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Grounding: what is it and how can it benefit you?

Grounding or “Earthing” — let’s get into it, shall we?

Emerging science and research has shown the positive effects of human connection with the environment, more specifically, the Earth’s surface. This physical reconnection to the earth can supposedly improve our overall health, help prevent disease, enhance our psychological wellbeing, can help us to sleep better, reduce pain, and so on. How? Essentially, by transferring the energy from the ground into our bodies. This can be done in a number of ways, one of the most popular being walking barefoot on the ground outside.

“Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth's negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems. Moreover, oscillations of the intensity of the Earth's potential may be important for setting the biological clocks regulating diurnal body rhythms, such as cortisol secretion.”

In other words, by simply connecting to the Earth, whether by walking barefoot on the beach, laying on a blanket at the park, taking our yoga mat into our backyard, gardening, etc, etc., we have the potential to better regulate our physical bodies, which in turn can lower our cortisol (our bodies’ main stress hormone), which could facilitate and encourage mental wellbeing.

“It is also well established that electrons from antioxidant molecules neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS, or in popular terms, free radicals) involved in the body's immune and inflammatory responses. The National Library of Medicine's online resource PubMed lists 7021 studies and 522 review articles from a search of “antioxidant + electron + free radical” [3]. It is assumed that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely neutralize ROS and thereby reduce acute and chronic inflammation.”

Basically, the Earth is continually renewing and producing free electrons and all it may take is our physical connection to the Earth to receive some of its’ many benefits; some of which may include boosting our immunity, regulating our circadian rhythm (could be especially helpful when traveling), aiding in sleep deprivation, possible health benefits relating to autoimmune diseases, the list goes on.

“K. Sokal and P. Sokal, meanwhile, discovered that grounding the human body represents a “universal regulating factor in Nature” that strongly influences bioelectrical, bioenergetic, and biochemical processes and appears to offer a significant modulating effect on chronic illnesses encountered daily in their clinical practices.”

After reading this, maybe you’re thinking what I originally thought “Walking barefoot outside is the answer to all our health afflictions?” Okay, fine. But then why isn’t everyone doing it? Why isn’t this a bigger phenomenon?

I think there are a lot of reasons why we don’t do what is sometimes the simplest solution. As a western society, we have strayed from the holistic approach, oftentimes reaching for what we believe to be the easiest, most convenient option like a pill or a program that promises to change our lives without disrupting our busy schedules. I am definitely guilty of this -- I think we all have been at different times in our lives. But what if the answer is actually much more simple, and bonus: free? What if by connecting with the Earth we discover, or rediscover, an ancient/new way of regulating our bodies and our minds? A sort of, taking-it-out-and-plugging-it-back-in methodology.

We have completely separated ourselves from this intrinsic Earth/human connection. If you think about it — as cavemen, we were sleeping on the ground, walking barefoot, using our hands to grow and hunt our food. Nowadays, how many times a week are we actually feeling the Earth’s surface below us? You can probably count on your hands. Just as an example: an article I read recently (link below), made the correlation between our modern-day footwear, which is typically rubber-soled, in comparison to our barefoot predecessors, to the leather-soled footwear of our most recent ancestors. Seemingly unimportant, but, what if this earth/foot connection is paramount to our health and wellness and we have just completely eliminated it? What if every night when we go to sleep, we are meant to lay on the ground, like our ancestors who slept on the dirt floors of their homes, to receive the numerous health benefits grounding can provide to "reset" our bodies’ batteries?

** I’m obviously not sleeping on the ground anytime soon or trading in my sneakers for leather sandals, but it’s definitely interesting stuff to consider.

I am generally pretty skeptical when it comes to health trends, especially if it involves completely switching up my lifestyle or spending money on something that is likely unsustainable. Give me simple, quick, efficient, ya know? But this concept of getting my body closer to the Earth is something that I can get behind — it’s easy, makes sense, costs nothing, could take as little as five minutes and in general, is a positive addition to my day. ** As a rule of thumb, I think life should be about finding things that make us happy and continually incorporating them into our day-to-day. Essentially, an addition and implementation of good things whenever possible because, why not?

Since learning about grounding this past winter, whenever I can, usually first thing in the morning (6:30-7:00 AM ish), I try to go out into my backyard and walk around barefoot. Sometimes I’ll make a coffee first, other times I’ll just let the dogs out and walk around with them. I also love a barefoot walk on the beach and try to do this a few times a week. Call me a crazy, but I swear I immediately feel the positive effects of the grass/sand beneath my feet. It’s instantly calming. Add in some birds chirping and a light could I not start my day off on the right foot? Minus the times I have stepped in dog sh*t (there have been a few), 10/10 recommend.

If you want to get reallyyy fancy, there are even patented conductive systems that you can buy which are essentially machines and/or mechanism thingys which allow you to connect with the earth outside while in the comfort of your own home (think conductive heat pad that you sleep on type thing). I prefer a barefoot walk but whatever you're into!

All of that being said, I’d say give grounding a shot! You have nothing to lose. If it really works, you’re opening yourself up to a world of health benefits and on the flip side, if it’s just a placebo or the studies are crap, you are at least getting out in nature, hopefully quieting your mind and carving out a little “you time” and I believe that is definitely something everyone could use more of.

Let me know if you give this a try and what your experience was!

Xoxo Lulu

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