By Jonathan Taylor
Have you ever heard of that weird activity known as, “grounding,” also referred to as, “earthing?” Well, over the last several months, grounding has picked up a lot of traction in the health and wellness field. So, what is it and why is it becoming so popular?
First of all, grounding is simply the action of the human body being in direct contact with the earth, without any barrier of interruption, such as shoes, clothes, etc. For example, walking barefoot on grass, organic ground or beach sand is its simplest form of practice. But what is the basis of this concept? Let’s run through a quick tutorial: We are all made up of matter, and matter consists of many atoms. Each atom is made of a combination of protons, neutrons and electrons.
So, when equal amounts of protons and electrons are contained within an atom, it is considered to be balanced, or stable, having a net charge of 0. However, through many metabolic processes, an atom will lose its electrons, causing it to be positively charged with a greater number of protons. This is then known as being an unstable atom. These unstable atoms are also known as free radicals. Stay with me!
Free radicals can be completely neutralized by the body via antioxidants. These antioxidants will come alongside the troubled atom and share an electron in order to make that atom balanced, or stable, once again. However, when the body is under high oxidative stress, this means that the free radicals have outnumbered the antioxidants that are trying to help. Prolonged oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins and DNA, which greatly contributes to the process of aging. It also can play a major role in the development of health conditions such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Unfortunately, free radicals form not only through internal processes but also through environmental exposures to things such as cigarette smoke, radiation, air pollution, cell phones, Wi-Fi and ingested pesticides on foods, just to name a few. So, what can we do to combat all this exposure? The answer is, take your shoes off. A body high in oxidative stress, when the free radicals outnumber the stable atoms, is a body that is positively charged.
Direct contact with the ground can infuse the body with much needed electrons, helping to transform unstable atoms into stable ones, thus affecting the human body for good. Health is waiting for you right under your feet.
The practice of grounding is not new, as humans have been walking in bare feet since their beginning. However, science is just catching up to its many benefits. To begin deriving benefits, try the following:
- Take your shoes off and stand in your yard 10-15 minutes multiple times during the week. Watch out for ant piles. Grip the ground with your toes or just enjoy a stroll.
- Use your hands and grab the earth. Spending a few minutes touching the ground or soil can do a body good. You are feeding your body a healthy dose of electrons. Now there’s an excuse to get out and garden.
- If you live near water, spend time in the wet sand. Salt water contains healthy minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and iodine. They can be absorbed through your feet. It’s like a mineral smoothie for your anatomy. Long walks on the beach don’t just enhance relationships. They enhance the body as well.
- Living in a concrete jungle? One can receive benefit from grounding at home by purchasing a simple grounding mat (earthing universal grounding mat kit). Once plugged in, it can have similar effects as the ground itself. Try spending some time on and off the mat throughout the day.
- Sleeping under a grounding mat or conductive bed sheets has been shown to significantly increase deep sleep patterns. The more the body is balanced, the more it can relax, resulting in much deeper sleep.
Science has shown that the effects of a negative charge on the body, or an increased exposure to electrons, can reduce inflammation, cortisol levels, stress and pain; improve sleep and blood flow; calm the sympathetic nervous system and ultimately heal the body.
Try grounding for your health and have fun getting a little dirty!