OK, the title is a cheesy reference to the show I just opened.
Shameless plug. So shoot me.
What I want to talk through is a practice called “grounding” or “earthing”. I’ve been hearing about this for a while, and recently 2 great friends whose opinion I respect have advocated for this practice. So, first off…
What is it?
And, BTW, I’m just gonna go with Grounding from here on out, OK? “Earthing” makes me think of “earthling”, which makes me think of aliens, which makes me think of far out, groovy, west coast, hippy dippy thinking, and I don’t want to go into this with that attitude. And by the way, when’s the last time you saw the words “hippy dippy” in a sentence?
You’re welcome. But I digress…
What is it? ( I repeat)
According to one expert on the subject “The earth is like a battery, High up in the ionosphere is where the earth is positively charged and, on the surface, the charge is negative. The human body is also a battery.” Essentially, when you directly connect to the earth, you tap into the natural rhythmic pulsations flowing through and emanating through the earth’s surface. The concept is that grounding affects the living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells.
Electrical conductivity exists within the matrix that functions as an immune system defense, similar to antioxidants. They believe that through grounding, the natural defenses of the body can be restored.”
Whew. That’s a lot. Basically, in “Bob-speak”, it is connecting directly to the earth and the electricity therein, which can have wellness benefits.
There are many types of grounding. All of them focus on reconnecting yourself to the earth. This can be done through either direct or indirect contact with the earth. One of the easiest ways to ground yourself to the earth is to walk barefoot.
Whether this is on grass, sand, or even mud, allowing your skin to touch the natural ground can provide you with grounding energy.You can also increase your skin-to-earth contact by lying on the ground. You can do it in the grass by the park or on the sand at the beach.
And the study I researched also offered this caveat; “If you’re going to ground yourself in this way, be sure to take the proper precautions and never lie somewhere you could be injured.” In other words, don’t lie down on a construction site. Or a racetrack. (FFS…)
According to advocates for grounding, water may be used to ground in the same way the physical earth is used for grounding.They suggest simply wading in a clear lake or swimming in the ocean as a way to ground yourself.
There is also equipment you can buy to simulate the grounding experience. I’ll get to that in a minute.
What are some of the benefits?
Grounding is currently an under-researched topic and there are very few scientific studies on the benefits.
This is an understatement. The actual research is thinner than Christian Bale in “The Mechanic”.
However, people have reported improvement for conditions such as:
Reduced chronic fatigue and chronic pain. Lower pain levels in general, reduced anxiety & depression, improved sleep
and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, one study found that long-term self-administered grounding therapy helped to reduce blood pressure levels in participants with hypertension. In a small study on grounding and heart health, 10 healthy participants were grounded using patches on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet. Blood measurements were taken before and after grounding to determine any changes in red blood cell fluidity, which plays a role in heart health. The results indicated significantly less red blood cell clumping after grounding, which suggests benefits for cardiovascular health. Another slightly larger study examined the role of grounding on post-exercise muscle damage. Researchers used both grounding patches and mats and measured creatine kinase, white blood cell count, and pain levels before and after grounding. Blood work indicated that grounding reduced muscle damage and pain in participants. This suggests that grounding may influence healing abilities.
This research is supported by a recent study on grounding for pain reduction and mood improvement. Sixteen massage therapists alternated between periods of grounding and no grounding. Before grounding therapy, physical and emotional stress and pain were common side effects of their physically demanding jobs. After the earthing therapy, pain, stress, depression, and fatigue were all reduced among participants.
However, again most of the studies on grounding are small and rely somewhat on subjective measures, such as self-reported feelings, mood, or even self-administered treatment.
I repeat. “self-reported feelings, mood, or even self-administered treatment”.
Like I said, Thinner than the last 5 minutes of any “Naked & Afraid” episode.
Now, about “grounding equipment”. According to the people who make grounding equipment, “When going outside to ground yourself isn’t an option, there are alternatives”. Such as connecting a metal rod to the ground outside and then connecting the rod to your body through a wire. Or if you’re not comfortable using a metal rod to ground yourself, there’s other grounding equipment available, such as;
grounding sheets or blankets
grounding bands and patches
So, the concept of grounding is reconnecting yourself with the “natural rhythmic pulsations / electrical charge flowing through and emanating from the earth’s surface”. Their words, not mine. But here are some products that can simulate that, in your home or office, for the low, low price of…?
I’m sorry, but the whole point seems to be to get out in nature, reconnect with the earth. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the benefit of doing this is feeling the water on your skin, or the grass / dirt under your bare feet. I’m not saying that the “faux grounding” equipment is a money play, because that would be unkind, and I’m not trying to be that person.
Your choice, folks.
Am I doing it? Yes, for the last few weeks I’ve been stopping after my runs, taking off my socks & shoes and wandering in the grass a bit as I cool down. So far, aside from feeling a bit self-conscious, what I feel is relaxed. It’s a throwback to childhood. A mellow, calming moment when you’re just, sorta, existing. Feeling the sun, the air, the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors. In short, I dig it. I’m gonna keep doing it, and if there’s more to share, I’ll share.
OK, I gotta wrap this up, put my shoes & socks back on and get on with my day.
The people here in the Starbucks are starting to stare.