Sometimes the simplest things bring us the greatest health benefits. When is the last time you really felt connected to the earth? Today’s blog post is all about something called “grounding” and how it can help heal the body.
What Is Grounding?
When is the last time you walked barefoot on the earth? Between wearing shoes, living in a house, and maybe even thinking of the ground as “dirty” and avoiding it at all costs, there’s a good chance it’s been a while since you truly got in touch with the earth as humans have always been meant to do.
Grounding, sometimes called earthing, brings us back to a neutral, balanced state when we make direct contact with the earth. Negative ions from the earth’s surface rush into our bodies to discharge the many unpaired positive ions, or free radicals, we’ve picked up in daily life. Those free radicals are associated with disease, aging, and inflammation, and when you expose your bare skin to the soil, grass, or even concrete, the earth’s healing powers swoop in to save the day.
We all have electrical energy, and modern technology has a way of throwing that energy off at times. Free radicals from just living a modern lifestyle and having daily exposure to pollutants, technology (EMFs), and more can build up in the body as free radicals. When we get back in touch (literally!) with the earth, the free radicals neutralize, our health can improve, and we bring ourselves back in sync with the earth’s energy field.
Health Benefits of Getting
Back in Touch with the Earth
There are so many health benefits to grounding, from a reduced risk of heart attack to better sleep and less chronic pain. The earth gives us so much! If we don’t ignore it (or miss out on it unintentionally, like by always wearing shoes outside), there’s so much healing power we can take advantage of.
Better Cardiovascular Health
A study published recently in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinei found that grounding can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Contact with the earth naturally thins the blood and reduces inflammation. This could result in better blood pressure and blood flow.
Less Stress, Depression, and Anxiety
Another studyii showed that grounding could improve heart rate variability, which could lead to not only cardiovascular benefits, but also reduced stress and decreased anxiety and depression. Lowered stress levels could mean fewer headaches and even recovery from adrenal fatigue (because remember, stress can contribute to that!).
Another side effect of grounding is better sleep. A different study from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicineiii found that when subjects—especially females—slept in their own beds with conducive mattress pads, their nighttime cortisol levels dropped, they experienced better sleep, and were in less pain than they were before the study began. Better sleep may mean higher energy levels throughout the day, another perk that comes from grounding.
Could Reduce the Chance of Osteoporosis
The Journal of Environmental and Public Healthiv discussed a possible reduction in the likelihood of developing osteoporosis when subjects spent time earthing. One night of grounding resulted in less calcium and phosphorous through the urine. The loss of these minerals over time is tied to the development of osteoporosis, so finding out how to reduce the loss could do wonders for bone health.
Free electrons’ role as antioxidants are explained in a paper by Dr. James Oschman in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinev. In the case of an “electron deficiency” (not enough contact with the earth’s surface), the immune system suffers and inflammation can’t be addressed and controlled as quickly as it should be. Once we’re able to neutralize the free radicals with the electrons from the earth, inflammation can begin to subside, and this is key to slowing or preventing so many chronic diseases.
Slows the Aging Process
Free radicals are some of the biggest offendersvi when it comes to aging, and if grounding is bringing balance to the body and neutralizing them, you’ll also be slowing down the aging process. Grounding’s effects on inflammation will also reduce premature aging, since inflammation is linked to not only the way you age on the outside, but a number of diseases that a lot of people accept as a normal, albeit heartbreaking, part of getting older.
Other benefits of grounding that have been reported include:
- Protection from electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
- Help for chronic pain
- Less muscle tension
- Sense of calm
- Improved mental clarity
- Quicker healing from exercise-induced muscle pain
- Faster immune responses
How Do You Do It?
There’s not a “right way” to participate in grounding. It’s the most natural thing in the world, though it may feel oddly foreign when you first start practicing it. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to kick off your shoes and walk around in the grass (or dirt, sand, rocks, etc) or lie on the ground and take a short nap in the sun. You could even try yoga or meditation outside.
