Grounding: Benefits of Earthing Your Bare Feet
In electrical engineering, a ground is the path by which the current that flows through your device returns to earth. If you break that earth connection, you break the circuit.
In therapeutic terms, grounding involves skin contact with the earth (or ground). Some common ways of earthing or grounding include walking barefoot on the ground or sitting in a pool of water.
Staying grounded can be difficult in a world where we rarely touch the earth. But just as grounding can route away static electricity in circuits, earthing and grounding can help your body, mind, and spirit stay focused.
What Is Grounding?
Grounding, or earthing, is connecting your bare feet (or skin) to the earth so that any positively charged ion can be neutralised with negatively charged ions called electrons. The body, especially the immune system, works best when we have an abundance of electrons in the body.
Our bodies are made up mostly of water and when we have direct interaction with the earth’s infinite supply of free electrons, they are absorbed and allow for a balance in our energy systems.
Grounding techniques are an important aspect of our lives. Now, more than ever, we are as a society more out of touch and disconnected from the earth than ever before. High-rise apartments. Indoor lifestyles. The screens that occupy us. Shoes! These things all disconnect us from Mother Earth. Oftentimes, if you ask adults when was the last time their bare feet touched the earth, they can hardly remember.
Earthing, meaning a therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth, is an easy way to become more focused and centered. It requires no specialised equipment, no rigorous training, and no costly accessories. All it takes is you and the ground beneath your feet.
Earthing relies on the negative electrical charge of the earth. Lightning strikes and atmospheric pressure produce electrons in the earth. When your positively-charged body makes skin contact with the negatively-charged earth, these electrons flow into the body and are absorbed by your cells and organs.
To add to the benefits of earthing, the earth connection removes free radicals, which are known to contribute to aging and certain chronic diseases. In essence, grounding restores the body’s bioelectrical environment to its normal, balanced state.
Cities and busy areas have an accumulation of these positively charged ions and studies show that depression, anxiety, and feelings of mental unrest are a result of having an excess of these in our bodies. Whereas, waterfalls, ocean waves, and being in nature offer benefits of grounding and allow for negatively charged electrons to produce calm, peace, and serenity.
The biggest cause of disease in the modern day is inflammation. Multiple studies have shown a significant reduction in inflammation from grounding which has produced astounding results. This is something that our ancestors didn’t need proof on. Connecting with the earth was a part of life and one aspect that many today have lost. You often hear people say, “I’m feeling grounded” or “I’m not feeling grounded,” which relates to the mental state that they may be feeling.
Benefits of Grounding Barefoot
Take a look at the wonderful earthing health benefits below that have been shown from a variety of studies on earthing science.
• Improved immune system
• More efficient detoxification
• Allow our bodies to restore to natural states/rhythms
• Cell repair and cell function improvements
• Lowers inflammation
• Reduction of pain
• Better digestion
• Improves blood flow
• Better circulation
• Reduction of stress
• Promotes calm and serenity
• Improved energy
• Faster recovery from energy
• Supporting healthy blood pressure
• Oxygenates the tissue
• Blood glucose sugar regulation
• Shifts us from fight-or-flight (SNS) to rest-and-digest (PNS)
Grounding therapy remains an under-researched topic. But different researchers focusing on grounding techniques for pain reduction or stress relief have found that, after grounding therapy, participants report less emotional pressure or pain.
Based on earthing or grounding studies, the free electrons we gain from the earth act like antioxidants in our bodies by neutralising free radicals that cause damage to our cells. Grounding also improves the nervous system by helping to calm the body – releasing tension and relaxing the muscles. Cortisol is the hormone that is produced when we are under stress and studies have shown the regulation of cortisol levels from continual earthing.
Another major impact of grounding is related to sleep. According to research, those who practice earthing or grounding began to require a shorter amount of time to fall asleep, are able to sleep better, and wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested. Studies have also shown massive impacts in terms of chronic pain relief.
Types of Grounding or Earthing
Grounding techniques use your five senses or tangible objects — things you can touch — to help you move through distress.
