Happiness Tip: Touch the Earth

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You might know that your TV needs to be grounded electrically to get a clear picture, but did you know that your body also needs to be grounded for optimal health? There is some amazing research that suggests that not having direct contact with the earth’s surface electrons–in other words, not being grounded electrically–is associated with nervous system imbalances, immune system issues, chronic pain, endocrine disorders, sleep problems, and much more.

A few studies show a fairly dramatic improvement in health and pain levels–including things that profoundly affect our happiness, like the way our nervous system is activated and our stress hormone levels–just from sleeping on a grounded mat, or from standing barefoot on the earth. This review article in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health explains one such benefit:

Reduction in inflammation as a result of earthing [or grounding] has been documented with infrared medical imaging and with measurements of blood chemistry and white blood cell counts. The logical explanation for the anti-inflammatory effects is that grounding the body allows negatively charged antioxidant electrons from the Earth to enter the body and neutralize positively charged free radicals at sites of inflammation. Flow of electrons from the Earth to the body has been documented.

Humans used to walk barefoot in their homes’ dirt floors and sleep on the ground. Needless to say, we no longer live in a “grounded” environment: we wear rubber shoes, and often live several stories above ground.

I love free medicine, and that is what this is. Although we can purchase grounding mats for use indoors, we can also just get outside this summer: research shows that walking barefoot for 30-40 minutes works well.

Take action: Ground yourself this week by working in the garden, walking barefoot, or sleeping on an “earthing” bed sheet (or on the ground!). Report back: does this technique work for you? Do you feel happier and healthier after you’ve been walking around barefoot on the earth? Leave your comment below.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.b.hughes.9 Rebecca Brehm Hughes

    Has anyone tried shoes that use the “grounding” technology? One example is http://juil.com/barefoot-comfort.php, or there are probably others also. It would be a nice alternative for longer walks where bare feet wouldn’t be practical.

  • Svetlana

    Christine, I love your work because it’s science-based. There is so much parenting advice out there that’s just pulled out of thin air or worse. Here, however, you’re featuring pseudoscience. Please see a skeptical take here:
    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/earthing/. This stuff is harmless, I know, but we should be training ourselves and our kids to always think critically. Best regards.

  • Kym

    I have always loved walking barefoot on the beach for very reason of grounding. There is something about the contact and of course the other benefits of fresh air, sunshine and staring at the sea. It always makes me feel happier and healthier.