Go barefoot for better sleep, mood, energy & less pain
Now that the weather is sunnier and days longer, we are finding ourselves spending more time outdoors in nature. While basking in sunshine from above boosts your Vitamin D levels and mood, there are also lots of benefits to be found outside below your feet. Not only does going barefoot with the grass and sand between your toes feel wonderful, but it’s good for your health too! As kids, we intuitively enjoyed going barefoot outdoors. When my clients come to me exhausted, in pain, and wanting relief, I have them go barefoot in nature as an easy and pleasurable step in their natural self-care routine to restore their vitality. Everyone could use a little grounding in their life.
What is grounding?
You may be unfamiliar with the term “grounding” or “earthing”, but it’s not as strange as it sounds. Grounding is the practice of spending time with our bare feet connected to the earth to receive its healing electromagnetic energy. Scientific research has also proven that grounding is a natural way to ease the stress in your life, as well as improve sleep by using the very ground you stand on. Our bodies were meant to come in contact with the earth daily, multiple times per day even.
You’ve probably heard of electrical grounding when it comes to your home’s wiring to eliminate interference and stabilize the electrical system. Three-prong electrical outlets are typically grounded, while two-prong are not. Three-prong outlets have a grounding wire which provides a direct path for electrons to safely return to the ground to prevent power surges. The earth has a negative electron charge and is an excellent conductor of excessive electricity. Similarly, when we ground ourselves to the earth, we discharge our excess positive charged bioelectrical energy, which produces a healing response in our body.
When you are electromagnetically grounded, you may feel more:
Science-backed benefits of grounding
Scientific research has reported potential benefits from grounding. The central theory presented from one review is that grounding affects the living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells. Electrical conductivity exists within the matrix that functions as an immune system defense, similar to antioxidants. It is believed that through grounding, the natural defenses of the body can be restored.
Not only do elite athletes like Tour de France cyclists practice grounding, but even health-minded practitioners Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Josh Axe are ensuring they too are getting in their daily earthing. Emerging studies have shown that the electrical energy in our bodies balance out with the electrons in the earth, equalizing and, in turn, reducing inflammation and chronic pain, every time you ground. Blood circulation is improved, boosting the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. I have personally used grounding mats on my bed to help reduce my lower back and shoulder pain while I sleep. In one study, thermography revealed a significant reduction of red “hot” areas of pain and inflammation after just 4 nights of sleeping grounded. The test subject reported a 30% reduction in pain and morning stiffness after 4 nights, and an 80% pain reduction after only 4 weeks.
Another study showed significantly reduced and balanced cortisol levels after 8 weeks of earthing. Cortisol hormone is tied to your body’s stress response as well as controlling blood sugar, inflammation, and memory development. Study participants reported:
- Falling asleep faster with less sleep disturbances
- Reduced PMS issues and hot flashes
- Feeling more refreshed and energized
- Balanced improved moods with less anxiety, depression, and irritability
In over 20 peer-reviewed studies conducted since 2000, it’s been shown that earthing can:
- Ease pain and inflammation
- Increase recovery rate
- Lower blood pressure
- Lessen cardiovascular risk
- Reduce primary osteoporosis indicators
- Improve immune response
Throughout the years, humans have gradually spent less and less time outdoors. Between long hours at work, the day-to-day chores associated with owning vehicles and homes, over-stimulation with cellular devices, and easily accessible entertainment right from our couch, it has become increasingly unpopular and difficult to get in leisure time outside. Tile, carpet, wood and other synthetic floorings have been introduced that replace the very floors our ancestors walked on – the earth in its purest form.
Read on for ways you can ground your body and get back in sync with Mother Earth, all while relieving stress, decreasing inflammation, and syncing your body with the earth below you.
How to practice grounding
The easiest way to practice grounding or earthing is to take your shoes off and head out to an area where your bare feet will be in contact with rocks, dirt, water, or sand. Putting some soil or a patch of grass on your patio or inside won’t work. Some of the best places to ground your body are at the beach, a stone pond, or hiking trail. You might even have the perfect grounding spot in your front or back yard! It’s as easy as it sounds!
Take in the smells and sounds around you, feel the earth below you and make sure you relax. Relaxation is essential to receive all of the benefits of the earth, and the energy from the ground. The key here is to spend enough time outside daily barefoot. Grounding once a day for 30-60 minutes is ideal. Walking barefoot outdoors where safe to do so also boosts your cardiovascular system and provides gentle exercise for your body. The more time you spend barefoot outdoors, the better!
It’s as easy as heading out barefoot to check the mail, taking a 30-minute walk on the beach, walking through a shallow stone creek, or enjoying a small dirt trail on the greenbelt. Grounding is the most natural way to balance out the energy in your body and feel less stressed. I love to kick off my shoes and meditate under a tree, wiggle my toes in the sand while I journal at the beach, and sip my morning coffee sitting on the back porch with my feet in the grass watching the sailboats go by in the distance. Give it a try!
Don’t have the time, access, or good weather to get outside barefoot every day? One option is using grounding mats that can be used indoors on beds, floors, and chairs while working, sleeping, or kicking back. Online, you can also find grounding socks, bands and patches that can be worn.
If you want to take back control of your health and weight naturally, I offer lots of resources and self-care tips, in addition to grounding, to help you restore your spark and feel good in your body again. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, just take off your shoes and spend some time in nature. If you are looking for a simple way to improve your sleep, feel more energetic, reduce aches and pains, and boost your mood try grounding!