One of the best pieces of advice I ever received during an upsetting situation was to go outside to calm down. “Take off your boots and socks! Get your feet on the grass!” my teacher said as I walked out the door. Though I had been going barefoot outdoors all my life, it was a powerful experience to intentionally set my bare feet on the earth as a means of self-regulation. What started as a tingling in my feet became a magical wave of relaxation slowly rising into my entire body. My breath slowed. My mind cleared.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was engaged in the powerful healing technique called earthing, also known as grounding. Anytime your body directly connects with the earth, you’re earthing. And this totally free activity offers some amazing mental and physical health benefits, whether you’re doing it intentionally or not (so that’s why everyone is so happy at the beach!).
What Does Earthing Do for You?
This article, published by the National Institutes of Health, references numerous scientific studies based on the idea that the Earth’s surface has a limitless supply of free or mobile electrons that are highly beneficial for the human body. “Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes,” explained the article.
Some of the benefits of regular earthing include better sleep, reduced pain and inflammation, improved circulation, reduced stress and anxiety and increased production of serotonin, which helps us feel more happy and content.
How Do You Practice Earthing?
Since modern life is not always conducive to connecting with the Earth, here are five ways you can start earthing.
Put Your Bare Feet on the Earth
The easiest way to begin earthing is to kick off your shoes. Walk barefoot or just stand or sit in one place. Any small patch of natural ground (grass, sand, dirt, mulch, leaves, mud, a rock) will work. Just let your skin touch the earth for 10 minutes or up to an hour on a regular basis.
Get Your Hands Dirty
Planting and working in a garden is an earthing experience. Making mud pies or sandcastles with a kid also counts. If you can’t go barefoot for whatever reason, simply place your bare hands on a rock or tree.
Hug the Earth
Go ahead, give the Earth a big old hug. Lie face down, stretch out your arms and take some deep breaths. Take a nap directly on the beach or a rock. Better yet, sleep in a tent—without a big rubber air mattress or camping pad.
Sink Into an Earthing Pit
When you’ve discovered the benefits of earthing and want to take it to the next level, consider the concept of more immersive earthing. Some people create indentions or holes in the earth called “earthing pits,” where they can sink deeper into connection with the Earth’s energy. In my town, a local healer conducts sand burials where participants’ bodies are safely buried in shallow sand pits for a deeply grounding, mind-quieting experience.
How to Ground Yourself Indoors When You Can't Go Outside
If you can’t get outside for earthing, there are numerous conductive apparatuses for grounding yourself indoors. Grounding mats, blankets, sheets, yoga mats, patches, socks and even shoes that replicate the Earth’s electrical currents in your home, office or even your bed are sold online.
Earthing can be a free and relatively quick way to positively impact your physical and mental health. Experts suggest 30 minutes is enough time to begin reaping the benefits. Whether you choose to go barefoot in the grass or purchase grounding socks, you can easily incorporate earthing therapy into your wellness routine.
Molly Harrison loves her life on a sandbar in the Atlantic Ocean. Her home, Nags Head, is on a barrier island as far east as you can get in North Carolina, and she spends as much time as possible in and on the water, at the beach, and in the maritime forests. In between, she works as a freelance writer and editor, yoga instructor, retreat leader, and Reiki practitioner. Her passions are helping people feel their best through exercise, energy healing, and nature.
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