Earthing: When was the last time you hugged a tree?

Earthing: When was the last time you hugged a tree?

So, I’ve mentioned before my “hippie” ways. I like living a natural life. I believe that God is really, REALLY smart and that He created an amazing world that works so synergistically that far too often our “man-made” ways have messed up with the natural balance of things… You know, like processed foods, over-dosing on pharmaceuticals, and shoes.

Did I just say shoes are a problem?

Sure did.

As a modern dancer I’ve come to love the freedom of moving without restrictive shoes. As a somatic practitioner I often look at women wearing high heels and feel sorry for what they are doing to their spine in the name of fashion (I don’t care how comfortable you think they are). But I’ve recently learned a new reason to prefer barefootin’ to lacing up some shoes:

Earthing.

(This is where I put a flower in my hair and start singing “kumbaya” while hugging a tree.)

What I’m about to say may sound like a too-hippie-for-most idea, but hear me out. I heard about “earthing sheets” several months ago. My first thought was, “Really? Sheets?” I mean, even for me it just sounded too weird and… well, kind of made up. But then I kept hearing about this concept. I kept reading about it. And the more I learned the more it made sense.

So what is earthing?

It’s both a very simple and very complex concept. Simply put: Earthing is the process of grounding ourselves (in a similar way that we “ground” our electrical outlets). It’s a natural process of being connected to the earth in order to “neutralize” our body’s electrical makeup.

Back in the “good old days,” people were much more connected to the earth. But today it’s a different story. Everything is insulated. We wear rubber shoes. We live in insulated houses. We spend most of our day engaged in electrical devices. We are literally disconnected from the Earth and that lost connection to our planet has created an electron deficiency in our bodies.

Consider this:

Your planet is a six sextillion (that’s six followed by twenty-one zeros) metric ton battery that is continually being replenished by solar radiation, lightning, and heat from its deep-down molten core. And just like a battery in a car that keeps the motor running and the wheels turning, so, too, do the rhythmic pulsations of natural energy flowing through and emanating from the surface of the Earth keep the biological machinery of global life running in rhythm and balance.(Earthing: The most important health discovery ever? page 3)

The electric charges of the earth are really important for us humans. Why? Because, like the Earth, our bodies are made up of mostly water and minerals—both of which are amazing conductors of electrons. And as long as there is direct skin contact with the earth, the free electrons from that 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 metric ton battery (Earth) are easily transferred into and throughout our body. These free electrons help balance out our bodies—which have a lot of free radicals moving about.

In a nutshell, free radicals are positive-charged molecules (short of one or more electrons) that search for free electrons to become stable. In a healthy, balanced body, these free radicals obtain their missing electrons by stripping electrons away from pathogens and damaged tissue—killing “the bad guys” in our bodies. This is acute inflammation. (This is good.) The problem is that in chronic or prolonged inflammation those free radicals go on a rampage and start attacking healthy tissue.

We believe that normal inflammation veers out of control because of lost contact with the Earth. People are suffering from an electron deficiency—not enough free electrons on hand to satisfy the lust of rampaging free radicals. (Earthing, page 60)

Medical experts and scientists consider inflammation to be one of the major causes in almost all chronic disease from stroke to heart disease to arthritis. In fact, a number of people suffering from a variety of issues (such as back pain, autism, allergies, arthritis, electrosensitivity, fibromyalgia, jet lag, multiple sclerosis, sciatica, sleep apnea, stress, and varicose veins) have reported amazing results by getting grounded.

The whole concept of earthing is still relatively new, scientifically speaking. But the studies that have been performed over the past decade and a half are showing amazing results. For example, in a double blind study one group used “earthing sheets” and the control group used placebo sheets.  In the “grounded” group:

  • 85% went to sleep more quickly
  • 93 percent reported sleeping better throughout the night
  • 82% experience less muscle stiffness
  • 74% experienced an elimination of chronic back/joint pain
  • 100% reported feeling more rested upon waking
  • 78% reported improved general health
  • Some ‘grounded’ participants also reported relief from respiratory issues, RA, hypertension, sleep apnea, hot flashes, and PMS.

In fact, earthing recovery bags have been used by the American bikers in the Tour de France for a number of years with an impressive track record for faster recovery and healing while also keeping tendonitis at bay.

And if you are the type who “learns from pictures” check these out:

These thermal images were taken just 30 minutes apart before (left) and after (right) earthing. The red, orange and yellow show inflammation “hot spots.”

