It’s a love story between free radicals and electrons. You see, free radicals are atoms or molecules in your body that are missing an electron. They are produced by normal body functions and by being in contact with toxins in our environment. Since they are missing an electron they are positively charged little buggers that wreak havoc on your internal body environment, causing illness and premature aging. They can only be happy and whole if they find an electron and they will go to any lengths to find one, causing all types of oxidative damage. This is why eating plenty of antioxidants are so important. But what if I told you there was another way to supplement your daily antioxidant intake? There is, and it’s called Earthing.
The term “Earthing” sounds a little science fiction, right? At my best guest, (and imagination) I picture aliens performing super experiments to harvest Earth. After I did my research, I was disappointed that there are no aliens involved; nevertheless, earthing is actually a really cool theory about human interaction with nature.
The Earthing Institute defines Earthing as “connecting to the Earth’s natural, negative surface charge by being barefoot outside or in bare skin contact with conductive systems indoors while you sleep, relax, or work.” It’s a super simple concept that has a major impact on us physiologically. By being in contact with the ground, you soak up the negatively charged electrons of the Earth. These electrons seek out and find the positively charged free radicals in your body, pair with them and it’s a match made in heaven. They become friends and they in turn help your body better function resulting in better sleep, more energy, and relief of chronic pain. Dr. Stephen Sinatra M.D., a cardiologist and a pioneer on the subject, states that Earthing can shift our our autonomic nervous system (which controls involuntary functions in the body) to a point where it’s functioning better.
There has been growing interest on this subject and many studies have been done in the past ten years that have supported this theory. People who have tried it have reported that their aches and pains resolve themselves, that they get better, deeper sleep, and that they have increased energy. Could this be a placebo effect? To counter this question, research by JL Oschman, et al., study the effects of Earthing by measuring certain body chemicals, such as cortisol. They have shown that getting outside and have direct contact with the Earth can improve health.
Earthing shows us that we are a part of nature, not separate from it. By reconnecting at the most basic level, we can improve ourselves and prepare to conquer our passions. It makes total sense, people used to always be in direct contact with the Earth be it through sleeping on the ground or farming, etc. People in present times wear insulated shoes and sleep in buildings that completely isolate us electronically from the Earth. It is worth giving it a try and seeing how you feel. Here are some easy ways to feel more grounded:
1. Walk barefoot on the grass at your local park, meadows, etc: take a stroll around the park. Bring a book and lie down on a grass for a relaxing afternoon. Bonus: You’ll likely get some Vitamin D, too!
2. Practice yoga on the grass: Practice solo or check out free outdoor yoga classes offered at many local farmer’s markets and yoga studios.
3. Gardening: Got a backyard or a small patio? Gardening a vegetable or flower patch is a great way to get some earth time–and save on groceries, too.
4. Barefoot running: If you are an experienced runner, give barefoot running a try. Make sure your route is clear of any debris or glass. A wide sandy beach is better, for instance, than the asphalt.
5. Walk on pebbles: Walking on smooth, round stones can provide reflexology benefits as well. You can do this at home by rolling your feet on a couple of smooth stones.
Interested in learning more? Here are some great interviews and resources:
Groundology.org has some great videos with interviews with Clinton Ober
Related: The Daily Routine in Ayurveda
Photo: Lulu the Bold via Flickr