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From the Townsend Letter
November 2018

Rx: Earth – The Original Painkiller!
Exploiting the Planet's Natural Anti-Inflammatory Power for Pain Relief
by James L. Oschman,* PhD, Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, Gaétan Chevalier, PhD, and Martin Zucker
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In all things of Nature there is something of the marvelous.
– Aristotle, almost 2500 years ago

There are so many people in the severe pain category that something has to be done…If people are in the most severe category of pain, whatever treatment they are getting may be inadequate.
– National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health epidemiologist
Richard Nahin 1

Life is too rapid and subtle to be explained by slow moving chemical reactions and nerve impulses.
Nobel Prize Laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi 2

You likely encounter chronic pain routinely in your clinical practice. You are not alone. Chronic pain is a global epidemic, affecting perhaps as many as 20 percent of adults.3 In 2011, the Institute of Medicine estimated that pain affects about one-third of the US population − more than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined, at a cost of well over half-a-trillion dollars in treatments and lost productivity.4
How can so much pain be possible in this age of medical miracles? Why is relief so elusive and frustrating, often requiring patients to consult multiple practitioners?
Conventional treatments typically feature painkilling drugs that create many side effects. Some of the most effective drugs, such as the opioids, are extremely addictive. They are synthesized from morphine, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and its analogues are becoming a big part of the problem. Together, these substances have created a serious spike in drug-related deaths: a record 42,000 in the US in 2016, 40% of which involved a prescription opioid. So bad is the situation that the US Government declared a health emergency in 2017.5

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The problem is on the rise elsewhere throughout the world as well.6
Dealing with pain on a daily basis can drive some people into depression, and even suicide.7 Many medication users lack awareness of the risks. They can't protect themselves.
Health officials are demanding safer options beyond increasing awareness and regulation of prescription practices. What about finding better and safer ways of treating pain?
The world is crying in pain. The world has a solution. The planet itself. Nature's original painkiller.

The Healing Earth
As strange as it may sound, the planet we live on packs potent painkilling power. It's a natural analgesic. Research is starting to reveal its amazing healing properties.
BDNF EssentialsHere's the background: The Earth is endowed with what you might call "electric nutrition," a virtually limitless supply of mobile antioxidant electrons that gives the ground we walk on (as well as our lakes and oceans) a natural negative electric charge.8 This negative charge, according to extensive geophysical and atmospheric research,9,10 is maintained (that is, the electron supply replenished) by a so-called global atmospheric electrical circuit involving solar radiation and lightning strikes.
This phenomenon nourishes all living beings – humans, animals, and plants. The new research indicates that direct contact with the Earth restores and stabilizes the bioelectrical circuitry that governs our physiology and organs. It recharges our blood, thins it,11 and powerfully and quickly knocks down inflammation and pain. It enhances immune function. The degree to which this resource nourishes, protects, and heals appears to be quite substantial, and of great medical significance.
The Earth is an electric and magnetic planet, and we are bioelectrical and bioelectronic beings living on an electric and magnetic planet. To date, biomedical research on the electrical and electronic aspects of the human body has focused narrowly on the diagnostic applications of the electrocardiogram, electroencephalogram, electromyogram, and electroretinogram. Biophysicists have gone further in the study of these biofields, but their applications have made little impact on a medical system dominated by biochemical and pharmacological models.

