The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Bodyworkers' Pain and Overall Quality of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Explore (NY). 2019 May-Jun;15(3):181-190. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2018.10.001. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Background: It is well known that massage therapists routinely develop a number of health problems related to their profession.

Purpose: To determine the effects of grounding on massage therapists' quality of life and pain. Grounding, refers to being in direct body contact with the ground, such as walking barefoot on humid soil or on grass.

Setting: The Chopra Center for Well-Being in Carlsbad, California, USA.

Participants: Sixteen massage therapists (mean age 42.8 years).

Research design and intervention: A stepped wedge cluster design was incorporated into a 6-week double-blind Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) procedure with massage therapists assigned randomly into one of two cohorts. Therapists were not grounded for the first week, were grounded while working on clients and at home while sleeping for the next four weeks, and then ungrounded for the last week.

Outcome measures: Prior to, during, and immediately following the intervention, participants completed standardized questionnaires reporting on pain, physical function, anxiety, depression, fatigue/tiredness, sleep disturbance and number of hours of sleep, number of clients worked on per working day, energy, and emotional and mental stress.

Results: As a group, therapists experienced significant increases in physical function and energy and significant decreases in fatigue, depressed mood, tiredness and pain while grounded as compared to not being grounded. At one-month following the study, physical function was also increased and depressed mood and fatigue were decreased.

Conclusions: We observed consistent beneficial effects of grounding in domains highly relevant to massage therapists, namely pain, physical function, and mood. These findings, combined with prior results from this trial indicating improvements in inflammatory biomarkers, blood viscosity and heart rate variability (HRV), suggest that grounding is beneficial to massage therapists in multiple domains relevant to their occupation, supporting overall health and quality of life.

Keywords: Bodyworkers; Earthing; Grounding; Massage therapists; Pain; Sleep disorders.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Electrons*
  • Fatigue
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health
  • Occupational Stress / prevention & control
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Physical Therapists*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep