One of the oldest, yet mostly unknown way to reduce inflammation in the body, as well as improving your sleep and recovering more quickly after exercise, is very simple – it’s called grounding, or earthing. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is to walk barefoot on the ground. Those who already know about the benefits will grab any opportunity to whip off their shoes and feel the earth, or grass, or sand beneath their feet. And here’s why.
Just like our disconnection from nature, over the past one hundred years or so, connecting to the earth – our planet – is something we’ve gradually moved further and further away from. And unbeknown to most of us, this has been cited as one of the leading causes of many of our health issues. If you don’t quite believe it, you won’t need to look far for proof, as the dozens of studies on the topic of earthing all show the massive improvements in health which can be gained from this simple practice (see below for more).
This lack of grounding has come about for many reasons. We’ve been building insulated houses, sleeping on insulating mattresses and particularly, it’s due to the advancement in shoe technology in the 60’s, when plastic and rubber soles and trainers first came on the market and rocketed in popularity. And as our love for shoes and trainers has grown, so our connection to the Earth has dwindled and so the inflammation of our bodies has increased.
The Science Bit
Our ancestors would, of course, have laughed at us (for so many reasons, not just this one). They didn’t need to know about the science or ‘proof’ of grounding because it came totally naturally to them. They generally went about their business barefoot and if they did have shoes, they weren’t the type to block the flow of energy between the ground and body.
Whilst our ancestors wouldn’t have thought about it quite in this way, they intrinsically understood that the Earth is a massive reservoir of negatively charged free electrons and that without a connection to this reservoir, the cells in our body are unable to balance the positive charge which results from things like electron-deficient free radicals. The effect of excess positive charge in the blood causes the cells to clump together as you can see in the image below. You’ll see on the left are images of three people’s blood before grounding. On the right, you’ll see the dramatic difference to their blood cells after forty minutes of grounding.
Of course, we tend to think we’re superior in every way to our ancestors, yet there is so much evidence coming to light which proves that we’ve lost a huge amount of wisdom and knowledge over the millennia, to our detriment. The huge health benefits of receiving these incredible free electrons from the Earth was ‘discovered’ almost by chance by an American engineer called Clint Ober. His story is hugely fascinating and covered in the film Earthing The Movie, which I thoroughly recommend – it’s free to view on YouTube. We have even more reason to ground than our ancestors, too. We’re bombarded on a daily basis with electromagnetic radiation, from computers, mobile phones and phone masts, radio & TV broadcasts, WiFi, Bluetooth, power lines, domestic wiring, and other electrical appliances. This electromagnetic radiation induces voltages in our bodies and disrupts the trillions of subtle electrical communications which are a vital part of the function of our body’s systems. Yet by being grounded to the Earth we greatly reduce the levels of these induced voltages.
It’s such a simple thing and yet the effect can be so profound. Aside from walking outside barefoot or bathing in salt water, other ways to balance our electron-deficiency is eating anti-oxidant rich foods and drinking living water. Clint Ober also has a very authentic business offering grounding mats and pads which have been used by athletes in the Tour de France with huge applaud and success. I’ve ordered a mat to use daily when I’m on my laptop because whilst I try and walk barefoot every day, we can’t always be outside. The best surfaces to walk barefoot on when it comes to ground are (surprisingly) concrete and then of course grass, and earth. Rocks are great conductors, but asphalt (tarmac) is not a grounding material. Saltwater (so that’s most likely to be the sea for us here in Britain, but could be a lake, too) is the optimal way to ground to ground yourself. So try a spot of sea bathing and you’ll be giving your body all sorts of treats, including the benefits of cold water which are so numerous they’ll take up half this page, but here are some to consider when it comes to salt/cold water bathing:
It boosts your immune system (the effects of cold water on the immune system have been studied widely, so there is a huge amount of science to prove this)
It gives you a natural high because cold water swimming activates the endorphins
It improves your circulation
It can increase your libido
It burns calories
It’s a great way to reduce stress
I’ll leave you with a list of some of the results that have been seen in the research on grounding. Impressive results have been reported when it comes to inflammation, pain, stiffness, circulation, blood pressure, blood viscosity, HRV, vagal tone, cortisol, stress, anxiety, depression, tiredness, fatigue, energy, mood, blood glucose, immunity, sleep, thyroid function, metabolism, improving kidney function, serum electrolytes, wound healing, athletic performance and recovery, and more. There have also been anecdotal reports of improvements in autism, Parkinson’s, MS, PTSD, autoimmune conditions, and pet health, just to name a few. If you’d like to read more on these scientific studies, go here.
Happy Grounding to you all 😉