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Barefoot by Tim RT is licensed under [CC BY-ND 2.0].

Barefoot in Sedona:
Bogus Claims About Grounding Your Feet to Earth Promote Medical Pseudoscience

There is a website that reveals “The world’s most dangerous invention.” Care to speculate what that invention might be? I might have guessed nuclear weapons. Others have incriminated guns, cigarettes, genetic engineering, religion, The Web, The Large Hadron Collider, and automobiles. But this website was not talking about any of those, but about a far more destructive invention. Would you believe…shoes?

Watch out for those malicious moccasins, horrific high heels, fiendish flip-flops, beastly boots, and sinister slippers! They’re all out to get you. Not just shoes. Anything that comes between us and the bare earth: houses, clothes, tent floors, pavements, doormats, cars, skis, and so on.

It’s called “grounding” or “earthing”— the idea that maintaining health requires direct contact with the earth. Shoes are the most destructive invention ever, we are told, because they allegedly cause inflammation and autoimmune diseases, circadian rhythm disruptions, hormonal disorders, cortisol disorders, heart rate variability problems, arthritis, herpes, hepatitis, insomnia, chronic pain, exhaustion, stress, anxiety, premature aging…pretty much anything that might ail you. A one-cause-of-all-disease explanation invokes inflammation as the culprit. Grounding is supposedly the best defense against inflammation and aging; it represents a whole new treatment paradigm. Among many other benefits, grounding also “promotes calmness in the body by cooling down the nervous system,” thins the blood, eliminates jet lag, and protects the body against potentially health-disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields.

A book expounds these concepts: “Earthing: The most important health discovery ever!” by Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra MD, and Martin Zucker, with a foreword by James Oschman Ph.D. Who are these people? Ober, the inventor of earthing, is a layman from the cable TV industry. Of course. Dr. Sinatra is a cardiologist who encouraged Ober, who specializes in so-called “integrative medicine” (which integrates superstition with science) and is a “certified bioenergetic psychotherapist.” Naturally. Zucker is a writer. Oschman is a notorious proponent of energy medicine who believes there is a scientific basis for it; most reputable scientists disagree.

The book starts with Ober’s story. He had a midlife crisis, gave up his material possessions, and travelled around looking for a new mission in life. His quest reached fruition in Sedona, AZ, a notorious mecca for New Age woo. There he had an intuitive epiphany while sitting on a park bench, watching tourists. He noticed that they were all wearing shoes! It occurred to him that they had lost contact with the ground and needed to be grounded. He grounded himself, slept better, tried it on friends, and then tried to do research. He couldn’t get scientists to cooperate, so he got volunteers from beauty salons to try his grounded bed pads. He did some experiments (mostly uncontrolled and unpublished), persuaded Dr. Sinatra and others to jump on his bandwagon, and sparked a whole movement and an industry of grounding products.

The book goes on to explain how shoes cause inflammation and autoimmune diseases and are the most destructive invention in human history. Shoes block you from receiving a constant supply of the free electrons that shield and nourish the entire earth. Grounding protects you from electromagnetic fields (EMF). Walking barefoot or jumping into the ocean will remove the static buildup and immerse you in electrons. You can also ground yourself with grounding wires: your own EMF will be dispersed and free electrons will come up the wire, thereby giving you free antioxidants. Effects occur in minutes; chronic pain resolves in hours. 20 volts of electricity from electronic devices is reduced to near zero. The Earth is the biggest electron generator and static sink ever. None of the book’s authors is a physicist— it shows.

On a “groundology” website, Dr. Stephen Sinatra explains:

  1. The Earth is a reservoir of free electrons. Without a connection to this reservoir, our cells are unable to balance harmful positive charges. He includes pictures from live cell microscopy to illustrate how positive charge makes blood cells clump.
  2. We are bombarded by electromagnetic radiation from modern technology, inducing voltages that disrupt subtle electrical communications in our body. Grounding reduces these induced voltages.
  3. It may be that our connection with the earth carries information, helping align us with the greater network of intelligence of our planet.

