When was the last time you walked barefoot through a field or across a beach? The dirt was Do you remember how amazing it felt to submerge your feet in the sand, or have the gooey mud squish through your toes while walking near a stream? People don’t get to connect with nature as much as they should, but new research studies have indicated that there should be more of an incentive to make “being in nature” a priority.
In case you haven’t heard of grounding or earthing, let us bring you up to speed. This holistic health trend basically entails having the soles of your feet make direct contact with the earth. Whether it is dirt, sand, or grass (not AstroTurf or sidewalks!), connecting your feet with the earth’s surface may help reduce free radical damage, stress, overall pain, and inflammation.
How Does Earthing Work?
The earth has a subtle electric charge, which is present in the ground. As your bare feet touch the earth, free electrons are taken up into the body. These electrons can be referred to as nature’s biggest antioxidants. This may sound a bit “out there” or “hippie-esque,” but the earth’s negative charges create a stable bioelectrical environment for all of the body’s systems. The brain, neurotransmitter activity, and heartbeat rely on electrical signals. Since people rarely go barefoot in nature anymore, they are not being supplied with earth’s natural electricity. When you cut off the power supply, so to speak, things can start to shut down.
The Key To Earthing is Vitamin G
The body needs natural sunlight to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. Holistic practitioners believe that we also need some vitamin G, which is the natural energy we absorb from the ground (hence the “G” for ground). Just as we can experience symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, so can our bodies be affected by a lack of connection to the earth. Connect yourself to nature via swimming in the ocean or lakes, laying in the grass, gardening with bare hands, or walking barefoot in nature and experience the following benefits.
Earthing helps to improve circulation by helping to deliver oxygen and nutrients through bodily tissues. Studies have shown that significant facial blood flow improved within a half-hour of grounding.
The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine published a study in 2007 demonstrating that earthing helped to normalize cortisol rhythm and sleep patterns. The study revealed that people who practiced earthing had cortisol levels that paralleled the natural rhythms of the earth and sun. The earth sends electrical rhythms that reset the biological clocks for regulating sleep activity.
Grounding yourself has been known to help reduce inflammation. How does strolling barefoot through a park reduce inflammation, you ask? Well, the electrons from the earth help to reduce oxidative stress, which in turn decreases acute and chronic inflammation. Because chronic inflammation is recognized as an underlying cause of a variety of conditions, it is best to decrease the amount of inflammation in the body any way you can.
Remember that earthing only works if you are walking on the earth’s surface. Walking barefoot in your house, swimming in a pool, or laying on AstroTurf doesn’t count as earthing. You have to be on the REAL ground or in actual nature to reap the benefits of earthing.