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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Chong, ND

The Benefits of Reconnecting with the Earth

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

What are the most basic, fundamental things we can do to improve their health and prevent disease?

  • Eat well.

  • Exercise.

  • Get more sleep.

Sound familiar?

Of course some would argue that other steps such as exposure to sunshine and fresh air, stress reduction, quality social interaction, living a purposeful life, and more are all equally necessary and fundamental. In spite of years of awareness surrounding the concept, however, an additional step is still not talked about nearly as much as the ideas above, in spite of the fact that it's arguably as fundamental to our health as any of them.

What is it? The next super supplement? Some high-tech chamber you need to sit inside for 1 hour a day while it recalibrates your chakras? Nope. It's way more simple.

Touching the Earth

Wait a second, you say. Unless I have had this whole gravity thing wrong all along, I thought we were touching the earth. Well, we are, but not like we should be. It just so happens that humans may actually be meant to touch the earth with our bare skin, and doing so may be as fundamentally healthy for us as any other health-promoting habits you have learned about or taught to your patients along the way.

The most common term used these days to describe this simple, yet powerful technique is Earthing. Another term is Grounding. If you have yet to explore this technique, (stop and think for a moment about the last time your skin touched the Earth's skin) you are all missing out.

Traditional healthcare systems like Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, two systems whose age-old recommendations keep being "discovered" by modern science as health promoting, have promoted the health benefits of skin-to-skin contact with the earth for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It may also help some more "science-minded" people to know there is also a growing body of research supporting what these wise practitioners knew all along, and showing exactly what happens when we perform this simple act.

What we know for sure is that, when we touch the earth with our skin or through material that does not insulate us from its energy field, we immediately begin absorbing a significant amount of electrons from its surface into our bodies. The key questions are whether or not this matters to our health and what exactly happens to us when we do it. Here are some highlights from what we know so far.

Touching the Earth Is Calming

Have you ever arrived at your favorite park or beach, taken your shoes off, and felt a seemingly instantaneous sense of calm overtake you? You have probably never even thought twice about it. Being at the beach or in a park is just nice, so of course you feel calmer, right? No, it appears there may be something more to it than that. Touching the earth can literally reduce many negative effects of stress and can even help you sleep.

Recent research into the effects of grounding is showing that it leads to an increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity and reduces sympathetic activity.(1) Because many of us walk around in a state of almost perpetual sympathetic overdrive, anything that encourages parasympathetic activity is beneficial. Beyond that, additional research into other parameters of stress has shown that grounding also directly normalizes both cortisol secretion, a hallmark of stress activity in the body, and melatonin secretion, which is of course crucial for a good night’s sleep and possibly much more. (ibid)