Ever notice how wonderful it feels to walk around barefoot in a nice patch of grass? Doing yoga in the park barefoot? What about gardening?
Other than the fact that these are relaxing activities, there is a reason they make you feel so yummy. It has to do with your bare skin touching earth.
Everything on earth that has atoms in it has an electrical charge. Even you. Especially you. Our bodies run on electricity. Our hearts beat because of electricity. Our brains run on electricity. Electricity is created when electrons flow from one atom to another switching the charge of the atom from positive (more protons) to negative (more electrons) or vice versa.
Your cells use electrolytes from the food you eat in what is called the “sodium-potassium gate” to generate electricity. Discover health explains it like this: (1)
“When your body needs to send a message from one point to another, it opens the gate. When the membrane gate opens, sodium and potassium ions move freely into and out of the cell.
Negatively charged potassium ions leave the cell, attracted to the positivity outside the membrane, and positively charged sodium ions enter it, moving toward the negative charge. The result is a switch in the concentrations of the two types of ions — and rapid switch in charge.
…this flip between positive and negative generates an electrical impulse. This impulse triggers the gate on the next cell to open, creating another charge, and so on. In this way, an electrical impulse moves from a nerve in your stubbed toe to the part of your brain that senses pain.”
So what is the point? Everything we eat has electrons and protons in it that we then utilize. Everything you come in contact with has an electrical charge as well, and you can harness and utilize that for your benefit as well.
Our bodies want to be negatively charged.
This means there are more electrons than protons. Our body tells us it wants to be negatively charged, by the fact that it is always eliminating protons (positive charge). It does this through breath (C02 is positively charged), through our urine, as well as our sweat (both positively charged as well).
You may be familiar with the theory of eating alkaline diets for optimal health. This is rooted in the fact that our cells work better when negatively charged (or alkaline), meaning they have more electrons than protons, and one of the ways we get electrons is through our food (mmmm potassium laden bananas). Though food is not actually the only or maybe even the best way to get electrons.
Grounding provides a source of negative charge (electrons)
We get electrons into our body through food and supplements, but we can also add them by grounding ourselves to the Earth. The Earth carries a negative charge. It gets this way from the thousands of negatively charged lightning bolts that hit it daily. And as it turns out, when you connect with the Earth through your bare feet/skin or some other form of conductive clothing, you are absorbing the electrons into your body. This is called grounding or earthing.
Grounding benefits include (6)(7)(8):
- reduce inflammation
- reduce or relieve pain
- improve sleep
- improve mood
- normalize the day–night cortisol rhythm
- reduce stress by shifting the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic activation
- increase heart rate variability
- speed wound healing
- reduce blood viscosity
- and just improve all around enhance well being.
Grounding as an Antioxidant
Grounding is a potent antioxidant. An antioxidant, like that vitamin C were always being told to take when were sick, works to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons (electrons usually come in pairs) and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules.(2) Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes, creating further free radical damage by scavenging electrons from other molecules, (3) and attacking components of our cells such as DNA or the cell membrane. Needless to say cellular damage isn’t idea. So essentially free radicals damage cells in the search for an electron to pair the unpaired electron with.
Side note for the science geeks:
See, just like people electrons also want to pair up. The universe truly is so fractal in nature. I find it utterly mind blowing.
When free radicals find an electron to steal they have the potential to create more free radicals unless this electron is coming from an antioxidant that can safely donate their electrons and transform into something useful or at least non-harmful because it is easily taken care of by the body.(5)
Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged.(2) They are anti-oxidation. You’ll often hear the term oxidation if you begin doing a lot of research on health and the body. It simply means loss of electrons. Incidentally I was just watching the documentary “That Vitamin Movie” (a fantastic movie), where they give tons of examples of how intravenous or mega doses of Vitamin C, an antioxidant, help people recover from many many different diseases including cancers. Vitamin C works because it is an electron donor. They donate an electron to a free radical doing damage to you neutralizing it because free radicals are positively charged. Grounding is an incredible source of electrons to neutralize all those free radicals that are contributing to inflammation and stress, and thus disease.
