“Paved paradise, put up a parking lot”
We are only now really starting to understand the health consequences of living in a world that is increasingly made of concrete and plastics.
For most of human history, our physical and emotional connection to the earth was inherent in our daily life. We plucked food straight from our garden, kneeling down on the earth as we did so. Perhaps we took a break from the harvest under the shade of a tree, leaning against it with our shoes off. When we were not working in the fields, we would have a picnic or hike to a swimming hole to cool off and relax. Now, we can go days, weeks or even months without any contact with the natural world. If you don’t consciously taken time to be in nature, your life may look like this: wake up in your synthetic bed, put on your synthetic clothing dyed with synthetic dyes, eat food that is industrially farmed, factory processed and packaged in synthetics, get in your petroleum fueled car, and most likely if you work in an office you are sitting in a plastic chair under fluorescent lights, until you return to your synthetic home.
Why does any of this matter?
It matters because our bodies evolved to be part of the earth, to live with its seasons, and to be in contact with its energy, not to be separated from it.
The science behind earthing, also called grounding, says that in our daily lives we pick up free radicals (unpaired electrons) that cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation can lead to chronic pain and disease. According to earthing expert Clint Ober, “The earth has an infinite supply of free electrons, so when a person is grounded, those electrons naturally flow between the earth and the body, reducing free radicals and eliminating any static electrical charge.”
According to Ober, “Grounding also affects emotional health through pain reduction—if you have pain, you’re going to be emotionally stressed. If you reduce inflammation, the pain stops, you feel better, and the energy comes back. There have also been studies that indicate that grounding improves mood, reduces stress, and has a calming effect.”
Other benefits include:
-Increased blood flow and blood viscosity
-Quicker recovery from exercise
-Feelings of emotional wellbeing
How to get the benefits:
-Walk outside barefoot or lie on the earth for a minimum of 30 minutes a day to reap noticeable benefits. I love to go to Prospect Park and just lie on the grass, and when I hike or walk in nature I love to do it barefoot. I’ve always had tough feet though and I am light, so this may not be the best option for everyone. See what works for you! As long as you are physically in contact with the earth you are reaping its benefits.
-You can also buy grounding mats for your bed and home, but you have to have certain types of electrical outlets. I am not sure I would have luck with that here in NYC in my recently-built building.
Lots of what I have read and watched on the subject is really trying to get at the science behind earthing, which is important. However, I think it’s also important to note the benefits of feeling connected to the web of all life. Feeling oneness with our earth, and the universe, is something that has immense benefits for every human. I encourage you to do this alone, with your children, your friends, lovers, and neighbors as often as you possibly can. It’s free, and there are no side effects!