“Most children have been cursed with parents who have forgotten the joy of walking barefoot.”
Imagine being somewhere outside you love, taking your shoes and your socks of and making intentional contact with the ground. Imagine what the ground underneath your feet feels like, whether it’s muddy or sandy, soft grass, or dry soil or rock. Just imagine standing there, doing nothing but feeling your body in relationship to nature.
What you are doing right there is commonly referred to as “Earthing” or “Grounding”. Maybe you didn’t know before, but in this way, you can connect electrically with the Earth. The surface of the Earth has a vast supply of electrons that, transferred into our body, come with a series of benefits including better sleep and reduced pain, writes Dr. Gaétan Chevalier, author of a series of scientific ‘Earthing’ studies.
By now, there is a growing body of research that finds numerous health benefits as a result of the physical body being grounded.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of earthing:
- Reduced cortisol levels and thus improvement with symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression
- Reduced inflammation by significantly reducing oxidative stress
- Boosted immune system
- Decreased symptoms of auto-immune conditions
- Positive impact on DNA
- The balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
- Enhanced circulation and thus energy
- A natural antidote for electron deficiency
- Improved sleep
- Promotes women’s everyday emotional health and well-being by reducing hormonal and menstrual symptoms
Our modern lifestyle generally separates us from direct contact with the Earth.
More than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas and that proportion is projected to increase to 70 percent by 2050. Recent research suggests that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and general “un-wellness”. Unfortunately, with our modern rubber or plastic soled shoes and insulated sleeping arrangements, we no longer have a natural electrical connection to the Earth, unless walking barefoot. But reconnecting with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.
The science of ‘Earthing’
Because this may still sound a little spooky to you, I want to share in more scientific background information about how ‘earthing’ works. If this is too much science for you, please bare with me.
The Earth is a massive reservoir of free electrons, that are there because of continuous thunderstorms as well as magnetic movements and ionosphere, the part of our atmosphere that is charged by solar radiation. Our bodies are able to conduct these free electrons because of the high amount of electrolytes in our bodies, such as Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium.
By the way, a Free Electron is “any electron that is not attached to an ion, atom, or molecule and is free to move under the influence of an applied electric or magnetic field.”
Without a connection to this reservoir, the cells in our body are unable to balance the charge of electron-deficient free radicals. Free radicals are associated with human disease, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many others. They also may have a link to aging, which has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage, according to Christopher Wanjek, columnist for Live Science.
Free radicals are oxygen molecules that split into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these atoms, called free radicals, scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA. This is what we call ‘oxidative stress’.
Another reason, why earthing is beneficial, seems to be connected with the immense electromagnetic radiation that our bodies experience day by day. Our modern environment is full of a wide spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, from computers, mobile phones & masts, radio & TV broadcasts, WiFi, Bluetooth, power lines, domestic wiring, and electrical appliances. This electromagnetic radiation induces voltages in our bodies, disrupting the trillions of subtle electrical communications which are a vital part of the function of our body’s systems. By being grounded to the Earth we greatly reduce the levels of these induced voltages, as we are then effectively shielded by the Earth’s large electrical mass.
On a less tangible level, it may also be that the connection we make with the Earth actually carries information, and helps align us with the greater network of intelligence of our planet. In this 5 min video, Charles Eisenstein, author and spiritual activist, talks about ‘unleashing the power of nature’ by accessing the greater network of intelligence. If you struggle to believe in this greater power, I recommend you reading this article on the ‘power of belief’.
How to practice ‘Earthing’
There are many ways to practice ‘earthing’. The simplest way to be grounded is to go outside and place your bare feet or hands on some grass or earth, or to immerse yourself in a body of conductive water such as the sea or a mineral-rich lake. Do this for at least 15 minutes to achieve significant impact.
But grounding also works indoors by connecting your body to a conductive wire that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the place you work or sleep and from there into the body. This may sound like a lot of hassle, but fortunately the majority of domestic electrical systems in the world already have such a conductive wire. You can find out more by contacting your landlord, or an electrician.
5 positive impacts of ‘Earthing’:
1. Reduced cortisol levels and thus improvement with symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression
The symptoms of high cortisol can affect the whole body. The most common symptoms are emotional stress and anxiety. This can be accompanied by feelings of fatigue, and although you might feel tired, high cortisol levels can cause insomnia, keeping you awake at night.
Having high cortisol can result in other hormonal imbalances. The function of insulin is inhibited, causing changes in appetite and weight gain. As more fat is stored around the abdomen, this increases the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The sex hormones can also be affected causing irregular menstruation in women, loss of libido and infertility.
Other symptoms related to high cortisol include acne, puffiness of the face, increased thirst and urination, digestive issues, low immunity and a higher risk of fractures.
Science has proven that earthing has regulates cortisol levels and reduces stress. In this way, it harmonizes our body’s natural rhythms and reduces the risk of the health problems associated with high cortisol.
Another study looked at the effects of earthing on HRV, an indicator of parasympathetic nervous system function and relaxation. They tested 28 subjects who each spent 40 minutes earthed and 40 minutes unearthed while relaxing in a chair.
