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Grounding: Exploring the Practice and Its Benefits


Positive vibes only? Maybe negative is actually the answer, negative ions that is…

Practitioners of “grounding” are flocking to grassy areas and sticking their feet in the dirt to get in touch with the earth’s vibes (specifically negatively charged electrons) in ways that may seem new but are as old as time.

What Is Grounding?

Grounding is an age-old practice that is being embraced by a new generation. Also known as “earthing,” this technique is, in the simplest terms, touching your skin to the earth to absorb electrons that are emitted from the earth’s own electrical charge. Although this may seem a little “out there,” there actually is a very real and legitimate basis to this bio-energetic connection that helps people find comfort and healing. Connecting to the earth’s electromagnetic forces seems to be helping people reestablish their health in a variety of ways.

Sure, we would all feel a little better if we took the time to walk barefoot through the grass or stuck our feet in a nice flowing stream of clean water. But is this due to the negatively charged electrons we are absorbing, or is it simply the act of being in nature, taking a few deep breaths, and taking a break from electronic devices? Believe it or not, this scientific study seems to back up the idea of grounding as a legitimate therapy. 

Benefits of Grounding

Of course, there is still only limited research on grounding, but several well-designed studies support this technique, and many people (including doctors) swear by it. People with long-term health issues might find it soothing to take time to connect to the earth. The idea is that these negatively charged electrons act as antioxidants in the body, which reduces oxidation and may play a role in reducing inflammatory processes and promoting overall health.

A healing therapy that is easy to do, takes little time, and is even free? Sure, it sounds too good to be true, but there are scores of people taking advantage of this technique to better their lives and health.

Some people insist that grounding has helped:

♦ Reduce fatigue
♦ Reduce occurrences of pain
♦ Support healthy mood and stress levels
♦ Promote better sleep habits
♦ Support heart health
♦ Support healthy Digestion

Types of Grounding

Grounding can be as simple as stepping outside your door for a few minutes and letting your bare feet connect with the grass or dirt outside. If there are no convenient places to do this at home, you can go to a park and simply lay in the grass. The idea is to let your skin have contact with the bare earth if possible. If you have access to natural water sources like a flowing stream, lake, or pond, putting your feet in or even going for a little swim can be a great way to absorb beneficial electrons from the earth. Of course, you'll want to be safe around water and check for cleanliness when necessary.

If you aren’t quite ready to go full barefoot or would be more comfortable laying on a blanket at your local park, that’s ok too. Although bare skin is thought to be optimal, you can still absorb the electromagnetic benefits through natural fibers. Cotton, hemp, or wool will all act as conductors and won’t limit the flow of electrons from the earth to the body. 

A whole industry has popped up to provide grounding products that encourage the flow of electrons, and some can be used at home on a regular basis for ongoing health benefits. Now, don’t forget that grounding is free and accessible to all, so there is no need to go out and buy fancy products that help you do it. That being said, there are convenient and well-designed options that can be purchased, which many people love for all of their grounding needs. It certainly won’t replace the fresh air, sunshine, or the relaxing sound of the wind flowing through the trees, but these products can be beneficial, especially for people with limited access to the outdoors. 

Equipment specifically designed for grounding include:

♦ Grounding mats
♦ Grounding sheets or blankets
♦ Grounding socks
♦ Grounding bands and patches
♦ Grounding shoes

How to Practice Grounding

It can be fun to be spontaneous and stick your feet in the dirt whenever you get the chance, but many people benefit more from this practice when they make it a consistent habit. Whether it’s once a day or once a week, setting a little time aside for grounding is worthwhile and extremely rewarding. Although there will likely be at least some benefit from grounding for even just a few minutes, experts say to try for at least 20-30 minutes at a time, if possible. Deep breathing or guided meditation is the perfect combination to take full advantage of this special self-care time. 

Ways to Practice Grounding Outside

♦ Hike in grounding shoes that are conductive
♦ Lay on the ground, dirt, or grass
♦ Stand barefoot directly on the earth
♦ Some kinds of swimming pools can be grounding with special modifications
♦ Stick your feet in or go for a swim in natural waterways such as a creek or pond (be safe!)
♦ Hang out on the beach/swim in the ocean (be safe!)
♦ Some kinds of concrete can be grounding (but not asphalt!)

Ways to Practice Grounding Inside

♦ Use grounding pads or mats while you sleep
♦ Sit on a grounding mat on your couch or in your office chair 
♦ Use an grounding yoga mat for yoga or meditation practice
♦ If you are lucky enough to have a concrete or stone floor, you can ground indoors without any special equipment
♦ Wear grounding bands or other grounding accessories throughout the day 
♦ Wrap up in a grounding blanket while watching tv, reading, or relaxing

Risks of Grounding

While grounding itself is typically a very safe practice, if you have any serious health conditions or mobility issues, you should always consult with a physician before using any kind of alternative or complementary therapy. Grounding does not replace medical care and should be seen as a supplement or complement to good health. It can be so wonderful as an additional mental health practice but always seek proper psychiatric care first, especially when dealing with a mental health crisis. Using grounding equipment during lightning or thunderstorm is not recommended. Consult with your doctor if you use any kind of medical devices, such as a pacemaker that could possibly interfere with grounding mats or other products. Always research grounding products before purchasing and make sure they are high quality and safe. Read any instructions and always use these products as recommended to avoid any possible safety issues.

Waking up to Wellness

Even if it seems too good to be true, set your skepticism aside to find out if grounding works for you. At the very least, you will get a nice dose of nature-filled goodness along the way. Finding ways to relax and addressing excessive sources of stress is a good foundation for ongoing wellness. So whether it is from the transfer of electrons from the earth or simply taking a time-out to enjoy the outdoors, grounding can be a welcome ritual to ease the impact of our fast-paced and technology-filled lives.