In our series A Year for Earth, we explore different ways we can come into balance and re-connect with nature in different areas of our lives. This series was born from the current state of the world, where many of the problems we are facing, in my view, are caused by a disconnect from nature. When we get too disconnected from nature we lose our way a bit, get a little unbalanced (too much of this and not enough of that). One thing I came across when looking into our relationship with nature, was the concept of Earthing. And I felt it needed it's own blog post, because I think it has the potential to make a big difference. For you and your child.
What is Earthing?
Remember the old adage "barefoot is best"? It turns out that there is more to it than just the benefit of being barefoot to the development of your child's feet.
The term Earthing, or grounding, describes what happens when our body physically connects to the ground (the discovery of this process is attributed to Clint Ober).
A simple explanation: Earth has an electromagnetic field, consisting at its surface of negatively charged electrons.
When our body touches the earth (our skin acting like a conductor), a transfer of electrons occurs, which neutralizes positively charged electrons (free radicals) in our bodies. Free radicals cause damage in our bodies as they roam around looking for their missing negative electron.
When we connect skin to earth, the negative electrons from earth, neutralizes the positive electrons in our body, which then allows our body to self regulate, heal and rejuvenate itself, leaving us feeling more energized with less aches and pains.
It grounds us just like the grounding prong on your appliance connects to Earths energy to neutralize, and keep from short-circuiting the system. The same way the grounding prong stabilizes your electrical circuit, earthing stabilizes our body's electrical circuit.
A different world
The once natural and consistent process of earthing doesn't happen anymore. The progression of modern society means that we spend most of our days inside, and when we do go outside, a barrier such as the modern invention of shoes with rubber soles, often stops us from receiving all the benefits our planet is offering us. Sometimes we can go days, weeks or even months, without actually touching the earth, skin to earth.
Children too spend much less time outside than they used to, and in many ways deal with more stress than they might have before the age of social media. Traditional school systems are not conducive to connecting to nature, which also contributes to imbalances.
What will Earthing do for me or my child?
With regular and consistent grounding, studies have shown participants enjoying:
- Better sleep
- Less pain
- Reduced inflammation (currently linked to over 80 chronic illnesses)
- Gastrointestinal improvement
- Reduced feelings of stress
- Syncronized hormonal cycles
In children, studies have shown that spending time earthing:
- Decreased internal stress levels
- Improved self awareness
- Increased calm
- Regulated the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (especially helpful for children with sensory issues)
How do we Earth?
The absolutely easiest (and free!) way to reap the benefits of our planet Earth's energy, is to spend time barefoot on grass, soil or sand (bricks and concrete are also conductive, as long as they are not sealed). Walking, sitting on and touching the earth with your hands (making sure it's skin-to-earth contact) for 20 minutes, twice a day, has been shown to make a difference.
Encourage your child to play outside barefoot (where safe to do so), dig in sand or mud with their hands (damp sand is best), climb trees (safely of course), garden or go swimming in the lake. And this goes for you too!
All of this is of course much easier to do in the summer, but there are ways we can ground in the winter too, like standing or sitting on a concrete floor in your basement, or going outside to hug a tree (touching it skin to skin)!
There are earthing products such as grounding mats, shoes and sleep mats if you have more serious imbalances to correct.
But just getting outside, and touching Earth is enough!