I remember the first time I ever felt the effects of grounding. I was about eight years old and I was walking barefoot through the garden outside my house early in the morning while my mum was gardening. I could feel a change in my body as I made each step on the lawn, the feeling of the grass and the cold earth creating a visceral reaction in me. We spend so much time with shoes or socks on, walking on tarmac or carpeted floors, that we rarely give ourselves the chance to touch nature in this way. While I didn’t realise the benefits of grounding at the time, I was aware in that moment that stepping barefoot on the grass felt enriching to my body in a way that I couldn’t explain.
What is Grounding?
Grounding, also known as earthing, is the process of walking or standing on natural ground without shoes or socks as a barrier. Whether it’s grass, soil or sand, the earth runs on electromagnetic energy, as do we. Our bodies are incredibly conductive and when we walk on the ground, it has an amazing effect on our health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that it can aid our immune responses, reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases from developing. This is because when we walk or stand barefoot on the ground, our bodies can absorb large amounts of negative electrons through the skin on our feet – this helps to maintain the same negative charge as the Earth and connects us naturally.
A Cultural Practice
Research, such as that carried out by energy medicine specialist Dr James Oschman from the University of Pittsburgh, found that walking barefoot on the Earth provides feelings of wellbeing and is a practice that can be found in numerous cultures around the world. His study found that grounding “reduces pain and alters the numbers of circulating neutrophils and lymphocytes” as well as affecting “various circulating chemical factors related to inflammation”.
Inflammation is the primary cause of so many of our health concerns today, from diabetes and heart disease to obesity. But it wasn’t the case for our ancestors, who rarely experienced inflammation and certainly not to the extent we do today. Cellular damage is a natural part of being alive and free radicals are set off in the body to address this damage. But when free radicals break into the tissue around wounds or damaged cells and start to impact healthy cells, inflammation can become an issue. It’s a case of basic chemistry – a positively-charged event requires neutralising, which grounding on a regular basis can help us do in a natural and healthy way. But it’s more than just balancing free radical activity in the body. Grounding can also vastly impact the electrical activity of the brain, improving our wellbeing and mental health.
This makes sense when you consider the impact strolling through nature and walking barefoot on a beach can have on our health. It lowers stress, calms our nervous system and makes us feel more alive. This is because grounding restores the electrical status of the body’s electrical environment and, as a result, restores the nervous system to a healthy state.
How to Get Grounded
Grounding, or earthing, is the easiest process in the world to add into your routine. There’s nothing more natural and the benefits can be felt throughout the body after just a few minutes a day. All that’s required is simple contact with the Earth through bare feet. You may choose to walk outside in your garden to allow your feet to touch the grass and soil, or if you don’t have a garden, you can head to your local park to achieve the same results.
Any surface that is natural will work – sand, soil, grass, wet or dry. You just need to let your body absorb the beneficial energy and adapt to it. Give yourself ten minutes a day at least to practice some mindfulness and do something wonderful for your body. From improving the quality of your sleep to chronic health disorders like cardiovascular disease, grounding can reduce inflammation and help the body to heal itself.