Health & Well-BeingIn the Garden

Earthing: Barefoot Benefits

As a little girl growing up in the Midwest, I hated wearing shoes outdoors. I guess I couldn’t get enough of that total sense of freedom. Now, even as an adult, I still love going barefoot.

About a month ago, I found a fascinating article by a Pennsylvania cardiologist about “Earthing.” As a retired registered nurse, myself, his words encouraged me to do more research on the subject. What I found was impressive — and made lots of sense.

What Is Earthing?

Earthing may not be a familiar term, but the concept originated with our ancient ancestors. They walked barefoot, in constant contact with the earth.

The science behind earthing (also known as grounding) deals with electrons and free radicals. In brief, viruses, pathogens, and not-so-healthy bacteria roaming throughout our environment all contain highly reactive unstable molecules. These free radicals are damaging to human cells.

The earth’s surface, however, contains a limitless supply of electrons with charges to counteract free radicals. When we’re barefoot, these free radicals become neutralized. We connect with this healthy energy and thus become “grounded.”

One of the essential aspects of earthing is our conscious and mindful connection to the earth, acknowledging how it benefits us. Let’s explore further.

How Earthing Helps Our Body and Mind

Reduces Inflammation and Pain

When the body senses it’s under attack, it triggers an inflammatory response to defend and heal the injury site. However, these free radicals can also damage otherwise healthy body parts with swelling, pain, redness, and even disease. Inflammation in the joints and tissues is the leading cause of chronic conditions like arthritis.

The value of high-oxidant, anti-inflammatory foods like strawberries, blueberries, spinach, kale, beets, avocados, and asparagus is well-known. Earthing can also serve as a natural oxidant in the same manner.

Lowers Stress

It’s also a fact stress is detrimental to our health and well-being, so time spent in nature is a stress-reliever. This connection to nature can be as simple as walking in the woods, dipping your bare feet into a mountain stream, or strolling on the beach and feeling the sand between your toes.

Connection with nature lowers stress and anxiety, and it can help heal the adverse conditions stress places on the human body. Chronic stress levels have been proven to have a link to hypertension, heart disease, depression, and much more.

Promotes Better Sleep Patterns

My grandmother used to say, “When you walk, you sleep better.” These are wise words indeed.

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed connecting the human body to the earth normalizes the daily rhythm and improves sleep patterns. This is because stress hormones called cortisol negatively affect your natural circadian rhythm, energy, and ability to sleep soundly.

When our bodies are not in line with the earth’s natural rhythms, including the patterns of light and darkness, our sleep and immunity suffer. By lowering our reaction to stressful events in our lives, we can enjoy a much healthier slumber.

How to Do Earthing

The process of earthing isn’t complicated at all.

One of the easiest ways to start is simply taking your shoes off. Walk barefoot to the mailbox. Garden without shoes. Lay directly on the beach. And don’t forget to wiggle your toes into Mother Earth.

If you live near a lake or an ocean, take a swim in this natural body of water. Pay attention to how it soothes your body. The same goes with wading in a brook or stream.

An unknown author once said, “If you have never walked barefoot across the grass, you have never lived.”

No words could be more accurate. I, for one, am a believer in the benefits earthing offers.


Noreen Kompanik

Noreen Kompanik is a freelance journalist, associate editor, and speaker from San Diego. A retired registered nurse, she now travels the world and writes about her adventures. Her stories have appeared in TravelPulse, Edible San Diego Magazine, Europe Up Close, International Living and more.

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