I remember as a kid running around barefoot a lot. It seemed like the thing to do at the time, it felt good…it felt natural. Well it turns out nothing has changed! Even as an adult walking barefoot (which I didn’t do much) felt really amazing, and now there is research that suggests why.
You may have heard of “grounding” or “earthing”, which are words that are becoming more widely known all the time. Basically, it is the idea of connecting with the earth, because there is evidence pointing to the fact this practice may lower free radical damage (oxidative stress), inflammation, pain and stress. This is very important because all of those things lead to disease in one form or another, if not managed properly.
Connecting to the earth’s powerful, all natural energy is healing for everyone. If you don’t believe me go try it:) It’s about syncing our own innate healing abilities, with those of the earth, and the best part is that its super easy. Pretty much anytime, anyplace, you can find a patch of grass or soil to walk around in for a few minutes.
From The Journal of Environmental and Public Health:
It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems which may be important for setting the biological clock, regulating circadian rhythms, and balancing cortisol levels.
So our bodies run through a type of electrical current, and are able to absorb these charges from direct contact with the earth. Our skin is the “conductor”. The balls of the feet are believed to be especially well placed at receiving the earths electricity. By allowing our skin to come in contact with the earth, it can help fight free radical activity and lower body inflammation, thereby stacking some cards in our favor when it comes to poor health.
The problem is our modern environment. We always wear shoes, and live and work above ground a lot, so our lifestyle isn’t conducive to grounding. We are rarely in touch with the earth like our ancestors were. Our brain, heartbeat, and neurotransmitter activity all depend upon electrical inputs. If the electricity is off…it’s possible for our health to suffer as a result. However, by aligning our bodies electricity with that of the earth, it becomes more stable, more consistent. Think about how great it feels to be in nature under the sun. Walking barefoot helps produce a similar result, thanks to the surge of healthy compounds that may flood your system as a result.
In 2012 the Journal of Environmental and Public Health also stated:
Throughout history, humans mostly walked barefoot or with footwear made of animal skins. They slept on the ground or on skins. Through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground’s abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive. Through this mechanism, every part of the body could equilibrate with the electrical potential of the Earth, thereby stabilizing the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells.
Awesome. So to sum up earthing can:
- Help reduce stress hormones
- Help you sleep better (a study published in 2006 in the Journal of European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics showed sleeping patterns improved)
- Increase your energy levels
- Lower pain (inflammation) like arthritis for example
How to start earthing then? If you are at the beach, just lay on the sand instead of sitting in a chair or towel. You can also garden, mow the lawn, get the mail, barbecue, and play at the park, all in your bare feet. You can even buy special “grounding” products like earthing mats and earthing bands. I think these may have merit, but so far I prefer to walk around outside 20-30 minutes a day at the park, or in my yard (as my neighbors wonder what the heck I’m doing:)
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Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC
Break-Free, Own Your Health