This Evidence Based article was written by Heather Hanks, MS, CAM
Earthing sounds like something only hippies do or people who don’t have jobs and have the time to spend all day outdoors. But earthing doesn’t require you to camp outside for two weeks before you feel its benefits (although camping doesn’t sound like a bad idea).
Earthing is all about slowing down and reconnecting with nature (and yourself)!
Do you remember the last time you spent some quality time outdoors? And we’re not talking about the walk from your house to your car. We’re talking about plopping down on the grass under a tree and spending some time with the Earth. Chances are it’s been awhile. It probably made you feel calm, collected and nothing at all like what your current daily schedule provides. But does earthing work or is it just a bunch of baloney? Here is what the research says.
What Is Earthing?
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to earthing, but the idea behind it is pretty straightforward. Earthing is the practice of putting your body directly in contact with the Earth. In other words, your skin needs to be physically touching the water, sand, soil, or another surface that is naturally produced by the Earth. Not too tricky, right? Think about the last time you walked barefoot on the beach with the sand in your toes. That’s a perfect example of earthing.
So is earthing really a thing? From a scientific approach, the answer is a definite yes. This is because people spend some much time indoors these days, they forget what it feels like to connect from nature. Additionally, research shows that the Earn has a mild negative charge, but people have a positive charge. This occurs over time when we spend too much time indoors on electrical devices and build up too much stress on our bodies. But when we return to the Earth and connect with it, the negative charge of the Earth turns our positive charges neutral, which means that we feel less stress and return to a better state of health.
The theory behind earthing is that people don’t have as much contact with the Earth anymore, and researchers this is one of the many reasons why we have so many health problems today. Earthing advocates argue that we wear rubber shoes and spend too much time inside, which disconnects us to the Earth. Most people even spent years without directly touching the Earth at all even when they go outside.
Think about it. Even when we’re outdoors, we sit in chairs and not on the ground. We wear shoes and rarely even touch the Earth beneath us. This is much different than when you were a kid. Chances are you probably spent a lot of time in contact with the Earth, and you felt great because of it. Over time, your connection with the Earth changes. Advocates of earthing claim that this causes a positive charge to build up in our body, which leads to health problems.
How Does Earthing Work?
Advocates of earthing claim that the Earth has a natural energy and that by walking barefoot on the grass, dirt or rock, we can connect to the Earth’s energy to reduce chronic pain and other conditions that many people experience. The theory is the when your skin comes in contact with the Earth, it allows free electrons to be taken up by the body. These electrons are considered to have an antioxidant role in the body, which means that they neutralize free radicals that lead to inflammation and disease. Free radicals are unstable molecules that roam the body in search of an electron. The bind to healthy cells and tissues and cause inflammation and DNA damage. Antioxidants work by donating an electron so that these unstable molecules become stable again and stop hurting the body. Because the Earth gives off natural electrons, it is said to help neutralize free radicals and prevent inflammation from occurring in the body.
According to earthing experts, the Earth conducts free electrons. Therefore, all living things on the planet (including humans) who come in contact with the Earth can benefit from these electrons. Because the body is made up of mostly minerals and water, the human body is an excellent conductor for picking up the particles from the Earth through direct contact. In other words, the Earth supposedly omits energy that is healing to the body when we inherit it. Earthing is said to promote vitality, better sleep, and overall wellbeing. It is also said to balance the body’s natural rhythms (such as sleep and metabolism), reduce inflammation, and eliminate pain. Some advocates go as far as saying that the Earth is the best natural medicine around.
History of Earthing
The idea of being more connected to the Earth is one that humans naturally dealt with years ago. Our ancestors lived outside in caves or wherever they could find as a suitable place for shelter. They also used the Earth and whatever it provided to help them survive. Houses were made of wood from trees or shelters that they built with their hands. Tools were constructed of bones from animals that were killed and sharpened on rocks. Back in the day, the Earth provided everything a human needed.
Although the Earth has changed in many ways, it is much the same, too. The difference now is that humans have evolved. We no longer need to gather sticks for a fire to cook our food. We have ample amounts of food and plenty of opportunities to live in a home that provides us with more than enough to cover our basic needs. Humans no longer need to go outdoors. If we are hungry, we can order food from our phones or computers, and it’s brought right to our door. We can work from home or homeschool our children. We can even order our groceries online and have them delivered to our house. If we wanted, humans could significantly limit the amount of time they ever have to go outside.