Long walks on the beach are not just a romantic cliché – it turns out that it can actually improve your health. “Grounding” is the process of removing excessive electrical charge from an object by releasing it into the ground; walking barefoot can perform this important task for your body.
Humans are electrical beings, and electrons play a role in every cellular process that takes place in your body. The earth is a reservoir of negative electric energy, and when you walk on it barefoot, it has a balancing effect on the energy of your body, which is important for homeostasis (internal biology harmony).
According to the Journal of Environmental and Public Health “…the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons…the earth’s surface is a surprisingly beneficial, yet overlooked global resource for the maintenance of good health, disease prevention, and clinical therapy.”
Unfortunately, we no longer roam barefoot as our ancestors did, and wearing shoes has blocked this natural and invaluable process of grounding from occurring. Reconnecting with the earth’s surface both enhances overall well-being and produces a variety of physiological changes. A study published in the ESD Journal found that grounding the body to the earth resulted in a natural electron shield on the surface of the body, which prevented the formation of harmful free radicals that destroy the body’s cells and lead to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
The protective shield that grounding provides may also help to provide significant pain relief caused by internal inflammation. Internal inflammation is the cause behind several sources of chronic pain, such as muscle pain, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and several other pain disorders. By helping to prevent against inflammation-creating free radicals, grounding can have an impactful effect on inflammation and pain.
It should be noted that occasionally walking barefoot will likely not be enough to yield consistent pain relief. Studies investigating grounding for pain relief used grounding mattress pads (also referred to as earthing pads). The grounding pads are placed under fitted sheets and designed to replicate the electric benefits of sleeping on the earth.
The health benefits of grounding include psychological and emotional ones as well. Grounding has been found to reduce stress and to ease tension. Researchers have discovered that grounding improves overall sleep quality, and allows for fewer wake-ups during the night. Preliminary research suggests that grounding also reduces morning fatigue and enhances daytime energy.
Additional benefits associated with regular grounding include a reduced risk for osteoporosis, a stronger immune system, increased energy levels, lower blood pressure, and better blood-sugar control in type-2 diabetes. If you are lucky enough to live in a temperate climate, approximately 40 to 80 minutes per day of barefoot contact with the earth is all you may need to receive the myriad of benefits associated with grounding. If not, earthing mattress kits can be bought for under $200.