Updated: Dec 21, 2018
Nature!! I love it, it’s the best.
We all know that spending time outside in the fresh air is good for our well being. It makes us feel good! Research shows there is actually hard science behind the good vibes of time spent in nature.
More specifically than just being outside, spending time barefoot with a direct connection to the ground helps significantly to regulate the body and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression.
Historically, humans have spent a significant amount of time outside. Whether it was hunting, gathering, building a home, sleeping or eating, we as a people were performing daily activities outdoors.
In present day, obviously our lives are much different. We grocery shop, work, eat, sleep, and even gather socially all indoors. And when we are outside, we wear shoes. Our ancestors wore shoes and clothes made of animal skin. They also slept close to the earth. Nowadays we wear shoes constructed of synthetic material, and sleep stories high separated from the ground. When I stop to think about it, it is only natural that this would disrupt some natural processes. We are a product of the earth, therefore, we are connected to it. So when we remove ourselves from it, aren't we bound to develop some level of disconnect? (8)
So, what is Earthing all about?
Earthing is the practice of connecting the body with
earth by touching skin to a conductive material such as grass
(preferably wet), sand, a river, lake or sea.
-Dr. John Briffa
This process exist because of the differing charge between people and the earth. Humans are filled with positively charged electrons, which manifest as free radicals. Over time between natural aging and exposure to electromagnetic waves in the form of internet and cell phones, these reactive oxygen species build up in the body. People are more susceptible to the build up of these electrons in the modern world. So not only are we as a species spending less time outdoors, we are also surrounded by these stimuli that we have never been exposed to prior.
The planet naturally has a negative charge. Direct contact with the earth allows for its electrons to counteract the positive ones in the body, creating a state of balance. The human “equalizes to the same electronic energy level of the earth."
"Through this mechanism, every part of the body could equilibrate with the electrical potential of the Earth, thereby stabilizing the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells." (8)
In a 2015 study featured in Sage Journal, the University of California’s department of Developmental and Cell Biology explored and observed the effects of earthing. To conduct the study, forty adults were divided into two groups. The first half of the group, relaxed in a reclined chair with their feet contacting the ground for one hour. The second group of twenty people sat in the same chair in the same atmosphere, with no direct connection to the ground. The group that experienced direct contact with the earth reported “significantly improved pleasant and positive mood.” The results were measured using Dr. John Mayer’s brief mood inspection scale. (4) The results of this double blind study display that direct contact with the ground for only one hour may result in subjective sensations of improved mood and feelings of happiness. (2)
A similar study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, explores the direct effects that grounding has on cortisol levels and quality of sleep. Results showed “measurable improvements in diurnal cortisol profiles, with cortisol levels significantly reduced during night-time sleep. Subjects' 24-hour circadian cortisol profiles showed a trend toward normalization. Subjectively reported symptoms, including sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress, were reduced or eliminated in nearly all subjects.” To learn more about the study and how it was conducted check it out here (3)
A larger research project conducted by A. Clinton Ober, sought out participants with both sleep problems and chronic muscle tension/pain. The study concluded significant improvement in both sleep and pain levels. “Several subjects in the study stated they also experienced significant relief from asthmatic and respiratory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, sleep apnea and hypertension.” (7) Results in table below.
So, how does earthing relate back to acupuncture?
One of my favorite aspects of Chinese medicine (amongst many things) is that it is rooted in living in tandem with the environment. We strive to live in balance with the Earth and it's changes with the seasons through our diet, emotions, lifestyle, the way we dress etc.
The mechanism of acupuncture is to balance yin and yang in the body, much like earthing works by regulating positive and negative electrons. We utilize acupuncture and other therapies in traditional Chinese medicine to balance that which is imbalanced so we can live in ease (rather than dis-ease)!
So even though we have to wear shoes, cause you know, society and all, and we can't sleep on the ground, and there's tons of stressful stimuli present a lot of the time... taking a few minutes a day to get outside and connect with the earth is a super simple way to self regulate, refresh and recharge! It's like giving your self a mini acupuncture treatment!
Not convinced? Don't take my word for it. :) Take your shoes off, get out there and enjoy our beautiful home. Or read more studies about Earthing and its effects on blood pressure, white blood cell count, pulse rate, blood oxygenation, inflammation and more!
*Disclaimer - Please enjoy the earth mindfully & safely! This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.
Happy earthing :)
1. Briffa, John. “'Earthing' – Important Discovery or Mumbo-Jumbo?” Dr Briffa's Blog - A Good Look at Good Health, www.drbriffa.com/2012/04/18/earthing-important-discovery-or-mumbo-jumbo
2. Chevalier, Gaétan. “The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood.” Psychological Reports, vol. 116, no. 2, 2015, pp. 534–542., doi:10.2466/06.pr0.116k21w5.
3. Ghaly, Maurice, and Dale Teplitz. “The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 10, no. 5, 2004, pp. 767–776., doi:10.1089/1075553042476696.
4. Mayer, John. “Brief Mood Introspection Scale.”
5. Muehsam, David, et al. “An Overview of Biofield Devices.” Global Advances in Health and Medicine, vol. 4, no. suppl, 2015, pp. 42–51., doi:10.7453/gahmj.2015.022.suppl.
6. Wells, Katie “Earthing & Grounding: Legit or Hype? (How to & When Not To).” Wellness Mama®, wellnessmama.com/5600/earthing-grounding/.
7. Ober, Clinton A. “GROUNDING THE HUMAN BODY TO NEUTRALIZE BIO-ELECTRICAL STRESS FROM STATIC ELECTRICITY AND EMFs.” ESD Journal.
8. Chevalier, Gaétan, et al. “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons.” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, vol. 2012, 2012, pp. 1–8., doi:10.1155/2012/291541.