Ever since I was little I felt myself drawn outside – barefoot. If given the option, shoes were opted out in exchange for free-moving toes and dirty soles. Even now, as an adult, when I go outside to work or play, I prefer to go without shoes. I love the feel of my skin touching the grass, dirt, rocks, and even cement. It is real to me. Alive. Reminding me of what it’s like to feel. To be connected to something.
Most simply, this connection I crave is one with the Earth: a process called Grounding or Earthing. To ground is to bring the skin in contact with the surface of the Earth to allow the body’s electrical current to align with the electrical energy of the Earth, restoring balance. Grounding maintains the human body’s most natural electrical state, which in turn promotes optimum health and functionality in daily life.
Just as the sun gives us warmth and vitamin D, the Earth underfoot gives us food, water, a surface to enjoy, and a gentle energy that is healing to the body. You can’t see the Earth’s energy but some people experience it as a warm, tingling, pleasant sensation felt while walking barefoot along the water’s edge or on a stretch of dew-moistened grass. This is grounding.
So, why do I want to be grounded? Besides restoring electrical balance to the body, research is now being conducted validating what our natives knew and people today are experiencing in their own lives: that grounding helps with health challenges such as insomnia, chronic pain, exhaustion, stress, anxiety and premature aging. There is an emerging connection being made between grounding and the reduction of inflammation and inflammatory diseases.
What is this energy exchange taking place when we bring ourselves in contact with the Earth? Well, we all live and function electrically on an electrical planet. “The Earth is a six sextillion (that’s six followed by twenty-one zeros) metric ton battery that is continually being replenished by solar radiation, lightening and heat from its deep-down molten core. And just like a battery in a car that keeps the motor running and the wheels turning, so, too, do the rhythmic pulsations of natural energy flowing through and emanating from the surface of the Earth keep the biological machinery of global life running in rhythm and balance – for everything that lives on the land or in the sea.” (Earthing, Ober/Sinatra/Zucker) We, too, are each a collection of electrical circuits, with individual body systems (ex: heart, brain, nervous system) operating within the bioelectrical body. All movement, behavior and action are energized by electricity.
The relationship between bioelectrical you and your electrical planet has to do with conductivity – the degree to which a specified material conducts electricity. Here that specified material is you, or your shoes, or the house you live in and the degree to which you are able to conduct the Earth’s electrical current. Rubber and plastic do not conduct electricity, but grass, sand, dirt and concrete all do. These conductive surfaces allow your body to draw up the Earth’s energy. To balance, restore and heal, we want to remedy our electrical instability by conducting the energy from the Earth. It is easily transferred up, into and throughout our bodies as long as there is direct skin contact with the ground.
So what do we do? Take our shoes off and get outside! When I find myself drained and depleted, I go outside. When my energy is low, I go outside. When my muscles ache or some ailment is calling for my attention, I go outside. When I feel overwhelmed and anxious, my remedy is a small nap on a blanket on the grass. This is powerful therapy for me. It has changed the way I regard the ground under my feet and my relationship with the planet I live on. With respect and gratitude, I return to the Earth over and again to heal.
Try it: Go barefoot outside for a half-hour and see what a difference it makes on your pain or stress level. Sit, stand or walk on grass, sand, dirt or concrete. Take a nap on a blanket on the ground. Garden barefoot. Experience for yourself the healing energy of the Earth at work.
(Earthing by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, and Martin Zucker)
Author: Erica McLaughlin is a therapeutic bodywork practitioner specializing in embodiment. She strongly believes in the healing power that comes when we provide ourselves a quiet space to connect the body and mind. In this space our true essence has a chance to emerge, offering the greatest gift of healing: self-acceptance.