Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The condition was first reported in the United States in 1975 and has now been documented in many other parts of the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in 2013 that some 300,000Americans are diagnosed annually. Lyme disease is usually treatable soon after an infectious bite with at least a month of antibiotics. However, it can become chronic when under treated or untreated. Early symptoms can include a bull’s eye rash, flu-like symptoms, and joint pain. Later symptoms can become disabling and include neurological manifestations like facial palsy, loss of cognitive abilities, sleep disturbances, and heart abnormalities.

Alix Mayer is the co-founder of, a collaborative Lyme lifestyle blog: “Earthing is profoundly healing for Lyme, as I and many others have discovered. I first grounded myself in 2010, while attending an out-of-town health conference. I felt a sense of calm immediately after placing an Earthing band around the ball of my foot. I sleep faster and slept a bit better than normal for someone with normally raging insomnia. Imagine doing that in a hotel room! Moreover, my permanent headache a problem for sixteen years-abated significantly at

the conference.

“When I returned home, I continued using the band. My sleep improved, and after a few weeks I felt brave enough to stop cold turkey my prescription sleep medication. I had no trouble sleeping through the night and for sure didn’t miss the medication or the awful hangovers’ it gave me. I’m not recommending this to anyone on sleep meds, just telling my experience. I also dumped sleep supplements except melatonin because my body makes less than normal melatonin.

“I began sleeping like a baby with deliciously long nights, sometimes for twelve hours. How welcome this was after many episodes of all night insomnia during the previous eight years.

I then decided to get a recovery bag, one of the grounded sheets, thinking that ‘more is better.’ It turned out to be too much exposure in my case.The first night, I couldn’t get to sleep. The next day I had my trademark post-insomnia symptoms that render me nonfunctional: dizziness, a feeling of being drunk,’and terrible pain in my head and body. My guess was that Earthing had caused a setback of insomnia due to amplified Herx heimer and/or detoxification reactions.

“Individuals undergoing Lyme treatment sometimes experience Herx heimer reactions, an odd phenomenon where one feels worse because bacterial die-off produces an inflammatory event. Some people associate fatigue, nausea, and fever with “herxing.’ Such reactions can also cause previous symptoms to temporarily reappear.

“Earthing may also increase the body’s ability to detoxify–the actual cleaning out through our organs of dead bacterial debris, such as Lyme spirochetes, and their resultant endotoxins. We can have detoxification reactions when the liver, kidneys, lymphatics, colon, or skin become overloaded and unable to manage the demands placed on them. Long term Lyme patients have notoriously impaired detoxification. It’s possible that Earthing increases the capacity of one or more of these systems to eliminate toxins, but the body may retain bottlenecks in other organs that then get overloaded. There are many detox symptoms, including fatigue,joint or muscle pain, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, irritability, and headaches.

“Despite my setback, I still strongly believed that Earthing was good for me, so I decided to use the band again around my foot, which had generated wonderful benefits without discomfort. I took the recovery bag off my bed for a while. The strategy worked. I did pretty well with sleep and was gradually able to build back up to Earthing my entire body with the sheet, without an uptick in insomnia.

“Undoubtedly, my reaction was a Lyme-specific reaction: too much Earthing, too quickly. This experience is actually quite common among Lyme patients. It doesn’t mean that Earthing’s benefits–like pain reduction and better sleep–will not occur. It just means we need to go slower with Earthing. Gradually build up the duration and amount of the body that is Earthed, so we don’t get slammed with a Herx heimer or detox reaction.

“Lee Cowden,M.D., a well-known integrative physician and natural Lyme practitioner, directs Lyme patients to start Earthing for fifteen to thirty minutes a day, building up to three hours while awake. Once you can Earth for three hours in the day, he says you can then try sleeping grounded overnight.

“Due to oftentimes quick provocation of reactions, some of my friends with Lyme have started very, very slowly, only touching the metallic con-tact on a grounded band for five or ten minutes per day. Some got a reaction, sometimes described as nausea, sometimes described as detoxing too quickly,’even at this very minimal level. Some, like me, reacted quite positively at first. Many reported that once they weathered the temporary roughness, they experienced less pain and fewer headaches, better sleep,clearer thinking, a more alkaline body, and even improved excretion of heavy metals. Others never endured a negative reaction at all and enjoyed the benefits. Still others report no apparent symptom benefits. We don’t know yet how many Lyme patients fall in each group.

“Because grounding causes Herx heimer and detox reactions in Lyme patients, it must be inherently healing. It’s hard to imagine that touching Mother Earth could cause ill health. What fascinates me, and, are the reasons why the Earth may help Lyme patients heal.

“Some possibilities include the ability to thin the blood, which may allow the antibiotics used to treat Lyme to penetrate more deeply into tissue and access spirochetes. Thinner blood may also contribute to better detox function. Increased blood oxygenation from Earthing might be detrimental to circulating spirochetes, causing more die-off than normal Earthing may also disrupt spirochetes from forming cysts, a theoretical Lyme-defense mechanism.

“Even without Lyme-specific research, we can begin to create an Earthing strategy. My personal strategy is to sleep and work at my desk grounded. I also try to walk barefoot on the beach and wear conductive flip-flops outside.

“I’m happy that after more than three years of herbal Lyme treatment and after a sharp and unmistakable reduction of symptoms starting with daily Earthing in 2010, I was able to stop treating my Lyme in spring2012! I’ve had a substantial recovery. Severe headaches and brain fog are largely a thing of the past. My joint pain is much reduced. I feel calmer and ready to sleep as soon as I connect to the Earth for the night. Sleep is still a demon I fight each night, but it is more good than bad, and my baseline is much improved.”

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