I have to admit there are very few times in my adult life that I’ve gone barefoot outdoors….especially living in the City! Sadly, most of us haven’t gone barefoot in the grass since childhood. Walking on the beach is about the only time I enjoy the freedom of being shoeless. I was intrigued when I had a recent conversation about “grounding”, or “earthing” as some practitioners call it.
What Is It?
Grounding (earthing) is walking barefoot on the earth with the goal of coming in contact with the earth’s negatively charged ions. In this case, negative is a good thing! Many believe that to get the full benefits the connection must also include water (in or near bodies of water, wet grass or wet sand).
Others believe that any direct connection with the earth will ground you (bare soil, dry grass, rock or sand, untreated brick or concrete). And still others believe that in addition to grounding through the soles of the feet, it can also be done with the hands, using a “grounding pad” or for those who want to reap the benefits without going barefoot: wearing leather-soled shoes.
Why It Works
It’s believed that by connecting directly with the earth we are allowing the earth’s plentiful supply of free electrons to transfer into our body. Continuing research holds that these electrons contain powerful antioxidants which promote health and wellness and help eliminate free radicals. And that by grounding, we can negate the effects of electromagnetic fields and all types of radiation and build up of positive (yes, in this case, positive is a negative) charges that we may be exposed to throughout the day.
The Benefits of Grounding
Surprising and positive results were cited in The Journal of Environmental and Public Health showing the benefits of physically connecting with the surface of the earth and tapping into its’ immense supply of electrons:
“Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being. [..]including better sleep and reduced pain—from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.”
1) Strengthens the body’s immune system and improves the amount of oxygen that’s delivered to our cells and tissues through the bloodstream;
2) Reduces inflammation by counteracting the positive charges in our body with negative ions;
3) Increases the chemical, Serotonin, which is a mood and energy booster;
4) Improves cardiovascular health by the blood thinning effect of reducing positively charged ions and increasing negatively charged ions.
Ways to Recharge with Grounding
–Pick a grassy spot, lay back and watch the cloud formations go by; (remember using your imagination?!)
–Take a walk in your yard or local park and enjoy the feeling of the cool or wet grass against your bare feet;
–Take a walk along the beach and stand at the edge of the water and watch the waves come in;
– Get on your leather-soled hiking boots and head to a state or national park;
–When was the last time you took a walk in the rain? Or just after a rain shower or storm? Either one can give you a negative (yes, in this case negative is a positive) ion boost. Just be sure to go indoors if it turns into lightning or a thunderstorm! And according to grounding advocates: wear leather-soled shoes, NOT rubber since rubber is known to block the earth’s flow of electrons.
Go For It?
For me personally, I don’t see any downside to trying this. After all, if there’s a chance I can get the earth’s healing electrons to help rid my body of any free radical buildup and inflammation then why not go for it? At the very least I’ll have enjoyed being out in nature. However, I did come across comments regarding those who take blood thinners such as Coumadin to be aware and cautious.
One thing I’d want to be mindful of is picking “natural” settings which are free of pesticides and fertilizers which you can’t really be sure if your local park has used these treatments unless you call them. I’d sure love to know exactly how much these chemicals would negate the benefits of grounding.
Reference and Information:
NOTE: The above website links are provided as an informational courtesy and not an endorsement of their product(s) by Balanced Babe. Balanced Babe does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.