Everything You Need To Know About “Earthing”

You know that tired feeling after you’ve been sitting at a computer all day? That drained, achy feeling in your body and mind? It may be accompanied by a little brain fog or a sense of grogginess. Besides the fact that your eyes are worn-out and your body is stiff and uncomfortable from lack of movement, there may be another, unexpected factor at work here.

Turns out, simply being in constant contact with a computer can be harmful to health. Electronic devices release “dirty” electric waste in the form of positive electrons that disrupt the natural electrical fields of our bodies, which leads to the production of free radicals in the body, ultimately contributing to an entire host of health problems.

So, what do we do with this information? How can we restore our bodies to their natural state? Doctors might tell us to do some cardio or yoga, and eat a diet lower in sugar and complex carbohydrates. While these are great lifestyle changes to make that will generally have a beneficial effect, what if it were even simpler and more intuitive than that?

“If you’ve ever take your shoes off at the beach and squished your toes around in the sand, you probably noticed that your feet felt a little bit freer, and your body and mind more relaxed.”

If you’ve ever take your shoes off at the beach and squished your toes around in the sand, you probably noticed that your feet felt a little bit freer, and your body and mind more relaxed. One of our most essential keys to optimal health is to make this kind of contact with the surface of the earth– a connection that most modern human beings are deprived of throughout the majority of their adult life. Since the advent of synthetic-soled shoes, pavement, housing, flooring, and beds raised above the ground, human beings have lost physical contact with the earth. Since that time, we’ve seen exponential increases in inflammation-related diseases. Sure, there are plenty of possible reasons for this, but what if it’s as simple as a deficit of bare-footedness?

This is the idea behind the Earthing movement, a practice that’s about prioritizing direct contact with the ground, which can have an antioxidant effect and restore the balance of our electrical fields due to its negative charge. The methods of Earthing (or “grounding”) yourself through this process are: exposing bare feet (or animal skin moccasins, which conduct electricity when damp with sweat) to sand, dirt or soil of any kind, grass or moss, rocks or gravel, and/or water. Ideally, this will be for an extended amount of time of at least 30-60 minutes, although a couple minutes of direct exposure to grass on your lunch break would be beneficial, too.

Overall, grounded people report that they look and feel healthier and happier after they’ve started the practice. Numerous studies have shown that grounding helps to alleviate insomnia, stress, premature aging, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, arthritis, and immune system dysfunction, among other ailments.

It may seem too easy, but with most conventional doctors financially benefitting from the pharmaceutical industry, we cannot expect to be “prescribed” a gardening session or a lakeside walk. We don’t see advertisements on TV urging us to take our shoes off; it’s simply not an approach we’re used to because it isn’t necessarily a profitable market. That doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Rather than getting hooked on expensive and potentially harmful medications prescribed by doctors for these conditions, we can look to our ancestors who, for thousands of years, walked, slept, and worked on the soil itself. The Earth pays no allegiance to pharmaceutical companies. It wants nothing from you (other than probably a little love and respect); it’s electrical field is here to help us all regulate our cycles and to be happier, healthier beings.

That being said, there are certain Earthing companies who have created tools that can help us to harness the earth’s negative electricity even when it’s too cold to go outside, or while we’re sleeping or working inside. These Earthing sheets and mats are often connected to a wire that runs directly into the ground, and can be fitted onto a bed or placed under your feet while you work on your computer. Because the majority of us don’t regularly work or sleep outside, this is a nice option. Nothing should ever substituted for that real skin-to-dirt connection, though, that our bodies crave and which is so natural for us.

Photo: Ruthie Abel

As summer approaches, this is a great time to plan how you’ll get more real grounding time in. Will you do yoga in your yard instead of your living room? Walk your dog barefoot on hiking trails instead of on the sidewalk? Garden without gloves and allow dirt to get under your fingernails? Try and see if you can come up with your own creative ideas about how you can best re-establish this most sacred of relationships. Your body, mind, and spirit will surely be grateful.

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