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What Is Grounding?

Posted on September 18, 2023 by Henry Ford Health Staff

If you think grounding is just something that happens to kids who misbehave, think again. It’s also a term for a therapeutic technique designed to reconnect your body with the earth. 

“The earth has a slightly negative charge and a lot of free electrons,” says Mathew Kulas, MA, RAc, an acupuncturist at Henry Ford Health. “So earthing is a way for us to absorb the earth’s natural electric charge in a way that can assist with healing.” 

The idea of drawing energy from the earth through grounding or earthing dates back centuries. But with a growing global interest in natural healing practices, it’s gaining more traction. 

“We’re all part of nature, so we’re subjected to the same barometric pressure, the same hot and cold temperatures, and the same changes in light,” Kulas says. “But with modern culture, we’ve removed ourselves away from nature. Grounding is a way to get back to it.” 

Grounding draws on the earth’s natural electrical charges to help stabilize us physically, mentally and emotionally. Plants, vegetables and fruits grow in soil. The thinking behind grounding holds that we can also recharge our minds, bodies and souls when we’re in close connection with the earth. 

What Are The Benefits Of Grounding? 

While scientists are still studying the science behind grounding, research suggests that connecting with the earth may help reduce the effects of chronic stress, inflammation and pain, and improve sleep. Small studies suggest that grounding can:

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Other studies suggest that spending time outdoors (which can be considered a form of grounding) is associated with better health and well-being. 

What Are Some Ways To Do Grounding?

Any direct contact you have with the earth and the natural world counts as earthing. Children, for example, are naturally wired to run around barefoot and place their feet and hands in the grass, soil, sand or mud when they need to calm down. As adults, we can do the same. For best results, aim to spend 10 to 30 minutes of grounding daily. Here’s how: 

  • Go barefoot. Sink your feet into the grass. Bury your toes in the sand. When possible, just go barefoot so your feet are in direct contact with the ground.
  • Lie on the ground. The greater the surface area in contact with the earth, the more intense the benefits. Sprawl out on the grass during a backyard picnic or recline on the sand (instead of a chair) at the beach.
  • Submerse yourself in water. Grounding doesn’t have to happen on dry land. Wading in a lake and swimming in the sea counts too.
  • Take up gardening. Gardening is not only fantastic physical exercise, but it also puts you in direct contact with the earth.
  • Try grounding equipment. While it’s best to ground yourself outdoors if you can, grounding equipment—including mats, sheets, blankets and socks or shoes with copper plates—can help you get the benefits of earthing without going outside.

"Even though hard science investigating the benefits of grounding are lacking, just noticing how you feel after connecting with the earth can be powerful medicine,” Kulas says. Plus, you’d be hard-pressed to find any real drawbacks to the practice. 

Walking through a park, swimming in the ocean or connecting with nature by planting yourself at the base of a tree are all low-risk activities, and they could come with dramatic physical and psychological benefits. 

Reviewed by Mathew Kulas, MA, RAc, an acupuncturist at the Henry Ford Center for Integrative Medicine.
Categories : FeelWell

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