They found that HRV improved during earthing, indicating increased parasympathetic activity. The authors suggest that earthing could be beneficial for those suffering from anxiety, stress, panic, fear, and other symptoms of nervous system dysfunction.
The bottom line is that connecting to nature is a must if you feel anxious, stressed or depressed. When we exercise or walk in nature, we naturally ‘feel better’, don’t you? Research came to the same conclusion. People with a major depressive disorder showed increases in mood and showed significant memory span increases after they had been on a 50-minute walk. Other studies found that exercising in green environments reduces anxiety.
2. Reduced inflammation by significantly reducing oxidative stress. Readily recovers us from injuries, trauma and exhaustion.
Inflammation has been linked to nearly every degenerative disease you can think of — cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, glaucoma, autoimmune disorders, cancer and many more. Here is a list with all symptoms linked to inflammation. Earthing reduces chronic inflammation and related chronic pain. With less inflammation in the body you may experience less aches and pains, sleep better, feel calmer and less stressed, have a stronger immune system, ward off potentially life threatening diseases and it will contribute to your overall general well-being and longevity.
3. Boosted immune system
Immunity is a highly complex subject that scientists are still working to fully understand. What we know for sure is that the function of the immune system is to protect us from harmful microbes such as bacteria and viruses. If you suffer from frequent coughs and colds, it may be because your immune system is weak.
In 2011, researchers Sokal and Sokal conducted a series of experiments to determine how earthing influences physiological processes. One of these experiments investigated how earthing affected the immune response and concluded with significant evidence that contact with the Earth positively affects the immune activity .
4. Improved sleep
Sleep problems is a term used to describe a range of different conditions. These include insomnia; that is, the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, sleep apnea which is a condition in which breathing stops temporarily during sleep, jet lag, or other sleep issues such as sleepwalking or nightmares.
Good night sleep is important because a number of biological processes happen within your body. Not only is our mind given the chance to relax and process the information that it has received throughout the day, but our body is also allowed to repair and rejuvenate itself.
During sleep, our body produces a number of vital hormones. Perhaps the most important of these is melatonin. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland. As well as promoting sleep, melatonin has the functions of increasing daytime energy, slowing cell damage and aging and may even inhibit the growth of certain cancers, such as breast-cancer.
Earthing allows you to naturally fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply and wake fewer times during the night. It does this by increasing your levels of melatonin while reducing your levels of cortisol. Since earthing promotes the natural regulation of these two hormones, there is no risk of overdose or side-effects as there is with sleeping pills.
The research on earthing for sleep is very positive. This 2004 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine confirmed that earthing normalizes cortisol levels throughout the day, allowing the body to feel more relaxed. A further study showed that earthing also increased melatonin levels. These results are cited in the book chapter ‘Biophysics of Earthing’ by James Oschman. It states: “Melatonin increased in 66% of subjects after sleeping grounded for 6 weeks. Increases ranged between 2% and 16%. Melatonin decreased by 6% in only one of the subjects. The other three remained the same.”
5. Promote women’s everyday emotional health and well-being by reducing hormonal and menstrual symptoms
Hormones are chemicals released by the body that affect the way cells function, and they are the way one part of your body sends messages to another to stimulate metabolism, growth, moods, reproduction, sexual arousal, hunger, puberty, menopause, and even parenting. Hormones help with reactive situations, and send signals to allow the body to perform better during a crisis (e.g. the classic “fight or flight” response).
A hormone imbalance can affect your every day activities; from waking up, to eating, to attitudes, to exercising, and even back to sleeping. One imbalance in any single hormone will affect your entire body. Inflammation in our gut impacts our thyroid hormones, which impacts our adrenal hormones, which impacts our sex hormones, which impacts our day/night rhythm. Everything is interrelated between cortisol and thyroid and adrenal function and estrogens and progesterones and melatonin and serotonin and even insulin sensitivity.
Watch Dr. Laura Konivier’s video, an Intuitive Physician, who explains the links between gut inflammation, food imbalance, hormonal imbalance and how earthing helps prevent these imbalances. She also suggests assessing your adrenals with this free test.
Natures daily prescription = Spend 90 minutes a day connected with nature.
Within 5 minutes of getting off the couch or from behind your technological device, your brain will start to change for the better. Your happy hormones will start to slowly release. Your blood will flow, your joints will lubricate, you will breath deeply oxygenating every cell in your body and your mind will become present as it forgets the “to do lists”
CALL TO EMBODIMENT
SPEND 90 minutes in nature today
1. What will you do? (garden, beach walk, run outside, surf, dive etc?)
2. Who would you invite to come with you? (connection is medicine too!)
If you want some accountability? Take a photo and tag us in 🙂 We love to see the human impact of these posts.
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Academic Flow Writer for Selfcare
Bibi is a flow writer that merges ancient wisdom with modern science; so that you too can embody the learnings into your own unique selfcare Journey. She too believes that “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” -, Richard Buckminster Fuller
Dr. Gaétan Chevalier, conducted numerous studies and published papers on ‘Earthing’
Christopher Wanjek, Live Science Contributor, on Free Radicals
Charles Eisenstein, Author, Spiritual Activist, on: “Unleashing the power of nature”