Let’s talk about earthing.
As a modern dancer I’ve always viewed the feet as the foundation for the body, especially for spinal health. I prefer walking barefoot as much as possible, and when I buy shoes they MUST be comfortable.
And 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:
The Benefits of Earthing
In a nutshell: 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.
In our modern age, 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.
From the book, Earthing:
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)
Those electric charges of the earth are really important for us humans 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.
The thing about free radicals and inflammation:
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.
Benefits of Earthing: Get grounded for better health?
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:
- 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.
And my absolute favorite Earthing benefit:
- 85% went to sleep more quickly
You heard me right – Earthing can help you sleep!
Earthing Benefit: Better Sleep, Naturally.
I love to sleep. A lot. Even during my teenage and young adult life, when most of my friends loved staying up really late, I had “grandma” tendencies and preferred going to bed early. It was a chore to stay up late (although I did it every now and then to have a social life).
Part of the reason why sleep is so important to me (besides the many health reasons associated with it), is that it’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life. I’ve called myself a roller coaster insomniac. I’d have weeks where I would get very little sleep until I was so exhausted that I’d finally have a week or two of decent sleep. I am not one of those people who can just get up in the middle of the night and do other things. As a result I have spent many hours of my life staring at the ceiling in my bedroom.
Of course, any time I say I have insomnia I get an overload of suggestions. I generally ignore the suggestions involving drugs (or even most supplements, no matter how “natural” people say they are). But I’m pretty sure I’ve tried just about every “natural” approach to better sleep including:
- Yoga before bed (this definitely does help me relax and something I still try and do every night.)
- Breathing exercises (same as above.)
- Relaxation techniques—too many to name
- Eye masks
- Drinking warm milk with honey before bed
- Not drinking water after 8 P.M.
- Exercising to “wear me out” before bed
- Magnesium Oil
Some of these did help a little. And the good news is that with each new attempt I found a wealth of new knowledge about the body, our hormones, and sleep. The not-so-good news is that I also got an overload of information about how not getting enough sleep will basically kill me.
Awesome. Just what I need to hear.
Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but take a look at what sleep deprivation has been associated with:
- Impaired ability to handle stress
- Heart disease
- Inability to focus
- Slower reaction times
- Weight changes
- Driver Fatigue
Oh yeah, and long-term total sleep deprivation has caused death in lab animals.
See, sleep issues ARE dramatic!
Of course my insomnia took a major turn for the worse once C was born. I knew the sleepless nights would be my hardest battle when I joined the ranks of parenthood. But it just didn’t get better, even after C started sleeping through the night. Any noise would wake me up and then I’d be up for two or more hours. Always. For the past year my average amount of sleep has been between 2 – 4 hours of very interrupted sleep. And in case you are wondering, I go to bed early. Always.
In all honesty I am incredibly grateful that I have *somehow* been able to function as a human being this past year with no need for a single “sick day” (I’m pretty sure it’s the combination of good nutrition and lots of prayer). And while I often am thankful that I’ve done so well with so little sleep, I was at my wits end. I just wanted to sleep.
Guess who’s finally getting some zzzzzz’s?
Yep. Thanks to the benefits of Earthing – I’m slowly recovering. Those nights where C randomly screams out and then doses back to sleep (you know, the type of thing that used to wake me up and keep me up for hours)… well, now when that happens I’m back to sleep with in 15 minutes (often less). And unless you have also experienced sleep issues you might not recognize how amazingly fantastic that is.
Sometimes I cry just thinking about how great it is. (seriously.)
Earthing for the win!
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.)
So, you ready to reap the benefits of earthing?
Kick your shoes off, and connect with the earth. Trust me, your body will thank you.