Earthing and Grounding: The Benefits of Going Barefoot

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Going Barefoot Will Improve Your Health

Why is it that our children always rip off their socks and shoes as soon as they get outside? Maybe they intrinsically know that going barefoot not only feels good, but it is good for us in so many ways. Going barefoot is so good for us in fact, that it has been studied extensively and given the fancy names of “Earthing” and “Grounding”.

What is Earthing?

Earthing (also known as Grounding) is when we connect with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside on grass, sand, dirt, or concrete. These are all conductive surfaces through which your body can draw the Earth’s energy. Wood, vinyl, and asphalt are not conductive surfaces.

The Earth’s Surface Has a Negative Charge

It is pretty commonly accepted that the Earth’s surface carries a negative charge, but there isn’t really a consensus as to why this occurs. Some say that at the inner core of the Earth, the temperature and pressure are so high that the atoms there are ionized which creates a positive charge, therefore the surface is negatively charged. Others explain that thunderstorms are an electrical generator pumping electrons from the air to the ground against the electrical field in the form of lightning.

Here’s how that happens: When frozen raindrops in thunderclouds move around and bump into each other, they create an electric charge. As the cloud fills up with electrical charges, the positive charges (protons) accumulate at the top of the cloud, and the negative charges (electrons) accumulate at the bottom of the cloud. Since opposites attract, this causes a positive charge to build up below the cloud. The charge coming up from the highest points eventually connects with a charge reaching down from the clouds, and ZAP, lightning strikes!

Lightning Strikes

Lightning Strikes (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Tó campos1, 2007)

Other generators in the global electric current are ionospheric dynamo and magnetosheric dynamo, which you can read about more here if you’re interested.

Basically, just know that the Earth’s surface has a whole bunch of extra electrons just waiting to be picked up by our bare feet.

How Electrons Act as Antioxidants (by Eliminating Free Radicals)

So now you understand (hopefully) that the Earth’s surface is flush with extra electrons, but why is that good? Well, these electrons act as antioxidants that eliminate free radicals in our body. Free radicals (which we get from exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals) are atoms that have unpaired electrons in their outer shell. These unpaired electrons make free radicals highly reactive to other substances that can lead to mutations, cancer, and oxidative stress (where your body is literally rusting from the inside out). Antioxidants stabilize the free radicals by giving them the electron they need to calm down. In the process, the antioxidant sacrifices itself. What a pal!

This Free Radical is Missing an Electron Which Makes it Highly Reactive

This Free Radical is Missing an Electron Which Makes it Highly Reactive (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Healthvalue~commonswiki, 2012)

For more information about free radicals and antioxidants, check out my blog How to Stay on Top of Free Radicals with Antioxidants.

Benefits of Going Barefoot

So not only will you be boosting your immune system and overall health by getting rid of free radicals with the extra electrons that you accumulate from the Earth’s surface, there are a myriad of other health benefits as well. Studies have shown that earthing (or grounding) has so many health benefits, that it suddenly seems silly to wear shoes, especially plastic soled shoes that aren’t conducive to the Earth’s electrons like leather soled shoes are.

  • Thins the blood (lowers blood pressure)
  • Reduces risk of heart attack
  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Decreased depression
  • Sense of calm
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Fewer headaches
  • Better recovery from adrenal fatigue
  • Better sleep
  • Less phosphorus and calcium loss thus leading to a reduced chance of osteoporosis
  • Reduces inflammation (which leads to many chronic diseases)
  • Less chronic pain
  • Slows the aging process (by getting rid of free radicals)
  • Less muscle tension
  • Quicker healing from exercise-induced muscle pain
  • Faster immune responses
  • Protects the body from EMFs

How to Do It

It’s not rocket science really; it’s just a matter of going barefoot as much as possible on surfaces conducive to the Earth’s energy (grass, sand, dirt, or concrete). Or better yet even, take a nap the next time you are outside sprawled out in the soft warm grass or getting some sun at the beach.

Ophelia Playing Barefoot in Our Sandbox

Ophelia Playing Barefoot in Our Sandbox

In order to maximize on your grounding time when you’re inside, you might want to get an earthing mat like this that can be plugged in and placed on top of a desk under your keyboard and mouse or under your desk for bare feet contact. Or you might like something like this half sheet to place under your bottom sheet on your bed to get the full effects of grounding while you’re asleep. If you have sleep problems, I highly recommend this!

In Conclusion

So when you see our family playing at the park and all of our shoes have been cast aside, now you’ll know the reason why! And at the end of the day when my little ones are done playing outside and ready for pajamas, I’ll know that I did a good job if I can see that the bottoms of their feet are covered with well worn dirt. (And no, we don’t bathe everyday, but that’s for another post!)