We Live on the Earth but We Have Abandoned Its Healing Powers
Nature seems to have designed living things to have routine contact with the planet, a vital but vastly overlooked symbiotic relationship. A relationship, we believe, essential to health and life. We further believe that the abandonment of this relationship in much of the modern world has led to a deficiency disorder perhaps more consequential than scurvy, rickets, goiter, and other well-recognized deficiency diseases. These disorders have long been understood and have little significance in modern times. In contrast, what we call "electron deficiency" is widespread, and largely unrecognized by modern medicine.
Throughout history, indigenous peoples have been connected to the "electric nutrition" in the ground. They honored their connectedness, describing the energy of the Earth in different ways. Native Americans utilized "Earth Mother's" healing powers in various ways as part of "good medicine" practices. And Earth Qi is one of the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water) in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Western medical science has shown scant interest.
Earlier generations and cultures went barefoot routinely, often slept on conductive animal hides, and used leather footwear (from hides), allowing them to draw the Earth's healing force into their bodies. In the late 1800s, a Back-to-Nature movement in Germany featured walking barefoot and even sleeping on the ground. Great healing stories were reported.12 The naturopathic profession grew out of this German movement, but the barefoot and ground contact-for-health idea never really caught on as a therapeutic concept.
Modern lifestyle has disconnected most of us from many aspects of Nature, including our planet's healing energy and the sun's essential light. Except for when we are kids or on holidays as adults at a lake or ocean, we rarely venture out barefoot to make skin contact with the "skin of the Earth." As a result, we are missing something of profound importance.
Today, we wear insulating rubber- or plastic-soled shoes. We no longer sleep on the ground or use bedding made from animal hides. We sleep in elevated beds. Many of us live and/or work in high rises far above ground level.
We are typically and increasingly disconnected, a separation from the Earth that the emerging research13 suggests may be a totally overlooked cause of abnormal physiology, contributing to pain, inflammation, fatigue, stress, poor sleep, autoimmune disorders, and a wide range of other costly and debilitating conditions. By reconnecting to the Earth's energy, many common symptoms and their causes are reduced and sometimes even eliminated, inflammation and pain among them.
Such welcome benefits result from routinely walking/sitting barefoot outdoors or while indoors sleeping or sitting in contact with conductive mats, sheets, body bands, and patches. Such conductive products are connected by a wire to the Earth, either through the ground port of a properly grounded wall outlet or a ground rod placed in the soil outside.
Barefooting or using conductive products indoors for health purposes has been called Earthing or grounding. You may have heard the terms. Grounding research started more than 15 years ago, independently in the US and Poland. Two dozen small studies to date have consistently shown that grounding brings the body toward physiological and biochemical balance. The latest one, submitted recently for publication, shows that grounding appears to be an effective blood pressure reducing therapy. Much more research is obviously needed, and on a larger scale.

The Original Anti-inflammatory
One major finding is that the Earth packs a potent anti-inflammatory punch. This is a highly important finding. Inflammation has become recognized as a primary trigger and player in chronic pain and most major health disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's, cancer, autoimmune conditions, and all of the so-called "diseases of aging."
Bodies are inflamed – on fire.
The grounding research and the enthusiastic reports from people who use Earthing suggest that the Earth's energy extinguishes the flames. The process likely involves transference of free electrons from the Earth into the body, where the electrons neutralize destructive free radicals stoking chronic inflammation.
Free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), are unstable molecules produced by the immune system. They are secreted by neutrophils and other white blood cells at a site of injury in a process called the inflammatory burst. These molecules destroy and dismantle pathogens and damaged tissue by stripping away electrons, an essential process in wound healing that clears the repair field so that regenerative cells can move in and restore cell and tissue integrity. Free radicals are "electron hungry." In chronic inflammation, they can run amok, create a chain reaction, and damage healthy molecules and DNA in healthy tissues adjacent to the repair field. A "vicious cycle" of oxidative damage occurs, via secondary oxidative bursts, and overwhelms the body's antioxidant defenses. The ROS tear electrons from healthy tissues and cells, and cause damage that can ultimately lead to chronic disease. We believe this is a plausible explanation of how an acute injury can evolve into a painful and extensive situation.14
The Earthing hypothesis holds that grounding allows a rapid influx of mobile electrons into the body that essentially puts a brake on inflammation and keeps free radicals from leaking away from sites where they are needed. If the body were grounded most hours of the day, the research suggests, little or no inflammation could be present.
Certain foods are recognized to have anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties. The Earth clearly has such power, but infinitely larger. There is no comparison. Dietary antioxidant molecules must traverse various barriers to reach places where they are needed to neutralize free radicals and moderate pain and inflammation. The molecules must be absorbed from the digestive tract before their antioxidant activity is destroyed by digestive enzymes. They must then be carried through the blood, cross blood vessel walls, diffuse through extracellular fluids, and cross cell membranes. The inefficiency of this process is documented by the slowness of inflammation control using dietary or pharmacological antioxidants. In contrast, electrons from the Earth are semi-conducted throughout the fabric of the body virtually instantaneously. Pain relief occurs rapidly, even for old injuries that have caused pain for many years.

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