What is Earthing? – Health benefits and Earthing 101

Do you know what earthing is? Find out the benefits of Earthing, the science behind it and how to start connecting with Earth for mental and physical wellbeing.
earthing

Take off your socks and shoes and get out into nature to try Earthing – a simple holistic therapy that offers a variety of health benefits. Not only does it improve our physical and mental health, it is also the perfect way to feel connected to Earth.

What is Earthing

Earthing, also known as grounding, is making direct skin contact with the Earth's surface and tapping into its natural energy source. By connecting directly to the Earth, our bodies can absorb free electrons which are an amazing source of antioxidants with lots of benefits for our health and wellbeing.

Claire Branigan - Wellbeing Coach and Forest Bathing Guide

Earthing is a way of deeply connecting to the Earth by being in physical contact with it, so that your bare skin can feel the rock, or soil, or grass beneath it. It allows an energetic connection with the Earth, and can be an important practice in a world that is becoming increasingly disconnected.

Catherine Mason - Nature Connection Guide​

So, all you need to do, is make a direct skin contact with the Earth’s surface – by walking barefoot (in a forest, a meadow, a field, on the beach), sitting or laying down on the ground, or even touching the elements of nature, such as flowers, trees and rocks, with your hands. For most benefits, Earthing should be done for an hour every day. 

A Look In the Past

Our ancestors lived in harmony with Earth as they walked barefoot, used natural elements to plant and build, and sat and slept on the ground.

Today, our busy lives get us carried away and we end up spending less time outside. Furthermore, when we do get out in the nature, “we’re often more concerned with protecting ourselves from the elements than making direct contact with them” (source). Shoes, tall buildings, beds, pavements – it all works as a shield between us and the Earth.

This disconnect from the Earth and its natural energy has made us more vulnerable to illness and stress. People today are physically stressed, their muscles are tense, back and joint pains are “normal” and sleep struggles are common. Stress can lead to multiple complications, including heart diseases, cancer, skin problems and emotional disorders.
There is evidence that humans in today’s traditional societies that maintain contact with the Earth, just like our ancestors did, do not experience the common sleep and stress related health problems of the modern world – so maybe we should reconnect with the Earth too?

Benefits of Earthing

Earthing has positive impact on our mental and physical health. Here’s some benefits:
  • Decreased inflammation and chronic pain
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy
  • Improved blood flow and blood pressure
  • Lowered stress and anxiety
  • Accelerated healing of wounds and injury
  • Relieved muscle tension
  • Relieved headache
  • Stimulated trauma recovery
  • Reduced hormonal symptoms
  • Increased immune function
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The Science Behind It

Our world is full of electromagnetic fields, which means that many of us have an excessive amount of positive electrons (free radicals) building up in our bodies every day. The build-up of these electrons eventually leads to deterioration of our cells, accelerated aging, inflammation and diseases.
The Earth is a limitless source of negative electrons. Therefore, every time we are in direct contact with the ground, the Earth’s electrons are transferred to us, which neutralises the impact of the positive electrons in our body. This electron exchange induces physiological changes that promote optimum health.

The moment your foot touches the Earth… your physiology changes. An immediate normalization begins and an anti-inflammatory switch is turned on. People stay inflamed because they never connect to the Earth, the source of free electrons, which can neutralize the free radicals in the body that cause disease and cellular destruction.

Dr. James Oschman, Ph.D. - biophysicist

In 2000, there was a study to see how grounding improves the symptoms of sleep disturbances and chronic muscle and joint pain. Test subjects were divided in two groups – one slept on mattress pads that were designed to replicate the ground plane of the Earth, the other slept on mattress pads that were not connected to an Earth ground. During the 30-day test, the subjects of group 1 showed the results of improved sleep, relaxed muscles, subsided back and joint pain and improved general health. (source)

A study in 2018 was conducted to test how grounding lowers high blood pressure. 10 hypertensive patients were asked to ground themselves at home for at least 10h a day for several months. By the end of the study, all 10 patient measurements were found to be significantly improved, with an average blood pressure decrease of 14.3%. (source)
Another study tested how grounding improves brain function, heart rate and muscle tension while meditating. 10 meditators practising different techniques used a special conductive chair and were grounded for 40 minutes in the middle of their 1h meditation session. The results showed signs of deeper meditation, improvements in brain function and signs of a healing response and detoxification during grounding. (source)

Where to Start

earthing
Are you interested to try Earthing? Maybe you’re someone who remembers days as a child when you might have ran in gardens, fields, forests and beaches barefoot and you want to rediscover that connection with the Earth?

Here’s what to do next:

  • Find a small patch of ground where you can be still and quiet (like a garden or local park) and take off your socks and shoes
  • To make this a more mindful, stress-reducing activity, focus your thoughts on the sensations in your feet
  • If walking barefoot isn’t for you, look for shoes with natural soles (not plastic or rubber)
  • Try lying down on the ground to feel Earth holding you
  • You can also use your hands to connect with Earth by gardening and touching trees, ground and stones

My favourite way to earth is to go barefoot in the forest when I’m forest bathing, or on the beach. Sadly, I don’t live near the coast, so I’m not able to have my feet in the sand as often as I’d like, but being barefoot in the forest always feels pretty magical to me.

Claire Branigan - Wellbeing Coach and Forest Bathing Guide​

If I am short of time, I find that even standing or sitting with the soles of my bare feet on a tiny patch of grass in my garden can be beneficial. I will close my eyes and take some deep breaths, then just pay attention to the feeling of the ground holding me. If I have a bit more time, I will go for a walk and visit one of my favourite trees. I will sit beneath it with my bare feet flat on the ground and my back resting against the trunk. The loop of energy will be much wider, encompassing the tree and reaching deeper into the ground through its roots and higher into the sky from its branches.

Catherine Mason - Nature Connection Guide​

As for me, I use every chance to take off my shoes and feel the different textures of the ground beneath me, and every year when winter comes to an end, I’m excited to have long walks, to touch trees and to sit in the forest and feel how my mind calms and fills with creative ideas.

Will you try Earthing? Do you have a favourite way of connecting with Earth? Share your experiences below!

A special thank you to Wellbeing Coach and Forest Bathing Guide Claire Branigan and Nature Connection Guide Catherine Mason for sharing their expertise on Earthing. 

Visit Earthing Institute to learn more.

Other sources: The Many Benefits of Earthing; Earthing: Studies Show Walking Barefoot Might Be An Essential Element Of Optimal Health; Earthing, the Benefits of Connecting with Earth’s Energy.

Photos by Ilze Millere.

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