Have you ever noticed a subtle tingling or sensation of warmth rising up from your feet during a barefoot stroll on a sandy beach or grassy field glistening with the morning dew?
Did you feel revitalized at the end of your walk?
If you did, you experienced the earth energizing your body.
The fact is that we live on a planet alive with natural energies. Its surface teems with subtly pulsating frequencies, a phenomenon unknown to most people. Who regards the sand, grass, sidewalk, or dirt beneath their feet as an energy field?
But that indeed is what the ground is and always has been.
Put another way, your planet is a six sextillion (that's six followed but twenty-one zeroes) metric ton battery that is continually being replenished by solar radiation, lightning, and heat from its deep-down molten core. And just like a battery in a car that keeps the motor running and the wheels turning, so too, do the rhythmic pulsations of natural energy flowing through and emanating from the surface of the Earth keep the biological machinery of global life running in rhythm and balance – for everything that lives on the land or in the sea.
Throughout history, humans have strolled, sat, stood, and slept on the ground – the skin of their bodies touching the skin of the earth – oblivious to the fact that such simple contact transfers a natural electrical signal to the body.
This is the opening of Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever. On our recent family trip to Palm Springs, I was reading this book whilst sitting by the pool. I stopped to notice that I was wearing leather flip flops with rubber soles and sitting on a plastic lounge chair. No part of my body was in direct contact with the ground. I read on…
Practically no one has the slightest notion of an electrical or energetic connection between his or her body and the Earth… Our bare feet, with their rich network of nerve endings, rarely touch the ground. We wear insulating synthetic-soled shoes. We sleep on elevated beds made from insulating material. Most of us in the modern, industrialized world live disconnected from the Earth's surface. Although it is not something you probably have ever thought about, you may be suffering needlessly from this disconnect.
Ancient medicinal experts knew that our connection to the earth is essential to our vitality. In Chinese medicine, an acupuncture point on the bottom of the foot (Kidney 1) is the “major entryway for the absorption of the Earth Qi,” the Earth's energy which then circulates up the associated meridians to all of the major organ systems of the body. Earth's energy feeding our vitality.
I spent the rest of the week reading and noticing how little I contacted the ground. I talked to my family about it, and they continued walking around in their shoes and sitting on chairs that didn't allow their bodies to touch the earth beneath them. I could hardly blame them. Earthing does sound like a bit of a hippy-dippy concept, but at the same time it makes quite a bit of sense too…
Why is direct contact with the earth essential to our health?
For me, the intro above was enough to convince me why our bodies should be regularly touching the Earth. But perhaps an even more convincing discussion is one that follows about the earth's free electrons and their effect on inflammation.
Inflammation occurs whenever the body is in a state of imbalance, injury, or disease.
Acute inflammation is a healthy response of the immune system, but chronic inflammation means the body's efforts are not correcting the imbalance. In a chronic inflammation process, free radicals start to run rampant and attack healthy tissue, making the chronic problem more chronic and often more severe.
According to the authors of Earthing, chronic inflammation can be corrected by simply making regular contact with the earth and it's abundant source of free-electrons. A study published in 2005 by an electric engineer, Roger Applewhite, confirmed that “electrons move from the Earth to the body and vice versa when the body is grounded.” As free electrons flow into the body, they attach to and neutralize the free-radicals, thereby neutralizing the inflammation process.
Furthermore, “grounding powerfully reduces electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on the body” which come from modern electrical devices and are thought to disrupt health.
Conditions related to chronic inflammation include: allergies, alzheimer's, ALS, anemia, arthritis, asthma, autism, cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 1 and 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia, most digestive disorders, kidney failure, lupus, multiple sclerosis, pain, pancreatitis, psoriasis and eczema, and obesity…and this a partial list!
In a small double-blind study – 60 volunteers participated for 30 days and were divided into two groups: one group used ‘earthing sheets‘ and the control group used placebo sheets. In the “grounded” group:
- 85% went to sleep more quickly
- 93 percent reported sleeping better throughout the night
- 82% experience less muscle stiffness
- 74% experienced an elimination of chronic back/joint pain
- 100% reported feeling more rested upon waking
- 78% reported improved general health
- Some ‘grounded' participants also reported relief from respiratory issues, RA, hypertension, sleep apnea, hot flashes, and PMS.
I don't know about you, but this makes me want to take my shoes off and roll around on the ground!
Everyday things preventing us from connecting with the earth's energy
- Flooring – Painted or carpeted concrete, asphalt, plastic and even wood surfaces (including hardwood floors and decking).
- Shoes – Most shoes today have rubber or plastic soles. Choose a light-weight, soft soled moccasin for the closest thing to bare feet. Or grab these.
- Beds – Gone are the days of cave dwelling on an animal hide. Nowadays we sleep on platform beds with pillow-top mattresses. Comfortable? Yes. Connected to the earth's energy, no.
- Cars – On average, Americans spend over 100 hours per year commuting, and while the wheels of the cars are touching the ground, our bodies do not receive any of the benefits while behind the wheel.
Super. We are basically disconnected from the Earth when we're sleeping, commuting, and generally getting on with the daily business of being alive. So what's the solution?
How to get grounded
- Walk barefoot – On the grass, dirt, sand or even concrete – ideally three times per day or more. If that's not possible, do what you can! If you suffer from chronic pain, illness, insomnia or fatigue, the more you can come in direct contact with the earth, the faster your recovery is likely to be.
- Take a nap on the ground and lay directly on the grass or sand. Alternatively, sit in a chair with your feet planted on the earth. You don't necessarily have to be walking to benefit from a connection to the ground. If you're indoors, cement, marble, or stone floors will conduct some of the earth's energy. For those with unsealed concrete or dirt basements, it's a good place to connect to the earth too.
- Swim in the ocean – If you are lucky enough to live near the coast, take a dip in Mother Earth's greatest conductor- the mineral rich salty sea. Fresh water (in lakes and ponds) is less conductive because it has less mineral content, but still effective. A salt water concrete-bottomed swimming pool might do the trick. Even during cold weather a quick frosty dip can be invigorating and grounding. Ready? I'll do it if you do!
- Get earthing products – When I first read about Earthing, I have to admit being a bit skeptical about spending money on yet another health product. Ridiculous, I thought! Why not just go walk outside without shoes on! Hmph. Then I started to take note of how often I actually do that. In the summertime, perhaps once a day or so, but when the weather turns cold (even for Southern Californians) the barefoot time is greatly reduced. In fact, in the past two weeks, I have walked outside twice without shoes, and found the ground numbingly cold. Products like Earthing Sheets and pads that connect you to the Earth's energy while sleeping, working or driving are a great alternative when barefoot walks, swims, etc are just not an option on a daily basis.
With my current “frugal new year” project – which you can read about here – I'm not sure if earthing sheets will be gracing my bed very soon. But if I was suffering from chronic pain, sleep issues, infertility, autoimmune conditions, or another inflammatory condition? I would definitely be springing for a more immediate investment to ensure that I was connecting to the Earth's energy regularly and for long stretches of time.
For now, I'm going to see about moving some of the electronic equipment and outlets away from my family's beds to at least reduce the EMF exposure we get whilst sleeping. And some regular barefoot strolls on the beach are definitely in order…
Have you touched the earth today?
For more information about Earthing, be sure to check out this book:
Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever