Damage
- Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Massage Therapists: An Exploratory Study
- The Neuromodulative Role of Earthing
- One-Hour Contact with the Earth’s Surface (Grounding) Improves Inflammation and Blood Flow — A Randomized, Double-Blind, Pilot Study
- Grounding the Human Body during Yoga Exercise with a Grounded Yoga Mat Reduces Blood Viscosity
- Grounding the Human Body Improves Facial Blood Flow Regulation: Results of a Randomized, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study
- The Effect Of Earthing On Human Physiology – Part 1
- The Effect Of Earthing On Human Physiology – Part 2
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