One of the easiest ways to take advantage of Mother Earth’s healing powers is through the practice of "earthing." Earthing grounds our body by connecting it to the innate and powerful electromagnetic field of the earth. (Learn more in Getting Grounded: What It Means and How to Get It.)
Earthing, also referred to as "grounding," is done by walking barefoot on the earth and allowing the skin on the soles of our feet to come into contact with the grass, soil or rock beneath us. While walking barefoot on the earth may sound like an inconsequential thing to do, it has some potent benefits for our body, mind and spirit.
How Earthing Works
The earth is the grounding force of nature and it emits a subtle energy which we absorb when we walk barefoot. Our bodies are constantly being bombarded with free radicals, which build up over time. These positive electrons need to be balanced with a negative charge, which is what the ground offers us. Most of us have too many positive electrons due to cell phones, Wi-Fi and other sources of electromagnetic waves. (Learn more in Joys of Unplugging.)
As humans, we need to touch the earth on a regular basis, whether it’s through gardening, walking barefoot outside, or spending a night under the stars on a camping trip. As urban environments continue to grow and more people move into cities, we’ve become less inclined to engage in these kinds of activities on a regular basis. Our bare feet rarely touch the bare earth because we’ve become accustomed to wearing shoes with rubber soles that block the elemental contact. For this reason, we need to make a conscientious effort to practice earthing.
The Healing Benefits of Earthing
Earthing has been shown to naturally lower cortisol levels, which in turn relieves stress as cortisol is a stress hormone and responsible for many modern-day diseases. Earthing also lowers inflammation levels in the body. Like stress, too much inflammation causes a myriad of disease processes to take root. In fact, some athletes and Olympians use this technique to decrease recovery time from injury.
Our quality of sleep can be improved through earthing by helping us get our circadian rhythms back in sync with those of Mother Nature. If you’ve been a night owl for years and sense that it may be healthier to become a morning lark so you can do early morning meditation or yoga practice, try earthing.
Earthing is also thought to relieve chronic pain, such as high blood pressure, tension headaches, general fatigue and adrenal fatigue. Far too many of us deal with pain on a daily basis and need natural ways to alleviate it. Earthing is one of the best ways to do this. (Learn more in The Body Remembers: How Your Body is Storing Past Trauma.)
Western science is beginning to back up the health benefits of earthing with various studies surrounding the alleviation of stress and inflammation. As more research emerges, more people will commit to a regular earthing practice.
How to Practice Earthing
Spend 10 to 30 minutes each day walking barefoot on the ground. If you live near a beach, even better, as salt water that washes up to shore is ripe with magnesium, a mineral that has a calming and soothing affect on the body and mind.
Walking barefoot each day is the cheapest and easiest way to get grounded. If you want, you can also buy an earthing mat and place it beneath your feet as you sit or stand in front of your desk. There are even earthing sheets to sleep on at night, which will do your body a ton of good, given that this is the time your body repairs and restores itself in major ways. Grounding mats and sheets are ideal for winter when it's harder to walk outside barefoot.
I encourage you to integrate whatever earthing practice resonates with you. After some time, you’ll no doubt experience a greater ease and well-being on all levels of health -- mind, body and spirit.