What is earthing? Our health writer explains the practice that scientific and medical studies are showing could change your health for good.
Have you ever noticed how your quality of sleep improves during a trip to the beach?
How about the natural relaxation, ease and decompression that comes from walking barefoot on the grass?
Or how time spent digging around in the dirt or making mud pies creates a natural calm in children?
Though the health benefits of fresh air, sunshine and beautiful scenery all help improve our health and stress levels, recent research reveals that regular physical contact with the earth’s electrical field via its surface, plays a crucial role in our health and well-being.
What is earthing?
“Earthing” or “grounding” is the practice of making contact with the earth by walking barefoot, gardening, swimming in the ocean or using a specialized grounding device.
These seemingly simple, tree-hugger-like techniques are making huge waves in the medical and scientific communities as inexpensive and practical ways to help reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, balance hormones, improve sleep, reduce chronic pain, manage stress and increase immunity.
How the earth’s electrical field impacts your health
When we think of electricity the first thing that comes to mind is usually electronics, not our own bodies.
However, any basic anatomy book will tell you the human body is as much electrical in nature as it is chemical (if not more).
Our brains, nervous systems and heartbeat all function through electrical impulses. When these impulses are interrupted or unbalanced, the body’s communication system goes down and disease takes over.
Our planet is also electrical in nature and provides its inhabitants with an unlimited supply of health-giving, grounding, negatively-charged electrons.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that mild endorphin-like feeling you experience after a rainstorm. That tangible sense of peace and relaxation comes via the negative ions produced from the electrical storm.
We are quite literally meant to be hard-wired to our planet, and together we can make a perfectly balanced circuit.
Earthing and its health benefits used to be a no-brainer
Throughout history, humans have always had regular unfiltered contact with the earth. We walked barefoot, slept on the ground, wore animal skins for warmth, tilled fields, hunted and foraged, fetched water and spent the majority of our lives outdoors.
It wasn’t until recently we adopted a mostly indoor lifestyle. We work in tall buildings with windows that don’t open, wear protective footwear, drive around in cars with WiFi, buy our groceries from the store, live in air-tight homes, sleep on mattresses above ground and constantly “pound the pavement,” so to speak.
Add to this our nearly constant contact with electrical devices, screens, cell phone, and computers and all this positive electrical energy has left us hopelessly—and in some cases dangerously—ungrounded and disconnected from the earth’s grounding currents.
So…how do you “earth”?
The easiest way to is to spend 20-40 minutes a day walking around on the grass, dirt, sand or (if you must) concrete barefoot. Swimming in the ocean (salt water is naturally conductive and the beach atmosphere is teaming with negative ions), gardening, sitting or stretching on the ground or digging around the dirt also count.
If you don’t have daily access to a clean and safe outdoor space, there are a variety of convenient earthing/grounding devices you can try—from mattress pads that connect your bed to the earth via a grounding wire, to body patches and chair covers. Several items are available through radiantlife.com.
What types of health benefits can you expect from running around barefoot?
Scientists and healthcare professionals are just beginning to unearth the vast health benefits you can experience simply, cheaply and easily by spending some much needed skin-to-ground time with the earth.
Read on to find out how mucking around your property can help get your family more grounded, fight disease and add quality years to your life.
Earthing helps prevent and reduce symptoms of heart disease
Though experts are good at making us think they know what causes heart trouble, the truth is this deadly disease has baffled medical science for decades. After all, it is still our nation’s #1 killer.
At first they were sure dietary fat and a lack of cardiovascular exercise were to blame, however recent studies suggest excessive carbohydrates, stress and even too much cardio are the main culprits.
As it turns out, a deficiency of Vitamin G may be a missing link in our nation’s battle against heart disease.
This study examined the effects of earthing on the red blood cells of 10 subjects using conductive patches that were grounded to the earth outdoors via wires.
The results were an impressive reduction in blood viscosity and clumping.
Additional studies (listed below) have proven earthing can reduce stress, balance cortisol levels, improve heart rate variability, reduce chronic inflammation and improve sleep—all of which are intimately connected to your cardiovascular health.
Based on these promising findings, scientists believe earthing may be one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Earthing improves your quality of sleep
More than just a frustrating nuisance, a lack of sleep can lead to a host of health issues including cardiovascular disease, mental illness, weight-gain, obesity, attention deficits, motor vehicle accidents, hormonal imbalance, disturbed immunity and chronic inflammation.
What’s worse, sleep medications (even natural ones) are usually habit-forming and come with a laundry list of undesirable short-term and long-term side effects.
Though sleep disorders appear complicated this study proves the answer may be as simple as getting grounded.
Scientists tested their sleep/grounding theory on subjects complaining of sleep dysfunction, pain and stress by having them sleep on beds covered in conductive mattress pads grounded to the earth. By sleeping on the grounded mattress pads, subjects reduced their nighttime output of cortisol (the stress hormone), normalized their circadian rhythms (the body’s biological clock) and reported improved sleep, reduced pain and less stress.
I can personally attest to the correlation between earthing and better sleep. As far back as I can remember I’ve had trouble falling asleep because I can’t shut off my brain at night (seems to be a writer’s thing). As I began researching this article I came across the above study on the sleep/earthing connection and decided to give it a try.
Honestly, I was skeptical. But I’m pleased to report that after one week of going barefoot in my backyard for 30-40 minutes per day while playing with my daughter, I’ve had far less trouble falling asleep at night! The one day I forgot to go barefoot was the worst night’s sleep I had.
Try it. It worked for me and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
I haven’t tried the grounding mattress pads for sleeping, but many people swear by them and they can be found here for under $60.00.
Earthing provides a cheap and effective source of antioxidants which reduce chronic pain and inflammation
We pay so much for antioxidants in the form of supplements, foods and cosmetics…but who knew we had an unlimited free source right under our feet?
As reported in this article published in “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,” when we get grounded, the earth’s negatively charged electrons enter our body and act as antioxidants to neutralize positively charged free radicals (free radicals are unstable molecules that can do some major internal damage if left unchecked).
The earth’s naturally-occurring antioxidant electrons can help fight premature aging and help reduce inflammation, a major cause of more than 80 forms of chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, arthritis and some forms of cancer.
Earthing is a viable therapy for those suffering from emotional stress-related illness
This exciting study published in “Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal” reported earthing for 20-40 minutes a day helps improve heart rate variability, and may prove an important therapy for those suffering from emotional-related stress disorders such as anxiety, panic, depression and hostility.
Earthing increases immune response
According to this article published in “The Journal of Environmental and Public Health,” earthing accelerated the immune response in subjects following vaccination. Another study that was focused on the effects of earthing on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) found that grounding resulted in altered measures of immune response.
If you thought walking around barefoot was just for hippies and nature lovers, I hope I’ve convinced you otherwise.
Add these findings about the health benefits of earthing to what we already know about how rural living builds a strong microbiome, and it appears more time spent in close contact with nature is absolutely essential to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
What do you think about earthing now that you’ve seen the science? How do you manage to get enough Vitamin G? Share your barefoot-success stories with us in the comments section below.
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