With so many stressors around us every day, it’s no wonder that many of us experience heightened levels of stress, cardiovascular disease, and other negative health effects.
Some of that might be due to a lack of grounding, which can happen when our bodies are no longer electrically connected (or “grounded”) to the Earth. Today, let’s explore the scientific principles behind grounding and explore why it might be important for your health.
What Is Grounding?
In a nutshell, grounding is a therapeutic technique that focuses on “grounding” or “earthing” your body by connecting your bare skin to the Earth.
Basically, the Earth and all living things within it are affected by electromagnetic fields. Those fields can affect the direction and momentum of electrons, and in turn, affect how electricity flows between different things.
According to those who practice grounding, many people today are not properly grounded – that is, they aren’t fully in touch with the Earth’s electromagnetic field. Some people believe that they may suffer certain negative health side effects as a result of not being grounded.
In grounding, the basic idea is that the Earth’s electrical charges may impact the body positively or negatively. Those who practice grounding believe that connecting with those electrical charges could help support overall health.
The science behind this is inconclusive at best. That said, some say they experience benefits from practicing grounding techniques.
These techniques typically revolve around “reconnecting” with the planet or removing things that may block electron flow between the living cells inside of you and the living matrix of the world at large.
What Are the Types of Grounding?
There are many different types of grounding therapy that you can try individually or together.
Here are some examples:
- Walking barefoot. By walking barefoot, you put your body into direct contact with the Earth, especially if you walk on dirt, grass, or any surface aside from concrete, asphalt, or other artificial surfaces.
- Lying on the ground. Some people try to increase skin-to-Earth contact by lying directly on the ground. You can try this on grass, dirt, or even on the sand at the beach.
However, if you choose to practice this technique, just make sure you do it safely. Stay away from areas that aren’t safe, and check the ground for stray bits of glass before lying down.
- Water submersion. Some people say that water can help ground the body in the same way as earth. If this is true, swimming in a lake or swimming in the ocean could help with grounding by exposing the skin to natural Earth elements.
Again, it’s crucial to be safe when trying water submersion. Try to limit your swimming to designated safe areas, and only try this if you know how to swim.
Lastly, some people use alternative methods if grounding outside isn’t an option. For example, they may connect a metal rod to the ground outside and touch the rod whenever they need to feel grounded.
Some people also incorporate other earthing therapy devices or accessories into their routine, such as grounding mats, grounding socks, grounding sheets or blankets, and grounding patches.
The Earth’s electrons flow through the ground rod or grounding systems into direct contact with your body, thanks to their conductivity. Because of this, you might notice benefits to your immune system, all thanks to Mother Earth’s Energy.
Why Is Grounding Important?
Grounding is important because many of us don’t spend as much time outside as we ought to. According to those who practice grounding, living in an environment that’s disconnected from the Earth can cut you off from the natural energy flow provided by the Earth.
Because of this, they say that your body can react negatively, sometimes resulting in long-term health issues. This negative reaction can theoretically be increased if you live in an elevated home, such as a two-story apartment, or if you live in a city, where concrete and asphalt may prevent you from touching grass or dirt frequently.
If the benefits of grounding are real, grounding may help you experience better holistic wellness and pursue a deeper, more natural connection to the world around you. Grounding is often combined with meditation and other therapeutic techniques.
Whether grounding has real benefits or not, spending time outside is still good for your physical and mental health. So, getting outside and going for a long walk in nature can be good for you whether you’re barefoot or not.
What Are the Benefits of Earthing?
Grounding’s scientific basis is not yet fully understood or proven. However, some people say they experience benefits and positive health effects by practicing grounding regularly.
Reduced Pain and Inflammation
According to some people, grounding may lead to lower levels of general pain or inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by free radicals, which are basically atoms that are missing some electrons. They can be neutralized by antioxidants, which are atoms that share free electrons.
Grounding may support your overall well-being because the surface of the Earth contains antioxidants and negative charges, which may travel into your body to help fight free radicals.
Reduced Stress Levels
Similarly, grounding may help to reduce stress hormone levels in the body, especially if you practice it long-term. This could happen because you’re spending more time in nature. After all, many people don’t spend enough time outdoors.
Spending more time outdoors and practicing grounding may lead to reduced overall stress, which can then lead to a host of mental health benefits. Stress can lead to a buildup of cortisol, which can also lead to high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, and a range of other problems.
While scientists aren’t quite sure how grounding helps reduce stress, the current leading thought is that grounding helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is part of your nervous system that helps you relax.
Improved Bodily Wellness
Some fans of grounding say that grounding can lead to generally improved wellness. This is a pretty subjective term, but for many people, it means improved blood flow, reduced stress, greater strength and flexibility, better heart health, and more.
However, the exact effects or benefits can vary from person to person. Plus, since these benefits haven’t yet been proven, it’s important to still rely on your primary care doctors for any health conditions you may have.
Improved Mental Health
Many people who practice grounding report improved mental health after doing things like lying on the ground, taking walks barefoot in a park, and so on. This might be because of grounding’s effect on stress, spending time outdoors, or even simple exercise.
Lastly, some grounding therapy fans say that they sleep better after grounding, reporting reduced restlessness, reduced sleep disorders, and improved energy in the morning.
Your personal experience might be different, but it’s possible that practicing grounding strategies and techniques could lead to better sleep by reducing stress and helping you relax.
While grounding might help with sleep, there are also some other tricks you can try to catch your zzzs. For instance, many people find success with weighted blankets that are designed to encourage sleep. You can also try drinking herbal tea and limiting screen time before bed.
Can Grounding Replace Your Doctor?
While it’d be nice to fix all our health problems with a nice walk outside, the answer is no. Grounding can have positive, reinvigorating, and beneficial effects for some people, but you should not use it as a replacement for proper medical advice or treatment.
Scientists still don’t quite understand the benefits of grounding or whether it even works. In fact, it’s incredibly likely that the benefits of grounding just stem from increased time outside or regular exercise.
That said, grounding may be helpful if pursued wisely. Don’t expect grounding, for example, to fix your chronic back pain if your back pain comes from lifting heavy objects every day at work.
But when used alongside other techniques, like stretching, exercise, and other therapies, grounding may have positive health effects. At the very least, it’s an excuse to spend some time outdoors.
The Bottom Line on Grounding
Grounding is a form of natural therapy that involves exposing yourself to the Earth in order to connect with its natural electromagnetic fields.
While you shouldn’t use it as a one-size-fits-all means of healing injuries or chronic sickness, many people experience the benefits of grounding. These can include better sleep, improved mental health, and overall wellness.
For more information about how to achieve wellness in the body, mind, and spirit, check out 1AND1’s other guides and resources today.
Integrative and lifestyle medicine strategies should include Earthing (grounding): Review of research evidence and clinical observations | Science Direct
What Is Grounding | Psychological & Counseling Services
Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons – PMC | NCBI