I grew up barefoot. I put shoes on for school, church, and sports- but my feet knew the burn of hot asphalt, the cool of a bed of pine needles, and the silk of fine sand. I learned barefoot living in Miami, Florida where running around sans shoes was indeed a year-round opportunity. I still don’t mind being barefoot outdoors. Dirty feet? I am so good with that.
The premise of “grounding” or “earthing” is interesting, and moreso if you have a bent toward complementary and alternative healing. According to book written by Stephen T. Sinatra MD, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?:
Throughout most of evolution humans walked barefoot and slept on the ground, largely oblivious that the surface of the Earth contains limitless healing energy. Science has discovered this energy as free-flowing electrons constantly replenished by solar radiation and lightning. Few people know it, but the ground provides a subtle electric signal that maintains health and governs the intricate mechanisms that make our bodies work-just like plugging a lamp into a power socket makes it light up. Modern lifestyle, including the widespread use of insulative rubber or plastic-soled shoes, has disconnected us from this energy and, of course, we no longer sleep on the ground as we did in times past.
The premise continues that by walking barefoot, sleeping, or sitting on the ground, the human body’s mostly positive charge is balanced by the earth’s negative charge, thereby restoring health at the cellular level. More…
The book describes how the physical disconnect with the Earth creates abnormal physiology and contributes to inflammation, pain, fatigue, stress, and poor sleep. By reconnecting to the Earth, symptoms are rapidly relieved and even eliminated and recovery from surgery, injury, and athletic overexertion is accelerated.
Actual scientific evidence is limited on this topic, but here are some personal reasons for giving the notion a thumb’s up:
- I love to feel the different textures of grass under my feet and the memories they conjure up… dry and brittle in the summer, wet and dewy in the mornings, soft enough to cushion a three man tackle during a neighborhood football game. Being barefoot in the grass rings nostalgic and lights up my mood.
- I love the beach. I bury my feet in the sand and let it sift through my toes. I dig into the sand just under surf with my toes and try to pull up a shell. The beach is healing and I always sleep better after a day by the ocean.
- Do picnics conjure the warm fuzzies because of romantic scenes from movies? Or is it because sitting under a tree and sharing a meal at ground level feels like the most natural thing in the world?
- What about camping? And camp fires? And sleeping under the stars? It just sounds relaxing right?Yeah, the earth knows what it’s doing.
At the very least, the concept of grounding is a reminder to act like a basic human now and then. At most, it’s free pharma- an antidote for all ills. Either way, it’s simply worth a try. Go outside. Shed some layers, even on your feet. Feel the earth through every sensory neuron in your body. Do so regularly. Here’s to the most harmless and most natural medical intervention that is worth every penny 🙂