My touch lamp has the same vibrating static electricity feeling that my massage clients used to have. Why?
January 28, 2008 9:43 AM   Subscribe

My touch lamp has the same vibrating static electricity feeling that my massage clients used to have. Why?

I just though that I was feeling a client's "vibes" or "energies" but I feel the same thing when I very lightly touch my touch lamp.
posted by kristymcj to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Hippy-dippy answer: Energy is energy. What you felt while conducting massages is the same energy that Reiki practitioners & energy-workers are in tune with. As a Reiki practitioner myself, the vital energy of living things often does feel like static electricity, kinda warm and "buzzy". Just throwing that out there. In the opinion of some, the life-force or Qi, is a very similar force to electricity. May be why it felt the same to be buzzed by a person & buzzed by your lamp. Just speculating.

Scientific answer: I have no idea.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 10:02 AM on January 28, 2008

Scientific answer: Your lamp is poorly grounded or is shorting out somewhere. Why your massage clients were ungrounded is a whole 'nother issue.
posted by Benjy at 11:08 AM on January 28, 2008 [4 favorites]

As I understand it touch lamps are a circuit with the base of the lamp acting as a capacitor. When you touch it you become part of the capacitor changing it's capacitance. This changes the RC value of the circuit, which changes the frequency of something (that class was a long long time ago).

So the answer is that the touch lamp is sending vibrations of energy through you.
posted by jefftang at 2:11 PM on January 28, 2008

Seconding Jefftang. You're a part of the circuit, and you're feeling that little bit of juice that flows through it, and by extension, you.

....And it could also have a grounding issue. There are cheap testers available at any home improvement type place that run ~$10. It would be worthwhile to pick one up and plug it in just to see that you don't have a problem that will end up killing you through one of your appliances.
posted by SlyBevel at 3:41 PM on January 28, 2008

Yes. You are being electrocuted. I suspect the lamp or electrical wiring is failing. You shouldn't feel anything in a properly functioning touch lamp.

(I love those things, by the way. Now I need to get one!)
posted by gjc at 5:49 PM on January 28, 2008

Changing the capacitance of the lamp (which triggers the switch) is not creating a circuit, current is not flowing through you.
Neither is the lamp necessarily failing. This sounds like a floating ground (as happens with ungrounded (ie two-pronged plug instead of three) appliances that have a cheap transformer or similar to operate their lower-voltage circuitry).

The question this raises is why would massage clients be on a different ground that you? Might want to investigate the area around that massage table :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 9:15 PM on January 28, 2008

For the record, you can buy a cheap $10 multimeter, set it to the lowest "AC Volts" setting, put one probe on the lamp, and hold the metal of the other probe, and if it's a floating ground from AC power, you'll get a reading much higher than the unconnected noise. The reading will probably need to be 30V or higher for you to be noticing it with dry skin, but lower if you have sweaty (or massage-oiled) skin. The interesting bit, of course, would be testing a massage client the same way :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 9:21 PM on January 28, 2008

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