From the Chopra Center advertisement

I get periodic emails from the man himself, Dr. DeepaK Chopra. They are almost all advertisements which is fine with me. Everyone gets to make a dollar. This one is for an Inner Space Zero Gravity Grounding chair and   I can have it for only $1,899. That’s $1,600 bucks off the normal price of $3,499. What a deal! Why aren’t I excited?

Mostly because, and I don’t care who you are, a couple thousand dollars is a lot to pay to sit somewhere by yourself. True, I spent much more on my couch, but we can get a whole raft of  people on it and it comes apart into two pieces. And it looks great after ten years of use and four moves.

I’m generally agnostic about grounding or earthing. The claim is that there are lots of free electrons floating around on the earth’s surface and we can grab some of these for free through grounding tools. These free electrons combine with our inner free radicals (a charged molecule that is missing an electron) and wash the whole thing out.  Purveyers claim less pain, less stress, and less fatigue when you are connected to the earth and absorb these electrons. There are enough dubious, unsubstantiated claims about the whole process to fill a state fair.  I see grounding like I see most things from the naturopath: a way to make money from normal junk with an inexpensive attachment of some sort. And how is this chair grounded? Your house is grounded (doesn’t that count?) and what if you put the chair on a wooden, non-conducting, floor? With a carpet per the photo here? Unless you are somehow hooked to the house electrical, you aren’t enjoying the ‘special’ (there is nothing special or unique about it) characteristics of earth’s free electrons.

To be fair, I did find a meta-paper (a project that looks at the result of many papers), funded by the NIH here. However, I remain unimpressed. Most of the papers have ridiculously low ‘n’s’ (research subjects) which makes them suspect.  I also note that Chevalier, the lead author, is employed by the Choprah Center, which is fair. Anyone has the right to chase down what they are interested in.

Deepak himself looking very grounded.

The entire paper reminds me very much of a paper that I did as an undergrad. I submitted a writing topic to my psychology professor on the  neuroscience of odor which I thought was a pretty hip topic. She was a leftover from the hippie days and, instead, suggested that I write on the magic of aroma therapy. Taking the hint and smelling a good grade, I went to the library and picked up a pile of books on aroma therapy. I was surprised to learn that many were highly annotated and included many references, almost like a science book. When I ran down one of the references, I saw that I already had the book that it referred to on the table. And it was referenced: to the referencing book. All of these books referenced each other. As far as I could tell, the authors were all a bunch of true believers – none of the authors was a scientific researcher – so they just referenced each other in an effort to make their books appear academic.

Here’s an interesting read for those so inclined: Earthing: The Silliest Health Scam Ever?

I did learn something from my little bit of research. I learned that ‘zero gravity’ doesn’t mean that you float but that you assume the position of one floating in zero gravity. Think of a body in space. You don’t float upright, like a pen in a desk-top holder, but in a laying down position. In other words, the chair reclines. Here is a much cheaper zero-gravity chair at Amazon if you really want something that will support you laying down. At $35.00 bucks  a piece, I might buy a couple. One for the misses and one for myself to use while we watch the girls play soccer. I need a cup holder for my Starbucks, though. In any case, at least you can explain that, ‘No, I didn’t just buy a new recliner: I bought a zero gravity grounding unit.’ That’s got to go over better with the neighbors!

The advert comes complete with a video of a very serious and good-looking old guy who was introduced to grounding by the Cheyenne Tribe. Of course he was. He talks about how normal shoes are non-conductive. That’s weird because I bet none of these guys would step on a downed power line in a pair of running shoes. I’m pretty sure that they’d be shaking a leg. Or dead.

Here’s my guess: when you spend a couple thousand bucks on a leather and wooden chair, well…it does everything right? Either that or it is a classic made by the Great Dane himself, Hans Wegner

I would love to be proven wrong on this. Do any of the readers have experience with grounding?

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