Foundations of Energy Medicine: Grounding and Vibrational Living – Part 1

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM


A woman walking barefoot for grounding and vibrational livingYou may have come across the importance of grounding before. You may also have been exposed to vibrational living or the idea that high vibration equals greater health and wellbeing. In this article, we will show you how the components of energy medicine— grounding and vibrational living— go hand in hand, and how to easily raise your vibration with the simple act of grounding yourself daily.

First, let’s lay the groundwork to give you a good understanding of why and how this all works. It all starts with the one essential element that forms the basis of everything: energy.

The fact that everything is made up of energy is something humans have contemplated for millennia, and with the advent of quantum physics, this has now become one of the core beliefs of science. The energy principle has even replaced the more traditional Newtonian model of existence that sees everything, including the body, as a machine composed of moving parts.

Your body is, in fact, just energy. It may appear solid and feel solid, but on the quantum level, it is an amalgamation of different vibrational energies occupying a certain shape and form that inhabits a physical space.

The same goes for everything including the earth as a whole. Each component, whether it is the organs and cells comprising the human body, or elements making up the earth, has a vibrational frequency–its own energetic signature.

From your own experience, you know what it feels like when you’re in a state of high energy. You feel healthier, more alive, capable, optimistic, motivated, and productive. You’re able to be there for others, to be of service, and you feel like you can take on any challenge.

On the other hand, think back to a time when you had very low energy. You probably felt unhealthy, unable to properly perform tasks, bored, tired, unmotivated, and unproductive. You could barely help yourself and therefore it was difficult to be there for others. Perhaps you were suffering from an illness or in a living situation that was really bringing you down.

On a physiological level, low energy has a lot to do with something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Mitochondria inside your cells produce ATP, which accounts for almost 90% of your body’s energy. Some call it the energy currency of life because you can’t live without it and the more you have, the more you are able to live a life to the fullest.

Many things affect ATP levels such as food, an existing chronic condition, exercise, and emotional states, and even the type of shoes you wear. One of the ways you can increase your ATP production is through grounding and vibrational living, as we’ll go to explain in more detail later in this post.

First, let’s talk about what the mitochondria actually are and how you can help them function optimally to stimulate as much ATP production as possible.

Mitochondria–Your Energy Factories

Grounding and vibrational living are good for your mitochondriaMitochondria are special structures, called organelles, found inside all of your eukaryotic cells (animal cells) that contain a nucleus. These mitochondrial structures are surrounded by a membrane, so they are actually separated from the rest of the cell in which they exist. Although your cells contain other membrane-bound structures, also called organelles, mitochondria are different because they have their own DNA.

Mitochondria are responsible for many important functions, including regulating cellular metabolism, the cell cycle, cell growth and death, calcium storage, calcium signaling, signaling through reactive oxygen species (free radicals), hormonal signaling, steroid synthesis, and of course, energy production.

Mitochondria produce metabolic energy by breaking down carbohydrates and fatty acids to create ATP through a process known as oxidative phosphorylation. Optimal functioning of this process is extremely important and cannot be overstated. The ATP produced by mitochondria is needed to fuel all processes of the body. It is what fuels life.

So, if ATP production is hindered in any way, this can trigger or worsen chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive issues, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), dysregulation of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, congestion of the extracellular matrix, liver sluggishness, thyroid issues, and the list goes on.

To make matters more complicated, pre-existing conditions can also cause mitochondrial dysfunction, creating a negative feedback loop that is hard to trace back to its causal factor. Thankfully, using a holistic approach such as grounding and vibrational living, you can tackle various possible causes simultaneously and improve your health on many levels.

The similarities between mitochondrial dysfunction and adrenal fatigue can also become a source of confusion, since they share symptoms like loss of energy and fatigue. However, the link goes further than that. As mentioned already, one of the functions of mitochondria is steroid synthesis, including steroid hormones released by the adrenal glands such as cortisol.

Cortisol is the body’s main anti-stress hormone, responsible for regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels, maintaining the heart and blood vessels, suppressing the immune system after it has done its job, and neutralizing inflammation. The cortisol hormone increases during the early stages of AFS and declines as adrenal glands become too overworked to produce enough in the later stages of AFS.

If there is a problem with your mitochondria and they are unable to produce the enzymes required for steroid synthesis in the adrenals, cortisol production is affected and all of its important functions are compromised. This can either induce or worsen existing AFS symptoms.

The symptoms of AFS include fatigue, weight gain, sleep issues, food and drug sensitivities, hypoglycemia, mild depression, anxiety, heart palpitations, inability to handle stress, brain fog, PMS, infertility, low libido, low energy, food cravings, and many others.

Usually, AFS develops due to chronic stress— either physical or psychological. In more advanced stages, cortisol output drops and the body must downgrade some of its non-vital functions, and may even slow down some of its vital functions to conserve the little energy it has. This, of course, can also affect mitochondrial ATP production.

The positive side of this is that even though these two conditions are serious and do require a lot of care, improving one will improve the other as well. As you will see, grounding and vibrational living can be an excellent tool in the recovery process.

What Is Grounding Or Earthing?

A woman going barefoot for grounding and vibrational livingGrounding, sometimes called earthing, is a simple yet revolutionary change you can make in your life right now and can have a huge impact on your physical health and mental wellbeing. It is basically what it sounds like: being in direct contact with the ground, or with the earth.

You may have heard the age-old European tradition of walking barefoot in the forest or on the grass, especially early in the morning when the ground is covered in fresh dew. Or you may have experienced first hand the healing benefits of going barefoot on your beach holiday, but weren’t sure exactly why it felt so good.

