Earth to Man!
Illustration by Karyna Piwowarska

Earth to Man!

An Interview with Paweł Sokal
Jakub Bas
time 7 minutes

Do you recognize the feeling of relaxation and connection to nature when walking barefoot on hot summer days? As research shows, contact with the Earth is grounding, literally. Paweł Sokal tells Jakub Bas about the advantages of grounding (also known as earthing).

Each day we are exposed to free radicals. This can be a positive thing, but it does not have to be, and unfortunately, most often it is harmful. Free radicals can damage the walls of blood vessels and oxidize fats that deposit in the arteries, causing atherosclerosis. Free radicals are also responsible for heart attacks and strokes, and contribute to the development of tumours. Still, our body needs them in moderate amounts. In the right amount, they can be our allies in the fight against viruses – they absorb the virus’s electrons, killing it. How does that work? Free radicals are oxygen atoms with an odd number of electrons. If one electron goes missing, the atom begins to circulate around the body in search of a replacement, creating yet another free radical, and so on. As a result, we get sick and age rapidly. Walking barefoot, however, can slow down these processes.

In the US, the Earthing Institute was established to investigate this phenomenon. There are two Polish names among its employees – or rather one, because two Polish doctors, a father and son, are members of the institute’s board. Jakub Bas caught up with one of these doctors, Paweł Sokal.

Jakub Bas: How did you and your father come to work on this particular issue?

Paweł Sokal: It was pure coincidence! In the 1990s, I helped my father conduct several experiments and clinical trials. They revealed the amazing effects that grounding has on the human body, although this was not the primary subject of research. My dad is a cardiologist; I am also a doctor, but of a completely different speciality. I am a neurosurgeon.

What do you mean by a coincidence?

My father was researching the impact of walking on calcium-phosphate management. Our bones have isoelectric properties and generate electricity – and this is important in calcium-phosphate metabolism. It transpired that following overnight grounding, patients had significant changes in levels of ionized calcium, total calcium and serum phosphates. These are important parameters. Phosphates are involved in the process of mineralization of bones and teeth, participate in metabolic processes, and also help build soft tissue and mucous membranes, as well as maintain the body’s acid-base balance. My father began looking into this. He worked in the clinic and conducted several experiments on the effects of grounding on bodily functions, on biochemical and bioelectric processes. Right now we do have evidence that contact with the ground (direct or indirect, with the use of conductive products) causes not only a change in skin surface electric potential, but also the mucous membranes. This is really important in relation to the functioning of cell membranes and enzymatic processes, resulting in proven biochemical changes.

What periods of time are we talking about? Should we walk to work barefoot, or would it be enough to stand in the grass for a moment on the way to work?

We started with two basic times, a minimum of one hour. These initial experiments indicated that eight hours or even one hour of grounding significantly affects calcium-phosphate management – it leads to a reduction of ionized calcium and phosphate levels. It also affects iron metabolism – it raises the level of ferritin, transferrin, and reduces the level of ionized iron in the blood. It also affects sodium, potassium, magnesium and chlorine electrolytes levels. We recorded statistically significant changes – positive effects on thyroid function, thyroid hormones, glucose levels, as well as protein, albumin and globulin levels. The first experiments conducted in the 1990s already suggested this.

How permanent are these changes?

These are statistically significant changes. They persisted even after one hour. We did an eight-hour grounding test, and then another one hour after grounding. These effects were visible primarily in the concentration of electrolytes and protein. What’s more, American researchers began to study the effects of grounding on the human body. In one experiment, they showed that the viscosity of blood changes and reduces the aggregation of erythrocytes, which can be important in the prevention of various thromboembolisms, including strokes and heart attacks.

Does this mean that a one-hour change in my parameters will truly affect my overall health? Or, after a while, does it all go back to how it was before?

Everything probably goes back to the starting point. We should remember that we are still subjected to the external influence of an intense electromagnetic field. What’s more, there are processes that mitigate the influence of grounding, causing changes in the electrical potential within the intracellular environment – the mucous membranes of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. That’s all been examined. However, interrupting the connection to the Earth disrupts this potential equalization.

