Earthing and Health

Now that spring is on its way, the thoughts of green grass, gardens, flowers, buds on trees, and the multitude of nature awakenings are upon us. This is also an opportune time to contemplate incorporating the practice of Earthing into your repertoire of self-care and health practices. With the ground thawing (particularly in our cooler northern climates) the earth becomes more accessible and tolerable to our bare feet. If you absolutely cannot or do not like, barefoot on the ground, read on to learn other ways to achieve Earthing. 

Earthing can be defined as connecting your physical body to the earth. Often referred to as grounding, this practice has been studied and determined to provide benefits to the physical, as well as the emotional and spiritual self. It is well documented throughout history and practiced by many cultures. Connecting to the earth, the ground, allows the negatively charged ions (negative ions are good ions) to transfer to the body. Electrons from the earth neutralize the positively charged free radicals that can cause inflammation. An excess of free radicals can damage cell membranes and DNA which can make the body more susceptible to disease. Some of the benefits of Earthing that have been studied include the reduction in blood viscosity, calming and balancing of the sympathetic nervous system, mental clarity and alertness, and as mentioned above, reduction in chronic inflammation. 

Research suggests at least 20 minutes of your feet being in contact with the ground to achieve benefit. For some, this is pleasurable and easily accomplished. For other reasons, some people do not enjoy, or cannot tolerate bare feet on the ground. There are ways to accomplish the absorption/transfer of the negative ions into the body that do not require you to be barefoot. You can turn your regular shoes into conductors by placing copper wire or carbon into the footbed. There has also been a growth in the industry of Earthing shoes on the market, with the materials of the shoes being specifically manufactured to allow the transfer of the ions. Some of the materials used in these types of shoes are leather and hemp, copper inlays, canvas footbeds, and incorporate what is termed zero drop soles, so your entire foot makes contact with the ground. 

Also, it should be noted, that gardening and digging in the dirt, getting dirt onto your hands, especially directly into your palms (palms and soles of the feet have the best absorption ability of anywhere on the body due to not having certain cellular protective structures) can have a similar Earthing effect. Studies have shown that absorbing the benefits of earth/dirt/ ground can lead to increased serotonin production in the brain, thus leading to a much more pleasant feeling or mood.

Earthing is an inexpensive, no preparation necessary self-care and health-enhancing activity. Add it to your self-care routine. In essence, the advice is…… to get outside and get dirty! Enjoy!

About the Article's Author

Leslie M. Wireman, MS, LLP, LBSW, CAADC
With over 20 years of experience in the mental health field, Leslie utilizes holistic and traditional methods to counsel, coach, inspire, and heal. Leslie recently created Wireman Counseling Innovations to help put clients with a therapist who best fits their needs.

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