The really good news is that earthing is free!

You don’t need to buy sheets, bands, or mats to get a dose of the earth’s goodness. You just need to get connected to the earth. Take your shoes off. Make some skin contact to the planet’s surface (preferably for at least 30 minutes consecutively.) Go on a picnic. Do some barefoot running. Hug a tree (seriously, do it.) Of course, if weather or other life routines make it hard to get outside, you may find it useful to look into some of the sheets. But earthing is a simple, free solution available to all! (Of course, if you are interested in earthing products for those winter months, you can check them out here.)

This series is getting ridiculously long (sorry about that). And I haven’t even talked about my experience yet (or how it helped me with my insomnia.) Come back tomorrow to learn more. I’ll make it worth your while with a giveaway!!!

What do you think? Does this make sense to you or is it “too out there?” Do tell!

(top image by nicholᴀs, Flickr)

NOTE: Due to an never-ending cesspool of spam, I have made the tough decision to close comments 14 days after the original posting of all posts. If you have a burning question or are looking for support in your journey to healthy living, please join the Thank Your Body Friends facebook page here.


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About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie

37 comments

  1. Sarah

    Sounds fascinating. Not too far out there for me. I’m absolutely certain there’s much about nature and its goodness that we don’t understand. Besides, I love any reason to be barefoot! I’m interested to hear the rest of your story.

  2. cassia

    this is one of those “well of course!” things for me. struggling with depression, i always found my biggest help was to go outside and feel with my skin – leaves, grass, dirt, sand, water, flowers, etc. loving this series!


    1. Post author
      robin

      I know, it’s so nice to feel dirt between my toes. Even for a clean freak like me. :)

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  4. Susan

    I grew up wearing shoes as little as possible, am still that way today, and raised my kids the same way :)

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  6. Christy

    Well, if earthing works it sure is an easy thing to do. I always encourage my kids to go barefoot when possible – some good clean dirt on your feet if nothing else is good for the sole (lol – soul too). Thanks for the information.

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  9. tameka

    This makes so much sense to me. I always feel better when walking barefoot in soil, especially the mud after a rain or gardening. Its like the earth calls to me to reestablish my connection. When I listen and connect I feel better. I also noticed that my son is so much happier and carefree when he is running around barefoot and half-naked outside.

    1. robin

      I know. It’s such a simple idea but it just feels right. I always feel refreshed after spending time connecting to the earth. And I always noticed that my daughter sleeps better after spending time outside.

      Thanks for stopping by, Tameka!

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  11. Rachael A.

    Fascinating concept! I love being barefoot – we never wear them in the house, and when it’s nice outside I discourage it in our yard as well. I’ve noticed for a long time that if I was experiencing some emotional turbulence that it was very soothing for me to sit in the sun and/or lay on the grass. so this idea does not completely blow my mind. :)


    1. Post author
      robin

      Awesome, Rachael! I think a lot of people tap into the Earth’s energy because it just makes them feel better. I was so intrigued when I found out the science behind it. Nature is truly incredible!

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  13. Stella

    I layed down in the yard this last summer, when I had a few minutes. I do beleive it works, as I felt so much better. Just wish it didn’t rain so much here in the PNW. Maybe I can build a outdoor cover to try this all year long?


    1. Post author
      robin

      I know what you mean. It was so hot this summer, and now it’s perfect time for rests on the lawn. Before I know it, however, it will be icy and cold again. :)

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  16. maria

    I want to buy the earthing sheets but I live on the fifth storey of my apartment block. How could I ground the earthing sheet’s rod?


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      As long as your outlets are grounded you should be fine as the sheets come with a “plug” that goes into the grounding outlet. You can get a little tester to check to make sure its grounded.

      1. maria

        Thanks for replying! Are all powerpoints inside a home generally grounded? I suppose an Electrician would know but I don’t know any to ask this silly question to!

