5 Minute Read
Words by Tracy Ramsden
Connecting your skin with the earth through gardening, or simply by kicking off your shoes, is the latest health trend. WYLDE MOON investigates.
You may have noticed an increasing number of people kicking off their shoes to go barefoot.
The practice of putting your bare feet on the earth, also known as ‘earthing’ is a wellbeing trend that is simple and free and currently getting loads of views on TikTok.
Devotees say it brings a sense of calm and connection, as well as reduced pain and improved immunity. They say we have lost the connection with the earth, not least because most modern footwear has rubber soles rather than natural leather.
Caroline Williams, grounding practitioner and director of BeGrounded explains: “I’m a reflexologist and clinical massage therapist and have been for ten years, so my life is geared towards optimising my health and the health of my clients.” She discovered grounding when a nerve injury left her in chronic pain. After surgery and medication didn’t help, she and her husband – who had been recovering from pneumonia – decided to try grounding.
“It had a dramatic effect on my pain” she claims. “It’s the most simple, easy and cost-free thing to add to your lifestyle and it can help people improve wellbeing.”
What is grounding?
Stepping out with bare feet on sand, soil or grass (even a tiny patch of mud or broken concrete can have an effect, according to Williams) allows the electrons from the earth to over time nourish and repair cells in the body.
“As bio-electric beings, we’re meant to be connected to the earth but over time we’ve lost that connection,” explains Williams. “We used to work the land and now we sit at a desk indoors, but if we can get that connection back, the health benefits are amazing.
“It can also improve sleep quality over time, boost blood flow, energy and reduce hormonal and menstrual symptoms for women.”
How do you do grounding?
You just kick off your shoes and step outside. Grounding could be one reason why we feel happier and healthier in the summer months, walking barefoot on the beach or kicking off our shoes in the park.
“Our feet have so many more nerves than the rest of the body so that’s the best part of the body to connect with the earth,” says Williams. “Just under the ball of our foot is an important acupressure point called K1.”
Williams recommends incorporating grounding into your morning routine. “Sit while having your morning tea or coffee with your feet on the grass or on a patch of earth. You don’t need a massive garden, just a foot-sized piece of grass or earth. Enjoy the early morning sun on your face for a dose of vitamin d and ideally do this for 20 mins per day to really start to feel the benefits. I do earthing in winter too as it has the same health benefits as an ice bath.”
Where can you do grounding?
The most well-known conductors are grass, soil, sand and rock, plus natural water is very conductive so wild swimming is a great source of grounding and electrons. “Gardening without wearing gloves, touching the plants, you could feel the benefits,” adds Williams.
On holiday, kick off your flip-flops on the beach and feel the sand between your toes.
When will I see the benefits of grounding?
“It can take time and practice, and when a single cell heals you won’t notice, but over time it becomes cumulative and the body begins to function better, so you have to stick with it,” says Williams. “We think if we don’t see or feel things they’re not there but it’s all happening beneath the surface.”
What are the benefits of grounding?
As well as a multitude of anti-inflammatory benefits, grounding could help boost all-important energy levels. “It helps to support the mitochondria that provide energy to cells,” explains Williams. “Some studies have shown that electrons dramatically increase ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production, which is the central energy currency of the cell. Energised cells mean energised people.”
In addition to physical health, she says there are benefits for mental wellbeing too.
“Numerous studies show that earthing helps stabilise cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in the body. A 2015 study, The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood by Gaetan Chevalier showed that one hour contact with the earth improved mood more than expected by relaxation alone.”