There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, but one of the most notable is through the practice of earthing. Earthing (also known as grounding) is the practice of walking or standing barefoot on earth, or swimming in a lake or sea, in order to connect with its innate healing power.
You probably know the feeling িদ the urge to take off your shoes and dig your feet into the grass when you’re out in the open or when you’re out on the beach. This is one of the most natural and oldest fitness exercises in the game. As it turns out, this practice can actually come with some unexpected health benefits.
Keep reading to learn more about earthing, its benefits and how to practice it.
What is earthing?
The Earth’s surface contains a huge amount of natural energy called electrons. The habit of grounding the human body for health, aka earthing, tapping into this natural energy and transferring these electrons to your body through direct contact with your skin. In other words, once you make contact with the Earth, you will be connected to its endless stream of free electrons.
“The Earth is naturally negatively charged, which means it has plenty of free electrons,” said Kate Bernhard, owner and founder of Ultimate LongAvity. “When we are grounded, we are able to absorb these free electrons as needed to neutralize harmful free radicals, reduce inflammation and support many other important functions of the human body.”
The origins of earthing and its benefits are recognized thousands of years ago and throughout history. “It is the design of nature that living things walk barefoot on the ground (or crawl), sleep barefoot on the ground, or live in the sea or other natural waters,” Bernhardt said. “This is how life has been for millions of years.”
Eventually, however, people began to build homes that were no longer grounded when we were inside the house. But even then, Bernhard explained, the shoes once had leather soles, which allowed us to be grounded as we walked outside. Synthetic rubber sole shoes were not widely available until the 1960s, and once they were adopted, people were rarely grounded.
“While in the West we have long forgotten the importance of being grounded, many other cultures have always remembered how important direct contact with the earth is for our health,” Bernhardt said.
Fast forward to the 1990’s, when he was the inventor and author of the Grounding Movement Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery?, Clint Ober, began researching the health benefits of grounding. This was when the modern revival of the practice began to gain popularity.
What are the benefits of earthing?
Although scientific research for earthing has begun in recent years, the results already show a promising link between the practice and the improvement of health problems.
Emma Archer from Groundology says, “The most immediate noticeable effect of humans being grounded is that they ‘feel good'”. “Scientific studies have shown that earthing can prevent or reduce inflammation, facilitate healing, reduce stress, improve sleep, and reduce pain.”
Some other impressive health benefits may include cortisol depletion, anxiety and depression, improved mood, thyroid function and other hormone production and immunity.
How to practice earthing
Anyone can practice earthing and everyone should practice some form of it. Here’s how to get started:
Stand barefoot in the landscape. “Going out earthing can be as easy as putting your bare feet or hands on some grass or ground or swimming in a natural water source,” says Emma. To get the most out of your earthing session, try 30 minutes at a time, which should be enough time to reduce any tension or stress.
Go for a walk barefoot (safely!) Walk barefoot on grass, soil or sand but be sure to be aware of your surroundings and make sure walking without shoes is safe.
“There are also important safety considerations that must be considered when choosing an outdoor space on the ground, such as avoiding areas that have recently been treated with pesticides or other toxic chemicals that may be absorbed by your skin as you fall into the ground,” he said. Bernhard.
The good news is, you don’t have to be in the woods every day to reap the benefits – just touch a small patch of grass. The main way to stay out in the green is to calm us down and encourage us. Happy Earthing!
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as an alternative to medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your health problems or conditions. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet, changing your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.