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Is Earthing Your Next Wellness Practice?

Is Earthing Your Next Wellness Practice?

Today, almost anything goes when it comes to wellness practices. Taken to the extreme, this becomes an attempt to “biohack” and optimise our bodies and minds outside the normal realm - think “young blood transfusions” (in pursuit to hinder the ageing process) and extreme periods of fasting. On the more approachable side, we adopt meditation, mindfulness, and numerous forms of self-care.

Some methods sit somewhere in the middle: slightly outside traditional medicine, yet safe and easy to initiate. “Earthing” - or “grounding” - is one of these practices that could find its way into your wellness routine soon. It sounds a bit “woo-woo,” but could it possibly be the next life-changing, health-boosting practice?

What Is Earthing?

Have you ever seen a neighbour wandering and pacing barefoot, back and forth, on the natural ground? In all likeliness, they weren’t losing their marbles but practising a spot of earthing.

According to Australia’s Barefoot Healing, earthing occurs when “your bare feet or skin comes in contact with the earth, free electrons are taken up into the body.” To put it plainly, the surface of the earth is negatively charged with free electrons. These electrons can travel and reduce a positive charge; when we stand barefoot on the ground, the body absorbs the free electrons and equalises to the earth’s negative charge.

The absorption of energy claims to offer medical benefits for the mind and the body. Proponents of the movement believe that in walking, standing or simply being barefoot on the ground, we can connect to the earth’s healing energy. Barefoot Healing calls this Vitamin G (for Ground).

The Benefits Of Earthing

Leaders of the movement are quick to list many health benefits that cover a wide range of ailments and illnesses. According to them, it requires only 30 minutes of toe-to-earth contact a day to unlock.

One devotee, Clint Ober of Ultimate Longevity, notes that earthing can help ease pain, reduce inflammation, boost one’s mood, lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk. Other reports mention the practice helps improve sleep, treats chronic fatigue and supports immune function.

As Ober points out, in ancient times, we would walk barefoot or wrap our feet in leather soles, which would conduct energy transfer and allow for this healing. Today, shoe soles are abundantly rubber, so we miss out (rubber insulates instead). Our modern lives and dwellings have us spending more time away from the ground - we primarily reside and work indoors, raised off the earth’s surface. We stick to footpaths, wear shoes, and rely on cars for transportation; we lose out on this potential naturally occurring prosperity.

How To Practice Earthing

No doubt, earthing is cheap and easy to start practising.

First, pick your location. You might have access to a green patch of grass in your backyard or a park nearby; you may venture to the beach or bushland. Grass, sand, dirt, and even plain concrete all suffice in aiding the flow of these electrons from the earth to the body.

Second, select your position or movement. Sit, stand, lie down, or go for a walk, if you like. Integrate earthing into an outdoor chore - like gardening or hanging the washing - by simply leaving the footwear behind. Exercise outside barefoot and feel the blades of grass between the toes; wade in the ocean or another natural body of water. You might even hug a tree if that’s your thing or attempt to sleep on the ground while camping.

Once established, try to maintain the contact for a minimum of 30 minutes. Feel the connection to the ground and use it as a time to deeply relax and reset.

While earthing is traditionally practised outdoors, modern technology has transferred the concept to inside for those without the time, space or access. Grounded mats are made from carbon-based polyurethane and easily plug into the electrical socket. They allow you to work, practise yoga, or sleep while pursuing this flow of energy - all from the comfort of your home or office.

Does Earthing Really Work?

Could spending a slice of our day connected to the earth really amass these wide-ranging perks and health improvements?

To be honest, the jury is still out, and the method requires further medical research. All studies analysing the benefits of this energy have involved mats indoors - some electrically charged and some not - to measure mood and overall health changes. At this stage, the medical world has deemed earthing therapeutic but not necessarily curative.

With the proof to back it up or not, it’s inarguable that getting outdoors and connecting to the earth is extremely valuable. Simply walking in nature is rife with benefits and forms an active meditation practice. Just half an hour of walking each day outdoors assists overall health: reducing cancer risk, improving the cardiovascular system, aiding in weight management, alleviating stress, boosting moods. Walking is gentle; it is calming, nourishing, and grounding on its own, so why not try without shoes?

Put it to the test and try for yourself. Get outside each day for a minimum of half an hour, in any capacity you can muster. Lie in the backyard, walk along the sand, or sit on the park bench with your toes in the grass. You might read a book, listen to a podcast, or simply watch the clouds flow along. Either way, fill up on Vitamin D and release endorphins. Whether the electrons are transferring to your body or not, notice as your mind relaxes, and the soul soothes. Tomorrow, try forgetting the footwear.

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