From the beginning of time, humans walked barefoot and slept on the ground. But as time progressed, wearing shoes, standing on asphalt and sleeping on mattresses became the norm. These changes have disconnected us from the earth’s energy. This is significant because our bodies are composed of water and minerals, making electrons a necessity. The good news is that the electrons on the surface of the earth can easily be transferred to the body, as long as there is direct contact.
First, What is Grounding?
The earth is a natural source of electrons and subtle electrical field, which all living things use to live. We know that life itself, when you boil it right down, is a flow of electrons and every life form has an innate need for the energy source they provide.
Electrons are essential for the proper functioning of the immune, circulatory and nervous systems, and are also needed for the synchronisation of biorhythms and other physiological processes that allow us to live healthful lives. The easiest way to gain more electrons is by entraining the earth’s energy through a scientifically-researched practice called grounding.
Grounding is the connection of your bare feet to a natural earth surface. Also known as earthing, grounding can be done by sitting, standing, or walking on any conductive surface, such as grass, sand, or dirt, for a period of time. This allows the transfer of electrons from the earth to the body to occur, increasing the total number of electrons in your body. By increasing the electrons, your body is energised, inflammation is decreased, and sleep is improved. And all for free! Remember, this practice was natural and unavoidable for most of history, but these days we’ve lost our connection to the earth source and we need to make an effort.
The Benefits of Grounding
Research indicates that the human body appears to be dependent upon a continual or regular supply of free electrons. Free electrons have a major impact on the body , acting as both anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. Antioxidants combat free radicals, lowering oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage and is responsible for nearly all degenerative diseases, inflammation, and cancer. Therefore the more you can minimise oxidative stress, the more the risk is reduced.
Research has also shown that an increase in free electrons helps to normalise the body’s circadian rhythm, the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. As a result, this suggests that grounding is also important for sleep, concentration, energy production, lowering stress levels and normalising hormone function.
Clint Ober, one of the leaders of the grounding movement and behind the research on how connecting with the earth’s energy can help bring us into balance states:
“The earth’s surface is negatively charged with free electrons – meaning that the earth has an abundance of free (negatively charged) electrons that travel and rapidly reduce positive charge. When standing barefoot on the earth, the body absorbs these free electrons and equalises to the earth’s negative charge.”
In support of this idea, Ober points to over 20 peer reviewed studies that found that grounding can reduce chronic pain and inflammation, boost mood, lower blood pressure and lessen cardiovascular risk, improve sleep and speed healing.
The Importance of Grounding
In addition to offering a slew of health benefits, grounding also has the potential to minimise the consequences of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure. Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiations that come from electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting. Our exposure to EMFs has drastically increased due to advancing technology, which has the potential to be harmful; from mobile phone towers, microwaves and Wifi, to smart phones and tablets, research is pointing to the possibility that the electromagnetic fields given off these devices may pose a health risk. While inconclusive due to the complications of research (the hazards EMFs pose is long-term and painstaking – further complicated when the long-term research is overtaken by new technologies) potential effects may include leukemia, insomnia, breast and brain cancer.
Find a plot of land, whether dirt, grass, or sand, and make it your designated grounding space. Once you find your space, go for a walk, play with your dog, read a book, enjoy a picnic or a nap. If you are close to the beach, bury your feet in the sand, or better yet, in the ocean. If a park is close by, choose a little grassy patch. No grass or sand? Dirt will do too – don’t be afraid to get in there. Aim to ground for 20-30 minutes a day, which will allow your body enough time to absorb the energies and should be enough to start to ease pain, tension and stress.
The City-Bound Alternative
If you are living in a concrete jungle with no reasonable plot of land or surface available to you, there is an alternative. You can buy grounding mats and sheets, which are used to mimic the energies of the earth. Simply place the sheet on your bed and enjoy a regular flow of electrons throughout your night’s sleep, or place a grounding mat on the floor of your favourite work or rest space. Under your work space is especially good, since the electromagnetic exposure is strong there.
Make it Mindful
Make a little mental note before you ground, observing your stress levels, aches or pains and how you feel. Notice any areas of stress, anxiety, anger or tension in your body. Then compare the change after grounding for 20-30 minutes.
3 Sources Take-Away
I am a huge fan of grounding, so much so that I believe in doing it the real way (feet in grass, sand and dirt). However, a little assistance from a grounding mat, or sleeping with grounding sheets to maximise the therapy’s benefits is especially helpful – particularly if you are working with a few health challenges.
Grounding is one of the most intuitive wellness practices out there. This instant connection to earth became my saving grace during COVID-19 quarantine by shifting my outlook on life and helped me to feel more balanced, present and grateful. This is not so surprising when you think humans and nature have always co-evolved together, so getting outside can feel like coming home.
Perhaps it’s time to take a step back (barefooted of course), find your natural surface, kick off your shoes, “plug in” and feel the true benefits of connecting to the earth’s energy resource for yourself. If you decide to give it a try I’d love to know. Please feel free to leave a message in the comments below.