“Earthing” or Walking bare foot
July 24, 2017 / Posted by Dr. Virender Sodhi, MD (Ayurveda), ND
Walking bare foot or “Earthing” is beneficial for health and reduces many diseases
We are supposed to be walking barefoot on the mother earth. This is what animals and birds do. We all know that there is an electromagnetic field in the earth. When we are walking barefoot, we are touching the ground, and we are becoming electrically neutralized, as we do “earthing” of the electrical overcharge. Whenever we do any muscle contraction, the body becomes electrically charged, and we create more electrical static. This forms high potential. You might have seen that when you touch somebody, especially when you have a synthetic cloth on, there is a big spark. That electricity can be harmful for us. For example, people can get sore muscles from electricity.
Nevertheless, we are electrical beings by nature. The earth is a continually charged electric field. It is the largest electrical object, and we are a big part of it. We need electrical stability in the body. Our nervous system is electrical. There is electrical activity taking place in every cell of the body. The electrical field of the heart can be measured fifteen feet away. The EKG is a good way of measuring the electrical charge of the heart. However, there have been studies done where the electrical field can be measured up to fifteen feet away. The Ayurvedic science and the Vedic science has taught the details about walking barefoot on the earth or the grass. Eating on the ground is considered very healthy. Sleeping on the ground is so good for us. Basically, we are animals. When we go away from the basic principles of mother nature, we create some kind of an imbalance in our bodies that causes diseases.
When your skin touches the earth, negatively-charged, free electrons are transferred from earth to your body. Every time you walk outside barefoot and come into contact with earth or ground, you are practicing a phenomenon known as “grounding” or “earthing.” Earthing is a process that connects us with mother nature. Whether walking barefoot on the grass, dirt, ocean or beach, earthing is beneficial to our health. It restores the electrical stability of the body.
The idea of earthing became popular after Clint Ober wrote a book on this subject in 2010, titled Earthing, The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? All the plants and animals in the world are connected to the earth. The earth is a source of free electrons. When animals touch the earth, they equalize with the earth. Earth’s free electrons reduce charge in humans and help maintain electrical stability, which is essential for maintaining our bodily functions.
Historically, majority of the humans used to live barefoot on the earth. Every one of our ancestors was earthed. They were naturally grounded and lived a long, healthy life. They usually wore leather moccasins or sandals, and these were conductive, allowing electrons from earth to flow back into the body. The leather shoes make your feet sweat, and the body salts from the sweat permeate the leather, letting your body get some electrons when you are walking on the earth.
In the 1960s, we invented plastics and put carpets on our floors. Because of the development of these synthetic materials, we have insulated ourselves from mother nature. Also, wearing synthetic-soled shoes became popular. Today, 90% of our shoes are synthetic-soled. As a result, we have become electron deficient and hence, we have many diseases in our body. If we practice grounding, the damage from these diseases may vanish. Earthing is the answer to many health problems.
Over the past few decades, we have disconnected with the earth. We have developed the best pharmaceutical medicines, but we have more people suffering from stress and inflammation-related diseases such as autism, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is mainly caused by the positively-charged free-radicals formed by our immune systems. Based on the laws of physics and electromagnetism, when we are grounded, we have a free reservoir of electrons in our body. This reservoir of electrons available to the body neutralizes reactions. In other words, when we practice earthing, the free electrons reduce charge in the body. This prevents oxidation of healthy tissue. Within the umbrella of earth’s electric field is the charge of free electrons, which can absorb the byproducts of metabolic processes and keep our bodies detoxified and clean. When we are electron depleted, we cause disease in the body.
There is published research on grounding, which suggests that a disconnect from earth may contribute to physiological dysfunction and illness. In a blinded pilot study, 60 people who suffered from sleep disturbances as well as chronic muscle and joint pain participated for at least six months. The subjects slept on conductive carbon fiber mattress pads. The first group consisted of mattress pads connected to earth ground, while the control group consisted of pads that were not connected to the earth. Most grounded participants described an improvement in their sleep unlike the control group. Some grounded participants reported relief from other conditions such as respiratory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, sleep apnea, and hypertension (Chevalier et al. 2012).
In another pilot study, sleep, stress, pain, and cortisol rhythms were evaluated in relationship to grounding. 12 participants suffering from sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress were grounded to earth during sleep using a conductive mattress pad for 8 weeks. Cortisol levels were measured. The cortisol rhythms improved, sleeping patterns enhanced, and there was a positive effect on morning fatigue levels, daytime energy, and nighttime pain levels. The researchers concluded that grounding the body during sleep is beneficial (Chevalier et al. 2012).
