Less stress, better sleep and a whole host of benefits just from connecting with the ground? Welcome to the wonders of earthing
Can you recall walking along a sandy beach, your feet pressing into the sand, or on a field of dewy grass? Did it feel amazing? It seems there may be more to the good vibes than the fact you were just on holiday. There’s mounting evidence the earth brims with a natural, subtle energy which can seriously boost our health.
A study published just last month found even premature babies benefitted from the practice of earthing (also known as grounding). So what’s the science? “Earthing quenches inflammation which medical research has shown to be the culprit or a major factor in the onset of most degenerative diseases and ageing. It’s also the cause of most pain. There are plenty of research papers showing earthing has a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing both physiological and psychological stress,” says Gaétan Chevalier, director of the Earthing Institute (earthinginstitute.net).
“Our ongoing research is now discovering the details as to why so many people feel significantly better when grounded. So far, we have evidence it improves blood sugar regulation, helps prevent calcium and bone density loss, improves sleep and normalises the secretion of the stress hormone, cortisol, among other things.”
And it’s all down to a charge we absorb from the earth: “The earth carries a negative charge and is electron-rich,” says Primrose Matheson, grounding expert and founder of Primrose’s kitchen (primroseskitchen.com). “These negative electrons work as natural antioxidants to counter the effect of any positively-charged free radicals that are causing problems in the body.”
Primrose says earthing is particularly important if you live in an urban area: “When living in a city, you are bombarded far more by electromagnetic radiation from power lines and underground cables, which can cause a type of geopathic stress on the body that over long periods of time can lead to physical illness and stress. Likewise, the air is more polluted with heavy metals and toxins from fossil fuels which are potent stressors on the body.”
Earthing actually has its roots in ancient Chinese medicine, where it can be traced back thousands of years. “We believe the process of grounding activates and strengthens the kidney energy,” says David Lee James, head of practice at Wu Wei Wisdom (wuweiwisdom.com). “Kidney energy is the root or core energy for good health.
“By pressing the soles of your feet against the earth, you will activate a powerful acupuncture point on the kidney meridian called yong quan, or ‘bubbling spring’. This simple process will help diffuse and ground the busyness of you mind and encourage the healthy and balanced flow of qi (energy) between your mind, body and spirit into an energy of oneness.”
Sounds great – we’re definitely on board! So, how to go about it? It’s as easy as kicking off your shoes. “The simplest way to start is going barefoot as much as possible on grassed, sandy and open untarmacked ground so the negative electrons can go through the soles of your feet,” says Primrose. “Wearing rubbersoled shoes, which most shoes are, blocks these electrons being absorbed.
“Warmer climates certainly make it easier to slip off your clothes and shoes and stand or lie on the ground, but it can be done any time of the year,” says Primrose. “Obviously in winter you’d do it for shorter periods of times and make sure you have warm socks to slip on your feet afterwards.
“A great way to immerse your whole body in the earth’s energy field is to swim in the sea as sea water is a great conductor. And antioxidants are anti-ageing, so regular grounding will keep you looking youthful too!”
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