Have you ever experienced feeling more relaxed after spending some time barefoot outdoors? Although it may sound pretty ‘new age-y,’ surprising recent research has shown that ‘grounding,’ or having direct physical contact with the earth, can decrease stress, improve sleep, and make you feel better overall.
Here’s a bit more about the natural practice of grounding, sometimes called ‘earthing,’ how it works, and how to get the benefits.
Basically, the theory of grounding is that our bodies are supposed to have regular contact with the earth. Proponents of the practice argue that throughout history, we’ve always had this contact as part of our day-to-day lives, from walking around barefoot and sitting outside in the grass, to planting and gardening.
In modern life, however, people rarely spend time outdoors, and when they do they’re usually not barefoot or sitting directly on the ground. Promoters of ‘grounding’ have suggested that one of the reasons for so many modern health problems is our literal separation from the earth.
For grounders, the importance of regular contact with the earth is not only symbolic. Grounding experts and other health practitioners point to science-based reasons that grounding can heal. According to health practitioner Dr. Mercola:
“It is known that the Earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. When you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health.”
Although more studies need to be performed to determine all of the benefits of grounding, so far, preliminary studies have shown grounding to benefit sleeping, chronic pain, stress levels, and recovery time after exercise. Other potential health benefits of this process include a reduction in inflammation, increased energy levels, increased feelings of calmness, and decreased tension.
Grounding is also thought to protect against electromagnetic pollution from cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices.
Dr. Mercola stresses the importance of this practice to our health, saying: “Earthing may be one of the most important overlooked factors in public health. When grounding is restored, many people report significant improvement in a wide range of ailments…” And it doesn’t take long to experience the benefits: “Changes are rapid and often occur within 30 minutes,” Dr. Mercola states.
Although grounding traditionally simply means contact with the earth, new products related to the method are emerging, including a bed that connects you to the earth’s healing energy, earthing mats which protect you from electromagnetic pollution when you place them under your electronic devices, earthing shoes, earthing seat pads for your vehicles, bed sheets, and laundry detergent.
Though we can’t vouch for the effectiveness of these ‘specialty’ grounding products, we do believe that spending more time outside, in nature, whether you ground, walk, run, meditate, garden, or play sports, is very good for you! And we should all do it as much as possible.
-The Alternative Daily