In lab experiments, earthing has also shown to lower electric fields induced on the body. Studies indicate that when the body is grounded, its electrical potential becomes equalized with the earth’s electrical potential through a transfer of electrons from the earth to the body. This demonstrates the “umbrella” effect of earthing on the body, as expressed by the Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman. Feynman explained that the earth’s potential in the body becomes the “working agent that cancels, reduces, or pushes away electric fields from the body.” A study showed that grounding eliminates the ambient voltage exposed to the body from common electrical sources, as these electromagnetic fields in our environment can otherwise pose a danger to our health (Chevalier et al. 2012).
Grounding has tremendous physiological and electrophysiological effects on the body. 58 healthy adults participated in a randomized double-blind pilot study. The researchers looked at the effects of grounding on human physiology. There was a decrease in overall stress levels and tension as well as a shift in the autonomic nervous system balance upon earthing measured via electrophysiological parameters. A further multiparameter study indicated a shift in activation from the sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system due to grounding (Chevalier et al. 2012).
Grounding the body to earth alters measures of immune system activity and pain. The ungrounded participants expressed the perception of a greater pain. In relationship to pain, there was evidence that there was a muted white blood cell response showing that a grounded body experiences less inflammation (Chevalier et al. 2012).
In a double-blind study, it was clear that during grounded sessions, subjects had statistically significant improvements in heart-rate variability, a measurement of the heart’s response to autonomic nervous system regulation. This is a positive indicator on heart health, showing that simple grounding techniques support the cardiovascular system (Chevalier et al. 2012).
Grounding also leads to a reduction in primary indicators of osteoporosis, improvement in glucose regulation, as well as enhanced immune response. There was a reduction in blood and urinary calcium and phosphorus in grounded subjects, factors related to osteoporosis. Earthing during rest and physical activity over a 72-hour period demonstrated a decreased fasting glucose among patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Evidence showed that earthing influences liver, hypothalamus, and pituitary relationships with thyroid function. In another study, immune response following vaccination was examined. Earthing accelerated the immune response, as suggested by an increase in gamma globulin concentrations (Chevalier et al. 2012).
Grounding was shown to lower pain and alter the numbers of circulating neutrophils and lymphocytes, as well as impact certain circulating chemical factors related to inflammation. The free negative electrons from the earth fight positively charged reactive oxygen species (ROS) created by inflammatory factors, neutrophils, and lymphocytes in response to injury, trauma, or infection. The neutralized ROS is what lowers neutrophils and lymphocytes, modulating immune response. This permits a quicker healing response in contrast to areas with electron deficiency, which leads to destruction of tissues, a higher count of ROS, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases (Oschman et al. 2015).
New research also indicates that grounding is beneficial for heart disease risk factors. A study consisting of 10 participants looked at the effects of two hours of grounding on the electrical charge or zeta potential on red blood cells known and red blood cell clumping. Grounding increased zeta potentials in all samples by an average of 2.70 and significantly lowered red blood cell aggregation. The scientists concluded that grounding increases the surface charge on red blood cells, thereby lowering blood viscosity and clumping. This data supports the fact that grounding may be a simple tool in helping lower the risk of heart disease (Chevalier et al. 2013).
Ayurvedically, traditionally, we ate on the floor when we ate our food. We would walk barefoot on the ground. The barefoot walking was considered good for the eyes and also for the head, because the head is another electrically charged place. When you touch your head to the ground, you are also earthing yourself.
Even in Chinese medicine, walking barefoot is considered really good for the overall, general health. I encourage people to walk barefoot at least a few minutes a day. That really helps you, and you will feel much better. In the Chinese and Japanese cultures (and even Indian culture), you walk barefoot inside the house. You are doing earthing for your whole body by walking barefoot.
Earthing helps fight chronic stress, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed heart rate variability, and heart disease. Alongside nutrition, physical activity, clean air and water, and sunshine, grounding or earthing might be essential in maintaining good health (Chevalier et al. 2013). In addition to walking barefoot outside, there are various grounding systems available such as conducive devices in the form of sheets, mats, wrist, or ankle bands, adhesive patches to be used at home, as well as footwear (Oschman et al. 2015). Avoid coming into contact with pavement, wood, rubber, plastic, and synthetic or insulated materials, which block the electrons from balancing your body’s electrical field. Enjoy the benefits of earthing by walking barefoot on grass, dirt, ocean, or beach.
- Chevalier, Gaetan, Stephen T. Sinatra, James L. Oschman, and Richard M. Delany. "Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity – a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 19.2 (2013): 102-10. Web.
- Chevalier, Gaetan, Stephen T. Sinatra, James L. Oschman, Karol Sokal, and Pawel Sokal. "Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons." Journal of Environmental and Public Health 2012 (2012): 1-8. Web.
- Oschman, James, Gaetan Chevalier, and Richard Brown. "The Effects of Grounding (earthing) on Inflammation, the Immune Response, Wound Healing, and Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases." Journal of Inflammation Research (2015): 83. Web.