Traditional cultures around the world have recognized the healing power of our connection to the Earth. It can be felt when you walk in a forest or meadow or when you dip your toes in a gently flowing stream. In the 1990s, the interactions between the Earth and the human body were measured and quantified. Now, the effects of earthing, or grounding, are being taken seriously and being studied in greater depth. Earthing is a simple concept and practice. In this article, we will explore what is barefoot grounding, and how does it work?
What Does Earthing Do for the Body?
The first studies on earthing were conducted in the 1990s by former Cable TV installer Clint Ober and involved placing a rod connected to a wire in the ground and attaching it to a sleeping pad. The theory came from grounding in cable and electrical wires, which reduces noise or static in the connection. Ober found that sleeping on these grounded pads improved sleep, reduced chronic pain, and waking up feeling more rested and ready for the day.
Grounding the human body works in much the same way as grounding a television cable. Atoms carry either a positive or negative charge depending on the number of electrons in their other shell. They are constantly giving and receiving electrons from other atoms around them until they reach what is known as the ground state in physics and chemistry, which is its lowest energy potential.
Is the Earth Ground Positive or a Negative Charge?
Atoms like to have an equal number of electrons in their outer shell. An atom that has lost an electron becomes positively charged, and an atom that has gained an electron becomes negatively charged. Opposites attract so that they can exchange electrons and move towards the grounded state. The surface of the Earth has a negative charge, which means that it has extra electrons that it wants to give up.
As we move through our day, we are exposed to EMF from electronics, toxins, and stress. All these factors cause the creation of free radicals, which are positively charged. When we are in direct contact with the Earth, the extra electrons in our body flow to the negatively charged atoms of the Earth until both reach a grounded state.
Free radicals in the body are associated with inflammation, chronic pain, and more serious diseases like cancer. The body produces free radicals as part of the immune response for binding to harmful substances until they can be removed. Too many free radicals cause inflammation and disease. Unfortunately, in our modern world, our lifestyles force our bodies to create more free radicals than we can eliminate. Grounding is a way to help our bodies return to a grounded state and eliminate excess free radicals.
What Can I Expect?
When people hear about grounding, they often expect to feel great elation and joy when they are doing it. Some people do feel this, but it feels like a deep sense of calm and relaxation for most. You have probably already experienced this at some point in your life. If you have ever walked through a flower garden and stopped to smell the scents or walked barefoot in the sunshine for a long time, this sense of stillness and peace that you feel is grounding.
The effects of earthing on sleep have been well studied, but it has also been found to help with other conditions. Studies have found that earthing therapy has been shown to improve hypertension, improve vagal nerve tone in premature infants, boost mood, and thin the blood. Other studies show positive results on the body, too, but these are the most well-known ones.
Different Ways to Experience Earthing
The easiest and best way to experience earthing is to have physical contact with the Earth. Earthing barefoot can be at a beach, in the woods, or a spot in your backyard. Unfortunately, many people do not have access to a natural area regularly. If you live in the city and wonder how to do earthing, don’t worry. There are other ways to experience these benefits, even if you have spent much of your life in buildings or on concrete.
What Are the Materials Required for Earthing?
The good news is that earthing can be done with no extra materials required at all. Still, if you are in the city and cannot spend time barefoot or in close contact with the Earth, many different products can help you achieve similar results. Some of these products include grounding mats, desk mats, and mousepads. Seat pads are available for your car that are considered semi-grounded to the metal frame of the vehicle.
How Can I Practice Grounding Myself?
If you want to practice grounding, you can either purchase one of the items listed or purchase a wearable kit with electrodes. You can also take off your shoes and walk on the Earth for at least 30-40 minutes. Walking along in the saltwater of the ocean is extremely effective. Gardening can also help you ground. Laying on the bare ground and watching the clouds or stars is another way to do earthing.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
How long should you walk barefoot for grounding? In as little as 30 to 40 minutes a day is enough to start the healing process. One of the best times to do earthing is when you sleep. This gives you 8 hours of contact and is a time when your body does much of its healing work anyway. If you cannot squeeze in this much time in a day, then every little bit helps. Wearable pads can help you get the required grounding time that you need throughout the day.
If you are considering earthing to relieve chronic pain or another health condition, some people experience results immediately. You need to know that not everyone does, and sometimes, it can take days or weeks before you begin to experience the effects. Everyone’s body is different, and it can take more time to notice any difference if the problem is severe or has been going on for some time. The very first thing you will probably notice is that you feel more rested, and your mood improves after only a day or two.
Earthing Products and Options When You Can’t Get Outside
If you work in an office and live in an apartment, you might not have access to a natural area. In this case, several products and options that can help you get this precious healing therapy. Here are a few of the products that are available for earthing.
- Wearable body and knee bands
- Automobile seat pads
- Floor mats
- Desk mats
- Bed sheets
- Earthing pads
Are there any risks or anyone who should not practice earthing?
Is it healthy to walk barefoot? For the most part, walking barefoot is good for you. Of course, you should take some precautions. Be careful about the area you are walking in. Making sure there is no broken glass, and that the ground is relatively clean.
Our immune systems are incredibly efficient at eliminating most of the common disease-causing substances we encounter daily. If this is a concern for you, you can always purchase earthing shoes to get the benefits without the risks. When it comes to buying products used for earthing, it is always a good idea to check the manufacturer to ensure that they have been tested and meet all safety guidelines. Also, you should check with your doctor if you are on blood thinners, have a pacemaker, or are on any medications.
Earthing is easy to do, and you can do it anytime you have access to the ground or a device. Earthing has other benefits, too. It gets you out into the sunshine, which increases vitamin D. You can do this every day just by walking barefoot in your yard for 30-40 minutes or by taking a stroll on a beach. Earthing has so many benefits and makes you feel so good that you will find that you want to do it all the time once you start.