What is Earthing or Grounding and Could Your Health Benefit from It
By Mary Blackburn
Who Needs Shoes When You Have The Earth?
Every year, I can’t wait for the weather here in Pennsylvania to warm up enough for me to pull out flip flops, kick off my shoes and boots and go barefoot!
Are you the kind of person who loves to kick off your shoes and get your bare feet into the sand, dirt, or grass? Or are you the kind of person whose feet never see the light of day except for in the shower or your bedroom?
What if I told you that there was a philosophy that says going barefoot in the grass, dirt, sand or even concrete could help reduce inflammation, keep stress levels in a healthy range, help you sleep better and maybe even give you more energy?
It’s called grounding or earthing and it was brought to light by a cable TV engineer by the name of Clinton Ober.
As the story goes, Mr. Ober was sitting on a park bench watching all these people walking by in their rubber-soled running shoes and started wondering: What if shoes are the reason so many people develop chronic disease?
By the way shoes keep the wearer from making contact with the earth, a natural, energy-filled sphere, his theory began to quickly develop. His book about this theory is called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? and you can find it here. It’s a very interesting, highly recommended read.
What’s The Theory Behind Grounding?
Mr. Ober bases his theory on the fact that our bodies and cells are full of electrical energy. Positive electrons – known as free radicals – build up in our bodies.
Where do they come from?
Electrical energy is all around us. Wi-Fi is in just about every coffee shop and restaurant, cell phone waves (not to mention smart phones) are constantly passing through the air, as are radio and TV waves, satellite dish signals… you get the picture.
Because of all these electromagnetic waves, a lot of us have a very high amount of positive electrons built up in our bodies.
It Used To Be A Natural Occurrence
Before we humans became more “civilized,” grounding happened naturally. Our ancestors walked barefoot in the summer, got their hands dirty tilling the soil, gardening, or just playing outside. Even when people started wearing shoes at the beginning of time, the shoes were made of leather, a natural conductor.
Now, we stay inside our heated-in-winter, air-conditioned-in-summer houses playing our electronic games or working on our Wi-Fi connected computers. And when we finally do go outside, most of the time we’re wearing those rubber-soled shoes – natural insulators.
Think about when you’re on vacation. Do you notice how much better you and your kids sleep after a day spent playing on the beach, swimming in the ocean, or getting dirty in the woods? It’s not just the physical aspect of those activities that give you that peaceful, relaxing, restorative sleep. Those things all help ground you, ridding you of all those built up, excess positive electrons.
Why do you think we ground electric outlets? To avoid the buildup of positive energy! Our bodies need that same discharge, that grounding effect.
So What Is Earthing?
Well, according to Mr. Ober’s book, “Earthing” is the practice of grounding your body to the Earth’s surface by walking, sitting, or sleeping outside directly on the ground, or using a special device that creates the release while indoors.
How this works is your body takes on negatively charged, free electrons and then equalizes to the same electrical energy as the earth.
Scientific research shows that Earthing could be beneficial in:
- Helping support adrenal health
- Protecting the body from EMF’s
- Improving blood pressure and blood flow
- Speeding healing
- Lessening female PMS symptoms
- Shortening recovery time from physical activity or injury
- Reducing chronic pain
- Reducing inflammation
- Beneficial changes in heart rate
- Normalizing biological rhythms
- Thinning your blood – which helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
These are the ones that I noticed changing in my personal experiment:
- Increased energy
- Improved sleep
- Lowered stress (I felt more calm and at peace, even after a stressful day)
- Less muscle tension and tension headaches
- Reduced – and some nights even eliminated – snoring in my husband
Is Earthing Really Necessary?
So is Earthing something that we should all be doing? The research on Earthing that scientists have been doing show a major impact on the inflammatory process in the body as a result of the electron transfer.
Our bodies are amazing creations! According to Dr. James Oschman, an expert in the field of energy medicine, explains what happens when our bodies experience an injury like this…
When we experience even the slightest bump, our immune system immediately responds and sends white blood cells (neutrophils) to the injury. Neutrophils secrete reactive oxygen species (ROS) called free radicals in an oxidative burst. These free radical molecules tear things up. If bacteria has gotten into your body through your skin, these free radicals will destroy it quickly. They break down damaged cells so that there is room for healthy cells to move in and repair the tissue.
This is called the inflammatory response.
Inflammation and it’s five characteristics – pain, redness, loss of range of motion and swelling – for so long has been considered a necessary part of the healing process. But what really happens is that, when these neutrophils deliver the reactive oxygen species to the injury, some of those free radicals can also leak into healthy tissue, thereby damaging it.
But research shows that if we practice earthing or grounding, after and during injury, electrons will flow into your body, go through your tissues and any free radicals that have leaked into healthy tissue will immediately be electrically neutralized, because the electrons are negative and the free radicals are positive, cancelling each other out.
So, according to Dr. Oschman, when we practice Earthing or grounding, we are protecting our bodies from what he calls “’collateral damage,’ damage that was not intended to happen, but does because we have disconnected ourselves from the Earth by putting rubber on the bottoms of our feet.”
Does Anyone Actually Do This?
Dr. Oschman was initially introduced to Clinton Ober by Jeff Spencer, the chiropractor for the Lance Armstrong cycling team and expert in treating professional athletes. It is said that many on the Tour de France – including Lance Armstrong – used an Earthing recovery bag to help increase the quality of sleep and also to speed the recovery of the physical demands while on that endurance race.
Dr. Mercola, a well known doctor and natural health advocate, is reported to have been using an earthing mat for years and reportedly, Dr. Oz recently started using one.
How Do I Get Started?
The best way to get started is by just getting outside and walking barefoot in the wet, dewy grass. If you’re lucky enough to live by the ocean, take a walk on the beach either in the water or close to it, because water is such a great conductor and it is loaded with magnesium.
If walking outside barefoot everyday isn’t an option, you can always get an Earthing mat or Earthing sheets.
Mary Blackburn is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and owner of Naturally Simple Health. She has been gluten-free since 1986 when she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She loves writing, reading, learning, gardening, cooking and baking, especially with her grandchildren. And enjoys spending time with animals, especially her Black Labrador Retriever, Charlie.
As a health coach, she believes that no one way of eating is suitable for everyone, so she helps her clients find the right balance of choices, through a collaborative effort, to implement individualized diet and lifestyle changes, because she believes that Food truly is Medicine!
She loves sharing healthy, gluten-free recipes and writing about healthy, natural, living.
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