The earth has healing powers. Yes it does. So there’s this fancy thing called earthing (also known as grounding). Have you heard of it? It’s where you put your bare feet on the ground of the earth and reap the benefits. I know, it sounds very woo woo, but check out some of the science behind it before you pass it off as something silly. Go ahead, take your shoes off and read along!
Sounds too good to be true but connecting with the earth has scientifically been shown to aid in reduction of inflammation (and pain), improved sleep, and lower cardiovascular disease risk just to name a few.
How does earthing work?
The ground naturally emits a negative charge because of the sun, constant lightening striking the ground throughout the world and the earth’s orbit that constantly supply it with a recharge. So if you connect your bare feet or any part of your naked body to the ground, the electrons from the ground transfer to your body. Now you’re probably wondering why electrons are helpful to us. Keep reading…
Because of the barriers that we have on our feet (aka plastic/rubber soled shoes) and the fact that we’re indoors all the time with floors separating us from the earth (especially while sleeping), our day-to-day lives cause a lot of positive energy to build up, which can throw our bodies out of whack. Before shoe-wearing and being indoors all the time, people walked around bare footed and slept on the ground, which allowed them to neutralize their charge naturally each day.
These barriers that we have in modern day life cause a buildup of positive charge without any way to discharge it, which has shown to cause inflammation, free radicals, decrease our energy and much more. This is where earthing comes into play. The theory is that if you take your shoes off and allow your body to absorb the earth’s electrons, this will neutralize the excess positive charge in your body and help absorb free radicals as well, thus providing reduced inflammation and promoting normal functioning of your body systems.
Is there research to prove that grounding works?
Yes! In fact, if you’re really interested, read Clint Ober’s book “Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! (Second Edition)” – he’s the forefather of the earthing movement and discovered the connection between grounding and health after working in the Cable TV industry for many years in Montana. In the mid 90s, he retired and went to travel after some health challenges, and this is when he came up with the theory between people no longer being naturally grounded and how it could be affecting our health. So, he set out to do some research to find out if his theory had truth.
Using before and after thermography images, a study showed that grounding significantly reduced or eliminated inflammation in a time period of 2-4 days of sleeping grounded (using a grounding mat, which is a conductive mat connected to the earth’s charge), and in some cases as quick as 30 minutes for localized conditions using a grounded electrode patch.
He also did another sleep study using grounding mats, which showed a decrease in cortisol levels, thus improving the quality of sleep. And in another study, he proved that grounding decreases blood viscosity, which improved blood flow and lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Those are just a few of the main studies, but there are many other studies and testimonials in the book, very fascinating!
How do you ground yourself?
There are many man-made ways you can earth at home now for convenience and for people living in urban settings with little access to natural ground, although controversial to some because of “dirty electricity”, which can mean you’re not properly grounded using these man-made tools. Here are a few man-made hacks though in case you’re interested:
- Earthing Sheet
- Earthing Mat
- Earthing Blanket
- Earthing Patches for targeted treatment
Here are some natural, more direct ways that you can connect to the ground:
Take your shoes off and stand on the natural ground – dirt, grass, sand (like the beach!), and some thin ceramic tile or concrete slabs (think basements or outdoor porches) will work as long as there isn’t a plywood barrier.
If you choose to wear shoes, they will have to be non-insulated (not rubber) like suede shoes, or you can add a small conductor to the sole, like copper that connects the ground to you.
I have some earthing sandals from Earth Runners, which are super comfy and allow me to do some earthing while playing with my kids at the playground or in the backyard without going totally bare foot. I went with the Circadian Adventure Sandals for reference.
So all-in-all, grounding has been scientifically shown to do the following: increase sleep quality (by regulating the stress hormone cortisol), reduce stress, reduce inflammation & pain, neutralize free radicals, help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
And if you try grounding out and wondering if it’s working, be sure to consistently spend a good bit of time earthing for a time period so that you can measure the before and after. One great measurement is by using a sleep app. Check and see if your quality of sleep changes. You may just be able to tell by using a self-pain scale as well, like if you have arthritis and the pain improves. Get creative! The best part is, earthing can definitely be free, just connect with the earth!