Have you ever felt physically and mentally refreshed after walking barefoot on a sandy beach, taking a nap on the grass, or swimming in the sea? Well, there’s something more to this feeling of positivity than just finding pleasure from returning to nature and enjoying the fresh air.
Earthing is about resetting your electrical connection with the earth, which can bring numerous health benefits. Our bodies evolved in harmony with the planet, and our modern lives have taken this direct contact away from us.
But what is earthing? As we answer this question, we’ll see how the grounding effect works, how you can benefit from it and how you can get back to earth both outside and indoors.
How Does Earthing Work?
Humans evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in almost constant connection with the earth below them. However, in relatively recent history, we are less and less in touch with the ground, which might have detrimental effects.
Whether from sleeping on a raised bed or wearing synthetic-soled shoes, we are no longer in contact with the earth like we used to be.
Earthing (also called grounding) is the process that puts us into direct connection with the earth and harmonises our electrical charge to match that of the planet. This might sound like an odd thing to want to do, but let’s explain why it’s important.
Why Do We Need to Earth Ourselves?
The planet earth itself has a natural negative electric charge. Under normal circumstances, direct contact with the ground continually dissipates built-up static electrical energy and, in return, conducts free electrons to all living things.
This continual earthing maintains the healthy electrical balance with which our bodies have evolved. Your modern human body, no longer touching the ground directly for most of the day, may have lost the free supply of electrons. Scientists have discovered that this can have numerous adverse effects, particularly in the area of chronic disease.
Returning our body’s contact to the ground by earthing allows free electrons to be taken up and our natural balance to return. Free electrons are world-class antioxidants, and letting them rebalance from the ground can neutralise the excessive free radicals that otherwise build up and cause inflammation which is known to be the cause of chronic diseases and reduced overall wellbeing.
Balancing our electrical charge by grounding can, amongst other benefits:
- Correct our primary biological rhythms
- Reduce chronic inflammation
- Promote better sleep
- Reduce chronic fatigue
- Reduce emotional stress, anxiety and depression
- Improve mood
- Provide pain reduction from chronic disease
- Improve blood pressure
- Reduce risks of cardiovascular disease
- Lower blood viscosity
- Enhance our immune response
- Enhance muscle repair
- Improve circulation
- Promote wound healing
So, if we’re looking for earthing meaning, it’s simply resetting our earth connection with the planet by making direct skin contact with the ground. Whether through our bare feet when we walk or our backs and legs as we sleep, allowing the transfer of electrons into the human body through this practice can bring numerous health benefits.
Who Should Try Earthing?
Having considered what is earthing, who could benefit from it? Simply put, we can all probably benefit from getting back in contact with the ground!
Think about it. When was the last time you walked on the bare earth? Not treated flooring, but the raw ground. Similarly, when did you last take a swim in a lake or the sea?
We’ve even lost the connection with the earth’s surface as we walk around these days. Traditional natural leather-soled shoes allowed the flow of electrons from the ground. However, our modern synthetic footwear provides an effective barrier.
So, for most of us, our natural connection with the ground is almost entirely missing in everyday life, which could have negative health implications. However, there are specific signs that earthing might be worth trying if you:
- Suffer anxiety or depression or mental health treatment
- Experience chronic fatigue or sleep disorders
- Has a compromised immune system
- Have trouble with sleep quality and duration
- Suffer from or have a family history of cardiovascular disease
- Experience chronic pain or inflammation
- Have excessive muscle pain after strenuous exercise
- Have chronic illnesses
How Long Does It Take To Notice the Benefits?
You can’t expect to feel instant results from regaining your electrical conductivity with the ground. However, studies have shown that in a very short time, albeit perhaps unnoticeable to you at first, our nervous systems and muscles relax, and stress reduces. For most people, it takes between 30 and 90 minutes daily to feel much of a difference in reducing pain or improving calmness.
Researchers have tested blood markers for inflammation and noted these were reduced in reasonably short periods. However, depending on precisely what you’re suffering from, it may take weeks of repetitive earthing therapy to notice much change.
Naturally, if you are generally healthy, it is harder to notice much difference when you try it. The theory is that exposing your body to less damage from everyday free radicals offers long-term benefits to your general health over and above anything that might be directly bothering you.
Experts suggest using a journal for at least a month to record how you feel in relation to your specific conditions when you try earthing. It’s essential to try and be consistent in how and for how long you ground yourself so you can find out what benefits you feel.
You might find that improvements are subtle. However, if you suddenly realise that you’re sleeping better and have more energy in the day or that the chronic pain affecting your concentration at work is bothering you less, it could well be the earthing.
What Is Outdoor Earthing?
Outdoor earthing is pretty straightforward and is the true natural method of rebuilding the connection. All you need to do is get into contact with the ground with your bare skin for 30 minutes or more.
Begin your outdoor practice by:
- Walking with bare feet on grass, earth or sand
- Swimming in the sea, a lake, or a river
- Lying down on the ground for a nap
- Doing the gardening with bare hands
- Sitting on the floor outside with friends for a chat rather than using chairs
If you’re going to take a walk barefoot, do make sure that you pay attention to where you’re going so you don’t end up cutting your feet. Rest assured that the stress would negate the benefits of getting back in contact with the ground.
What Are the Best Surfaces for Outdoor Earthing?
The best surfaces to ground yourself outdoors are natural materials from the earth itself. We’re talking about grass, sand, natural stone, mud, earth, and plain concrete.
Coated concrete, wood, carpet, asphalt and vinyl all block the flow of electrons from the earth.
How Do You Earth Indoors?
Earthing indoors requires using a product to connect your body to the earth.
The most straightforward way is to use a conductive wrist or ankle strap with a wire connected to your electrical power supply’s earthing system, a grounded water pipe, or an earthing rod.
However, this may not be practical or comfortable in practice. Luckily there are several innovative devices you can use.
- Earthing sheets have a built-in conductive weave that earths your body while you sleep.
- Grounding mats are convenient and come in various sizes to ground your feet as you sit and work or watch tv or your wrists as you use a computer.
- A yoga earthing mat lets you experience the full grounding effect while you work out.
- You can even get special footwear, so you’re always grounded when you walk outdoors.
Ready to Try Earthing?
While not everything is completely understood about the theory called earthing and how it benefits our bodies, plenty of research says getting back in contact with the earth’s surface electrons can significantly improve our overall health.
The best way to find out what earthing is and what it could do for you is to try it yourself. After all, what is there to lose by enjoying a beach walk or sleeping on the grass?