  17. Candiss

    Hi! I am relatively new to this world of “hippie” living! Even though my mother has tried when I was young to get us “all natural” it just never seemed to last for more than a few years, usually due to financial woes :( Well I am now 23 & married & have a severe neurological problem known as Cervical Dystonia or Acute Spasmodic Torticullos. Basically my brain won’t quit telling my right shoulder muscle to move, constantly. It’s been a year &a half & I’ve only gotten worse. I live with severe pain, muscle spasms, knots & inflammation. I’m on the highest doses of anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, narcotic pain killers, nerve pain pills&heartburn medication. I am sick of it!!!!!!!! I can’t afford the Botox injections into my muscles to freeze them (plus it’s temporary-every 3 months for the rest of my life). When I read your article I became VERY interested! I definitely am going to try earthing as much as possible! My skeptical husband would like me to try earthing outside since its summer before we buy the sheets;) I guess I’ll have to get over my OCD & try not caring about the bugs!!! There is one burning question I have though – how do you know/how can you tell if the grass/dirt you’re on doesn’t have a slab of concrete a few feet under it? & if it does will that affect it? Same with underground pipes, ect – will that matter? I live in suburbia & even the short car ride to work seriously kills my shoulder so driving to & from the park might not help as much as just going into my small backyard.
    I really hope you respond!!!! & also if you have any other suggestions for me I would definitely love that! I can’t spend very much time on a computer or phone but I’m desperately trying to find natural ways to relieve this pain & get off/lessen the amount of these nasty side effect riddled pills!!!
    Thank you so much for this extremely informative article!


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Wow, so sorry to hear your struggles. I’m sure it’s really frustrating.

      To answer your question about the slabs of concrete… as far as I know concrete will still work as it’s not an insulator. Pipes and such shouldn’t make a huge difference as you will still be really connected to the earth. I’ve heard that the more you are grounded, the better. Try taking a nap in a peaceful park, gardening, etc. There are even earthing shoes if you really don’t like being barefoot (although they can get pricey): http://amzn.to/1ar74Kl

      Also, I wonder if you have access to a craniosacral practitioner… they might be able to help your situation, too. https://www.craniosacraltherapy.org/

      Good luck! Sending positive healing vibes your way.

  18. marianne

    This is a new concept for me, but it sounds like it makes sense. So then it sounds like people who spend time in the ocean (like surfers) have a high level of ‘earthing’ which would lend itself to them being healthier. Right?

  19. Sujata Chhetri

    In olden times, in India, there were several taboos associated with periods such as: stepping out in the sun, touching cooked food and in some households not even entering the kitchen; touching adult males, going to temples or doing ritualistic praying. Along with this, she also had to sleep alone on the floor. With time people found these restrictions illogical, obsolete and discriminating against women. But now, as we look at the whole thing scientifically, we can understand how everything was designed to ensure that the mensturating woman got maximum rest. How else would she get a break from the household chores (mainly the kitchen) or outside (not stepping out in the sun) in the hot Indian climate, relief from cramps (sleeping on the floor/earthing), sexual duties (no contact with males) in a patriarchal society?

  20. Amanda

    Hi Robin,

    I’m currently certified in home & community care, I’m studying a bachelor in psychology and aim to complete a master’s in nursing. Being surrounded by both physiologically & mentally & spiritually unhealthy people all day made me become quite conscious of the way I’m treating my own body!

    I found your blog because I’m on a crusade against my uterus. Well, I’m on a crusade against my lifestyle giving my uterus trouble! I’m switching over to cloth pads, and was Googling for ways to naturally reduce my (severe, immobilising) period pain — other than having a surgical implant and dosing myself up with ibuprofen! I found first your article about naturally eliminating period pain, and was then linked to this article on Earthing.

    This blog is such a great resource. I’ve added it to my bookmarks, and I’m about to like you on Facebook, follow you on YouTube and sign up to your newsletter. If I knew how to work RSS feeds, I’d sign up there, too! Alas, I think I’m the only under-25 who can’t wrap her head around them…

    Keep up the good work! This blog is fabulous!

  21. maisha

    since its winter right now, i cant do much barefoot…anything really lol. i used to jumprope in my socks to condition my feet but it got even too cold for that. i run everyday through the forest trails near my place and i feel the difference as i breathe in the oxygen from all the trees around me, sometimes see a couple of deer. it’s not direct contact, but is it considered “earthing”? and yes i totally agree about the heels, i even stopped wearing even normal sneakers with the lifted heels, and wear flat shoes for whatever exercise im doing, it helps your feet naturally develop.

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  23. Curious

    Does earthing still work if you wear socks to keep your feet from getting dirty? Or does there have to be actual skin contact with the ground? I live on a farm with a ton of animals, so I don’t want to pick up hookworms or something by going outside barefoot….. of course I’m not sure socks would prevent that either…. what do you think?


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I think some socks would be okay. I know that real leather shoes (without any sort of rubber sole) still provide a connection for earthing.

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