Learning to Get Grounded with Earthing

Sep 1 / Jennifer Robin O'Keefe
I’ve always loved being outside in nature. Digging in the dirt or sitting in the cool grass of my grandmother’s back yard. Spending time on the beach with my toes in the sand, sifting the tiny rocks of sand between my fingers. Walking through the woods and feeling the soft, comfy pine needles under my feet. Hearing the crunchy sound of leaves while walking in the fall. Swinging on the highest swingsets I could find –ones that now are deemed “unsafe.” Feeling the power and force of the air as it blew my hair forward and back making messy tangles.

As an adult, I’ve been most happy with careers that allowed me to work outside in my backyard. My favorite spot is my covered, wooden swing which is nestled between two oak trees, resting on a cement brick patio, and surrounded on all sides by flowers and shrubs. 

I learned that I feel better when I’m outside. Sometimes that means a better mood, more creativity, or more alertness/energy. I have a history of severe back problems, which included surgery. Recently I noticed that my back feels straighter and stronger when I sit on the ground in my sacred spot. My sacred spot is in the shade near a special half circle of trees in a clearing that backs to woods and nature trails.  It is full of animals and life, usually quiet, and just feels sacred and special.
Because of the Covid-19 situation, I found myself with more free time, more quiet, and less distractions.

I started doing my short meditation and chi gong practice outside every day in this sacred spot, on a simple cotton sheet in the shady grass.

Sitting with my knees bent (yoga style) has traditionally been really hard on my back, but after several months it is feeling comfortable, almost (dare I say it) healing!

What is Grounding / Earthing?

I’ve had more time for research lately, and I stumbled upon the concept of “grounding” or “earthing” several times, in vastly different places—it kept coming up.  

The basic concept is that the natural ground of the Earth (dirt, sand, grass) gives off a negative electrical charge, which is beneficial for our bodies. Studies have shown that it may help your body deal with stress, pain, inflammation, muscle tension, and cortisol.  It also reduces free radicals in your body, improves your blood circulation, and can even improve your sleep! 

I'm not going to geek out on the biology and science of this (see resources further down), but it is generally very healthy for our bare skin to be in contact with the Earth. When that connection is made, you are said to be "grounded."

It occurred to me that I had been unknowingly “grounding” myself while meditating—cool, right?

Stylish Shoes Cut Off Healing!

I learned more about how our footwear has changed since the 1960s. Shoes used to have mostly leather soles, which allow the grounding effect to still happen through the shoes.  

However, the 60s styles introduced rubber, plastic, and synthetic materials into our shoes. Unfortunately, none of these newer, cheaper materials allow the grounding into your body. These synthetic materials actually created barriers between our feet and the earth—and we didn’t even realize it! 
By keeping up with the latest styles, and saving money by buying cheaper shoes, we unknowingly cut off our access to the Earth’s natural healing.  Crazy, right?

I’m a fairly new vegetarian, and I’m not sure how I feel about leather soles or moccasins made out of animal hides (no lectures, please). For me I think it’s simpler and easier to just go barefoot as much as possible where it’s safe to do so, like our ancestors did long ago.

Spending More Time Grounded 

Since my back is feeling so much better, I wonder what might happen if I chose to consciously make sure my body is grounded more of the day. No, I can’t sit outside with my feet on the ground all day.  Actually, many times when I sit on my wooden swing, I end up sitting sideways with my legs up on the seat—so no grounding is happening then anyway.

And what about all the time I spend inside? I think I spend more time outside than the average person, but I still have to work, sleep, and take shelter. 

It turns out there are special blankets and mats you can use indoors, connected to an electrical outlet’s grounding socket, that also ground you to the Earth.  A man-made solution with a cord sounds very anti-nature, but I’m looking at it as a gift to help me access the Earth’s healing power while I’m indoors.

So...What Did I Purchase?

Some people buy bed sheets and pillowcases to be grounded all night.  I decided to try a smaller, inexpensive option to see how it works and if I like it-- I chose a sturdy looking, thick, silver-colored fabric mat. I had planned to use it under my feet in bed, while sitting working at my computer, and while watching TV.   I also bought a multi-meter, which reads electrical current.

Unfortunately, the silver mat didn't have any instructions, and I wasn't sure which side my feet were supposed to touch. The multi-meter had confusing instructions and severe warnings about possibly electrocuting yourself while using it-- um, no thanks. Both those items were promptly re-boxed and returned.
Next, I ordered a half sheet to try on the bed under my hands/arms and feet.  

The sheet has been OK, but I would recommend something thicker (like the original mat I tried) or larger (like a full bed sheet). I move around a lot at night, and this doesn't stay in place well.  It's much shorter than the length of my mattress, and wrinkles easily. Because it is made of a thin, light-colored fabric (and it's pretty big), this product isn't able to be used elsewhere in my house. So...
I also ordered a long, narrow black mat for my work area.  It's actually not as nice as the original silver mat I returned.  It's an odd size, and very thin.  I have it on the floor under my desk.  
Theoretically, this could also be used on top of my desk under my keyboard and mouse for my hands and wrists to rest on...but it is just not a convenient size or shape. 
There are many, many companies selling items like these, with prices that range from about $25 to about $250 depending on what the product is.  Neither the author nor the Academy is a salesperson or affiliate for any Grounding or Earthing products.

Your Experience?

Please share your own Earthing / Grounding experiences!  Your comments may be published publicly to help others.  Send your comments directly to glikstormllc@gmail.com with "Grounding Blog" in the subject line. 

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