What’s wrong with this? Almost everything. Our cells don’t need an infusion of electrons. Live cell microscopy is a bogus test: his pictures can’t show that there are positive charges, and the blood cell clumping is only an artifact. Anyway, clumping blood cells have nothing to do with the alleged health effects. There is no evidence that EMF disrupts communications in our body or that grounding protects us from any hypothetical ill effects of using cell phones and other technology. And the third point about aligning with an intelligence network is wild imagination not supported by anything in science or reality.

Arguments in support of earthing are either demonstrably false or so vague as to be meaningless and untestable

Some quotations in praise of Earthing serve to highlight its unscientific approach:

  • “People have lost touch with the Earth. From a biblical perspective, people who lose touch with the Earth lose touch with God. Earthing reconnects us to the plan, to other, and, in a sense, to God.”
  • “Earthing connects us to Nature and Nature is the ultimate source of health and healing.”
  • “The feedback from patients is now so strong that I know predictably, as a doctor, this will change a person’s life.”
  • “Earthing is a return to the healing power of Nature. Scientifically based and intuitively correct, here’s a simple but powerful way to restore your health on all levels.”

Several negative reviews of the book have commented that it sounds like an infomercial, consists of anecdotes, and contains no science except for some junk science. But of course there are plenty of positive reviews comparing it to the greatest discovery since penicillin, proclaiming “it worked for me.”

Earthing proponents offer a mixture of speculation, superstition, pseudoscience and testimonials. Their explanations are confused: they tell you talking on your cell phone outdoors and standing on grass will dissipate the static charge, hopelessly confusing static electricity with electromagnetic fields. On the one hand, they say ground contact will remove your static electricity, and on the other hand they say you will absorb electricity from the Earth. (So which is it? Is electricity going in or out?) They also have some “real scientific studies” to bolster their beliefs, but these are unconvincing.

The studies were not published in mainstream journals. They involved small numbers of subjects and usually failed to use any controls; almost all were funded by people with a vested interest in selling grounding products, and the same few names (Chevalier, Sokal, Sinatra, Ochsman) keep recurring in the published literature: it’s all the work of a few inbred true believers.

An article in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health reviewed the health implications of earthing. It was written by the researchers themselves. It carries this disclosure: “Chevalier, S. T. Sinatra, and J. L. Oschman are independent contractors for Earth L. Inc., the company sponsoring earthing research, and own a small percentage of shares in the company.”

Dr. Steven Novella, a prominent skeptic of alternative medicine claims, notes: “The studies are typical of the kind of worthless studies designed to generate false positives—the kind of ‘in house’ studies that companies sometimes use so that they can claim their products are ‘clinically proven.’ Reading through the individual studies you can see that they are all small pilot or preliminary studies with atrocious methodology. They are little more than documenting placebo effects, subjective findings, and anomaly hunting.”

The antioxidant/inflammation connection is unconvincing. Do free radicals cause inflammation? No, it’s probably more accurate to say inflammation causes free radicals. And to neutralize free radicals you need antioxidant molecules, not free electrons.

Of course, going barefoot can be dangerous and uncomfortable (cold feet, stepping on broken glass, becoming infected with hookworms, etc.). So instead you can buy their specially designed products: earthing sheets, earthing recovery bags, grounding mats, personal grounding kits, grounding patches, accessories, grounded shoes, an earthing bed, even products for pets. Herein lies the business end of the alternative medical claims.

Arguments in support of earthing are either demonstrably false or so vague as to be meaningless and untestable:

  • The primordial nature energy emanating from the Earth is the ultimate anti-inflammatory and the ultimate antiaging medicine.
  • The Earth’s surface is alive with subtly pulsating frequencies.
  • Earth’s electrical energy maintains the order of our own bodily frequencies just as a conductor controls the coherence and cadence of an orchestra.
  • There are comparisons to a light-bulb with a loose connection that flickers, to Qi and prana.
  • The Greeks knew about it: Antaeus was invincible as long as his feet remained in contact with the Earth, and Hercules defeated him by lifting him off the ground.
  • Native Americans honored the connection to the Earth.
  • Electrons are like a nutrient: Vitamin G for ground.
  • Wild animals never get sick.
Skeptic magazine 17.4 (Alternative Cancer Cures)

This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 17.4 (2012)
Buy the print edition
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They warn “any individual taking medication to thin the blood, regulate blood sugar, control blood pressure, or to supplement thyroid activity should consult with their doctor before beginning to ground themselves, and then monitor the medication once they start grounding. An adjustment in medication may be necessary.”

