Updated: Mar 18
Our relationship with this planet is synergistic. Going outside is synonymous with health.
“Fresh air does us good,” ideas come to us when walking outside, nature is healing. We refer to this planet as our mother and it nourishes us. Earth not only with food, water, and sunshine but balances us in countless invisible ways.
Recent studies on the effects of physical contact with the earth, a practice called earthing, or grounding, show evidence as a possible missing link in health. However, our nature-dependent ancestors understood the importance of this connection long ago.
It was good for the skin to touch the bare earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with their bare feet on the sacred Earth...they sat on the ground with the feeling of being close to a mothering power. ..the soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing. -Luther Standing Bear (1868-1939) Sioux Tribal Leader
Scientific evidence has provided an explanation for these mysterious healing powers; with the exception of a few very dry desert areas, the earth's surface is electrically conductive, covered with negatively charged electrons. Our bodies thrive on frequent contact with these electrons.
Earth’s free electrons may be the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. They also support immunity, regulate our nervous systems, reduce chronic pain, and neutralize excess electricity.
Unfortunately, due to rubber-soled shoes, insulated houses, cars, and trains and sidewalks, most of us rarely access the brilliant health resource laying literally right under our feet.
Human bodies are conductive, meaning contact with the earth allows the abundance of mobile electrons to flow freely through us. Up until quite recently, this flow of charges between the earth and humans occurred constantly. People slept on the ground or on animal hides. Shoes, if worn, were leather-soled and when moistened with sweat, conducted electricity between earth and feet.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are unstable molecules dispatched to kill bad bacteria via white blood cells. They are highly reactive free radicals, meaning they have one or more unpaired electrons. While beneficial to us in fighting off invading pathogens, excess ROS are dangerous to cells, healthy tissues, DNA, and RNA as they attack the body’s systems in search of electrons to couple to. Therefore, Immune systems need enough electrons to balance ROS and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) in order to fight infection and tissue injury. Detoxification of ROS is paramount to aerobic life.
The vast electron supply right under our sneakers has been found to combat inflammation, the root of disease. When the body sustains an injury, it builds an inflammatory barricade of connective tissue around the area to block off invading pathogens. Issues arise when circulating antibiotics can not enter this barricade to heal the trauma, but oxidative free radicals, which are able to pass through, damage healthy tissue and trap inflammation.
Chronic inflammation, known as silent inflammation, damages nearby healthy tissues and fatigues the body as it unsuccessfully dispatches immune response to heal it. The inflammatory barricade prevents healing antioxidants from attacking the scavenging free radicals. Grounding to earth’s negatively charged surface sends electrons into the body to disarm the unstable free-radicals. This interrupts a damaging chain of events and protects, detoxes, and stabilizes cellular health.
Interestingly, therapies involving touch, such as massage, leave the practitioner’s electron supply depleted as the client's inflammation pulls electrons from the therapist, and the client feels better.
Connection with the earth’s electromagnetic field stabilizes our electrical environment, balancing and detoxing as needed. Exchanging electrical currents and releasing excess positive charges impacts inflammation levels in our systems. Specifically, grounding an organism produces measurable differences in the concentrations of white blood cells, cytokines, and other molecules involved in the inflammatory response.
This electricity exchange has been studied to benefit cardiovascular diseases by increasing the surface charge of red blood cells to reduce blood viscosity, a predictor of cardiovascular disease. A lack of electrons can de-saturate the electron transport chains in mitochondria, the cellular energy supplier. This leads to chronic fatigue and a slowdown of essential cellular functions associated with immune system activity.
Grounding supports our nervous systems and possibly aids in soothing mild anxiety or emotional distress. Reports from grounding studies include improved sleep, and reduced chronic pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness. Various studies showed modulation of cortisol in grounded individuals. Cortisol, among other things, affects stress and sleep. Grounding resynced sleep cycles to the natural 24-hr, day/night rhythm.
These studies are not exhaustive; some merely speculative, and we do not know all the effects of grounding or how the earth communicates with our cellular selves. We do know that the earth’s surface contains an infinite supply of free, antioxidant electrons. Playing outside directly supports children’s development. Numerous individuals report improved health, whether from inflammation, pain, sleep, jetlag, or otherwise, after incorporating grounding as a regular practice.
Humans at their most natural state live close to the earth.
This argument should be enough to spark our desire to play outside. It may be time to consider the earth’s surface as essential to health, along with sunlight, water, and clean air. Reconnecting to the earth’s energy is simple and free, and the benefits are potentially extensive. However subtle, there is a distinct easing of tension and gentle renewal of energy that comes only from walking barefoot or lying in a field--embraced by, and embracing, the earth.
Our relationship with this planet is synergistic.