Grounding, or the act of connecting the human body to Earth’s natural electric charge, is a powerful health ritual that we lost as we embraced shoes and city life. But touching earth’s surface is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to improve your health and vitality. Read on to learn more about Grounding’s benefits and how to include this ritual in your busy city life.
Did you know that:
- Our body has negative charge, around -100mV. That happens to be about the same charge as the Earth’s surface,
- Electrons are used by the body to fight reactive oxygen species / oxidation, so they are important to stay vital and young.
- Many diseases including inflammation and cancer are associated with a loss of electrons in the body – cancer cells for example have -15mV charge compared to the normal -100mV
My Discovery of Grounding
The first time I heard about grounding, I didn’t take it seriously. All I needed to be convinced is to try! I used to live in Paris, in a 4th floor flat, and was never in direct barefoot contact with the earth except on holidays.
My options were limited, and I bought a grounding mat, which is a conductive surface that you connect to the earthing component of your electric plug, and that connects you back to the earth.
I started sleeping on the mat, and to my amazement, would wake up refreshed and energetic.
Fast forward to today, I walk barefoot on the ground of my backyard every morning, and I wear grounding sandals (360UPGRADE for 10% off) so that I am always in touch with earth when out for a walk in the park.
The Benefits of Grounding
There are now more than 20 research papers studying the profound, systemic, and fast benefits of earthing/grounding. [R]
Earth’s surface is negatively charged. When our bare skin is in direct contact with it, electrons flow to our body and magic happens. That is because our cells need electrons to function properly.
After 30 min to a few hours of earthing, the surface charge of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) increases. This reduces our blood viscosity, making the blood more fluid, our heart work less, our circulation improve, and our cardiovascular risk decrease.
Inflammation & Pain
Consistently accessing earth’s electrons reduces inflammation and lowers pain. It also helps faster recovery after surgery, an injury, or even just exercise / training. [R]
This happens as the electrons from earth are similar to the electrons from antioxidant molecules that neutralize reactive oxygen species (free radicals) involved in the body’s immune and inflammatory responses.
Our mitochondria uses electrons to produce energy and metabolic water. Accessing electrons from the earth means more readily available energy for our mitochondria and cells. It also means less chronic fatigue. [R]
This translates into better growth and repair. It also means less cellular stress.
Electrons from the earth also modulate our nervous system. Through a complex action on human’s bioelectrical environment and alternations in electrolyte concentrations , it regulates the correct functioning of the nervous system. [R]
This means better focus and mood.
Figure: 24-hour cortisol levels before and after 6 weeks of sleeping on grounding mats
In experiments, cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”) peaked less, and were realigned to a normal trend after subjects slept on a grounding mat for 6 weeks. [R]
Sleep & Recovery
Through its modulation of reactive oxygen species (free radicals), inflammation, nervous system , stress hormones, and mitochondrial energy, grounding helps benefit from more restorative sleep and faster recovery.
In experiments looking at recovery after training, subjects who grounded during their sleep recovered faster and felt less fatigue. [R]
Figure: Fatigue response following intensive eccentric muscle loading for subjects who ground during sleep (GRD) and who don’t (UGD)
Disconnection from earth and chronic disease
Figure: Correlation between shoes sales and diabetes in the United States
The graph above shows a correlation, not a causation, so take it with a large pinch of salt. But it does make you wonder whether our disconnection from earth’s healing power could be one of the main drivers of chronic diseases and the fall of vitality.
Here are tips to get started on your grounding journey
- The best way to ground is to sit/walk barefoot on wet grass/wet sand. Swimming in the ocean or in an open plane water body in contact with earth (e.g a lake) are great options too as the water improves conductivity with earth.
- The next best thing is to sit/walk barefoot on grass/sand/dirt or plain concrete. You could also touch a tree or plants that have roots in the earth. These are all conductive surfaces from which your body can draw earth’s energy. However, wood, carpet, asphalt, sealed or painted concrete and vinyl won’t work and will block the flow of electrons as they are not conductive .
- To get more benefits in your daily life, you can use grounding shoes (I use Earth Runners – 10% off with Code: 360UPGRADE) and a grounding mat to connect to your plug inside your house.. You need to make sure the plug is connected to the earth (you can purchase a device that helps test that). This option works but is less ideal as you take the risk of being exposed to dirty electricity as well.
What about winter?
Many people have a hard time grounding in winter, especially in northern latitudes with colder temperatures and snowy surfaces. Here are some tips for winter grounding:
- Walking barefoot on snow (especially melting snow) is a great way to ground! Using earthing shows (Earth Runners – 10% off with Code: 360UPGRADE) can help make the experience more practical
- Touching plants that are connected to the earth is often a practical option too
- Using grounding mats indoors
To learn more about grounding, I highly recommend this book: Earthing – the most important health discovery
As you can see, there are multiple options to ground and connect back to earth even if you have a busy life, even if you live in a city, and even if you spend most of your time indoors. So there are no excuses when it comes to connecting back to mother earth!