While researching and writing this article, I went back and forth between thinking that Earthing was completely ridiculous and that it made perfect sense. Another ancient practice that’s popular again? Eye roll. But Earthing (or Grounding, as it’s also called) is not a trend without merit. Quite a few decent studies have been done to evaluate its health benefits and, turns out, those benefits are quite positive.
Let’s talk about the technique itself.
Earthing is when the body connects with the earth’s surface to absorb its electrical energy/potential. That is, your skin makes direct contact with the soil, grass, sand or water. At least 20-30 minutes, minimum, of skin–to–earth contact is typically required to really achieve Earthing’s benefits. You can stand, sit, lie down––any static movement wherein bare skin connects to the earth will do. Some of Earthing’s immediate effects include a feeling of calmness and maybe even deeper, easier breathing. You may also notice a decrease in anxiety or stress. Many people have noted that their sleep greatly improved after Earthing.
It’s hard to deny the feeling you get from kicking off your shoes and digging your tootsies into the sand or lying down in the grass. That’s because when you do these things, you’re allowing an open flow of limitless energy to move through your body. It also might be because when you’re on a beach or on a field of grass, you’re not at work. The earth’s surface contains a limitless number of free electrons that are continuously renewed. As our skin makes direct contact with the earth, it absorbs these electrons. Our body then fights inflammation by utilizing those electrons to help stabilize the free radicals that wreak havoc on our insides and cause damage, leading to chronic pain and disease.
It also might be because when you’re on a beach or on a field of grass, you’re not at work.
Various studies back up the benefits of Earthing: A PubMed study found that the earth’s potential is responsible for setting the body’s biological clock, which regulates diurnal body rhythms, such as cortisol secretion. Another found that Earthing can thin out your blood, which helps alleviate cardiovascular disease issues. Others found that Earthing helps build bone density and reduces your risk of osteoporosis. What my research didn’t tell me was how exactly the electrons travel from the earth into the body, but it sounds as simple as absorption; just as a cream is absorbed into your skin as you apply it.
So, ok: Earthing sounds simple and beneficial, yes? But how do you find the time? I personally cannot devote 30 minutes a day to sitting in direct contact with the earth. Also, I live in Toronto, where it snows and is freezing nearly half of the year. What’s a gal to do? Fear not: companies such as earthing.com make sheets, mats and patches that plug into grounded 3-prong outlets in your home and provide a direct link to the earth’s energy via a grounded wire. The products transmit the earth’s energy (the electrons) to you, as if you were making direct contact with the earth itself (your bare skin must be touching the product to absorb the electrons from the device).
Before you all go off to lie face down in the dirt, I must note a few contraindications to Earthing:
- Those with Lyme Disease should Earth with caution. The process causes Lyme-causing bacteria to die, which is great, but it can also trigger flu-like symptoms while the bacteria is dying. Best to start slow.
- Those on blood-thinning medication should be careful, as well. As I mentioned above, Earthing can reduce blood viscosity, so if you’re doing both, your blood may become too thin. The same goes for those on thyroid medication; Earthing apparently directly effects the thyroid, which is why people sleep better, feel more energetic, are generally in a better mood, etc. But if you’re Earthing and taking thyroid medication, overactive thyroid symptoms may appear.
- Last but definitely not least (and one I thought was a no-brainer): DO NOT go Earthing during a thunder and lightning storm. Your body is making direct contact with the ground, and where do you think lightning loves to strike? Yup, you guessed it: lightning always tries its best to send its electrical force into the ground. Of course, please don’t try to test this theory.