In our never ending quest to live healthier, happier, more sustainable and energised lives… This month we are trying Earthing!
Have you heard about Earthing? Puck co-founder Hannah kicks off her shoes and takes on a self healing experiment to find out what all the hype is about.
What is Earthing?
Earthing (also known as grounding) - is a fast-growing movement based upon the discovery that connecting to the Earth's natural energy is foundational for vibrant health. It’s been said that placing your bare feet on the earth for 15-30 minutes a day can help improve mood, ease inflammation and insomnia, and can even beat depression!
The most immediately noticeable effect people report from being grounded is that they ‘feel better’. This has been described as a feeling of greater peace within themselves, feeling calmer with reduced stress levels. If there is pain present then often this is reduced or disappears completely.
Is it just me or is everyone suffering from some type of disorder? Autoimmune, allergies, intolerances, IBS, insomnia, anxiety... the list goes on. Everyone I speak to friends and family, myself included seem to be suffering. So what has changed?
The earthing theory is that with our modern rubber or plastic soled shoes, wooden floors and insulated off the ground beds, we no longer have a natural electrical connection to the Earth, unless walking barefoot. We are also surrounded by more and more electrical devices - phones hanging off ears and eyes glued to laptops all day.
The idea is that physically connecting to the planet is good for the body and soul. The ground has an “abundant supply of free electrons that can help neutralise free radicals – if only we would take off our shoes and access them” - Clint Ober - author of ‘Earthing- The most important health discovery ever’ and ex TV cable guy. So could earthing help restore our Zen? I wanted to find out!
How does it work?
The simplest way to Earth is to go outside and place your bare feet or hands on some grass or earth, or to immerse yourself in a body of conductive water such as the sea or a mineral-rich lake.
30 minutes a day is said to be enough time to reap the benefits.
For all those yogis out there. If you have ever practiced yoga outside, or heard your yoga teacher say ‘take a minute to ground down, feeling your connection with the earth’ You will have noticed how it instantly makes you feel more solid, like roots are growing out of your feet and connecting you to the earth.
What does the science say?
There are two key reasons why this electrical connection is important:
- The Earth is a massive reservoir of negatively charged free electrons. Without a connection to this reservoir, the cells in our body are unable to balance the positive charge which results from things like electron-deficient free radicals. The effect of excess positive charge in the blood can be seen very clearly by the way in which the cells are attracted to clump together.
- Our modern environment is full of a wide spectrum of electromagnetic radiation - from computers, mobile phones & masts, radio & TV broadcasts, WiFi, Bluetooth, power lines, domestic wiring, and other electrical appliances. This electromagnetic radiation induces voltages in our bodies, disrupting the trillions of subtle electrical communications which are a vital part of the function of our body's systems. Voltage as term, means the potential difference in charge whether it be positive or negative. If the body is negatively charged, it needs to release its excess of electrons back to the earth, if you are positively charged, you need to draw electrons from the earth to balance your charge.
On a less tangible level, it may also be that the connection we make with the Earth actually carries information, and helps align us with the greater network of intelligence of our planet and the universe as a whole.
What are the benefits?
- Defuse the cause of inflammation, and improve or eliminate the symptoms of many inflammation related disorders
- Reduce or eliminate chronic pain
- Improve Sleep and promote a deeper sleep
- Increase energy and vitality
- Lower stress and promote calmness in the body by cooling down the nervous system and stress hormones
- Normalize the body's biological rhythms
- Thin the blood and improve blood pressure and flow
- Relieve muscle tension and headaches
- Lessen hormonal and menstrual symptoms
- Dramatically speeds healing time and can help prevent bedsores
- Reduce or eliminate jet lag
- Protect the body against potentially health disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
- Accelerate recovery from intense athletic activity
My Earthing Experience
My first experience Earthing was at Love Saves the Day festival in my hometown of Bristol. Living in the city it isn't that often I am confronted with vast fields of grass so I thought no time like the present to get started! Having just started reading the book ‘Earthing’ and with Clint Obers words ringing in my ears, I kicked off my shoes to do some Earthing!!
I am already well known among my friends for having some ‘woo woo’ and free spirited ideas… So it came as no surprise when I explained I had removed my shoes to connect to the earth and soak up some of the free electrons it had to offer, I was trying out my newest discovery to solve all my health issues!
There was a lot laughter and a lot of mockery.. But after seeing how much fun I was having prancing around with no shoes, dodging the Red Stripe cans and making new friends - one by one they began to whip off their shoes to have a go themselves.
And how did we feel?
I have to say, we felt amazing!
You know that feeling from childhood after a long day running around on the beach, building sandcastles and jumping the waves? It was just like that… except with a few more tequilas.
And instead of having to drag myself out of bed on the Monday morning as normal, witnessing the rainbow of emotions - including crying along to the radio etc. which one can expect following ‘too much fun’ on the weekend. I sprang out of bed and snapped back into work mode with ease! Feeling balanced, level and positive for the week ahead.
Encouraged by my first experiment, but aware it may not stand up against science…
I started to wonder who else I could benefit from earthing. So I visited my parents in the picturesque leafy countryside of West Sussex.
My mum had been complaining of sleepless nights for as long as I could remember. As a woman of a certain age, life had thrown a curveball in the shape of menopause and was causing havoc with hormonal imbalance symptoms and insomnia.
My hippie roots come from my mum, avoiding pharmaceutical drugs like the plague and instead rubbing evening primrose oil into my wrists when I was hyperactive as a child and giving me echinacea when I was ill back in the 90’s growing up in Canada when the only word out of the doctor's mouth for any illness was ‘Antibiotics’.
I knew she would be onboard with this idea!
My dad was a slightly harder nut to crack. He is the DIY extraordinaire, can fix anything and mechanical mind by trade. Who actually happened to have an electron measuring device in his workshop!!! (actual name a multimeter) And agreed to take our measurements so we could get some hard facts, to see the kind of electromagnetic voltages we have running through us.
- Insulated floor: Stood barefoot in the kitchen, around a bunch of stereotypical 21st century household electronic equipment. Microwave, radio, i-pad, phones, fridge. You get the picture.
- Outside: Stood barefoot in the garden. Bare feet connecting to mother earth.
We took it in turns to have metal crocodile clips attached to our fingers. With one wire from the multimeter connected to us, and another connected to an earthing rod.
First we stood in the Kitchen on the insulated floor. And Dad took our measurements. We then took our bare feet on a short walk out to the garden and took our measurements again.
The results found we had far higher voltage running through us in the house. When we stood closer to the electric cables and appliances - it got even higher.
When we stood outside the measurements read almost 0.
So interesting to think, these electrical pulses are running through our bodies, but not being ‘earthed’ unless we are actually standing on the earth.
What we did next…
For the rest of the week Mum and I spent at least 30 minutes a day with our bare feet on the earth. We carried on everything else as normal.
After 2 days, mum started sleeping better! She was waking up less at night and having more deep sleep too. We carried on for the rest of the week and each night she carried on being able to sleep. This is a woman who hasn't had more than 4 hours sleep for the last 2 years!
Call it what you will, a placebo or the connection to the earth bringing back balance.
Earthing although difficult to verify results could potentially boost your zen. Get out and hug a tree already.