The Benefits of Grounding: How Tactile Connections With Nature Improves Your Life
Most of us know that with proper precautions, spending time outdoors is good for our health. On a mild day, the sun can be a natural source of vitamin D. In our gadget-heavy lives, taking a healthy break from technology calms our emotions and brings mental clarity. Today, scientific research confirms that nature has a powerful positive impact on our brains – and a new trend called grounding may benefit your health.
What if we could do more than soak in the sunshine and take a hike? What if we could directly improve our health by using closer physical contact with the great outdoors? What if we could absorb the energy found in nature into our very bodies? Well, we can when we take up grounding!
What Is Grounding?
Grounding, also known as earthing, is the technique of getting your skin in contact with nature: soil, plants, grass, bodies of water, etc. Whether you are working in your garden, taking a barefoot stroll on your lawn, or swimming in a lake, grounding is a healthy practice that is good for your body and mind.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of grounding that are supported by modern-day research.
The Physical Benefits of Grounding
According to peer-reviewed research from EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, around 20 studies have been done on this subject. The integrative practitioners in this review believe that grounding should be a necessary part of “preventative, alternative, and lifestyle medicine.” (Note that most of this research uses a relatively small number of subjects.)
Here what science has shown about the benefits of grounding:
- Some of the earliest work on grounding suggests that it may protect the body from exposure to EMF radiation. With the worldwide launch of 5G, anyone may be susceptible to this danger, making this a critical tool for health and wellness!
- Does grounding reduce inflammation? Perhaps. In a 2015 study, grounding increased levels of neutrophils and platelets in the blood after certain muscle contractions, like those commonly found in exercises such as weight lifting. These types of blood cells play a key role in your body’s inflammatory response. Grounding also triggered a healthy blood flow.
- A review of existing peer-reviewed research on grounding, also from 2015, suggested that it reduced pain and inflammation, sped up wound healing, alleviated stress, and improved sleep.
- Another study suggests that grounding may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, however, only 10 subjects participated in this study.
More research needs to be done but as a safe and effective therapy, grounding can provide support for your physical health issues.
Grounding Benefits Your Mental Health Too
Some of that research also touched on mental health, but in one very interesting study, the benefits of grounding were tested on a group of massage therapists. These professionals frequently experience fatigue, pain, depression, and low energy levels as a result of the work they do. After grounding, the participants felt more energized and believed they performed at a higher level in their work tasks. They also experienced “significant decreases in fatigue, depressed mood, tiredness, and pain while grounded as compared to not being grounded.”
Although this study only had 16 subjects, research on 40 subjects also showed similar mood benefits after grounding. With minimal risk and the previously documented health benefits of sunshine and nature, you have no reason not to add grounding to your list of self-care activities.
How Does Grounding Work?
You might be wondering how grounding has such a potent impact on your body. We saw earlier that it can positively impact blood cells but what other effects might it have?
In one review, researchers have suggested that grounding can impact cortisol levels, which regulate the body's stress response. Other scientists claim that it helps fight free radicals. These loose electrons can harm your cells causing disease, inflammation, and the more damaging aspects of aging. They state that grounding helps electrons move about, reducing free radical damage.
This is an area that needs much more research but in the meantime, we suggest you get out and practice grounding right now.
There are lots of ways you can participate in grounding when you are outdoors, such as:
- On your property, remove your shoes and socks as you walk around your lawn.
- Find nearby natural swimming areas: lakes, ponds, waterfalls, swimming holes. Clean beaches are especially a wonderful place for grounding as you can get your feet deep into the sand!
- Wear grounding shoes on hikes. We do NOT recommend going barefoot on trails, public parks, and other hiking areas for safety reasons. It’s far better to walk in the right pair of grounding shoes. Learn more in this article by Scott Jeffrey.
- While it’s wise to leave nature undisturbed, you can also participate in grounding by “playing” with nature. Collecting (and then returning) seashells, sticks, stones, leaves, pinecones, and other natural debris is a way to get in touch with mother earth!
- Gardening is one of the most popular and productive ways to experience grounding at home. You can even do indoor gardening if you don’t have outdoor space for it.
While we encourage you to get outdoors as much as you can, there are simply times when you cannot. Whether you are sick, experiencing inclement weather, stuck under a heavy workload, or any other reason, you may still be able to experience grounding while you’re inside.
Some of the most common tools you can use for this are grounding socks, mats, or sheets. Just like the term “grounding” implies when talking about electricity, these tools are meant to reduce your exposure to electrical currents. There is also some debate about how well they work.
When it comes to indoor grounding tools, we need to ask, are they safe? Experts on holistic living seem to be split on this issue. For example, the writers of EcoHealthSolutions claim that using a mat does not lessen your EMF exposure; in fact, it may increase it.
Healthline also warns that these devices can be dangerous if not used properly. Be sure to follow all directions and any warnings on the grounding products that you purchase.
Precautions To Take When Grounding
Now that we understand the benefits of grounding, are there any precautions we should take?
Dr. Libby Darnell of Revived Living, an expert in EMF and radiation, states that while this practice does indeed have many benefits, you must be careful where you are grounding. For example, you may have ground current running under your house, again exposing you to more EMF. The only way to know for sure is with a home inspection.
Finally, other than the basic precautions of protective footgear and safety while walking or swimming, you should make sure that the area you choose is free from toxic chemicals such as glyphosate. Grounding in an area maintained with heavy doses of Roundup or other substances can expose you to many other dangers.
Grounding is a simple and healthy practice to integrate into your self-care regimen. With proper precautions, we recommend you get started with this life-giving habit right away!