Okay, we’re up to another installment in this series of blogs in which I explore some answers to a common question I get from patients: “What is something that I can do for myself to make my acupuncture treatments more effective?” Today I’d like to address one of my personal favorites, and one that I see virtually no one taking advantage of the way they should:
Earthing, otherwise known as “grounding”, is quite literally the easiest self-help practice that I can suggest, and yet it is probably the most underutilized. It is very simply the act of standing barefoot (or lying) on the Earth. Yes, that’s all there is to it. I frequently ask people, “When was the last time you stood or laid around outside without shoes on?” Sadly, most people can’t even remember when that was, and yet, most people will say they remember how good it feels to be walking barefoot in the grass or along a beach. We should be doing that as often as possible!
The Lost Connection
For virtually all of human history, humans have been grounded to the earth, either by going barefoot or wearing foot protection from a natural material. It is only in modern times, where we wear rubber or plastic soled shoes, walk outside on asphalt-paved walking paths or indoors on wood floors covered with synthetic carpet, that we have largely lost our connection with the ground.
So why is this such a big deal? Why should we try to be grounded to the Earth? From a physiological perspective, chronic inflammation in our bodies is a primary cause of virtually all disease, from diabetes, to autoimmune disorders, to cancer – and the Earth itself is the most potent anti-inflammatory that there is.
Relieves Oxidative Stress
When our bodies experience what is called “oxidative stress”, which is the proliferation of free radicals (an oxygen molecule that has split into single atoms with unpaired electrons) we start to accumulate a positive charge, which essentially is that chronic inflammation which underlies illness, and our blood thickens and becomes more sticky.
When we connect to the ground, we draw up negative electrons from the earth, which neutralizes the positive charge that is building up. Among many effects, this provides our red blood cells with abundant electrons so that they can repel each other, making our blood more viscous and slippery and less prone to forming clots, which lead to heart attacks and stroke.
The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?
There are innumerable other benefits to Earthing that are simply too in depth to do justice to here, and I strongly recommend Clint Ober’s excellent book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! There are also numerous videos and articles which have some great information to be found in a simple search.
In my view, simply going without shoes is the most unbelievably simple investment you can make, and will make a profound difference in your health and well-being!