If you’re crunched for time and have some yard work to do, plant some flowers with your bare hands, dig around in the dirt, and remove the gloves for some of the work it’s safe to do with your hands uncovered. Even a couple of minutes spent in contact with the earth can work wonders. Just make sure you do it regularly to maintain the benefits.
There are also earthing mats and sheets on the market today that you just plug in and stay in contact with as you work or sleep. These are great if you really have no good way to enjoy some time in the grass, dirt, or even rocks.
If you want to know more, there’s a new movie, The Grounded, that discusses the amazing health benefits that contact with the earth can provide. It’s a true story about an Alaskan wildlife farmer who experiences pain relief through grounding and inspires others in his community to give it a try (they also see amazing results). The results are so fantastic, in fact, that doctors, scientists, and even Apollo astronauts become intrigued.
Even if you’re really skeptical about earthing and its benefits, it’s something that’s free to try and really can’t hurt! I encourage you to get outside, put your bare feet on the ground, and see if you notice anything different in the way you feel, whether it’s reduced pain or just better sleep and increased energy because of it. It’s really amazing to think just how healing this planet really is, from the beautiful food that grows here to nourish us to the benefits of just lying in the grass on a sunny afternoon.
I always have loved doing this! I didn’t know there was actual benefits to our bodies though. I just wish we could do this in Canada in the winter 🙁
I just did this yesterday, I ran out barefoot into the yard and the grass felt so good, I walked around and stood there for about 10 minutes. I felt wonderful.
I live in Minnesota. It has gotten down to 25 degrees below zero this month. How do you get grounded when the ground is under a foot or two of snow?
And how does one go about doing this in the middle of the winter in a place where the temperature is well below freezing (especially if living in a large city)? I guess I’m looking for advice on the minimum amount of time and suggestions on where to do this in those circumstances. In a lot of places, you can’t just wait until the temperature warms up because it just doesn’t for about 4-5 months.
Just be careful because there could be parasites on the ground. Also, while cool to be in nature barefoot, we are in touch with the earth every moment because if you look at it – the house we live in, the car we drive, all comes from the earth, so we are always “grounded.”
Great article. I was already aware of this and read through in hopes that you have advice for the many of us whose earth is locked under ice and snow for half the year. Can I ground on the snow? Should I shovel out a spot of grass, even though its frozen under 2 feet of snow? Jason in Canada
Thanks for the reminder to do this? Do you think that the benefits outweigh the risks if we walk on grass that was treated with pesticides?
Me too! I would love to walk out on the grass for 10 minutes, but my feet would freeze in the snow! lol. Great image though — thanks. And “hi” fellow Canuck.
Wonderful New Year’s!!
PS. Thanks for all your great work Kimberly. One thing though, I wanted to get your full program when it came out, so I asked a make-or-break question, but it was never answered. I think, from asking one Dr., that the answer is yes; however, is your program safe for someone with Stage 3, Chronic Kidney Disease?
I love love love being barefoot outside. It has always given me a sense of feeling free. It is wonderful to now learn there are health benefits related to this wonderful feeling.
Sounds great but what about those of us who live in an area with 7 months of snow???
I have friends that lived in a cold environment and their grandma had them walk barefoot outside in the snow…today he can tolerate even the coldest temps without gloves, etc and does not get cold….the body is amazing
The beauty of us being energetic beings is that we can still benefit from the effects of “grounding” our energy without having to step outside. Obviously based on all the research, that is the optimal thing to do. But if you spend most of your life in an urban space, like many New Yorkers, don’t think you can’t benefit from intentionally directing your awareness and visualizing energetically being connected to the earth. Energy goes where we direct it, all it takes is a little visualization and focused concentration.
thanks kim this is a great info .we not know aabout this be for .in these days all people are soo for from our real mother earth .
Very much enjoyed reading article. I have always heard it important grounding is to mind and body…but I never knew why. Just wish we were all able to do this everyday. Some of us live in apartments or condos surrounded by cement (and a few grassy patches that all the dogs relieve themselves in) with no way to experience grounding each day. As grounding is something we are supposed to do naturally everyday may be this it speaks to this kind of living being unnatural. Thank you for this post makes hard about my life and where I call my place home.
Look around online . There are indoor grounding devices that plug into the ground in the electrical socket. That ground runs to the ground outside and there are devices such as grounding sheets and pads that can be used inside your homes.
I have experienced the benefits of grounding, and when you can’t go outside for it, it’s easy to do with house plants!
It really is as simple as getting your hands into the earth. As she says, replant a plant, or even just run some clean potting soil through your fingers.
Awesome! I want to see the movie! Now that I think of it, I grew up on a farm and felt much better when I was outdoors, barefoot as a child, and maybe this is why we all say we sleep so well after a day at the beach! My shoes are going to be off a lot more now, and I will do some gardening with my bare hands.
For the lady with grass with pesticides, I’d say stop using pesticides! 🙂 Get away from toxins.
Sounds like you’re promoting people to be a hippy.
I’m like a kid when it comes to being outside with no shoes on just enjoying the feeling of the grass between my toes. Seeing as I live in Canada sometimes I have to lie in the snow and make snow angels with my son to get that feeling!! With my MEMON Body that experience is even better!! Seriously – being protected from EMF’s, radiation and other e-smog allows me to be completely one with my surroundings without any other interference.
Well, never thought of gardening as grounding, I love to work in the soil and garden from weeding or planting vegetable seeds in my organic garden has always been therapeutic for me. I thought it was just because it got me closer to nature that I felt so much better, relaxed and just good, now I know the true secret. Thanks
great food for thought — thanks for posting. It made me realize how alien my urban existence has become – can’t even remember the last time I would have done this … now I’m thinking of how and where I am going to sneak this little gem into my regular routine. super post – thanks!!
It’s very lucky for me to live in California where the winter is much nicer and warmer than other states of the US. I often take advantage of the weather to go to the beach for a barefoot walk in the sand. It helps me a lot with mental clarity and chronic pain. I think that grounding could be the easiest and most natural way to make you feel wonderful and healthy. Great post. Keep up the good content.
No, this is pseudo-science nonsense with zero basis in fact. Walking barefoot doesn’t “ground” you nor does it provide any secret health “benefits”.
Interesting how people that know nothing, spout nothings.
Why doesn’t somebody make shoes out of a conductive material so that people who live in a cold climate can do this?
There are grounding shoes . Search for them online.
Does walking barefoot in a home with natural stone flooring, like limestone, provide any grounding benefits?
Last week, my 17 yr old decided we should sit outside for our read-a-loud time. Once I finished reading, I told my 7 yr old that I was just going to lie outside for a little bit. She chose to stay with me and gathered a blanket alongside mine. Within 15 minutes, this child who hasn’t napped regularly since she was 2, took a 1 hour nap and did the same the following day! Just wished we lived someplace she could do this daily!
is this backed by science? where are the peer reviewed studies?
Usually we link to peer-reviewed studies and clinical research, but the benefits of grounding have not been formally studied yet. I wouldn’t hold my breath, either — there is little incentive for pharmaceutical or supplement companies to spend a fortune studying something that is free and available to all.
There seems to be established science on grounding, but if it works, why do you think the mainstream medical institutions haven’t adopted it into medical practices?
Mainstream medicine is not interested in anything it cannot patent. I have been practicing earthing for some years, now, and I can say with certainty that I have benefited from its use. I sleep far more soundly than I ever did, and at 81 years of age I am as active as a man of 50. Interestingly, our pet dog, a Yorkie, will always choose an earthed cushion when there is a choice. She seems to instinctively know that there is a difference.
Thank you for sharing Eric…happy to hear you enjoy Earthing! 😉
The content shared over here is really beneficial , because at some point of time , everyone faces these problems . Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your feedback and hope to see you back here soon! 😉
This article helps me a lot with mental clarity and chronic pain. I think that grounding could be the easiest and most natural way to make you feel wonderful and healthy. Great post. Keep up the good content.
Yes, I love grounding as a simple and effective way to feel better and reset. Thanks for following along!