You might think of grounding as a purely psychological, intellectual, or emotional issue. Perhaps you know someone who has their head in the clouds, and therefore needs grounding. But grounding (connecting the human body to the earth) has been shown to have many serious health benefits according to Dr. Joseph Mercola. (In his book Effortless Healing, he sites a 2012 research review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.)
Grounding can help:
*improve quality of sleep;
*reduce muscle stiffness and chronic pain;
*regulate cortisol (a stress hormone) promoting restful sleep and weight control;
*balance the nervous systems;
*reduce inflammation after intense workouts;
*thin the blood, improving blood flow.
This last benefit is so profound that you should consult a doctor before you begin to practice grounding if you are on blood-thinning medications. You may need to adjust your dosage! In fact, if you are on any type of prescription, you may want to check with your doctor about the effects of grounding.
How does grounding work?
It is all about electricity. We humans are conductors of electricity. Our bodies are mostly water, in which a variety of charged ions (electrolytes) are dissolved. The Earth is also an electrical body with a limitless supply of electrons, like a supercharged battery. When you make direct (skin) contact with the Earth, you absorb a steady flow of electrons into your body. To make a complicated process sound simple, these electrons bond to free radicals, the cause of inflammation and many types of disease such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Crohn's, Lupus, and others.
The easiest way to ground is to go barefoot outdoors. You can connect with the Earth through sand, grass, gravel, bare soil, rock, even concrete and brick. However, the following are insulators, which will not allow you to ground: asphalt, wood, rubber, plastic, vinyl, and tarmac. You don't need to run or even walk; you can simply sit (or lie down!) with your feet (or your entire body!) in the grass, or sand, or any body of water. Swimming in the ocean is another wonderful way of grounding! If you cannot possibly remove your shoes outdoors, purchasing a pair with natural leather soles is another option.
If you already practice grounding, I'd love to hear how it has affected your health. I plan to begin my own practice as soon as it stops pouring down with rain!