Earthing, also known as grounding, is the simple act of consciously connecting our physical bodies in direct contact with the Earth. In other words, earthing is making the effort to touch our skin (our biggest organ by far) to the soil, sand, water—any conductive surface that is in contact with the earth.
It may sound ridiculously simple and easy, but the reality is that in modern life, many individuals have lost this type of direct, regular contact with the earth. In general, today’s “civilized” population wear shoes with rubber soles and live and work indoors, isolated from the elements, which ends up making us quite disconnected from what many ancient cultures have called Mother Earth. It’s possible for people to go years without directly touching the ground at all, aside from an occasional and fleeting trip to the beach.
Even a hundred years ago, people spent a whole lot more time in contact with the earth, walking and sleeping on the ground without nothing blocking the transfer of electrons. As 21st century city dwellers, we’ve largely lost touch with this natural mechanism for getting back to neutral throughout the day and while we sleep at night. Nowadays, wearing shoes and walking around in buildings prevents us from discharging the charge we’ve built up into the ground.
Could this be a contributing factor causing the increase in the myriad health issues and problems currently being faced by humanity?
The intuitive science behind earthing
We can regard and understand ourselves in many different ways, ranging from being spiritual beings in human bodies to being entirely physical systems and bodies. Another way to view ourselves is to see ourselves as “electrical beings” in an electrical world. Everything in our universe is made of atoms and has a net charge that is classified as positive, negative or neutral. Every chemical reaction involves electrical charges, attraction and repulsion. Without atoms’ strong attraction to each other through energetic bonds, nothing would stick together. Everything would dissipate into particles in a chaotic manner.
Our magnificent planet Earth provides us with food, water and shelter, as well as an endless supply of gentle, natural energy. The amount of time we spend connecting to the planet on which we live affects us greatly. It dictates our moods, energy level and sleep quality. Even though Earth’s energy is invisible, it can be felt by sensitive people when walking barefoot along a lake shore, riverbed, sandy beach or simply on the dirt or grass as a pleasant, warm and sometimes tingling sensation
According to geology, the earth has a mildly negative charge. Over time, our day-to-day activities lead our bodies to build up a positive charge. This happens because when the body’s overall charge is off-kilter, some unwanted chemical reactions can begin to occur, while other reactions fail to happen when they should. A growing body of anecdotes and some scientific evidence is demonstrating that the disruption of the body’s charge can prove to be a health concern. Returning the body to a neutral state by evening out the positive charge occurs as a result of direct contact with the earth.
How to practice earthing
Simply put, practicing grounding means putting our skin in direct, prolonged contact with grass, rock, dirt, sand or water.
Walking barefoot outside is the most accessible way to ground yourself — and it’s free! Our feet weren’t really designed to be in shoes. Stylish though they may be, modern shoes contribute to some major problems like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, bunions and pain in the knees, hips and back. This is partially because most shoes are stiff and restraining, so they prevent the full motion of our foot joints and block nerve feedback from the feet.
The supportive and cushioned shoes most people wear daily cause us to land on the heel with each step, since the shoes absorb the impact. This alters the natural step and posture and creates a different walking pattern. So, the simple act of going barefoot is rather revolutionary for our bodies and minds!
Swim in a lake, river, pond or ocean
Another excellent earthing method is swimming in a natural body of water like a sea, lake, river or pond. The beach is the ideal spot for earthing, because sand and salt water are both great conductors, plus salt water has high levels of magnesium. This explains why we often sleep better after frolicking at the beach — although the reduced stress level from being on vacation probably has something to do with it, as well!
Special types of floor
If you live in a large city where soil is scarce, there are a few other options to consider. A concrete or ceramic tile floor in your home works for grounding, provided that it’s sitting on a concrete slab rather than on plywood boards or other insulating materials. Earthing can also be done indoors with the use of various grounding products.
A nice technological way to go are the so called grounding mats. These grounding mats are made from special materials, usually leather. If you do not have the luxury of having a garden or whether you’re not too keen on being outdoors during these strange times of the pandemic, a grounding mat could be a good option for you. You can use them by planting your feet on them or why not as a meditation mat.
We recommend the decent sized grounding mat by Earth and Moon, measuring 60 x 90cm (23.6″ x 35.4″).
An earthing sheet on the bed can plug into the grounding wire port of a normal 3-prong outlet or a grounding rod. They are generally made of cotton and fine silver thread for conductivity. The sheet brings negative electrons from the earth to your body and neutralizes its positive charge.
Earthing shoes are a thing, too! They have a small conductor in the sole that provide an electric path to the ground. They come in the form of casual shoes to provide all-day grounding and minimalist athletic shoes to increase endurance. However, remember that rubber soles are insulators. True earthing shoes must have an embedded conductive material that connects the feet to the ground.
The potential benefits of grounding
According to emerging research, earthing may be beneficial in
- Reducing inflammation and chronic pain
- Improving sleep
- Boosting energy
- Lowering stress and promoting calmness by reducing stress hormones
- Normalizing biological rhythms including circadian rhythm
- Regulating blood pressure and blood flow
- Relieving muscle tension and headache; and
- Easing menstrual symptoms
Why not give earthing a try and track your results to see if it helps?
Set a goal of spending more time in contact with the earth or using a grounding mat or sheet.
You can use a handy sleep app to track your sleep patterns and see if sleep improves over time with earthing. Keep a simple journal where you can note physical sensations, both pleasant and unpleasant, such as joint pain, headaches, back pain—and also remember to record when you feel good and pain-free.
In summation, going outside and being barefoot in the garden makes us feel good. If earthing leads to more positive changes over time, all the better!