We were recently made aware of the David Suzuki Foundation’s One Nature Challenge. For the past few years, the foundation has been challenging people to spend 30 minutes a day, for 30 days, in nature. The purpose is to kickstart a healthy habit that will outlast the challenge itself, and we’re here for it. We’re big believers in the idea that connecting with nature will lead to happier and healthier lives. In our last blog post, we talked about forest bathing and the health benefits associated with spending time in the woods. This time, we are going to take a different angle, and discuss another practice that connects humans with nature: grounding.
What is Grounding?
Grounding (also called earthing, earth grounding and earth therapy) is the idea that by making direct contact with the earth’s electrical energy, we will feel better and aleviate certain health issues. The surface of the earth is loaded with negatively charged electrons (AKA: free electrons). When we come into contact with the earth’s surface, our bodies absorb this energy, which in turn neutralizes damaging free radicals that exist within our bodies.
Free radicals are unstable atoms, searching the body for electrons to pair up with. As they do this, they cause damage to cells, DNA and proteins. They are associated with many health ailments and diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. They have also been linked to aging. How do free radicals enter our bodies? Through air pollution, unhealthy foods, alcohol, tobacco, and pesticides (and the list is much longer than that). Our bodies need some free radicals as they are important to chemical processes, however cellular damage happens when too many free radicals build up. Consuming antioxidant rich foods and consistent exercise keep free radicals at bay. Proponents of grounding claim it does the same, resulting in physical and mental wellbeing.
How do you get grounded?
Getting grounded is easy. All you need to do is touch the earth. Taking your shoes off and walk barefoot through the grass, lounge at a sandy beach, garden, do yoga outside. However you choose to connect your body to the earth, make sure that it’s skin-to-earth contact. Shoes will act as a barrier (unless they are all-leather), as will gardening gloves. Grass, sand, and dirt are all conductive, and if they’re wet, even better. Wood and asphalt are not conductive. 30 minutes a day will do it. If you can’t get outside, there are also grounding products available: earthing mats and bed sheets made from conductive fabric claim to do the trick.
What are the benefits of grounding?
Here’s what some of the emerging research has shown that grounding can do:
- Relieve inflammation and pain
- Reduce stress levels
- Improve circulation
- Help treat chronic autoimmune diseases
- Facilitate better sleep
- Lower cardiovascular risk
- Improve mental health
- Assist with wound healing
Whether grounding can be proven scientifically is a polarizing issue. The theory has garnered a lot of skepticism, with some in the medical profession calling it a hoax or likening it to wearing a tinfoil hat. While some of the previous research may be open to criticism, the sheer volume of studies on the subject in recent years shows that there are at least a good number within the academic and scientific communities that believe the topic worthy of investigation. Whether or not earthing works, there is no doubt that just being in nature has restorative effects on our minds and bodies, leading us to feel happier, healthier and less stressed out.
Consider the sides and judge for yourselves. We want to know what you think about grounding. Do you buy it or are you on the skeptic side? Will you take part in David Suzuki Foundation’s 30 day challenge? Let us know in the comments below!