A great stress reduction technique in nature is called Earthing or Grounding. Earthing or Grounding refers to connecting ourselves to the surface of our planet by sitting, standing, or walking barefoot on the Earth.
Earthing was discovered by Clinton Ober, a pioneer in the cable TV industry, who discovered the many health benefits of earthing.
How does it work?
The earth is a natural source of energy-you can think of the Earth as being like a giant battery that supports life on this planet. The earth’s surface has a subtle, negative electrical charge due to lightning strikes and atmospheric pressure. On an atomic level, it is full of free electrons – the smallest unit of negative charge. Our bodies are by nature bioelectrical, so when your bare feet connect to the ground you efficiently absorb nature’s free electrons.
What are the health benefits?
Research indicates that earthing reduces stress and suggests that your body experiences physical changes within 4 seconds of earthing. Tense muscles relax and the nervous system calms down. Some other health benefits include improved sleep, pain relief, better blood circulation, immune support, and increased levels of energy during the day.
How to best do earthing?
One of the easiest ways to start earthing/grounding regularly is to take a walk with bare feet. Green grass, moist sand are perfect. Moist earth is more conductive than dry sand or dry dirt. The beach is one of the best places to ground yourself as the combination of sand and saltwater is highly conductive.
Ceramic tiles, unpainted concrete, and brick (when laid directly on the earth) are also conductive surfaces. They also allow the human body to earth effectively. You can also do earthing inside using special conductive products.
Around 30 minutes should be enough to notice a change in stress levels or pain. That being said, doing earthing every day for about 5 minutes can make a difference. Personally, I like to do earthing and breathing in fresh air a few minutes before I go to bed as it helps to shake off the day and shift my energy.
Get those feet on the earth and feel better!
As Director of Programs, Elizabeth Nelson brings her B.S. in Public Health, her extensive work with trauma survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, and her own experiences of the positive connection and health benefits of time spent in nature into the Parkscriptions program at Recreation Northwest. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder. She has a broad range of experience running her own business and working in nonprofit and government organizations.