Could the solution to slowing the degenerative processes in our body be right beneath our feet? Studies explore Earthing (also known as grounding)—a practice which typically involves direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth, such as walking barefoot—and its potential anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body.
Inflammation is one of the ways our immune system responds to a substance it deems problematic. These substances can enter the body via the food and drinks we consume, the air we breathe, and even what we absorb through our skin. When your immune system perceives that a foreign substance has entered, it mounts a powerful attack on the unwelcome visitor. Part of that response is to create inflammation (the heat, swelling and redness), which occurs wherever the immune system is engaged in a battle—in the tissues of your face, in your blood vessels, and/or in your vital organs, for example. In other words, it isn’t always visible. Inflammation is essential for keeping us alive, but when prolonged, damage can occur.
The Earth’s surface holds a vibrational energy, caused by particles called free electrons. Studies have hypothesised that connecting the body to the Earth’s surface can enable these free electrons to spread into the body, having an antioxidant effect to slow down or even prevent inflammation and free radical damage.
A review of earthing research done by the Developmental and Cell Biology Department of the University of California at Irvine found that that reconnecting the body to the Earth’s surface, resulted in significant improvements in sleep disturbances and chronic pain. One of the studies reviewed involved randomly assigning subjects with sleep or pain disorders to sleep on conductive carbon fibre mattress pads, half of which were connected to the Earth’s surface, and half of which were not. The subjects who were connected to the Earth reported a significant improvement in quality of sleep, feeling rested upon waking, muscle stiffness and pain, and general well-being when compared to the control subjects. The review concluded that more research does need to be conducted, but that Earthing very well may be an essential element in the quest to increase human longevity.
We don’t always need to know how and why things work—perhaps the way we feel when we consistently do something (as long as it’s not harming us) is enough.
When we look at children and the way they move and interact with nature, whether it’s jumping in dirty puddles, crunching on the autumn leaves, or rolling around on the freshly cut grass—is this their innate wiring, or perhaps a knowing of the powerful relationship we hold with Mother Earth?
When was the last time you felt the sand between your toes or the lush grass beneath your feet? How can you prioritise spending some more time in nature today?
I hope this brings further curiosity about, and an even deeper appreciation for the land we are part of every single day.