There’s a reason behind all of this and by understanding it you will be much more motivated to use the power of grounding and vibrational living techniques in your own day-to-day life.

The human body is made up of cells that communicate with each other through electrical signaling via the extracellular matrix. This matrix is the non-cellular component found in all tissues and organs of the body and provides a kind of physical scaffolding for cells. It also provides biomechanical and biochemical cues to stimulate tissue morphogenesis, homeostasis, and differentiation. In addition, the extracellular matrix is an essential part of the NEM detoxification response, and keeping it clear and functioning optimally is vital.

The electrical signals that travel through the extracellular matrix are aided by excellent conductivity of the body due to its high water, salt, and mineral content. Since the earth is a natural source of electrons, it is a natural electron donor. So putting your body into direct contact with the earth exposes it to these electrons, and charges it with the same resonance as the earth.

This can actually drive ATP production and help with things like pain reduction, sleep, balancing cortisol levels, heart rate variability (HRV), reducing inflammation, and shifting from the sympathetic to parasympathetic mode in the autonomic nervous system (which calms anxiety, fear, and emotional stress). The electrons that are conducted into your body can also neutralize oxidative stress by counteracting the positive charge of free radicals.

To gain these benefits, you have to make sure you are in contact with conductive surfaces. These include:

  • Grass
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Brick
  • Terracotta
  • Stone or rock
  • Concrete (not painted or coated)

Although it’s best to be in contact with your bare feet, certain types of footwear are also conductive. For example, leather shoes, especially leather soles, are grounding. However, plastic footwear is not grounding. You can also try grounding mats, wristbands, patches, pads, throws, and other grounding products.

Avoid insulators or materials that prevent the flow of electrons between you and the earth. These include:

  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Asphalt
  • Vinyl
  • Sealed surfaces
  • Most synthetic materials

Being exposed to the earth daily by using conductive surfaces or devices and avoiding insulators, you have at your disposal a wonderful way to increase your vibration or to maintain high vibration. That is why grounding and vibrational living go hand in hand.

Grounding And Vibrational Living For The Heart

So now that you know how energy and grounding and vibrational living work, let’s get into some of the specifics on how they are connected. One of these central connections is the heart.

When you really think about it, the heart is basically a pulsation machine… it is a vibration. The heart’s electromagnetic field is also made up of vibrating energy expanding outwards from the body. The bigger and stronger the expansion, the more healthy you are, whereas the more contracted and stagnant the field is, the less healthy you are. This energetic field of the heart permeates into everything around it, which is why you can feel other people’s emotional state.

We also see that in disease, the micro-voltage or pulsation of the heart is lower; in good health, it is up; and in love, it soars. This is why, if you think back to those times in your life when you felt intense love, you had more energy. You could go without a lot of food or sleep and still be highly functioning.

This is one of the reasons why animals are being used as therapies and in hospitals. The love they radiate increases vibration and invigorates the body. However, this is also one of the reasons why the loss of love increases cardiac risk. Heartbreak is not just a poetic term, it actually describes the physical symptoms of hurt emotions.

On a physical level, when you’re in emotional pain, your brain over-stimulates your vagus nerve, which is the nerve that connects your brainstem, neck, chest, and abdomen. This is one reason you feel pain, nausea, and other physical symptoms when you go through a loss or why you can feel heartbroken, a heavy heart, or that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Meditation, along with grounding and vibrational living, is great for your healthImproving cellular vibration can help with emotional wellbeing, health, feeling alive, creativity, inspiration, productivity, and quality of life. It can reduce the effects of aging, which are mainly mitochondrial in nature, as well as decreasing the stagnation and contraction that can lead to pathology. Also, grounding can really help improve vibration.

Understanding that everything has a vibration–soil, rocks, plants, animals, and humans–forms the basis of grounding and vibrational living, and brings us to these foundational principles:

  • Every person is an amalgamation of electromagnetic energy
  • Every cell transmits and receives energy
  • There are harmonious and non-harmonious vibrational frequencies
  • Vibrations can either support or diminish health
  • The heart, brain, and reproductive organs are most vulnerable to toxic frequencies (this is why sperm count and fertility are dropping with the rising use of cellphones and other devices)
  • The future of health and healing is using vibrational energy

So, using grounding and vibrational living techniques is really a cutting edge way of becoming and staying healthy, especially as you age. To do so properly, you need to differentiate between what increases your vibration and what decreases it.

Things that decrease vibration:

  • Toxic energy fields–Wi-Fi, smart meters, cellphones, and cordless phones
  • Drugs, alcohol, sugar
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Chronic illness
  • Negative emotions– hostility, fear, anger, shame, and resentment
  • Chronic stress

Things that increase vibration:
Besides grounding and vibrational living, a quality sleep is something that you want for your health

  • Sleep
  • Rest
  • Organic food
  • Anti-inflammatory diets
  • Detoxification
  • Exercise
  • Good hydration
  • Mind-body practices– meditation, prayer, yoga, and reiki
  • Nutritional supplements (e.g., Magnesium, Coenzyme Q10, Carnitine)
  • Healthy relationships
  • Being in nature
  • Grounding

Also, certain mindsets and behaviors improve grounding and vibrational living, such as having a positive attitude, honesty, authenticity, kindness, compassion, patience, community, and resilience.


Read Part 2 

© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Grounding and vibrational living are techniques that allow you to benefit from the earth’s healing powers, as well as align your energy with higher frequencies so you can enjoy less stress, less inflammation, better sleep, and more balance.


Grounding and vibrational living