Down-to-earth

Our busy, frantic modern lives often take us away from the natural world. Tricia Wanjala explains the benefits of going barefoot and reconnecting with the earth. It could be the answer to a whole host of health problems…

HealthI am outside sitting barefoot on a patch of grass as I write this, hoping that a suspicious-looking line of ants won’t be tempted to bite. The morning sun is warm on my cheek, and I wrap my shawl tighter to counter the breeze. Why have I left the comfort of my office to work outdoors? Simple – I am earthing.

What in the world is earthing?
Earthing is the practice of connecting directly with the earth. You do this by standing, walking, lying down or sitting on a grassy area, or on the beach. Earthing, or grounding, yields best results when done barefoot when the ground is damp. Our ancestors and traditional societies naturally earthed themselves. They did this because they walked barefoot, or wore simple leather-soled shoes. The nature of their work also placed them in daily contact with the bare soil. Modern living has disconnected us from this natural practice. We wear shoes with plastic or rubber soles which insulate us from the ground. We spend most of our time in cars or highrise buildings with wooden, carpeted and tiled floors.

How will earthing benefit me?
Dr James Oschman, in his book Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, reports that earthing helps to ‘normalise cortisol dynamics, combat inflammation, improve sleep and autonomic nervous system balance, and reduce the effects of stress.’ According to Dr Joseph Mercola, the Internet health guru, these effects can be seen in as little as 30 minutes. No wonder you feel so relaxed after a beach run or a camping weekend!

Earthing has such a positive effect on sleep patterns it is touted as a cheap remedy for insomnia and jet lag. Biohackers recommend that, after arriving at your destination, you find a patch of dewy grass or a beach and stand or walk there for twenty minutes. This helps recalibrate your body clock and synchronise it with your current location.

Our planet is negatively charged. When we practise grounding, beneficial free electrons are conducted into our body. These lower our positive charge to the same negative potential as the earth, resulting in favourable physio-logical changes. Cardiologist Dr Stephen Sinatra explains that free radical stress and excessive positive charge exacerbates inflammation in the body and thickens the blood. Grounding thins the blood by infusing your system with negatively charged ions, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Earthing is also said to minimise the detrimental effects of exposure to EMFs or ‘electromagnetic pollution.’ Daily we are surrounded by devices that produce an electromagnetic charge, disrupting our bodies at a cellular level. Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi and electrical outlets are just a few of the more obvious examples. Earthing restores our inner balance by returning our bodies to their correct charge.

Regardless of the theories behind earthing, why not try it out for yourself – today? You might just notice an improvement in your mood, energy, and even your quality of sleep.