Depression, a debilitating mental health condition, profoundly affects individuals' mood, energy levels, and overall well-being. Neurotransmitter imbalances and inflammation have been implicated in the development of depression, and alternative approaches like grounding have emerged as potential interventions.
This article will explore the potential benefits of grounding for depression by examining the relationship between stress, neurotransmitters, inflammation, and cortisol levels and how grounding methods can naturally address these factors.
Does Grounding Help with Depression?
Grounding may help with depression by targeting neurotransmitter imbalances, reducing stress-induced cortisol levels, and controlling inflammation. Check the evidence below.
Overall Rating: Moderate
The overall rating is considered moderate due to the promising findings across multiple studies. The diverse perspectives and consistent positive outcomes provide compelling evidence of grounding's potential benefits for depression.
However, limitations in sample sizes, specific populations, and variations in study designs prevent a higher rating. Further research with larger sample sizes, rigorous study designs, and standardized protocols would strengthen the evidence and provide a more conclusive assessment of the effects of grounding on depression.
- Multiple Studies: The inclusion of multiple studies provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between grounding and depression, offering a more robust evidence base.
- Diverse Perspectives: The studies cover various aspects related to depression, including cortisol responses to stressors, inflammation markers, mood improvement, and quality of life.
- Promising Findings: The studies collectively suggest that grounding may have positive effects on depression, such as improved mood, reduced inflammation, and enhanced quality of life.
- Real-Life Application: One of the studies specifically focuses on massage therapists and demonstrates the potential benefits of grounding in a profession known for health-related issues.
- Study Limitations: Some studies may have limitations, such as small sample sizes or specific population groups, which could affect the generalizability of the findings.
- Causation vs. Association: While the studies establish associations between grounding and depression-related factors, causation is not definitively proven. Further research is needed to establish causal relationships.
- Study Design Variations: The studies employ different methodologies, making it challenging to compare their findings directly. Consistency in study design would enhance the strength of the evidence.
Review of Supporting Studies
Several studies support the potential benefits of grounding for depression.
Ongoing stress often causes individuals with depression to experience elevated cortisol levels, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety, distress, and impaired cognitive function (1). Researchers also found a correlation between depression and inflammation (2), observing increased markers like C-reactive protein in people with depression.
Other researchers also conducted a pilot project to evaluate the effects of grounding on mood. They randomly assigned 40 adult participants to either a grounded or sham-grounded group. During a one-hour relaxation session in recliner chairs, the participants either experienced grounding or received simulated grounding. The researchers employed the Brief Mood Introspection Scale, which includes four mood scales, to measure the participants' feelings, emotions, thoughts, and distress.
The results demonstrated that the grounded participants experienced statistically significant improvements in pleasant and positive moods compared to the sham-grounded participants. These findings suggest that contact with the Earth actively enhances mood beyond the effects of relaxation alone (3).
A randomized controlled trial investigated the effects of grounding on massage therapists' quality of life and pain. Sixteen massage therapists participated in a six-week double-blind trial. The therapists were grounded while working on clients and at home while sleeping. The results showed significant improvements in physical function and energy, and reductions in fatigue, depressed mood, and pain.
These findings indicate that grounding benefits massage therapists in domains relevant to their occupation, supporting overall health and quality of life (4).
Incorporating grounding techniques, such as walking barefoot on conductive surfaces or using indoor earthing systems, can provide a safe and accessible method for individuals to explore alongside conventional treatments.
By addressing neurotransmitter imbalances, inflammation, and cortisol dysregulation, grounding may offer natural benefits for improving mood, reducing anxiety, and enhancing overall well-being. The mentioned studies provide initial evidence supporting the positive effects of grounding on mood, feelings, emotions, thoughts, distress, and quality of life.
However, further research is necessary to fully understand the underlying mechanisms and establish grounding as an effective standalone or adjunctive treatment for depression.
Expanding the evidence base through larger-scale and long-term studies will help validate the potential of grounding as a therapeutic approach for depression.
1. Author links open overlay panelHeather M. Burke a, et al. “Depression and Cortisol Responses to Psychological Stress: A Meta-Analysis.” Psychoneuroendocrinology, 14 June 2005, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453005000831.
2. “New Research Shows Depression Linked with Inflammation.” Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/urban-survival/201701/new-research-shows-depression-linked-inflammation. Accessed 4 July 2023.
3. G;, Chevalier. “The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood.” Psychological Reports, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25748085/. Accessed 4 July 2023.
4. Chevalier G;Patel S;Weiss L;Chopra D;Mills PJ; “The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Bodyworkers’ Pain and Overall Quality of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Explore (New York, N.Y.), pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30448083/. Accessed 4 July 2023.
About the Author
Marixie Ann Obsioma is a licensed Medical Technologist who has worked in private and government hospitals, allowing her to engage with patients across a range of diverse medical departments.