When was the last time you walked barefoot on the earth (not including the beach)?
For most of us, we’ll likely have a hard time remembering – it’s simply not something we think about too often, right?
Well, what we’re about to reveal about grounding, or connecting your bare skin to the earth, is going to make you want to go barefoot every day!
What Is Grounding And Why Is It Beneficial?
Grounding (also known as Earthing) is the act of connecting your bare feet with the earth and its natural electric charge. This has an untold number of benefits, namely because humans are bioelectrical beings; when the electrical system of our bodies comes into contact with the electric charge on the surface of the earth, it has a nourishing effect on our entire system.
In fact, some researchers have even termed the electricity we receive from the earth a form of “electric nutrition.” And, unfortunately, much of humanity has been cut off from this potent nutrition due to paved roads and rubber-soled shoes (which block the earth’s charge).
Earth’s charge is naturally negative (this doesn’t mean “negative” as in “bad,” but simply the type of charge) while many things that aren’t good for us (like bacteria and free radicals) have a positive charge. Earth’s negative charge and free electrons are thought to “neutralize” the positive charge of things like free radicals … which results in all types of amazing benefits.
Let’s get into them below!
Benefits Of Grounding
1. Nature’s Original Anti-Inflammatory
Copious amounts of research have shown that grounding has a significant positive effect on inflammation (amazing news for joint pain!). According to research, this is because positively-charged free radicals “strip” electrons from our healthy tissue, which results in damage. Negative electrons absorbed from the earth on the other hand have the potential to neutralize many of these, which acts as an anti-inflammatory. In fact, studies show this anti-inflammatory effect is not only powerful, but also occurs quickly. This image below shows the before and after effect of grounding on inflammation:
Another study found that grounding was also extremely effective for reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness, or the soreness you experience after an intense workout. Not only that, but similar studies also showed grounding reduced muscle damage and inflammation.
2. Improved Circulation
Other studies have shown significantly increases in blood flow after grounding. They found that grounding increases something called zeta potential, which relates to the strength of the negative charge on the surface of red blood cells. This factor is crucial to maintain spacing of the cells in our bloodstream.
The greater this negative charge on the surface of cells, the greater the cells’ ability to repel other cells – this result in a blood-thinning effect that creates better blood flow.
In fact, because of how significant the results were in these studies, researchers concluded that grounding, “… appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events.”
Enhanced circulation is also extremely beneficial for recovery and reducing joint pain and stiffness, as more blood flow allows more nutrients to be carried to various areas in the body.
3. Improved Sleep And Pain Relief
Yet even more studies have shown grounding reduces pain (likely by reducing inflammation) as well as improves sleep by normalizing our cortisol rhythm. Balancing our circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake cycles, involves balancing cortisol levels. When this rhythm is optimized, we naturally have better sleep.
How Should You Ground? And How Often?
Many of the participants in these studies aimed for 30 minutes of grounding per day; however, even as little as 5-10 minutes has been shown to have a positive effect.
Naturally, the best way to ground is to connect your bare feet with the earth. You can either stand outside barefoot in your yard n the grass, or set out a chair and have your morning coffee while your feet are touching the ground. The key is to get creative with connecting your feet to the earth! Even better if you are able to sit on the ground and connect more parts of your body (especially if you’re experiencing chronic pain).
In addition to this (or if you don’t have access to the earth daily) you can also purchase grounding “mats” that plug into the grounding port in your household plugs. You can put these under your feet at your desk or at the end of your bed with your feet touching them, so you can ground all night or during work.
Again: the longer the better, but even 5-10 minutes daily will have benefits. We urge you to start this practice and let us know how it’s working for you!
If you’re experiencing ankle and knee pain, our Ankle + Knee Durability Program can also help!
These quick exercises gave me relief from years of knee pain – try it out!