Failures are easily explained away. If you don’t feel any difference from sleeping grounded, it’s because you’re not sick; but you still need to do it for prevention and anti-aging. If you slept better for a while but the effect faded, it’s because “Sleep is so subjective, and the quality is often related to life’s stresses. No matter how grounded somebody is, stressful situations can readily impact sleep. Drinking a lot of caffeine or alcohol in the evening could also interfere with sleep.”

This is all just too silly! Shoes are not dangerous. We don’t need more electrons; we need more critical thinking. END

About the Author

Dr. Harriet Hall, MD, the SkepDoc, is a retired family physician and Air Force Colonel living in Puyallup, WA. She writes about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, quackery, and critical thinking. She is a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, an advisor to the Quackwatch website, and an editor of, where she writes an article every Tuesday. She is author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon. Her website is

This article was published on June 21, 2016.


59 responses to “Barefoot in Sedona:
Bogus Claims About Grounding Your Feet to Earth Promote Medical Pseudoscience

    • Kriss says:

      This article was already referenced above:

      “An article in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health reviewed the health implications of earthing. It was written by the researchers themselves. It carries this disclosure: ‘Chevalier, S. T. Sinatra, and J. L. Oschman are independent contractors for Earth L. Inc., the company sponsoring earthing research, and own a small percentage of shares in the company.'”

  1. Dinu says:

    Well… I can’t (and don’t like) to walk in shoes (torture instruments). But I like to live BAREFOOT. This is the key of my happiness !
    I discovered this pleasure (hobby) at 3 years old (in 1962), in a village…

  2. mataliandy says:

    There is an *excellent* source of free electrons – indeed, you can get a lifetime’s supply (or more!) in a millisecond.

    With my patented copper “Electron Capture Pole(tm)” you can now gather copious free electrons directly from 50,000 foot cumulonimbus clouds! Gather the purest free electrons from high in the upper atmosphere!

    It’s everything you need to create the perfect connection between you, the sky, and the earth. You’ll be more grounded than you could ever imagine possible. It’s like literally touching the sky! Call today, and we’ll include a list of special weather instructions to ensure you achieve the pinnacle of perfect grounding.

  3. Kriss says:

    Just today, someone in my Facebook group, Born to Be Barefoot,, made an interesting comment during a discussion of “grounding/earthing,”
    “Sometimes I think people feel they need a license to go barefoot, and that grounding gives it to them.”

    Yes, I guess some people do need a “license” or a good reason to fall back on, as they think they must always have some excuse or justification for their choice to go barefoot. And I can totally understand that. The problem with using “grounding” or “earthing” as their reason is that it sends the message to others that barefooters must be a bunch of new age kooks, not people who have made an informed intelligent choice based on actual facts and accepted knowledge.

  4. kristi says:

    All I know is this: when I moved from WI to CA, my “barefoot ways” suddenly came to an end when I rec’d blisters (perhaps 2nd degree burns) from walking barefoot in mid-summer on the pavement of Concord, CA . I quickly learned to wear sandals or flip-flops! Feet from upper Midwest are simply not adapted to such burning heat! Freedom from Disease, etc. notwithstanding (unless of course the flesh wounds stemming from asphalt burns stave off disease). I anticipate the rebuttal will be that we are not “meant” to walk on stuff of our own making. My response to that is “whaaaat?”

    • Kriss says:

      “I anticipate the rebuttal will be that we are not ‘meant’ to walk on stuff of our own making.”

      No such rebuttal, Kristi. Serious barefooters don’t go in for that kind of nonsense either. Sure, pavement can get hot in the summer, especially asphalt. There are ways to deal with it, anywhere from staying in the shade of parked cars, to walking on the painted lines, to temporarily putting on flip-flops or something similar. I’ve done all those things. Luckily, for most of us, hot pavement is only a temporary inconvenience, as we go from one place to another.

  5. Matthew Medina says:

    As the president of the Barefoot Alliance, and a barefooter for over 20 years, I would like to thank the author for poking at the “scientific” concepts behind “earthing”. There are plenty of good reasons to go barefoot which require no metaphysics, and the risks most people would associate with going barefoot are, at least for urban or suburban areas in the developed world, grossly overblown. As a skeptic myself, one of the most frustrating aspects of living barefoot many of us have to overcome is the widely accepted belief that shoes protect us from a highly dangerous environment.

