I’m sure you’ve all heard of grounding, it’s been quite the buzz word recently. But what is it, really, and what are the health benefits of grounding? It’s actually both simple and complex and has a lot to do with our body’s electrical fields. Let’s start at the beginning….

Do you remember when you were a kid and you actually played? I mean really played, like ran around in the dirt, climbed trees (or attempted to) and jumped into rivers and lakes without even thinking about it?

Well I do; I remember being out in nature for hours, sometimes the entire day, and the best part about it was the feeling. I was happy, I didn’t have a plan and I let myself be guided by the joy I was having; this guidance had me in constant connection to our Earth.

The best part of my childhood was the 4 years my family and I spent living on our 5-acre property without electricity. We also didn’t have running water but even this didn’t phase me as a kid because I was content running through the woods, biking with my dogs and swimming across lakes with no fear.

I loved it, and now that I think back, I realize it was the healthiest I was in my childhood. I slept well every night with my circadian rhythm in tune with the Earth’s cyclical rotation and I never got sick even though I was exposed to lots of germs throughout each day.

All of this makes complete sense to me now as I’ve studied health and wellness religiously for the past eight years and learned just how beneficial it is for us to be in nature and have physical contact with it daily.

This contact I am referring to is what we now call grounding or earthing (the two names are used interchangeably) and it’s the practice of physically connecting to the Earth to allow the body to absorb the subtle electrical charge being emitted from it (Chopra, 2019). Our bodies are bioelectrical, made of atoms, both positively and negatively charged due to the combination of protons and electrons within them.

This symbiotic balance is just as it needs to be inherently (assuming we live in tune with nature), however, our modern environment full of toxins, stress and city living disrupts this beautiful dance taking place in our cells. We are not meant to be indoors sequestered from the natural world all day! You’ll notice when that is the case for some people, they’re much more likely to suffer from lifestyle diseases such as cancer, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, etc… (J Environ Public Health, 2012).

Unfortunately, today we are exposed to harmful radiation and blue light from technology (don’t even get me started on the horrific idea of 5G) and a host of contaminants from heavy metals and environmental toxins in our food, air and water supply in addition to manmade chemicals in our homecare and body-care products.

It’s really a perfect storm for illness and that’s exactly how it’s been playing out for decades now. Therefore it is in our best interest to care of our whole person to maintain our health through a variety of holistic modalities such as eating a high-vibrational diet (plant-based diet), engaging in positive self talk, meditation, physical activity, cultivating healthy relationships, finding fulfilling work and maintaining a consistent grounding practice in nature.

So how does it work, you’re wondering, and what are the health benefits of grounding?

Well, as our skin makes contact with the Earth we are able to tap into her natural, subtle electrical charge and absorb negative electrons, which then act as antioxidants that help mitigate the free radical damage being caused by the above issues (J Altern Compement Med, 2007). Now you know there are more ways to get your antioxidants than by just eating fruits and vegetables!

Think about when someone’s heart stops; do medics start feeding nutrients to the unconscious patient? No, right?

Instead, they provide someone in this position with an electrical shock in an attempt to stabilize them. This is because we need this electricity or energy to be flowing through our bodies at all times. Here’s another example: the healthiest bodies of water are the ones that are always flowing. The same can be said of our bodies. Just like stagnant water can breed disease so can stagnant energy flow in our bodies and someone who is unconscious is suffering from stagnant energy flow.

The Earth helps to facilitate this flow and when we make it a priority to physically connect with her, we can expect to feel centered, balanced, healthy and happy. Many studies have now discovered these physiological benefits of grounding, some of which include: reduced pain and inflammation, improved blood flow and circulation, higher levels of energy, better sleep and an overall heightened feeling of well being (Explore, 2019).

Sure I didn’t understand the science behind it when I was rolling around in the dirt with my dogs as a preteen but looking back I’m so grateful that I had that experience because I now know it was the best way to live. I remember I fell asleep as soon as I laid my head down on my pillow those days and I was never ill.

In fact, the only times I didn’t feel well in my life is when I deviated from my “nature bathing” time due to a demanding job I had in what seems like a past life now. So many years later when I learned there is an actual practice that’s now referred to as grounding with documented physical benefits, I was able to connect the dots and realize I got to partake in the best epidemiological study myself without ever knowing it!

So, now you’re sold on the idea, what’s the best option for you to reap the health benefits of grounding?

The easiest method and the one I always show is to take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot in the grass at your local park or beach. Yes, you do have to go barefoot because most modern shoes have some sort of plastic material in them that inhibits the electrical charge we covered above from being absorbed.

I aim for 20 minutes a day and while I’m grounding I’m also working on my breathing, taking in long deep breaths and exhaling slowly to allow my body to fully relax and enjoy the present moment.

This is all extra credit but you can also partake in a little sun gazing while grounding to help with the blue light issue and if there are animals present, you can tune into them and observe how they are behaving. We can learn a lot from nature, both plants and animals, and I find combining all of these elements is the most uplifting for me.

Swimming in lakes, rivers or oceans is also considered grounding and I believe swimming pools would be as well as long as the pool floor was made of natural particles and not man-made plastics. If you’re in a cold climate during winter, another option would be either to hug trees or touch plants with your bare hands.

For example, gardening or growing your own food could be a form of grounding too. Lastly, I know some companies sell grounding devices for those who can’t escape city living so if that’s you, I would look into that option as well.

I hope you found this helpful. If so, please join me on Instagram @edithagoston where I share information just like this on a daily basis. Also, please share this post with anyone who you feel would enjoy the health benefits of grounding, as we are all connected.