Need to feel good in body and spirit? Go outside and LAY DOWN ON THE EARTH! Here’s Captain, Grandpa & Mom just laying around outside as a family
This sounds so simple. Just go outside and lay down on the ground, ‘eh? Yep. That’s all there is to it, but the effects are astounding. We live in a forest where it is quite inviting to lay down on the soft grasses and pine needles and stare up into the sky while resting, but even if I lived in a city, I would find a place to do this and my kid most certainly would be right behind me. KIDS NEED TO BE CONNECTED TO THE EARTH! We all do.
There are scientific reasons why laying down on the ground, or running around outside without shoes, makes us feel better. K and I always used to say that we liked it because it seemed to “absorb negative energy” from our bodies. It’s true and here are the facts:
Body earthing implies grounding- giving a human body electrical connection to the earth. It is known that the earth maintains a negative electrical potential on it’s surface. When you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body! This is a good thing! The earth provides electrons that the body needs and also stabilizes the electrical potential of the body. A grounded body is far less influenced by disruptive environmental electric fields (called “electromagnetic pollution” or “dirty electricity”… lets go ask the birds and other animals, I think they could tell us a bit about this problem!). The body earthing benefits include:
Reductions in overall stress levels and tension and a shift in nervous system balance, reductions in immune cell and pain responses, delayed-onset muscle soreness, reduces viscosity of the blood, reduction of indicators of osteoporosis, improvement of glucose regulation and immune response, inflammation, sleep, balance, and, again, reduction of stress.
Ancient civilizations recognized the power of the Earth and heavens. Monks would meditate seated on the ground to achieve high spiritual states. The Chinese referred to this universal energy as Qi (Chi). Earth Qi enters the body at an accupoint located on the ball of the foot known as “Bubbling Spring” where it ascends through the water channel throughout the body. Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises designed to balance and heal the body/mind are often practiced outdoors without footwear to facilitate this process. But, as I have learned (and you can ask parents everywhere!), the simple fact is that kids, and people in general, just feel better when they have been outside with their shoes off…
A bit about the history of the term “body earthing”:
Research at the Max Planck institute in the 60’s and 70’s showed that it was important for human performance and health to receive electrical signals from the earth. The modern practice of earthing began in the late 1900’s when Clinton Ober, a retired cable TV executive, started thinking that it was notable that humans in the last century had been using synthetic shoe soles which isolate the body electrically from the earth, and he knew that ungrounded electronic instruments perform badly. When he approached scientists and physicians with his thoughts, they generally refused to have anything to do with this, so he had to do the experimental testing on himself. Dr. Maurice Chaly, a retired anesthesiologist, did a pilot study involving measuring the cortisol levels (a stress indicator) in his subjects and found that grounding normalized the levels. Others continued to test with the same results.
The use of isolating shoe soles (rubber and plastic) started around the middle of the 20th century. Leather soles, used for 1000’s of years, give partial earthing when moistened by sweat. Could shoes be a part of the dramatic rise in chronic inflammation and so many other physical problems of modern life? Modern activities like swimming and walking barefoot through the grass will give thorough earthing and make us feel good. Some people, especially who don’t have access to convenient, well, earth, use such conducting and grounding products as: cotton earthing sheets that connect to an outlet, or pads that are made of cotton with conductive silver fibers that are placed at the foot of the bed. These products can be found on amazon.com or you can google “earthing products”. Personally, I wouldn’t buy something that provides what walking and laying on the ground can do, but whatever path we each choose is our own.
A personal note on the sky… The other cool thing that happens from laying on the earth outside is simply looking up at the sky. Birds, the wind in the trees, clouds that look like dragons, perhaps a even an airplane going by are all wonderful things to just watch. Imaginations are sparked by life. When our family “earths” together, we find that interesting conversations usually arise, intermixed with long periods of silence. For my 5 year old Captain, she seems to want to paint or draw outside a lot of times after we have been laying down under the sky. I see how calm and happy she becomes. Her artwork just flows right out…
If I had to pick one thing that I think is vital to kid’s (and big people’s too) health and happiness, it would be keeping in contact with the earth. It’s something almost anyone can do, it’s free, it’s fun and the results make life better. It really is as easy as that!!
I invite you to share your earthing experience here. If you live in a big city and have a spot to lay down outside, would you PLEASE send me a picture? For some reason I like to think of someone laying in the grass in a place like Central Park in NYC….
Info and more to be found at wikipedia, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D. and Martin Zucker
Happy earthing and good thoughts! Karen