Grounding, also known as earthing, is one of the simplest ways to support the natural health and healing response of the body, as podiatrist, human movement specialist and global leader in barefoot science and rehabilitation, Dr Emily Splichal, reports.
Dating back thousands of years and represented in various cultures, grounding taps into the conductive charge of the Earth and has documented benefits ranging from improved sleep to faster wound healing.
Our disconnected bodies
From the synthetic shoes we wear to the high-rise buildings we live in, a lot of our modern-day amenities are actually disconnecting us from ourselves and from the Earth. Just like the appliances in our home need to be grounded, so too does the bioelectrical charge of our bodies. Research has shown that when our electrical field is imbalanced, inflammation increases and the ageing process is accelerated.
What is grounding?
Grounding refers to direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth, such as with your bare feet or with various grounding systems. This direct contact with the Earth’s surface restores an essential electric connection which is lost over time because of modern footwear and urban living.
Grounding is as simple as walking barefoot on grass, dirt or concrete for 15 minutes a day.
Benefits of grounding
The benefits of grounding are vast but these are some of the most common benefits demonstrated through various research studies:
Benefit 1 – Reduces chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a causative factor of pain and an accelerant of the ageing process. Grounding reduces or even prevents the cardinal signs of inflammation following injury: redness, heat, swelling, pain and loss of function.
Benefit 2 – Reduces pain
Most pain is due to or associated with increased inflammation, and typically responds rapidly to grounding.
Benefit 3 – Improves sleep and balances circadian rhythms
Grounding has been associated with increased melatonin production while normalising cortisol levels, both of which reduce sleep disturbances.
Benefit 4 – Improves blood flow and reduces blood viscosity (stickiness)
Higher blood viscosity (that is, thicker, sludgy blood) often correlates with diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Studies found that grounding significantly reduces blood viscosity, thus potentially improving red blood cell spacing (thinning them out).
Benefit 5 – Accelerates healing from trauma
Accelerated wound healing, whether involving injury, surgery or burn, may result from a combination of reduced inflammation, as well as improved circulation carrying healing factors to the site.
Getting your vitamin G
If you are sceptical about the benefits of grounding, put it to the test! Simply sit, stand or walk with your bare feet on the grass, dirt or concrete outside for at least 15 minutes a day.
After consistently connecting to the Earth, notice how you feel. It may be a subtle tingling in your feet, or a calmer demeanour.
If being outside is not accessible due to your environment or weather, there are grounding mats that are available that can create a similar effect.
Dr Emily Splichal, Functional Podiatrist and Human Movement Specialist, is the Founder of EBFA Global, Creator of the Barefoot Training Specialist® Certification, Author of Barefoot Strong and CEO/Founder of Naboso Technology. With over 20 years in the fitness industry, Dr Splichal has dedicated her medical career towards studying postural alignment and human movement as it relates to barefoot science, foot to core integration and sensory integration.