Grounding or “Earthing”
The term ‘grounding’ has been used in recent years more as a mental health strategy to calm anxiety, stress and pain. This practice is different from a more traditional use of the term, otherwise known as ‘earthing’ that relates to the electromagnetic exchange between the Earth and other objects, including humans! We realize that telling you to practice earthing and be one with the Earth likely sounds a bit “woo woo” but hang with us – let’s go over the science.
Every single thing on the planet is made of atoms, meaning everything has some sort of net charge (remember physics class??) Earth itself has a negative charge, which is why objects with positive charges can be “grounded” by touching the Earth. Think static being calmed by touching grass. We humans build up a positive charge during the day and if we don’t have some sort of grounding to balance it, our electrical processes can actually get out of whack and contribute to symptoms of imbalance and pain. A simple connection with Earth has the ability to balance out these excess electrical charges in the body. In fact, there is now a wide body of research showing that consistent earthing practices can benefit the human body in the following ways:
- Reduce chronic inflammation
- Improve perceived stress & anxiety
- Improve sleep quality and reduce chronic fatigue
- Improve cardiovascular function, especially blood pressure
- Reduce symptoms of pain
- Balance cortisol imbalances
Now please take this information with a grain of salt. Lying in the grass all day will not eliminate the effects of continuing to eat a diet high in sugars and processed oils. Walking barefoot in the soil is not going to eliminate stress if you don’t do anything else about the sources of stress in your life. No amount of gardening in the soil will completely eliminate chronic pain conditions. But it just might be a great place to start. Feeling some benefit from something as simple as walking barefoot in your backyard might be just the motivation you need to start eating healthier foods. Lying in the grass for 15 minutes could actually start coaching your mind to calm down, breathe deeper and being a more effective mindfulness practice. Nothing is a magic bullet to solving health conditions, but we love when we find easy things to try to bring an immediate sense of relief and joy – these moments are often the starting block to a more sustainable journey towards wellness.
5 Ways to Try It
So if you’re ready to give earthing a try (and why wouldn’t you? It is probably the easiest, cheapest preventive health intervention out there), then here’s how. In short, touch the ground daily and often. Here are some more specific examples of ways you can connect to Earth’s grounding energy every day:
- Walk barefoot in the grass, sand or dirt
- Lie down in the grass or sand
- Touch water, whether it’s going into a clear lake, or simply taking a bath
- Garden – get your hands in the soil
- You can also use some higher tech equipment if you don’t have easy access to grass, soil or clear water. Grounding mats, sheets, shoes & socks are all available online.
Will you be earthing today? Which method will you try? Let us know what you think!
Changes in pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygenation, perfusion index, skin conductance, and their variability induced during and after grounding human subjects for 40 minutes – PubMed (nih.gov)