    The first thing you learn to do when you live barefoot is train yourself to look down more – and although this does make you aware of things that you would rather not step in/on, it also makes it obvious just how much less glass/needles/spit/poo etc. there is than many believe. What risks there are, for most of us who’ve chosen to be barefoot in our daily life, are outweighed by other mental, physiological and emotional benefits derived from keeping our feet free, in both senses of the word.

    I always like to tell people that if I’m making money advocating for people to go barefoot more, then I’m doing something wrong. :-)

    • MBDK says:

      “What risks there are, for most of us who’ve chosen to be barefoot in our daily life, are outweighed by other mental, physiological and emotional benefits derived from keeping our feet free”

      Or alternatively, going barefoot allays your psychological fear that you aren’t doing enough to be one with nature, which then provides said benefits. Now, I am just kidding (slightly), but if you feel going (and remaining) barefoot is important to maintain your well-being, then I do think you need more than personal testimony to convince me, as your rhetoric is much the same as the “grounders’ “. But then again, what does it matter what I think, to you?

  6. Simon Mundy says:

    Could we think of this as the sole problem? Please? :-)

  7. Martin says:

    “There’s one born every minute”. I wonder, do these “grounding” products come with a money-back guarantee? But I do know this: when I walk barefoot, I do feel better. Getting relaxed and feeling at home invariably requires throwing off ones shoes, and it’s what I’ll bet everyone does almost immediately upon coming home from a hard day’s work. Maybe they are on to something. But as for curing all these diseases… gimme a break. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The most one can expect from going shoeless is a feeling of relaxation and that can’t be bad. But that’s all there is to it… until someone actually proves otherwise.

    • Martin says:

      Just had a great idea! I know that I am generally very relaxed the moment I strip naked. I assume this to be true for most people. Try it! See if I’m right. Am I right?? Yeah! Ok, now just send me “only $29.95” for the idea. Its my idea so don’t argue. Shouldn’t I be paid for my ideas? I mean, this can be big business. And look at all the risk I took. $29.95 is very reasonable to feel better, don’t you agree? My new business: Get Naked Now, Inc. (GNN) and I am now offering franchise opportunities.

      “I got Naked Now and it cured my hemorrhoids. It’s a miracle!” – Mrs. E. Edwards, Kansas City, MO

      Get in on the ground floor right now. What are you waiting for?

      Business is taking off! And it’s barely started.

  8. Bruce Stafford, DO says:

    I heard a famous American once say “stupid is a stupid does.” I think his name was Forrest Gump. Earth shoes would be great in a thunderstorm. Would connect us with all those free electrons floating around just looking for a place to make it to ground.
    Damn, I love this game called the human condition and I dearly love Dr. Hall’s column in Skeptic mag. Keep it up Harriet. Some of us really are skeptics.
    Oh bye the way my theory of everything is that we begin to die as soon as the umbilicus gets cut. What we need is to all be issued a portable placenta.
    Hugh? Take that theory and run with it.

  9. Anthony Humphrey says:

    Spittle laden sidewalk : yes. I said there are hazards. Dogs using pavements as a toilet is becoming increasingly socially unacceptable. Barefoot in snow is not good (tried it as a teenager!) But feet are waterproof and can be washed!

  10. Kriss says:

    I completely agree with Anthony Humphrey’s comment (#24).

    As a full-time 24/7 barefooter for the last 14 years, I can tell you that being barefoot feels good because it is natural and healthy, and helps prevent all of the various maladies directly caused by a lifetime of shoe wearing. These benefits have nothing to do with electrons flowing back and forth or any of that other “earthing/grounding” nonsense.

  11. Ken Chapman says:

    Walking barefoot on spittle laden sidewalks sounds a little gross.

  12. Fred Cunningham says:

    Maybe for this to work, one has to be 6 feet under. I have not encountered a stupid idea that will be at least believed by at least somebody.

  13. Simon says:

    How will the poor folks up there on the ISS manage?

  14. Don says:

    Ober thinks he invented this? I remember neo-hippy chicks kicking off their Birkenstocks, walking in the grass instead of on the sidewalk, and wearing “Shoes hurt the Earth” t-shirts at the university of Kansas back in 1985.

  15. Bill says:

    Well honestly a pair of high heels on the end of a pair of long legs can be pretty fucking dangerous just saying

  16. Daniel A. Gautreau says:

    “Wild animals never get sick.” On which planet?

  17. Anthony Humphrey says:

    Whilst “grounding” is obviously complete twaddle there are benefits to going barefoot. I accept that there are hazards as mentioned in the article (hookworm is not particularly prevelant in the UK). Even I sometimes feel an existential connectedness when I walk barefoot but I put this down to psychology rather than pseudoscience. We have evolved without shoes and their regular use is a recent phenomenon even in the developed world (my own father didn’t have a pair of shoes until he was five years old in pre-war Sunderland).
    The bottom line is though that many disorders of feet that we frequently see in orthopædic clinics (bunions, lesser toe deformities etc) are less common in those communities that habitually don’t wear shoes. (Yes I am a surgeon)

  18. Dr. Sidethink Hp.D says:

    Grounding is the best idea that has ever been invented to
    control the Mental Dizzease of PopFad Pseudoscience !!!

    The one requirement that it needs is that the
    Practicer of this wonderful idea must NOT get ungrounded for ten years.

    Sink Transit..

    DR. Latero Sidethink Hp.D

  19. Justin Case says:

    You people who are blaspheming Slowdona don’t know what you are talking about. There is SOOOO MUUUUUCH there that is so much farther out than this, this is quite pale in comparison. We in Flagstaff don’t call them ‘Sedonuts’ for nothing. But a testimonial – after buying and trying their grounding techniques, it dawned on me how stupid this is – so see? It WORKS!

  20. Parsimonious says:

    In order to test the process of grounding, I stepped into the woods to take a wee. I instantly felt relief as the earths free electrons were able to move up stream and into my anatomy. Relief. Unfortunately, I was distracted by a bee and turned, finding a metal wire full of excess electrons which all joined the stream at the same time. Apparently, Too much of a good thing as the wire was part of an electric fence.

  21. SuzyR says:

    Who among us does not secretly wish for a magic pill or potion or product that would cure whatever ails us? That’s the part of us that pseudoscience can all too easily hook into, especially if we have illnesses for which traditional medical treatments don’t provide the cure or relief we want. And so we turn to the witch doctors barking their promises at the edge of reason.

  22. Kristin from Norway says:

    And here was I thinking that my super elegant high heels – crimson patent leather, if you please – hurt my feet because they are designed for a kind of foot no human has ever had in the whole history of mankind!
    Oh, and what are free electrons? Are they electrons that have slipped the leash? And if we evolved to go barefoot, how come we now need all these products to earth or ground or whatever?
    Was Elvis in fact relating a subtly concealed message about all this when he sang “Blue Suede Shoes”?
    So difficult to interpret all this when one is scientifically uneducated (sigh)!

  23. Bad Boy Scientist says:

    I am so happy to see articles like these published by the Skeptic. There are always new crackpot ideas that need to be analyzed and evaluated and skeptics should be keeping up with them. More importantly, these products will be marketed to people who may not know enough science to make an informed decision, so circulating articles like these is a public good.

    BTW: I have long felt that we skeptics need to apply skepticism to other places that people should make informed decisions – and foster skepticism in less ‘woo’ topics. ( Do I buy that extended warranty or not? Should I buy organic? WTF is organic? What is the best way to lose weight? ) The primary reason for doing this is to demonstrate that the principle of applying evidence-based reasoning to significant life decisions is wise. Face it: skepticism has a bad rap – for too long we’ve looked like the kill joy who spoils movies or magic acts. But we’re just trying to make good decisions based on limited evidence… and everyone must do that.

    They don’t call it skepticism when consumer advocacy groups evaluate the efficacy of consumer products. We’re doing the same thing as they are but they avoid the negative image.

    • Dr. Sidethink Hp.D says:

      “A skeptic is a killjoy who hates fun ideas .
      Truth is whatever my sense tells me it is.
      There are no good or bad skeptics, only grouches, Killjoys
      and morons”

      Dr. Snortimer Merde
      Dept of Hipology
      Sedony College of Mystic Knowledge.

