Grounding: An Engineer's Perspective

You are an Earthling; Stop fighting the Earth!

In the world of Electrical Engineering, the practice of grounding is common and pervasive.  Proper grounding of industrial equipment is required for safety and proper function.

Engineers are also familiar with grounding the human body when working with sensitive electrical equipment.  Ungrounded, our bodies build up charge and high voltages can accumulate on the skin which can arc and damage electronics.  In this environment, the use of grounding wristbands, shoe straps and work mats is common.

The idea that an ungrounded body might malfunction was first postulated by Clint Ober in 1998.  Since then, many peer-reviewed published studies have demonstrated the physiological changes that occur when the body is ungrounded.  Some of these changes appear to be negative which leads to the conclusion that being ungrounded is a public safety issue.

As a Professional Engineer, I took an oath to be vigilant for potential safety threats in the environment and to report them as a matter of duty.  I find myself in this situation with the knowledge and understanding of the science being archived at the Earthing Institute in California, USA, on grounding the human body.  

The electrical environment, in which we live, is more than just the electronics and power equipment that we have developed over the last 120 years.  The Earth itself is electrical.  Electrical engineers learn early on Maxwell's equations which establish the link between electricity and magnetism.  The fact that the Earth has a North and South magnetic pole is proof of the electrical nature of the Earth.  The polar aurora, lightning and sprites are further evidence of our electrical environment and the Earth's electromagnetic field.

Our bodies also have an electromagnetic field that can be measured.  Our cardiovascular and neurological systems are electrical.

Electrical Engineers also learn how electromagnetic fields interact with each other, and how that interaction depends on physical contact or distance between fields.  Two touching magnets behave dramatically differently than two disconnected magnets no matter how close they are to each other.

This is the crucial part of grounding to understand.  When we break the electrical connection between our bodies and the Earth, our electrical environment is dramatically altered and our electromagnetic fields are now in conflict with the Earth's field, instead of enveloped by it.  This is a hazardous environment to live in which can be remediated by making direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth or via a conductive tether.

Always sleep grounded,


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