Have you noticed how good it feels when you take your shoes off and walk on the beach? Or when you wander barefoot in the grass?
In the summer months, I start my morning barefoot in the backyard. I consciously walk on the earth and ground myself. I then sit down on the ground or on a chair with my bare feet on the grass for a short morning meditation. Unlike all other grounding methods I learned, the connection with the earth seems to work automatically, easily, and effortlessly.
There is an emerging science documenting how direct contact with the earth, which is also known as earthing or grounding, is highly beneficial to our health. How does earthing work?
Our body needs electrons to function well. It is known that the Earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. When you are in direct contact with the ground, you are walking, sitting, or laying down on dirt, grass, sand or concrete, the earth’s electrons are conducted through your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. This connection seems to be enhanced when the ground is moist or wet.
Research indicates that electrons from the earth can help your body heal inflammation and also have other health benefits. Effects on our immune system, blood, heart rate, cortisol levels, sleep, autonomic nervous system and reduced stress have been documented. This practice also helps people with anxiety and pain issues.
Our ancestors had continuous contact with the earth. Even until the fifties, we used to wear leather soles, which were conductors for electrons. Only when plastic or rubber soles were introduced did we lose that direct contact with Mother Earth.
For a while now I have been curious to experience how earthing helps to recover from jetlag and I am excited to report on our recent experiment.
We all live in a circadian rhythm, which is a built-in body cycle. This cycle receives external clues from our environment: light, temperature, etc. Rapid long-distance travelling across east-west or west-east transmeridians disrupts our inner circadian rhythm. The condition of jetlag can last several days until one is fully adjusted to the new time zone.
Yesterday, we landed in England after a seven hour night flight from Toronto, a trip that involved lots of delays and unpredictability, which comes with flying stand-by. We crossed through five time zones. Local time is five hours ahead and we naturally felt the usual effects of jetlag upon arrival.
In the past, it has usually taken us at least three days to fully adjust to European time. By spending half an hour to connect with the earth, we were hoping to readjust quicker. The first piece of grass we found was just at a rest-stop off the motorway. Not the best spot to ground, but a first opportunity to take off our shoes.
Two hours later, upon arrival in Badsey, a tiny town with a population of 2657 people, deep in the British countryside, we had no trouble finding a connection with Mother Earth. We were greeted by romantic little pathways, an old country church and an adjacent cemetery with big old trees overgrown with ivy.
Walking barefoot in these peaceful calm surroundings, nothing but sounds of nature embraced us: a couple of sheep “bah”ing on a nearby field, the clacking sound of horse shoes on the road as somebody rode by the church, hammering in the distance, a dog barking, a huge wood pigeon landing on the roof of a shed and tap dancing on top of it, and—most soothing of all—the deep, full sound of the church bells striking every hour. It immediately felt grounding and calming, and had a wonderful effect of slowing everything down: our breathing, our thinking. This truly is a place where the soul can “dangle” for a bit.
Instead of just spending half an hour in the grass, I could have spent hours feeling the energy of the old trees and the wind. The earth and the grass feel different in these parts; they remind me of my childhood growing up in Europe. Perhaps we are more connected with the earth close to where we are born?
Today, we were up bright and early, feeling awake and refreshed, almost completely adjusted to local time. No jet lag headaches, no dizziness and very little tiredness. I am looking forward to starting every day close to nature.
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