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How Grounded is Your Ice Bath?

Updated: 4 days ago

Morozko tubs are grounded for better blood flow

Toes emerge from the ice bath.
Immersion in your Forge provides over twenty times more grounding (earthing) current than bare feet in the grass.

Summary

  • Grounding (earthing) is an electrical connection between your body and the earth that will discharge any static electrical imbalances in your body.

  • Plastic shoes, plastic carpets, & plastic car seats insulate our bodies from the Earth, causing a build-up of electrical charge in our bloodstream.

  • Electrical imbalance causes dysfunctional coagulation of blood cells, increasing risk of blood clots and stroke, and makes the heart work harder.

  • All Morozko cold tubs are 3rd-party verified to be electrically grounded for your safety, and to provide an increased health benefits of grounding. Acrylic, plastic, and fiberglass tubs do not.

Cold water grounding provides effective electron flow


Measuring electron flow

In Ice Bath Grounding Therapy I described the test results that demonstrated the electrical grounding properties of the ice bath. For example, standing barefoot in the grass, Brian Hoyer of Shielded Healing measured 0.53 microamps of direct current (DC) flowing thru his body into the earth. However, with only one hand submerged in the Forge, Hoyer's DC measurement jumped up to 30 microamps.


Ben Greenfield was referring to Hoyer's measurements when he said he gets "20 times the grounding (earthing) from his Morozko Forge than he does standing barefoot in the grass."


And that might be why, when Dr. Chris Shade asked for "easy, long-term biohacks," Ben Greenfield answered:

That's easy. It's all electron flow! - Ben Greenfield

Your electrical problem

Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon make for cheap, durable clothing, shoes, and carpets. They also disconnect us from the Earth. Because these materials are such good insulators, they allow static charges to accumulate in our body and change the electrical properties of our cells.


Have you ever stopped for gas, stepped outside your car, and received a static electric shock when you touched your metal car door?


This happens to me all the time on the hot, dry roadways here in Phoenix, where my synthetic rubber tires electrically insulate my car from the pavement.


It's so frequent, that I recently noticed I've developed the habit of discharging the static electricity through my elbow, before I touch anything with my more sensitive fingertips.

And that habit might be a good thing for avoiding stray sparks that could set off a gasoline vapor fire. According to a representations of the Petroleum Equipment Institute quoted in this Mythbusters segment, drivers who fail to ground themselves before pumping their gas can set off a catastrophic auto fire -- not because of their cell phones, but because their cars and shoes are insulated from the Earth, and they carry stray electrical charges in their bodies.


The gas station spark phenomenon, while it rarely results in a fire, illustrates the extent to which our bodies can become out of electrical balance during ordinary, routine activities we perform several times a day. That static charge in our body can wreak havoc with our nervous system, and result in excess inflammation, pain, and poor sleep.


What's more, the stray electrical charges we build up throughout the day alter the electrochemistry of our blood stream -- for the worse.


Electrical grounding releases those static charges that can build up in the body. It improves blood flow, speeds wound healing, balances cortisol, reduces inflammation & relieves pain (Oschman et al 2015).


How to maintain electrical balance with grounding therapy?

While some biohackers advocate for sleeping overnight on grounding mats, or walking in grounding shoes, at the current levels Hoyer measured in the Morozko, rebalancing body electrical balance happens instantaneously.


The best way to get grounded is in the ocean, where just dipping your toes in the waves on the beach will provide a mood boost, inflammation reduction, improve circulation, and reduce risk of blood clots. Next best would be a natural body of water like a river, lake, or mountain stream.


Third best in a quick plunge in a Morozko. Cyrotherapy chambers, cold plunge tubs made of fiberglass, acrylic, or plastic, and cold showers are not grounded, because the water inside those tubs is insulated by the plastic. Only a metal tub can ground water.


Grounding benefits

The benefits of electrical grounding therapy include better sleep (Oschman 2007), reduced muscle damage (Brown et al. 2013), and improved heart rate variability (Chevalier et al. 2012). However, one of the biggest benefits of maintaining bodily ground is something that I'd previously overlooked:


Earthing (grounding) the human body reduces blood viscosity—a major factor in cardiovascular disease. - Chevalier et al. 2013

When your body stays grounded, your red blood cells become less sticky, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and thrombosis. The mechanism by which this occurs is called zeta potential (Fernandes et al. 2011), and it's familiar to me from my graduate training in environmental water chemistry.

The forces that bind small particles suspended in water together are always electrical, and red blood cells are no exception. Because each red blood cell is surrounded by an electrical field that either attracts or repels other fields, the electromagnetic properties that govern these attractions are of critical importance to blood clotting. Grounding the body lowers zeta potential, which envelops red bloods cells in a dielectrical field that pushes them a little further apart at a microscopic scale. The result is less friction between the blood cells, better blood flow, and reduced risk of clotting.


An Arizona scientist who publishes on social media with the handle @JessicaGenetics recently performed an experiment that illustrates how grounding affects coagulation and viscosity of blood. After several hours working indoors on the computer, she used a finger prick to collect a blood sample and photographed it at 60x immersion using a Nikon light microscope. Her red blood cells were stuck together in chains and clumps.


She didn't feel sick. That is, when your body is accumulating an electrical charge because you're out of contact with the earth, you don't feel symptoms right away. Most of us are indoors so much that it feels "normal," anyway. But the photographic evidence doesn't lie. Her blood cells were aggregated, which is consistent with increased viscosity, increase risk of blood clotting, and means that her heart has to work harder.


Then she went outside and walked barefoot in the grass for 30 minutes and resampled her blood. The results were astounding, in that her red blood cells were floating freely and independent of one another, with no sign of coagulation -- which is exactly what the science of grounding predicts.


Protocols for Cold Plunge Grounding


How long to ice bath for full grounding benefit?

As far as I know, Jessica has never tried a similar blood sampling experiment before/after using a Morozko. Given Hoyer's calculations that the cold water in the Morozko is more than twenty times as effective as barefoot on the grass, we can estimate that she'd need only 90 seconds in the ice bath to achieve the same results as half an hour on the campus lawn.


Most plungers go for between 2-4 minutes per plunge, which is more than long enough to discharge their static electrical charges, reduce their blood viscosity, and promote better circulation.


How often should you ice bath for grounding?

Jessica has followed up her initial grounding study with more complicated experiments to answer some additional questions, including "how long does it take for the effects of grounding to wear off?"


She found that as little as one hour of working indoors at the computer is enough for her to notice her red blood cells coagulating again.


What that means is that grounding in the ice bath often is probably more important than staying in the ice bath for a long time. That's different from advice you'll read from other cold plunge scientists who are suggesting cold water immersion for metabolic, or even psychological benefits.


When it comes to grounding, fast and frequent works best.

 

About the Author

Thomas P Seager, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University. Seager co-founded the Morozko Forge ice bath company and is an expert in the use of ice baths for building metabolic and psychological resilience.





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scottanderson210
scottanderson210
Apr 03, 2022

How exactly is the Morozoko Ice bath grounded? Is the steel tub grounded and that tranfers through the water? Or what?

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The water is in electrical contact with the metal tub. The tub is in electrical contact with the copper cooling coils underneath. The coils carry electrons to the compressor, which carry them to the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GFCI), which plugs into the 3-prong power cord that is connected to the ground in your home wiring. Both for safety and for health, should anything interrupt that electrical chain to ground, the GFCI cuts power off immediately.

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