Grounding exercises don’t provide immediate results, and it may take weeks or months for a person to notice a difference, but there are several benefits. In addition to improved sleep and pain relief, the practice of earthing reduces the risk of free radical damage and promotes well-being. There are many ways to practice earthing, and it may be beneficial for you to experiment with different grounding techniques to see which ones work best for you.
One of the best grounding activities is to simply walk barefoot in nature. As your feet touch the soil, it pulls away your worries and fears, centers you in the here and now, and leaves you better able to balance your feelings.
While barefoot walking is a great grounding activity that offers several earthing benefits, you can also ground yourself by lying on the ground, touching sand, or standing on mud. If you live in a house without a concrete floor, you can ground yourself by standing on a sand or mud mat.
Water calms, soothes, and brings us back to the womb. One of the best grounding activities is submerging yourself in the ocean. Saltwater is an excellent conductor and the ocean’s constant movement ensures your body will soak up a steady supply of cleansing and healing free electrons.
Using Grounding Equipment
When going outside is not an option, grounding equipment can help. Some options include:
• Grounding mats that you put at your feet while sleeping are helpful for people living in apartments or cities.
• Grounding shoes without insulators include a conductive layer between the ground and your feet to facilitate earthing energy exchange.
• Grounding bed sheets that provide a conductive connection between you and the ground, helping you sleep better and wake up more refreshed.
Mindful eating, or taking a moment to be present while eating, has a number of benefits. When we are distracted, we choose unhealthy foods and eat even when we are already full. This leads to obesity and other health concerns.
Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and turmeric can help you feel grounded with their gentle boost in energy from natural minerals. Other grounding foods include cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, leafy greens, and green tea.
Negative Side Effects of Earthing
No one can deny the health benefits of grounding but remember that earthing effects can take time before you notice the positive changes. This is especially true for those who have been out of touch with nature and accumulating these positively charged ions for many years.
One thing to note: some people reported to have experienced negative side effects of earthing, such as nausea, pain, aches, and other temporary discomforts (think detoxing). Nevertheless, the benefits are worth the trade-off of short-term pain for long-term gain.
If you do experience any of these negative side effects after grounding, you can reduce exposure and gradually increase it over time. Other than this possible short-term discomfort, there are no other negative side effects of continual grounding. Overall, this practice is a positive aspect of being a human being on this earth. Energy will return and the positive effects will compound if continued over time.
Applying Grounding in Everyday Life
The importance of grounding in everyday life cannot be overstated. Good grounding strategies are a powerful tool for creating space for your mental and emotional health.
Work stress, commuting stress, emotional stress, financial stress — if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the modern world, here are some easy grounding exercises:
Stay Grounded with Meditation
Various forms of grounding meditation can be found all over the world. For many centuries, different cultures have recognised the importance of grounding in meditation.
You don’t have to join a monastery to practice grounding. Something as simple as a 10-minute morning meditation can help you stay mindful throughout your day.
The grounding technique of deep breathing is a fantastic way to stay grounded during times of stress to help you eliminate negative emotions. One of the best grounding, earthing breaths is the “Fourfold Breath.” Breathe in for four, then hold that breath for four. Breathe out for four, then hold for four.
Earth grounding in nature doesn’t have to involve a trip into pristine wilderness. Getting access to grounding can be as easy as walking barefoot in your backyard or a nearby grassy area or park. Grounding near your home reminds you that wherever we go, we are in nature.
Ground Yourself with Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations will bring you back to the present with a healthier mindset. When we brood about the past or worry about the future, we are not in the here and now. Positive affirmations remind us we are where we need to be and are doing what we must do.
It is said that the effects of grounding can be felt in as fast as four seconds! Ideally, spend 30 to 120 minutes a day next to the earth to start experiencing the many positive benefits of grounding.
You can start small, committing to as little as 2 minutes a day. It might help to keep a journal to note any changes you notice and incorporate it as a regular part of your routine.