Did you run around barefoot as a child? I was always barefoot in the summer, both inside the house and outside. I thought it felt better to walk and run without shoes so that my feet would not get so hot and sweaty. It turns out that all that barefoot time was actually good for me.
Grounding (or earthing) is the theory that making direct contact with the earth balances out the positive electrons that we build up in our bodies. Advocates of the theory say that you can reduce stress, improve sleep, increase energy, and lower blood pressure simply by walking barefoot in the grass or even sleeping outside.
So does grounding live up to the hype? I tried it out for myself and here’s what I experienced. But first…
Positive Electrons in the Body? What?
The human body and all of its cells generate electrical energy. This electricity allows your cells to perform necessary biological functions. The constant exposure to things like Wi-Fi and mobile devices are believed to cause our bodies to store up positive electrons in the form of free radicals. While free radicals are essential to a normal functioning body, sometimes they set off a chain reaction that can eventually damage your cells. This damage has been linked to aging, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s Disease, among other issues.
Emerging research suggests that the process of “grounding” harnesses the electrical energy of the earth to act as a negative charge that will restore your body to a state of balance and provide numerous health benefits as a result.
My Experience with Grounding
Like I mentioned, I loved running barefoot as a kid, so the concept of grounding was definitely something I could get behind. I tried it out a few times to see if it could actually affect my health in all the ways people claim it does.
Over the past six months, every time I felt stressed, I’d take off my shoes and socks and stand barefoot on the grass or dirt. I would definitely feel a difference after a few minutes and would notice my stress levels diminishing. A wave of calm would wash over me. This wasn’t surprising to me, though—spending time outside with nature has a calming effect of its own, so I’m sure that had something to do with it also. I’ve heard of some people even lying down on the ground during times of high stress. Although I have not tried that (yet), I’d imagine that approach would be even more effective! There’s no recommended amount of time you should spend grounding, but I’ve discovered that the more time I spend doing it, the better I feel.
Should You Try Grounding?
After a long, stressful day of work, I highly recommend kicking off your shoes and heading into the backyard, even if only for a few minutes. Especially as the weather continues to warm up, now is the time to give it a try. If you want to take it a step further, you might consider purchasing an earthing mat, which conducts the earth’s energy into your bed while you sleep.
Whether you buy in to the notion of countering free radicals with the earth’s energy or not, grounding is completely free, will instantly de-stress you, and give you a chance to reconnect with nature. At the very least, it allows you to pause, take a deep breath, feel the earth beneath your feet, and be wholly present in the moment. I think of it as a way to feel totally free and childlike, if only for a few moments.
What do you think? Does grounding sound worth a try? Have you tried it already? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!