Few things feel better than the sand between our toes and the grass beneath our feet – but could there be more to going barefoot than just pure pleasure? We investigate the practice of grounding.
Earthing, or grounding as it is also known, is a practice that has gone on for centuries but has begun to spread like wildfire in alternative health circles with the birth of the internet, social media and video sharing websites in recent years with many advocates attesting to a great many health benefits. But is there any substance in their claims?
What is grounding?
Grounding or earthing is the act of placing your body on the ground, whether soil, grass or sand or water allowing your body to make direct contact with the earth. The basis of this practice comes from the idea that the earth possesses a slight negative charge that helps negate the static and positive charges that we build up in our bodies over years of contact with electricity and other types of static.
The benefits of grounding
Advocates claim that the lack of barefoot contact with the earth in the modern age through living in doors, walking on asphalt and wearing rubber shoes has meant that our bodies hold far too much charge which leads to mass inflammation – a key cause of a great number of health problems such as aches and pains, joint problems and even chronic illnesses like heart disease, IBS and diabetes. Grounding is also said to improve sleep, boost energy, promote calming hormones, stabilize heart rhythms and blood pressure, relieve headaches and colds, benefit menstrual cycles, reduce recovery times from injuries and much more.
What the science says
While the benefits of earthing seem very impressive, critics argue that not enough evidence has yet been gathered to prove either way. So far only small studies have taken place, one of which took a group of people with pain related problems and insomnia. Half the group slept on a grounded sheet, whilst the other half were given a placebo sheet. The grounded group reported a noticeable reduction in their pain, while the other half reported no improvement. However, the jury is still out until larger-scale studies have been conducted.
How to get started with grounding
One of the best aspects of grounding is that it entirely free! If you have access to grass, soil, sand or a place where you can swim in natural water then you are able to get started. However, if you live in an urban area that has very little natural land then you can also purchase manmade earthing products such as mats and keyboard pads which can help reduce the inflammation caused by static charges. So why not give it a go and walk barefoot for 5-10 minutes every day?
Have you tried grounding yourself? Did you notice any benefits? Let us know by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup.