What is Grounding, and does it really work to improve your health?
The benefits of modern medicine are too many to count. From comprehensive acute care options to virtual consultations with physicians located around the world, we have choices that would have been unimaginable for our ancestors.
However, there are some downsides to lifestyles ubiquitous in western, first world countries. One of those is a disconnect from the natural world. Walking barefoot, for example, is scarcely done and rarely practical. However, clinical research indicates it could bring important health benefits, if done on the Earth’s natural terrain – a practice known as “grounding” or “earthing.”
Healthline provides the following definition for Grounding: “A therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that ‘ground’ or electrically reconnect you to the earth. This practice relies on earthing science and grounding physics to explain how electrical charges from the earth can have positive effects on your body.”
For some, this concept may sound a bit far-fetched. Is there any evidence that this practice does any good? There have been a number of clinical studies that indicate an affirmative answer to that question, however they often rely on participants to self-report on symptoms like pain, stress and other feeling-based metrics.
However, two studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) produced findings that might be more compelling to the skeptic, who might say participants experience a sort of placebo effect after grounding. In the first study, published in 2013, researchers identified significantly less red blood cell clumping among participants who grounded.
The second study, published in 2018, tested hypertensive patients and found that blood pressure of those who grounded had “significantly improved at the end of the trial period, and some, well before the end.”
So how can you start grounding? The easiest way for most people is to stand or walk barefoot on the grass, sand, dirt or mud. Laying or sitting on the ground will also get the job done. Unfortunately, man-made walkways and pavement don’t offer any opportunity for grounding. Immersing yourself in any natural body of water is another great way to absorb the earth’s energy – as if anyone needed more reasons to go to the beach this summer.
More research is needed to make grounding more widely recognized as a treatment option for stress, inflammation and various other health problems. However, spending more time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine is always a good idea, so there’s no downside to giving grounding a try for yourself.