I also want to note not all antioxidants are electron donors. Some work through enzymatic action to prevent, disrupt, block, or carry away free radicals.(5)
Free radical stress comes from both natural processes in the body as well as exposure to pollution, toxins, pesticides, cigarettes, trans fats and more. So really they are unavoidable.
These damage causing free radicals are constantly depleting your body of electrons, as your body tries to neutralize them. So if you either aren’t significantly reducing the amount of free radicals entering your body (easier said than done) then you need to be adding electrons back in. Grounding is one of the best ways to do that.
Matching Your Bodies Electric Potential to the Earth’s
Grounding benefits include being more then an antioxidant. The reason being, because you are absorbing the negative charge of the Earth, making yourself more negatively charged, which is the state your body wants to be in. When you are grounded, your body is absorbing enough of these electrons to bring your body’s electric potential to the same level as that of the Earth. Throughout history, life on the planet has attuned our biology to this natural resource.(9) For the same basic reason that we ground electrical outlets to avoid the buildup of excess positive charge, our bodies need the same ground effect.
Grounding or Earthing shouldn’t be described as a “treatment” or a “cure” for any disease or disorder. Instead, it can be said without any equivocation that the bioelectrical human body has been nourished throughout history by the natural “battery” of the Earth underfoot. Modern lifestyle has separated us from this primordial source of sustenance. (9)
How to Get Grounded?
Regular shoes unfortunately shield you from absorbing the charge of the Earth. Materials like rubber in our shoes as well as wood and plastic our insulators. They have very few free electrons and stop the flow of free electrons. So of course comes along some great entrepreneurs to get around that. Grounding shoes are awesome. I love mine. There are also grounding mats. Grounding mats are a pretty cool technology that conduct electrons through a mat via a grounding rod in the earth (which you then have to feed into your house through a window usually) or the grounding hole in your regular electrical outlets. It’s pretty freaking cool, and some people don’t feel anything but others like me can feel a tingling, so something is definitely happening. I’ve heard a couple not so great stories about how grounding mats have made people feel and messed with their heart rhythms a bit, which makes sense based on our hearts being highly electrical. So I would be cautious about it and definitely do your own research into it, and even discuss with your doc (it does have a blood thinning effect which can be a problem for some – say if you are already taking blood thinners). I also think it is really good idea if you can ground the mat into the actual earth vs. the grounding hole of your outlet. It’s just more natural, tapping into the actual source you’re trying to connect with.
According to emerging research, Earthing can be beneficial in: (10)
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing chronic pain
- Improving Sleep
- Increasing Energy
- Lowering stress and promoting calmness by reducing stress hormones.
- Normalizing biological rhythms including circadian rhythm
- Improving blood pressure and blood flow
- Relieving muscle tension and headache
- Lessens menstrual and female hormone symptoms
- Speeds healing- used in some places to prevent bed sores
- Can eliminate jet lag
- Shortens recovery time from injury or athletic activity
- Reducing or eliminating snoring
- Helping support adrenal health and HPA axis
And my favorite
- Normalize daily cortisol rhythms (11)
So if after reading this, you are thinking, “I got to get grounded”, don’t forget there is always the very free option of doing more yoga or just walking in the park barefoot (cold winter withstanding).
Conductive surfaces: (wet conducts even better) (1)
Concrete and brick (as long as not sealed)
And wait there’s more. The ground emits natural a PEMF. (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field). Unlike with the electrical charge you don’t have to be in direct contact with the Earth to come in contact with this field, but being outside and grounded certainly helps.
Everything is energy, and all energy is electromagnetic in nature.
All energy is electromagnetic in nature. All atoms, chemicals and cells produce electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Every organ in the body produces it own signature bioelectromagnetic field. Science has proven that our bodies actually project their own magnetic fields and that all 70 trillion cells in the body communicate via electromagnetic frequencies. Nothing happens in the body without an electromagnetic exchange. When the electromagnetic activity of the body ceases, life ceases. (11)
PEMFs, are low frequency pulsed waves, and the Earth naturally produced these waves.
