If I asked how you were feeling today, would you tell me the truth? That’s okay, you don’t have to – I can probably guess. The truth is, most of us are tired. We are tired, and our muscles ache on a daily basis because of our sedentary lifestyles.
Face it, how much time do you spend sitting at a desk all day? Are you actually sitting with correct posture? And then what about at home – does your couch support your lower back? Does your pillow properly support your neck? Are you sleeping through the night? Are you even sleeping a full 8 hours?
Repeatedly straining or tensing our muscles can cause chronic discomfort, making our day-to-day activities a little more painful. Sitting in an office chair for 8-10 hours a day contributes to modern neck and back pain. (1,2) And these days many of us experience fatigue because we don’t sleep enough, or because we aren’t active enough – yes, being active is a great way to get energy!
To dull muscle pain and keep us awake we often turn to painkillers, caffeine, or other substances that alter our physiology and our make day-to-day activities a little easier. Unfortunately, many of these substances are toxins in our bodies, and often we are better off without them. What can we do instead?
Grounding: The Holistic Method
There’s an emerging holistic method shown to reduce pain, improve your sleep and provide many other great health benefits. It’s called “grounding,” and here’s why it can help.
Also known as “earthing,” grounding is simply the act of placing your bare feet on the earth or walking around barefoot outside. It’s throwing back to the days of our ancestors and recognizing how they lived, and how other animals continue to live, on this earth.
It is believed that by “grounding” one’s self to the earth, energy is passed from the earth into your body, having a positive effect. In modern life, our bodies are constantly fighting positively-charged free-radicals from exposure to toxins, stress, pollution and more. (3)
Our body’s supply of electrons is consistently being used to neutralize those free radicals. The earth has an abundance of negative electrons that can be transferred from the earth into our body, neutralizing free radicals and stabilizing our body systems, resulting in a general sense of well-being and many other incredible benefits. (3,4)
Research Has Shown the Benefits to Grounding Are Abundant
The Powerful and Surprising Benefits of Grounding
According to human studies, grounding has the potential to help:
- Reduce inflammation (6)
- Improve sleep apnea (7)
- Relax muscles (8,9)
- Treat chronic pain, autoimmune disease (6,7)
- Reduce stress, i.e. cortisol levels (7)
- Calm your sympathetic nervous system (10)
- Reduce blood viscosity and boost circulation (4,5)
- Influence various other physiologic processes including blood glucose levels, catabolic processes, oxygen intake, and blood energy (4)
If you’re looking to ground the natural way outdoors, you must have bare feet or shoes with leather soles. It’s also important to find the right place to ground. Look for sandy beaches, grassy areas, bare soil and ceramic tile. Grounding won’t work on asphalt, wood, rubber, tar or vinyl.
Sadly, many of us live in a climate where grounding outdoors isn’t feasible all months of the year. Thankfully there are options for grounding yourself inside your home! Many products are available for grounding, and they all use a standard, 3-pronged grounded outlet.
The Benefits of Grounding for Babies
If daily grounding can do all that for adults, image how much crawling and walking barefoot can do for babies! As cute as animal-print socks and tiny booties are, more and more research suggests that babies should spend more time with nothing on their feet.
According to Dr. Kacie Flegal, a vitalistic chiropractor and member of the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association, we often overlook two sensory systems that are crucial to babies’ development and brain function: (11,12)
- Proprioceptive: The system responsible for helping babies understand the motion and positioning of their bodies.
- Vestibular: The system responsible for helping babies balance and understand coordination changes in space.
For babies to fully develop their proprioceptive and vestibular systems, parents and caregivers must give them opportunities to experience sensory input. That’s what makes grounding or “barefoot time” so important.
Wearing socks and shoes limits the chance for foot sensory cells to be stimulated by direct contact with the ground. So, if you want to improve your little one’s neuromuscular strength, balance and brain function, take those socks and baby booties off for at least part of every day!
You Can Begin Grounding in Your Home with Any of These Objects
Grounding Desktop Pad
If you find yourself seated at a desk most of the day, you can purchase a conducive desktop pad that is placed underneath your keyboard and mouse. This pad is plugged into the grounded port in your outlet and draws electrons from the earth. Ensure that it remains in direct contact with your skin.
Grounding Foot Mat
This product works similar to the desktop pad and is plugged into the grounded port of the nearest outlet. Rest your bare feet on the grounding pad while you are working or reading a book.
Grounding Sleep Pad
If a grounding mat or desktop pad doesn’t work for you, a grounded sleeping pad may be perfect. The pad is plugged in the same way as a grounding mat but allows you to be grounding while you’re sleeping.
What are you waiting for? Get grounding!
Note: There are some contraindications of grounding with certain medications and conditions. Do your research and talk to your medical practitioner before beginning this practice.
- Cho, I. Y., Park, S. Y., Park, J. H., Kim, T. K., Jung, T. W., & Lee, H. M. (2015, October). The Effect of Standing and Different Sitting Positions on Lumbar Lordosis: Radiographic Study of 30 Healthy Volunteers. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4591449/
- Billy, G. G., Lemieux, S. K., & Chow, M. X. (2014, September). Lumbar Disc Changes Associated with Prolonged Sitting. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152382/
- Dr. Stephen Sinatra Talks About Grounding Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/04/barefoot-grounding-effect.aspx
- Chevalier, G., Sinatra, S. T., Oschman, J. L., Sokal, K., & Sokal, P. (2012). Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/
- Chevalier, G., Sinatra, S. T., Oschman, J. L., & Delany, R. M. (2013, February). Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3576907/
- Oschman, J. L., Chevalier, G., & Brown, R. (2015, March 24). The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25848315
- Ghaly, M., & Teplitz, D. (2004, October). The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15650465/
- Brown, D., Chevalier, G., & Hill, M. (2010, March). Pilot study on the effect of grounding on delayed-onset muscle soreness. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20192911/
- Brown, R., Chevalier, G., & Hill, M. (2015, September 21). Grounding after moderate eccentric contractions reduces muscle damage. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26443876
- Sokal, K., & Sokal, P. (2011, April). Earthing the human body influences physiologic processes. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21469913/
- Doctors Reveal That Keeping Babies Barefoot Can Lead Them To Be Smarter. (2018, July 18). Retrieved from https://homemaking.com/hannah/study-reveals-leave-babies-barefoot/
- Maes, J. (n.d.). Science Proves That Keeping Babies Barefoot Can Make Them Smarter – Here’s The Info You Need. Retrieved from https://relieved.co/study-shows-barefoot-babies-make-them-smarter/
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