In the many years I practiced and taught yoga, I knew of the importance of grounding oneself. I would stand in tadasana, or mountain pose, and feel the roots underneath my feet grounding and rooting me to the earth. However, a key element was missing. Though I was standing barefoot on my mat, I neglected to walk outside and stand on the grass and feel the earth’s energy truly rooting and nourishing me within. This may sound a little too ‘new-agey’ to many of my readers, so I encourage you to keep reading. There is some science to this healthy practice of grounding, and a documentary I recently watched at the Sedona Film Festival called Down to Earth: The Remarkable Science of Grounding, is an enlightening revelation to its benefits.
In the movie, filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell bring forth this amazing groundbreaking (pun intended!) research on how ‘grounding’ or ‘earthing’ can be the answer to our country’s health crisis. What exactly is grounding? Simply stated, it means directly connecting one’s body to the earth so as to restore the electromagnetic balance needed to restore and maintain optimal health.
The film, featuring the actresses Mariel Hemingway and Amy Smart along with several other scientists, physicists, medical doctors, and health advocates, shows the importance of this practice through personal experiences and scientific studies. It all comes down to inflammation, the root cause of so many physical ailments that can be obvious or hidden. When inflammation is noticeable, we feel pain in the muscles or joints, and there can even be visible swelling. When we don’t see inflammation, it can be wreaking havoc inside our bodily systems, and could be related to many illnesses and conditions, ranging from heart disease, stroke, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, liver disease, chronic stress, depression, autoimmune diseases, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
Since the surface of the Earth is negatively charged, when we connect to this charge through our skin via grounding, inflammation is reduced in our bodies and our health improves. The film shows countless individuals who practiced ‘Earthing’ seeing improvements in sleep, restless leg syndrome, pain, depression, and a myriad of other illnesses and ailments.
In addition to the filmmakers and actresses that were at the Q&A after the film, one of the writers of a book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, Clint Ober, was present. The book was an impetus to the film and Clint’s own story revealing how this research unfolded is fascinating. This book is on my ‘to-read’ list and will most likely do a much more thorough job highlighting the benefits of this simple but profoundly vital practice. The practice of stepping barefoot onto the earth and walking is something that was so natural to us all centuries ago, and has been let go of in place of our obsession with shoes and the covering of our best earth receptors, our feet.
Since our bodies are made up mostly of water and minerals, they are good conductors of electricity. The free electrons on the surface of the Earth are easily transferred to the human body so long as there is direct contact. Since the invention of synthetic soled shoes, we’ve become insulated and thus disconnected from the Earth’s electric field. Moccasins made of animal hides are a healthier way to ground ourselves with the earth since the hides will not insulate us like synthetic materials do. Leather soles can also work, but not as effectively. Until we invent the perfect replacement to the artificial soled shoes we use now, we are best off spending time barefoot on the grass or the earth each day. Doing so for about 15 minutes each day is said to be tremendously beneficial and restorative.
We can also get grounded inside our homes by using grounding sheets, mats, or blankets, so long as we plug these devices into a grounded outlet in our homes. Most of these grounding products that are sold come with an outlet tester since there are many different outlet configurations around the world. Some are grounded (Earthed) and others are not. If you want to plug into a wall outlet you have to determine first whether your electrical system and outlets are properly grounded. Outlets with 3 holes generally mean they are grounded. When only two holes are present, that means there is no Earth/ground present so you must use a ground rod.
I recently purchased a grounding mat for the end of our bed for my husband and me. He suffers from restless legs/body when he sleeps and the film showed great promise for this frustrating sleep-depriver. Once it comes and we install it, I will report its effectiveness. More importantly, we have begun stepping outside, discarding our shoes, and connecting to the earth. In fact, the day after we saw the film at the festival, we donned our hotel robes, and walked outside our hotel room and stood on the grass near our room. We enjoyed the feelings of doing something so natural and healthy to our bodies and have since adapted this daily practice into our lives.
Skeptics will read this article, see the movie, or read the book and question its research. I, too, was a bit skeptical in the beginning. However, what is the harm/risk of doing something so natural? I see no downside whatsoever, and quite frankly, it feels so good to step my feet on the grass and connect to Mother Earth.
In addition to the film, there are many books and websites on grounding/Earthing. Here a few sites to explore this potentially life-changing and mind/body enhancing practice.