We learned the importance of the Earth’s PEMF field from astronauts. NASA has several studies on PEMF, and discovered how important it is through observation of astronauts that have been cut off by it in space developing health problems relating to bone density and muscle atrophy. (12)
PEMF therapy has been shown to:
- Increase ATP (your cells energy carrier) production, increasing energy
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Improve oxygen uptake
- Lowers blood viscosity and improves circulation and microcirculation
- Improve sleep quality, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and the uptake of nutrients
- Improve cellular detoxification and the cell repair/regeneration
- Accelerate repair of bone and soft tissue
- Enhance the sodium-potassium pump
- Increase cellular pH to make cells more alkaline
There are many FDA approved PEMF therapy devices on the market.
But of course where there are good EMFs, there are neutral ones, and then not so good EMFs. These are often referred to as dirty electricity or as I prefer non-native EMFs (nnEMFs).
These nnEMFs are man made and come from electronics, appliances, power lines and in particular electronics that have wifi capabilities along with power lines are the worst offenders. Your laptops, cell phones, TVs, etc.
nnEMFs are electromagnetic frequencies, that are becoming more and more prevalent and concentrated in our surroundings with advancements in technology. It is not fully understood the effect of nnEMFs on our health, but there is some good evidence going that it isn’t good. Which makes sense. If you think about it, microwaves use nnEMFs to cook. They use a lot of nnEMF yes, but none the less, microwaves cook. They heat up and dehydrate. So could chronic doses of much lower nnEMFs (but still much higher than say the Earth’s PEMF) be having he same effect on us. We are made of water after all. Are these nnEMF’s dehydrating us? The official jury is out, but there are an awful lot of people with EMF sensitivity that would say yes to EMFs not being great for our health, as well as studies coming back correlating EMFs to health problems such as cancer. (13)
There is a lot you can learn about EMFs. But honestly I don’t encourage it, because it’s kind of scary, and scary is stressful and as you’ll learn, and/or likely already know stress is to be avoided.
But the gist is – reduce EMFs in your life. How:
- Turn your phone on airplane mode when sleeping or not using it.
- Keep your phone several feet from you when you aren’t using it. Distances as short as a feet reduce impact.
- Get EMF blockers such as for your phone for your laptop and for you home in general
- Don’t smartmeteryour home. You’ve lived your whole life without it, you’ll manage.
- And check out this video for more details on why this is probably the number 1 thing NOT to do. Or again, don’t, cuz it’s kind of scary, and instead just say no to the smartmeter.
- Eliminate or reduce electronics in your bedroom.
For more answers on Earthing check out http://www.earthinginstitute.net/
The Energy Takeaway
The takeaway here is that it is healthy in both a preventative and counter-measure way to get connected to the actual ground. Walk barefoot, hug a tree, take naps in the grass, do yoga on the beach, and do it all regularly. Further take disconnection breaks from all your electronics. Not only is it psychologically stressful to be constantly connected to social media, it can also be physically stressful.
How can it improve your energy? Grounding increases oxygen uptake, increases ATP production, improves sleep, and helps normalize daily cortisol rhythms. All these things are pretty powerful for optimal energy production.
And they wonder why I am a tree-hugging hippy. #groundandsurround
Check out my free webinar: The 5 Keys to Optimal Energy for my biggest and best tips to shortcut getting back and sustaining optimal energy.
The Short of It:
I am not capable of diagnosing or treating diseases. Nor is that my intention. These statements have not been FDA approved. I’m a girl that has been studying holistic wellness for over 10 years, working on my own health, and feel compelled to share the information I have learned, that I believe in, and that has changed my vitality, performance, resilience, and health for the better. I of course can not guarantee its accuracy, though most has supporting scientific studies, it is always important to note that scientific studies are fallible and some are completed much more stringently than others. Again I’m only sharing information that I believe has improved my life. Further this article contains affiliate links (TOS) and I truly appreciate your support.