Studies show that the practice of grounding or earthing, could have many health benefits, especially during times of high anxiety or stress.
The therapeutic technique involves doing activities that reconnect your body to the earth in order to absorb its electrical charges. Many grounding experts believe that through this practice, the natural defenses of the body can be restored, leading to many overall health benefits.
“The Earth has a giant electromagnetic field; humans also have a bioelectromagnetic field,” Shamini Jain, a psychologist and founding director of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative, said. “Grounding practitioners believe that by connecting our bioelectromagnetic field with that of the Earth, we can reduce pain and fatigue, and increase our energy as well as our connection with the Earth.”
The concept of grounding, or earthing, was introduced in 2010 in Clint Ober’s book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? However, the technique has been practiced since the beginning of time when our ancestors walked around in bare feet or conductive leather moccasins or sandals.
Studies show that there may be some truth to the hype.
In one study, 10 healthy participants had grounding patches placed on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet.
The results indicated significantly less red blood cell clumping after grounding, suggesting benefits for cardiovascular health. Blood work also indicated that grounding reduced muscle damage and pain in participants, suggesting that grounding may influence healing abilities.
Another study tracked participant’s cortisol levels before and after eight weeks of sleeping on a conductive mattress pad. It found that their cortisol rhythms balanced out, leading to stress relief and better sleep. Subjects also fell asleep faster, experienced less anxiety and depression, and felt more energy.
“Current scientific studies report reductions in pain and stress, and improvements in cortisol rhythm and sleep,” Jain said. “There is some indication that grounding affects the immune system, but the mechanisms are not well-understood, and in general there has been little research in this area.”
Marci Baron, a Woodbury, New York-based energy healer said grounding could be effective just based on the way it reconnects humans with nature.
“In the world that we live in, most people are not connecting with nature – it’s become this big disconnect,” she said. “To make a conscious connection to get out into the energy of the earth really brings a lot of health benefits… Everybody who goes to the beach and connects with the ocean and the sand [feels] better.”
Potential benefits of grounding
While there is still a lot of research to be done, grounding may offer many health benefits to those who practice it regularly.
Healthline reported that people showed improvement in the following areas.
- Chronic fatigue – The regulation of cortisol levels often aids in getting more sleep and, in return, having more energy throughout the day.
- Chronic pain – Studies show that grounding reduces inflammation in the body, leading to quicker healing and reduced pain.
- Anxiety and depression – The influx of negative electrons from the earth has been shown to calm the nervous system.
- Sleep disorders – Studies have shown that grounding can regulate cortisol levels, making it easier to fall asleep (and stay asleep).
- Cardiovascular disease – Studies show less red blood cell clumping after grounding, suggesting many cardiovascular benefits.
How to practice grounding
There are several ways to practice grounding, or earthing. The simplest way is to walk on the ground in your bare feet. Moisture helps conduct the earth’s energy, so wet grass, dirt, or sand are the best ways to experience grounding. Keep in mind, your feet may be tender, especially if you aren’t used to walking around barefoot.
Baron suggested imagining negative energy dumping out of your feet and healing energy flowing into them.
You can also lay directly on the ground to absorb electromagnetic energy from the earth.
“Allow yourself to make contact with the earth, and feel as though you can sink into it deeply,” Jain said. “This allows the body to relax and receive more freely.
Submerging yourself in water is another popular way to practice grounding. Just wade into the ocean or a lake or even a river and feel the energy of the water moving around you.
If you can’t get outside to practice grounding, there are alternative ways to ground yourself indoors using grounding mats, grounding sheets or blankets, grounding bands or patches, and even grounding socks.
My experience practicing grounding
After learning what I could about grounding, I decided to give the technique a try for myself.
I live in a tiny Brooklyn apartment, surrounded by concrete sidewalks and industrial buildings, so I had to plan a trip to the park to find some grass and dirt I could sink my feet into.
I brought a friend with me and we found a good spot to take off our shoes and start walking. I immediately felt almost nostalgic about the experience. It occurred to me how rarely I feel nature against my skin as an adult. Digging my toes into the dirt and grass felt like a distant childhood memory and was instantly comforting.
My friend and I walked around for about 30 minutes and decided to take it as an opportunity to discuss some of the anxieties and fears we were experiencing in the midst of a global pandemic. The feeling of my feet on the ground made me very aware of my connection to the earth and kept my breathing calm and my mind clear while we talked.
Afterward, my friend and I sat on the ground and both agreed we felt a decrease in anxiety and a sense of peace moving forward in our day. I can definitely see how practicing earthing on a regular basis could have lasting benefits.