As much as we wish that our black leather motorcycle boots or sweet suede ballet flats were a permanent body fixture, we were blessed with a simple pair of bare feet instead. Ten toes, two soles, and a pair of ankles. And while they do a great job displaying our favorite shoe trends, our feet are more than just a vehicle for self expression. Our bare feet are actually two receptor sites, meant to be used as conduits of natural earth energies. Let’s talk about it…
The earth is a natural source of electrons and subtle electrical fields, energy which all living things use to live. We know that life itself, when you boil it right down, is a flow of electrons. Every life form has an innate need for them. Electrons are essential for the proper functioning of the immune, circulatory and nervous systems, and are also needed for the synchronization of biorhythms and other physiological processes that allow humans to live healthful lives. The easiest way to gain more electrons is by entraining these earth energies through a practice called grounding.
Grounding is the connection of your bare feet (or other body part) to a natural earth surface. Grounding, also called Earthing, can be done by sitting, standing, or walking on any conductive surface such as grass, sand, or dirt for a period of time. This allows the transfer of electrons from the earth to the body to occur, increasing the total number of electrons in the body. By increasing the electrons, the body is energized, inflammation is decreased, and sleep is improved. As you can imagine, this practice was natural and unavoidable for most of history, but these days, we’ve got to make an effort. Our simple health tip is to find your favorite natural surface, kick off your shoes, “plug in”, and the feel true benefits of having the sand between your toes!
The Low Down: From the beginning, humans walked barefoot and slept on the ground. But as time progressed,wearing shoes, standing on asphalt and sleeping on raised mattresses became the norm. These changes have disconnected us from the earth’s energy. This is significant because the body is composed mostly water and minerals, making electrons a necessity. The electrons on the surface of the earth can easily be transferred to the body, but only as long as there is direct contact. Unfortunately, our shoes prevent this transfer so even when we are outside we are not tapping into this electric field. This is also the case when we are in homes and office buildings as the flooring, and our mattresses are insulated.
The Benefits: While the field of research focused on the benefits of grounding practices is limited, it is known that the human body appears to be dependent upon a continuous or regular supply of free electrons. Free electrons have major impact on the body, acting as both anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. Antioxidants combat free radicals, lowering oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to nearly all degenerative diseases, inflammation and cancer, and therefore the more you can minimize the stress, the more the risk is reduced. Research has also indicated that an increase in free electrons helps to normalize the body’s circadian rhythm. As a result, this suggests that grounding is also important for sleep, concentration, energy production, lowering stress levels and normalizing hormone function.
The Importance: In addition to offering a slew of health benefits, grounding also has the potential to minimize the consequences of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure. Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation that come from electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting. Our exposure to EMFs have drastically increased due to the prevalence of technology, which has the potential to be harmful. From cell phone towers, microwaves and Wi-Fi, to smart phones and tablets, research is pointing to the possibility that the electromagnetic fields given off of by these devices may pose a health risk. While inconclusive due to the complications of the research (the hazards EMFs pose is long-term and painstaking – and it is further complicated when the long-term research is overtaken by new technologies), potential effects may include leukemia, insomnia, breast and brain cancer.
The Practice: Find a plot of land, whether dirt, grass or sand, and make it your designated grounding space. Once you find your space, go for a walk, play with your pup, read a book, enjoy a picnic or nap. If you live by the beach, choose to bury your feet in the sand, or better yet in the ocean. If a park is close by, choose a little grassy patch, and enjoy its feel. No grass or sand? Dirt will do too, just don’t be afraid to get in there. Aim to ground for twenty minutes a day, which will allow your body enough time to absorb the energies.
The City-Bound Alternative: If you are living in a concrete jungle with no reasonable plot of land or surface available to you, there is a happy alternative. You can purchase Earthing grounding mats and Earthing sheets which are used to mimic the energies of the earth. Simply place the sheet on your bed and enjoy a regular flow of electrons throughout your night’s sleep, or place a grounding mat on the floor of your favorite work or rest space. Under your work desk works great, especially since the electromagnetic exposure is so strong there.
TCM Take Away: We are huge fans of grounding, so much so that we believe in doing it the real way (feet in sand, dirt and grass!), as well as with a little assistance from Earthing mats. We have found sleeping with the Earthing sheets have helped to maximize this therapy’s benefits, so consider giving them a try, especially if you are working on a few health challenges.