It’s a known fact that we do not spend the same amount of time outdoors as we used to. Thanks to evolution, we have traded in walking barefoot for shoes and sleeping on the ground for a nice comfy bed. But the truth is, our bodies are designed to come into contact with the Earth on a regular basis. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the ultraviolet light from the sun are all important ways we connect with the Earth and our survival depends on it.

Grounding is an important Earth connection we are missing out on these days due to synthetically soled shoes, living in homes and working in offices. Luckily, summer is just around the corner, so we have plenty of opportunity to put this amazing health benefit to the test.

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What is grounding?

Grounding or Earthing has been advocated by Europeans for many generations. The theory is the Earth is a grounding force that our bodies are meant to come into contact with on a regular basis. Our bodies and cells have electrical energy and with so much contact with cell phones and Wi-Fi, many of us have a high amount of positive electrons built up in our bodies. The Earth provides a negative grounding charge, which then balances everything out.

Jeanette Gormley, a local reflexologist says “our feet contain approximately 25% of all the nerve endings in the body, as well as reflex points that represent all glands, organs and tissue of the body, thus making the feet the most effective access point for grounding.”
The best grounding surfaces are sand, grass, soil, ceramic tile and unpainted or unsealed concrete or brick. Asphalt, wood, rubber, plastic and vinyl are surfaces that will not ground you.

What are the benefits of grounding?

It is important to note that grounding is not a “treatment” or a “cure” for a disease or disorder, but the scientific evidence to back up the health benefits are plenty. Many doctors in the medical field consider grounding takes us from disease mode into health mode.
Grounding has the ability to calm the sympathetic nervous system, which supports your heart rate variability (or time between heart beats) and any time you do this you are improving the health of your entire body.

Some other amazing things grounding can do are reducing inflammation (the root cause of almost all disease), reducing chronic pain, improving sleep issues, lowers stress, improves blood pressure, reduces snoring, relieves muscles tension and headaches, etc.
Also, walking barefoot can help strengthen your core, lower legs and feet by forcing you to balance yourself.

Combine grounding with a good pair of shoes.

Karey at Health Walks Foot Orthotic Clinic in New Glasgow says “people complain of foot pain more than any other part of their body. To look after your feet, it means inspecting them regularly (particularly if you have diabetes), wearing properly fitted, good quality footware and exploring alternative treatments such as energy based grounding and reflexology.”

So after a long day of work, sticking your bare feet in the grass or sand may work wonders for your aches and pains. Going barefoot for as little as 30 to 40 minutes a day can significantly improve your health.

You may be skeptical about the many benefits of grounding, but I encourage you to go outside on a beautiful summer day and put your feet on a grounding surface. See if you end up sleeping better that night, have reduced pain or end up with an increase in energy. Grounding may explain why you feel energized and sleep well while on vacation by the beach. Just like eating right, exercising and sleeping, grounding can be considered yet another lifestyle habit that will support optimal health.

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Deelle Hines is a professional lifestyle coach and co-founder of Dream Candy, a local non-profit organization that introduces youth to self-wellness practices like meditation, gratitude, creative and authentic expression, mindful eating and exercise, and acts of kindness to self and others. In her article, “Love ya Man,” Deelle dives into an exciting shift taking place in the whole self-wellness community – a stronger focus on men’s self-care.