  24. SuzyR says:

    I just perused their nice-looking website ( My-oh-my. Their “Earthing Starter Kit” has a pad of sorts plus a scary-looking metal rod. And lots of other products, too, all artfully designed, and convincingly presented, in what appears to be a quite successful attempt to separate you from your money, judging by all of those favorable reviews.

  25. SuzyR says:

    My feet are now terrified that I might abandon my shoes.

  26. Lorna Salzman says:

    Here’s more earthly things to connect with: tetanus and chiggers and poison ivy. And shoes cramp your soccer

  27. Alex says:

    These funny claims from “grounding specialists” made me laugh.
    I’d like to add that from physics point of view metals have more free electrons than earth due to better conductivity. Therefore, we need to walk on iron. LOL.
    Thank you, Dr. Harriet, for providing rational reasons to reject pseudoscience. “Grounding” alone can not heal all diseases, it can heal non.

  28. SuzyR says:

    Oh, WOW, DanVignau’s idea for a metal tail is fantastic! Perhaps there’s a way to make it prehensile in addition to it being a shiny grounding object. I can’t wait to wear one!

  29. BillG says:

    Wait, why the need for purchasing any of their “specially designed products?
    Free electrons my arse! ;)

  30. Pete Simmons says:

    I am looking for an MD that will sign on to my campaign against “airing,” the clinically proven medical fact that regular hats cause inflammation and disease. I have engineered a metallic cap that rectifies this problem, since air on the head causes people to become airheads. I sell the device for a mere $1,000 per cap, which will cure every disease known to mankind, erase obesity, and make the wearer sexually indefatigable. As a side effect, it will increase your IQ by 50 points, making you too smart to fall for con games. How do I reach Dr. Sinatra?

  31. John L says:

    95% marketing, 5% reality. We evolved from the earth, shoeless, deeply connected to the soil. Going shoeless is a response to our essential unity with the planet and all creation, which may have deep and intangible benefits for the psyche and soul. While the “science” of going barefoot may be pure huxterism, the psychic and tangible benefits of experiencing a deeper unity with nature is as obvious as eating healthy food, or exercising, or loving one’s neighbor.

    The good doctor who penned this article scoffs at the idea of a natural intelligence the permeates the universe. And yet the physician is unable to explain what intelligence IS and why it evolved in a seemingly entropic universe. As for the networked intelligence of nature, I suggest the retired MD take a deep dive into the world of mycology and mycelia, and discover the profound parallels to neural networks and the embedded intelligence therein — most of which we are just now beginning to notice.

    • bruce says:

      I’m sorry, John L, I guess I missed the part where the author’s attempt to define intelligence led to your conclusion that she is unable to do so. And I also missed the part where she differs with you on theology and life origins. Not to mention your speculations on neural networks and things we’re “just now beginning to notice”. Apparently that justifies all kinds of wild assertions.
      “the psychic and tangible benefits of experiencing a deeper unity with nature”.
      Perhaps you would care to define that.

      • Dr. Sidethink Hp.D says:

        Deeper Unity with Nature

        Six Foot Deep as the family weep.

        Dr. S

    • Ken Farnsworth says:

      “And yet the physician is unable to explain what intelligence IS and why it evolved in a seemingly entropic universe.” How do you know she is unable to do so? I didn’t notice it even coming up. Make up something about her inability to explain, then criticize it. Very thoughtful. I call strawman argument here.
      I’m guessing you can’t do it either. And networks of cells having emergent behavior? That’s not new at all. Our own behavior is a result of this. I don’t think we get our intelligence from slime mold. At least that’s not where mine came from. The intelligence is a result of the network, not a result of “the universe” zapping us with a magic intelligence ray.

    • Philip Henderson says:

      Essential unity? leaves out risk assessment..

  32. Steve says:

    Now, while I think an argument could be made that our feet evolved to be more comfortable while barefoot in particular circumstances (maybe sand?), I think this crap is just that: crap.

    This reminds me of a fellow I knew who tied electrical wires to this faucet to “ground” himself if he held onto the end of the wires. He was so enthusiastically positive about it I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there was no electrical difference between holding wires that are attached to a faucet and touching the faucet itself directly.