I’d never thought about the Earth’s electric potential!

And we do! We believe that the Earth is like a massive electric capacitor that provides man with constant access to electric charge. Depending on whether we have too much or too little charge, our organisms get what they need. The American research teams think that electrons mostly flow towards us. But we think they can flow in both directions, depending on the electric potential of our bodies.

I’ve read about the benefits of going barefoot and…

Yes, yes. I know. Reduction of stress and inflammation and better sleep are mentioned.

Apparently, walking barefoot is also rejuvenating. If that’s true, many businesses will be in trouble. No more Botox!

We certainly look much better when we are relaxed and healthy. But whether I’m younger, I find it hard to judge.

In order for walking barefoot to make sense, do you have to repeat it systematically?

Yes, I think so. The more often, the better. At home, we all sleep grounded, on special grounding sheets. This is important, because it eliminates the impact of both the external electromagnetic field and the normalization of these processes that I have talked about. It eliminates all inflammatory diseases, pain, improves sleep, blood pressure, and reduces muscle tension.

Does sleeping on such a sheet for eight hours improve our parameters for the rest of the day?

I hope these effects persist. However, if I sit at a desk or drive a car for hours afterwards, I reduce the effects of grounding.

So it’s a bit like a game of tag! Is it worth it?

Yes, definitely – especially for people suffering from chronic diseases. For people with diabetes, a walk on the beach can reduce the level of glucagon. We know that in those taking drugs reducing glycaemia, hypoglycaemia occurred after a walk on the beach – grounding intensified the effect of drugs.

Has this been reported in Poland?

The Americans have described such cases. Well, grounding acts as insulin in diabetes, drugs preventing heart attack such as Acard or Polocard – it changes the viscosity of the blood. It prevents osteoporosis, just like calcium preparations and the vitamin D responsible for metabolism, because during grounding there is a kind of build-up of these phosphates or calcium. American studies have also looked at grounding’s influence on heart rate variability and blood pressure levels. These studies recently showed that systolic blood pressure decreased by 20-30%, even in newborns. These are extensively documented studies conducted in the US and Canada.

What if I live in Warsaw’s city centre and don’t have grounding mats, inserts or shoes?

That’s really bad for you: you’re under the intense influence of electromagnetic fields. All these masts and hot spots are bad for you. Grounding helps to eliminate this. So it is worth investing in grounding equipment. You could use an ordinary bare copper grounding wire and connect it to a plug in your home or a rod in your garden [do not do this – ed. note] – but that would end in tragedy. I prefer to just take off my shoes in the park. You can try doing this three times a day for 30 minutes, or even better – for one hour. But unfortunately, there are no clinical studies or scientific evidence proving which grounding routine is most optimal.

So we have to experiment?

Yes, but you can be sure of the benefits – I can guarantee that.

What do you get from grounding? How do you feel about it?

I sleep better and I have less pain. During infections, I don’t develop inflammation. I see it as the prevention of acute inflammatory diseases, atherosclerosis, and even autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Grounding increases gamma-globulin blood levels, improving our immunity.

Sounds great, given that we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

Yes. There is also a hypothesis that grounding changes the electrical potential of the airways – leading to a more alkaline environment – an effective natural barrier against viral infection. This can reduce the risk of viral infections, including coronavirus.


Translated from the Polish by Joanna Figiel

Also read:

Why Go Barefoot?

Why Go Barefoot?

A Cultural Account of Feet
Anna Berestecka

Walking barefoot puts your thoughts in order, unclogs your head and can be a synonym of freedom. But it’s also part of a cultural code that helps us break routines or enter the realm of sanctified behaviour.

How can we manoeuvre in this labyrinth of meanings? Look below your feet and in front of you. On this path, we’ll be accompanied by Professor Arnold Lebeuf, a cultural anthropologist who for years headed up the Sociology of Religion Department at the Jagiellonian University’s Institute for the Scientific Study of Religion. When I ask about the sources of going barefoot, he refers me to his book Stopa bosa, stopa obuta. Semantyka motywu ikonograficznego [Barefoot, Shodden: The Semantics of Iconographic Motifs], and it will be our roadmap.

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