Objectives: The purpose of this pilot study was to determine whether there are markers that can be used to study the effects of grounding on delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Design and subjects: Eight (8) healthy subjects were exposed to an eccentric exercise that caused DOMS in gastrocnemius muscles of both legs. Four (4) subjects were grounded with electrode patches and patented conductive sheets connected to the earth. Four (4) control subjects were treated identically, except that the grounding systems were not connected to the earth.
Outcome measures: Complete blood counts, blood chemistry, enzyme chemistry, serum and saliva cortisols, magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy and pain levels were taken at the same time of day before the eccentric exercise and 24, 48, and 72 hours afterwards. Parameters consistently differing by 10% or more, normalized to baseline, were considered worthy of further study.
Results: Parameters that differed by these criteria included white blood cell counts, bilirubin, creatine kinase, phosphocreatine/inorganic phosphate ratios, glycerolphosphorylcholine, phosphorylcholine, the visual analogue pain scale, and pressure measurements on the right gastrocnemius.
Conclusions: In a pilot study, grounding the body to the earth alters measures of immune system activity and pain. Since this is the first intervention that appears to speed recovery from DOMS, the pilot provides a basis for a larger study.