Grounding, also known as earthing, is the practice of connecting with Earth by either standing barefoot on the ground or touching grounded metal surfaces. This intimate connection between Mother Earth and your skin is said to manage pain, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system.
The practice of grounding is rooted in grounding physics, and it’s used as a way to explain how the Earth’s electrical field can affect your body. In physics, grounding is the process of removing the excess electrical charge of an object by transferring electrons to another object. When a charged object’s grounded, the excess charge is balanced by the transfer of electrons between the charged object and the ground.
The electrical signals in our bodies interact with the electromagnetic field of the planet, and Earth acts as a large battery to recharge our bodies. However, many of us don’t reap the benefits of this recharging because we wear shoes with soles that interfere with our ability to receive Earth’s free electrons.
How does grounding impact your health?
Although the science behind grounding hasn’t been as heavily researched as other topics, small studies have shown that the practice may improve health, including boosting the immune system, lowering heart rate, and improving mental health. Ironically, most of the studies weren’t even conducted outside, instead relying on mats and mattresses charged with electricity that mimicked Earth’s natural electromagnetic field.
Other potential benefits of grounding include:
- Lower levels of inflammation
- Improved mood
- Less pain, especially when related to exercise
Five Ways to Practice Grounding
Just as we absorb vitamin D from the sun, the earth under our feet provides benefits to our bodies. Touching the ground with bare feet is just one way to practice grounding, but here are other ways to practice grounding that could be incorporated into your routines:
Submerge in water
When practicing grounding, water can be used to ground in the same way as Earth. You can do something as simple as stand in a puddle or get fully submerged in a natural body of water, like a natural lake, a river, a stream, or the ocean.
Use grounding equipment
When you can’t go outside to practice grounding (due to weather or other circumstances), you can use grounding equipment. Like in the studies mentioned earlier, grounding equipment mimics the electromagnetic frequencies of Earth. There are grounding mats, sheets, socks, wristbands, patches, and rods that all achieve the same goal of connecting with Earth.
Although this isn’t always the best idea, exercising barefoot when you can is a good way to get both the mental and physical benefits of grounding. Connecting with bare earth can help ground you emotionally, and exercising is a way to improve your overall health.
Gardening’s good for the environment ‒ and for your health. When you garden without gloves, you’re connecting to Earth in not only a physical way but an emotional one as well. Planting new life in the ground and caring for the Earth and what it produces can also help you feel more connected to the world around you.
Hug a tree
“Tree hugger” may be a nickname for a climate-conscious person, but the act of hugging a tree can actually improve your health! Hugging a tree increases levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin, which makes you feel calm. When hugging a tree, serotonin and dopamine also work to make you feel happier.
The Importance of Connecting with Nature
The saying “You are what you eat” applies to more than just food. Primary food’s the idea that you and your health are the sum of not just everything you eat but also the people you interact with, the places you go, the bonds you form, and what you create.
Consider what your body touches all year long: the ground. Practicing grounding is a liberating way to connect with Mother Earth. Soil has been shown to have a powerful effect on mood and mental health because of its mineral content, and grounding provides the opportunity to absorb that positive energy.
Touch is a crucial component of overall health and wellness. Tiffany Field, head of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, found in her research that being touched or held before facing a stressful situation resulted in better performance on cognitive tests than not getting any physical touch.
If you're feeling tired, weak, or depleted, you may not be getting enough Earth energy. Grounding’s a great way to plug into nature and even improve your health. Start today by walking through your neighborhood: Seek out grassy areas and then take your shoes and socks off. Plant those bare feet into Mother Earth and walk around, sit, lie down, play, whatever you want! By connecting with nature and allowing yourself to feel its energy, you’ll experience a greater sense of well-being.