I have to preface and say that I grew up with a Mother who hated (and continues to hate) wearing shoes and walks around barefoot most of the time. One more than one occasion we have gone out on a family outing and had to turn back because Mom realized she didn’t have any footwear with her. Growing up I was embarrassed and thought it was crazy that my Mom walked around like a Flintstone. I wore shoes all the time as a kid- even around the house. But now that grounding, or Earthing, as it is often referred to is becoming accepted as a ‘thing’, I see that my Mom has been onto something all these years. She’s a real OG on the grounding front. Who knew?
Unlike our ancestors, we are rarely sans footwear. Even in the comfort of our own homes. I prefer no shoes in the house because of the ick factor of trudging whatever you stepped on outside, inside. But I find the idea of forgoing footwear outside interesting.
Other than my Mom’s (unintentional) grounding and when Julia Roberts persuades Richard Gere to take off his shoes at the park in Pretty Woman, I first became familiar with grounding several years ago at a weekend yoga retreat. We went on a nature hike and for a portion of the hike we removed our socks and shoes to ‘ground’. I was thinking what kind of hippy dippy nonsense is this? But, I took off my socks and shoes and ‘drank the Koolaid’, if you will.
Guess what? It was weird and uncomfortable and foreign. But, it was awesome! I really felt connected not only to nature, but also to the present moment. It forces you to feel– literally and figuratively. We are so caught up in numbing ourselves with technology, social media, constantly busy with distractions—how often are we actually being present and mindful in each moment? Grounding forces us to be mindful and aware.
If you think it’s too hippy dippy for you, if you’ve ever walked barefoot along the beach, guess what? You’ve grounded, honey! And if you haven’t walked barefoot along the beach, get yourself to a beach and ditch your damn shoes! STAT! It’s amazing! But you don’t need a beach to ‘get grounded’. You can ground anywhere outside in nature. Just be careful and aware. I ‘grounded’ recently with my Mom when we were outside washing our cars and we decided to take a short walk around the block, sans footwear. It was great until I paid the price when I stepped on a small (and luckily dull) thorn. I was fine, but word to the wise: stay focused and on your top game when you are becoming one with nature. I would advise sticking to grass or sand vs a neighborhood sidewalk, but do you.
There are several studies showing the benefits of grounding on the body. How can being in contact with the earth be beneficial for health? The Earth possesses a form of easily accessible beneficial natural energy that has been shown to positively influence human physiology and health. Essentially, we absorb the energy from the earth when we come in direct contact with the it.
As humans, we all create electricity from the atoms we are made up of. However, now that we are exposed to so much outside electricity (think: technology at our beck and call 24/7), the electricity and energy we create can be altered. In addition to the abundance of technology, we are exposed to toxins and pollutants from our food and our environments, which promote free radicals in the body. Free radicals = kryptonite to the body because they damage healthy cells and lead to cancer, atherosclerosis, inflammation (thought to be the root of all disease) and other fun stuff like premature aging. (1) I’m cool off that, thanks. While we can all expect a degree of free radicals with age, why not do everything in our power to diminish our exposure??
What does this have to do with grounding?
When we come in contact with the earth’s surface, we absorb the negative ions into our bodies. Negative ions are our friends! (More on negative ions in this post).Studies show beneficial physiological changes and people report higher levels of well-being when reconnecting with the Earth’s electronic charge. This study used thermal imaging to show the increase in blood flow and circulation when the individual was grounding. What if the answer to some of our problems was (literally) under our feet?
Studies show grounding has several benefits, including:
- Decreased inflammation
- Boosting your immune system
- Improved sleep
- Decreased pain
- Less stress/better mood (normalizing effect on cortisol)
- Improved blood flow
- Improved glucose regulation
If you are still skeptical, I strongly urge you to try grounding for yourself. See how you feel after. You don’t have to take much time- even a few minutes to get some fresh air and ground outside. I always feel a deeper sense of energy and connection after even after 10-15 minutes. The combination of fresh air, sunshine, vitamin D, and connecting with the earth is really a mood and energy boost for me. It’s at least worth a try. Worst case scenario: you have an engaging conversation starter at your next dinner party and will make you sound super worldly.
Added ‘hippy’ bonus: I apply my grounding essential oil blend before I step outside. I swear by it. It’s one of my favorite oil blends and one I use nearly daily to re-center and connect.