by: Odochi Ibe
Earthing, also known as grounding, allows people to directly connect their bodies with the Earth and use its natural electric charges to stabilize them.1 This practice involves walking barefoot outdoors or using indoor grounding systems while sleeping or sitting. Although earthing can positively impact the mind, this form of grounding differs from the practice used in mental health treatment. Earthing research suggests reduced pain, stress, and inflammation and an improvement of overall mental well-being.2 This technique restores the connection between the body and the electrical currents of the earth. History of Earthing
Throughout history, Indigenous societies have espoused the Earth's healing power benefits and described it in varying ways. For example, in Chinese medicine, the term Qi—pronounced "chee"—is defined as the vital energy that fills the universe. Ancient philosopher Ge Hong said, "People reside within qi, and qi resides within people. From heaven and earth down to the ten thousand things, each one requires qi to live." This belief and study of the earth's natural energies could also be found in Europe in the 19th century. In 1891 Louis Kuhne published "The New Science of Healing."3 Then, Adolf Just wrote "Return to Nature" in 1896,4which encouraged people to begin walking barefoot outdoors. A few decades later, George Starr White,5an American medical doctor, began investigating the use of sleeping while grounded—connected to copper wires affixed to home pipes—to improve the quality of sleep. Modern scientists continue to advocate for Earth's electrons' ability to balance our body's electrical current. This grounding technique continues to grow and get mainstream attention as people search for simple, inexpensive ways to heal themselves. Should I Practice Earthing?
There are signs that an earthing practice will benefit your life. You may want to try earthing if:
You experience anxiety or depression
You have chronic fatigue
You are dealing with cardiovascular disease
You have post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic memories
You struggle with pain and inflammation
Types of Earthing
Earthing techniques focus on reconnecting your energy with the earth through direct or indirect contact. These methods include:
Walking outside barefoot
Laying on the ground
Going swimming or taking a bath
Using grounding mats, blankets, patches, and socks
How to Practice Earthing
There are many ways to reconnect with the earth in your daily life and hopefully restore your body's natural defense system. Here are ways you can practice earthing:
Take a walk: Find ways to connect your bare feet with the ground by walking on grass, across the sand or the mud. Pay attention to the feeling of the land beneath your feet, and be mindful of sharp objects as you go.
Play in the dirt: Dig into the earth and get the soil between your fingers. You can create a garden in your yard or windowsill—if you're in an apartment—and directly link to the energy in the dirt.
Ground yourself indoors: When going outside is not an option, grounding mats come in handy by replacing the direct connection you'd get being barefoot outside. Grounding mats bring Earth's electrical currents into the home or office by replicating the physical connectivity of a nature walk.
Earthing can be a free and relatively quick way to positively impact your physical and mental health. Experts suggest 30 minutes is enough time to begin reaping the benefits. Whether you connect yourself to a metal rod outside or purchase grounding socks, you can easily incorporate earthing therapy into your wellness routine. Benefits of Earthing New treatments will emerge as modern scientists continue tapping into ancient holistic practices. Research shows a promising connection between earthing and measurable improvements in these health issues. May Improve Chronic Fatigue and Sleep Disorders
A recent study2 showed that people who used grounding mats for four weeks decreased fatigue, sleep disruptions, and improved length of sleep. They also reported an improvement in their depression, stress, and pain. May Boost Immunity
Some researchers believe that the earth connects all living cells through a living matrix held together by electrical conductivity. This behaves similarly to antioxidants as an immune defense6 system that restores the body's natural immunity by connecting to the matrix. May Improve Heart Health
One study7 shows that prolonged use of grounding techniques reduced blood pressure levels in those experiencing hypertension. And in a smaller study, grounding patches7were used to minimize blood clumping. Tips for Earthing
Earthing, like other forms of treatments, isn't a quick fix. It requires patience and perseverance; however, the benefits are encouraging. Here are some tips once you decide to add earthing as part of your healing journey:
Speak to a professional. If you're new to the idea of earthing, you should find a guide to lead you. A growing earthing community can provide resources, connections, and best practices.
Stick to a routine. Once you've got the ball rolling, go full steam ahead. The more you work on grounding yourself, the faster you'll begin seeing improvements. Try to start your day with a grounding routine to get into the habit of doing it.
Pay attention. However you choose to practice earthing, be observant of yourself and your surroundings. Stay in the moment.
More Studies About Earthing Need to Be Done
Like with all therapy, chronic illnesses have underlying medical issues that need to be addressed by your doctor. Modern research shows promising benefits of earthing, but it will take time to determine if these earth-derived electrons work as hard as scientists hope. Earthing studies are under-researched and usually have fewer research subjects—sometimes 50 or fewer people. Also, scientists like Gaétan Chevalier, director of the Earthing Institute, have done studies that have not been consistently replicated. The lack of mainstream support and funding can slow down progress.
Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Chevalier G, Sinatra D. Electric nutrition: the surprising health and healing benefits of biological grounding(Earthing). Altern Ther Health Med. 2017;23(5):8-16.
Chevalier G, Patel S, Weiss L, Chopra D, Mills PJ. The effects of grounding (Earthing) on bodyworkers’ pain and overall quality of life: a randomized controlled trial. Explore (NY). 2019;15(3):181-190.
Kuhne L. The New Science of Healing. Mokelumne Hill Pr; 1993.
Just A [from old catalog, Lust B. Return to Nature! The True Natural Method of Healing and Living and the True Salvation of the Soul. New York, B. Lust; 1903.
Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P. Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the earth’s surface electrons. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012;2012:1-8.
Oschman JL, Chevalier G, Brown R. The effects of grounding (Earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. J Inflamm Res. 2015;8:83-96.
Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Delany RM. Earthing (Grounding) the human body reduces blood viscosity—a major factor in cardiovascular disease. J Altern Complement Med. 2013;19(2):102-110.