You’ve always been encouraged to let your fingers do the walking. Now is it time to let your feet do the healing?
New research suggests that one way to improve your overall health and general wellbeing is to kick off your shoes and let your feet reconnect with the Earth. That, in a nutshell, is what grounding (also known as earthing) is all about. It is seen as a remarkably simple but effective way to benefit from the nourishment provided by the electrons on the surface of the Earth.
How modern living “disconnects” us
Modern living, especially the synthetic products we use as part of our daily existence, is blamed for much of what ails us. It seems that synthetic shoes and flooring can also take the blame for disconnecting us from the health-giving energy of the Earth.
For example, the invention of rubber-soled shoes also saw the creation of a non-conductive barrier between us and the earth, our largest source of electrons. This is exacerbated by synthetic flooring, including vinyl, tiles and carpet made from non-organic materials. New research is leaning towards a theory that these modern products, and the resulting disconnect between us and the earth is a major contributor to physiological dysfunction. By reconnecting to the earth and its electrons, we can reverse the negative effects of modern living.
The benefits of getting back in touch with the earth
The concept of grounding is based on a very simple premise. Barefoot contact with the surface of the earth while you’re outdoors, or staying connected to conductive systems that transfer electrons from the ground into your body while indoors, can have a host of benefits, including:
- Reduces inflammation
- Eases or eliminates pain
- Better Sleep
- Increases Energy
- Calms the Nervous System
- Lowers Stress
- Normalises Cortisol Levels
- Improves Mood
- Thins the blood and improves circulation and blood pressure
- Speeds healing and muscle repair
- Improves Glucose or Blood Sugar Regulation
- Prevents Calcium and Bone Density Loss. Reduces Indicators of Osteoporosis.
- Improves Cardiovascular function
That’s an impressive list. Can all those benefits really be derived by reconnecting with the Earth’s electrons? A paper in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, which was published online by The National Centre for Biotechnology Information, certainly thought the concept of grounding had some merit.
Why grounding should be taken seriously
The paper was compiled by a group of scientists working in a number of fields ranging from cell biology, to medicine, to neurosurgery. Their work is a response to one of the more troubling aspects of modern life – the dramatic increase in chronic illness, immune disorders, and inflammatory diseases have increased dramatically. While researchers have often cited environmental factors as the cause for this rise, the possibility that growing disconnection with the Earth’s surface could be one of the reasons had not been seriously considered. Until now.
Much of the research in the paper, and the conclusions that the scientists drew from their work, are intriguing and promising, as reflected in their closing remarks:
“Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth—whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems—may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.”
While this is certainly exciting to read, it’s important to note that their research sees grounding as just one element in what they call a “health equation”. Things like sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity are also part of that equation, which is down to earth advice we should all be following anyway.
It’s easy to stay grounded
We all feel better during a barefoot stroll along the beach, or through a field of dewy grass. While we’ve often associated these pleasurable activities with a heightened sense of mental well-being, maybe it’s time we looked at the physical benefits as well? After all, research suggests that barefoot contact with the surface of the Earth is good for the body as well as the soul…and it’s very easy to do. You could almost say it’s a walk in the park.
The best way to try grounding as a therapeutic activity is to simply walk on the ground in your bare feet. As moisture is a superior conductor, walking on wet grass, or beside a lake, or on the beach, will give you the most effective grounding experience. These damp surfaces assist the flow of healthy negative charges from the Earth into your body, via your feet. The walk will do you good anyway, regardless of your opinions on grounding, so you’ve got nothing to lose by losing the shoes.