    • Steven Sashen says:

      Steve, I agree with your evolutionary hypothesis. After all, the soles of our feet have a high density and quantity of sensory receptors, and our feet contain almost 1/4 of all the bones of our body. It would seem, therefore, that feeling/moving in certain manners and environments would “feel good” (that is, we evolved to like those situations)… and whatever neurochemical event makes us feel good could have other benefits (stress relief?).

      This line of reasoning is, obviously, much simpler than the “free electrons > feet > neutralize free radicals > end inflammation > TA DA!” theory

  33. DanVignau says:

    Wow! I had no idea my shoes were so dangerous. I am going to have to sacrifice some of my aluminum foil hat to ground my steel toed boots.
    I guess we could also get a metal tail, akin to the overhead trolley electrical pickup, and let it drag behind us as we walk.

    • Philip Henderson says:

      I have a metal tail…… It is very useful in getting my outpatient appointments brought forward.

  34. J. Gravelle says:

    …loathsome loafers, evil Espadrilles, terrible tennies…

    (This is seriously going to cut into my morning. Thanks a lot.)

    …contemptuous cleats, bloody bowlers, wailful waders…

  35. Steven Sashen says:

    As the CEO of, I received a call from “an investor” who offered me $2,000,000 to develop electrically conductive soles for our minimalist sandals.

    I said, “I’ll make them under two conditions. First, I won’t advertise them as ‘grounding’ shoes or claim that they offer any benefits. And, second, I’ll only sell them if we do a test where I put a ‘grounding’ sandal on one of your feet and a regular sandal on the other… and you can tell me which is which with statistically significant correct responses.”

    There was a long pause and the “investor” says, “Wow, I didn’t think you were going to be such an a**hole.”

    Needless to say, the project never made it off the ground(ed).

    • Kris Herrick says:

      Well hello, I’m wearing your shoes right now! Thanks for the fun and comfy DIY project for my feet and for also not buying into the crap. I’m even more glad I bought them knowing you’re a skeptic too!

  36. James Lee, MD PhD says:

    I laughed so hard when I first heard about the “earthing” crapola last October that I fell off my chair, seriously injuring my left shoulder as a result. Now we have this useful review article from Dr. Hall and I say Congratulations To Her for putting this out. My shoulder felt instantly better after reading her article–and I was wearing shoes while reading it too.

    Of course, all the pure hoakum from Sinatra et al regarding earthing and bare feet is just more woo, and not even very interesting woo at that.

    I am curious (in a sad way) as to why anybody with a legitimate M.D. degree would allow his/her name to be associated with such stuff as the earthing game.

    • Tim says:

      That would be an understandable curiosity if one were operating under the assumption that if an MD degree is conferred, then so is a penchant toward critical thought….An assumption I’m not particularly comfortable making… A certain body of knowledge would be a reasonable assumption, but NOT a investigative pattern of thought.

  37. Mike Brogan says:

    As a great man “Albert Einstein” once said “only two things are infinite,the Universe and Human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the Universe”

    • Russell Willmoth says:

      Albert Einstein was a real person, and therefore doesn’t require quotation marks ;-)

  38. smith says:

    Douglas Adams got there first about 36 years ago…

    • Lance says:

      No, an earlier example is from the BBC radio series The Goon Show , episode “Lurgi Strikes Britain”, where two doctors convince the hero of a new disease. They tell the hero that none of the victims play in a brass band and he gets the government to spend millions buying instruments to ward off the disease, only to discover the original doctors own a brass instrument factory. It’s fantastic but now it’s happening in real life. Some people deserve to be swindled.

  39. Gary says:

    It’d be just as logical to make clothes the villain and promote nudism as the cure.

  40. Ronald Potter says:

    SkepDoc has done it again. Succinctly illuminating this dark corner of pseudoscience. Thank you once again for your work Dr. Hall. There is just one place where a wise person might rather be grounded, and that is when moving flammable products from place to place, as in gassing up your car. And then there are the times when you want to be doubly sure you are not grounded, around live wires comes to mind. Do you suppose the merry band of hucksters at Earth L. Inc. have ever persuaded an electrician to work barefoot on their office wiring.

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