Getting outdoors is good for us. Studies have found that being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, can reduce anger, fear and help you feel more relaxed.
But a movement called ‘earthing’ suggests it’s not just the smells and sights of being in greenery that can have a positive effect on us; the earth’s invisible electronic charges are thought by some to have healing power, and the ability to bring us back to a balanced, calm state.
What is earthing?
Also called grounding, ‘earthing’ is a wellness technique that involves purposefully doing activities in nature that allow us to tap into the earth’s natural energy.
The idea is that modern life can throw off the delicate balance of the body’s energy, through exposure to say, technology or pollutants – which can cause harmful free radicals to build up in the body.
According to proponents of the trend, having direct contact with the earth – whether through walking barefoot or swimming in the sea – can help us connect with its natural energy, which in turn can bring our bodies back into alignment.
This action, some believe, brings heaps of health benefits. Although there is limited scientific evidence to back up these benefits so far, one study found earthing may improve the body’s response to chronic inflammation by restoring the body’s natural defences, while a report in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health suggested grounding could reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Others suggest that it might have a positive effect on your heart, too. A 2013 study suggested earthing could actually reduce blood viscosity in the body, which can be a major risk factor for developing heart disease.
Anecdotally, people also believe earthing can boost your mood, helping to reduce the risk of depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Three ways you can tap into the trend
The simplest and most natural method of grounding is to go outdoors and place your bare feet and hands directly on the earth—many people choose to go for a barefoot walk in the park or on the beach. Walking barefoot in your home, where minimally conductive or nonconductive materials like concrete foundations and hardwood floors insulate us from the earth’s electric potential, will not have the same effect. It takes a bit a of time to reap the full benefits, so 30 minutes a day is recommended, if possible.
The great thing about earthing is it’s free and easy to do. All you have to do is make direct skin contact with the ground.
1. Walk barefoot
Go outside without shoes or socks on – whether that’s a back garden, beach or local park (make sure to look where you’re walking!). You could try practising yoga outside on the grass (without a mat) or some gentle tai chi movements.
2. Lie on the ground
Making skin-to-earth contact through lying on the grass is another popular earthing strategy. If you live in a colder climate, you can even buy earthing mats online, which mean you can still get the healing benefits in winter, without having to stand barefoot in the snow.
3. Go for a wild swim
Some people believe water can be a powerful conductor for the earth’s energy. Simply paddling in a lake or swimming in the ocean is a way to ground yourself, although you should always make sure to stay safe if you’re going for a wild swim, particularly in deep and cold water.
Do you walk around barefoot much? What do you think of this wellness trend?
– With PA
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