Good Dirt: Earthing

It’s June!  Summer’s around the corner and its weather has already struck many spots in the U.S.  This month, we’re getting down and dirty in a very good way.  Articles about Earthing, the family garden, and a tiny farm are on the horizon all June long!

We are all of the Earth.  It is our home.  While we may all lead active and fantastical spiritual lives, our bodies contain the elements of the planet and are gravitationally married to this planet.  We attempt to separate ourselves from the Earth via our dwellings, vehicles, medicines, and clothing, but we should never forget our place within this ecosystem.  In fact, evidence points to our increased disassociation from the natural world as a causative factor in Western disease processes.

Inflammation lurks beneath our collective debility.  Allergies, heart disease, diabetes, neuro-degeneration, many digestive issues, and obesity have an inflammatory component at their root.  The inflammatory free radicals we’ve all heard about (though probably can’t explain – we just eat our berries!) shift our composition at the atomic level, creating a net positive charge in the human body.  Since the Earth has a negative charge, removing ones shoes and standing on or in conductive surfaces – dirt, lawns, concrete, water, beaches – grounds the body and puts it in rhythm with the planet.  Deactivated, the free radicals cannot cascade toward disease.

A cable exec who gave up his career to find meaning in his life discovered earthing the same way Ben Franklin “discovered” electricity.  It was there for the taking and he had time to notice.  The story is well-detailed in Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?  In short, Clint Ober recalled “grounding” wiring systems to keep interfering signals from messing up the clear picture provided by cable.  He wondered if our lack of grounding via indoor lifestyles and rubber soles harmed our health and he experimented like MacGyver.  Taking duct tape, wire, and a metal conduit to be buried into the ground, he created a bed pad.  After a few nights, he noticed that clear of all the interference in the air, he slept better and longtime injuries didn’t feel as bad.

After experimenting with his friends, he took his findings to the scientific community.  He was turned away and demeaned.  Arrogance led the doctors and scientists to laugh away this uncredentialed wanderer.  It says a lot about the state of our country that many people refuse to accept the scientific consensus on global warming and the scientific community dismisses regular people who don’t follow a protocol simply because he didn’t pay fealty to an adviser and spend his life sequestered in a lab.  He performed some more scientifically rigorous trials on a shoestring and suddenly the keys to the kingdom were his.

Within the past decade, a host of trials and studies have been performed, all of which yield positive results about grounding ourselves.  The following paper illustrates the dramatic effects that Earthing has had clinically, via enhanced circulation and reduced inflammation.  The results are profound.  The silence from all established health professions is stunning.  Has your doctor recommended grounding as part of your wellness regimen?

Earthing can be done cheaply by simply ditching the roof over your head and kicking off your shoes.  My family has earthed several times this past week, once unwittingly at the beach before I started reading the book, and intentionally the other times.  The first time I mindfully earthed, I kicked off my flip-flops and planted myself to a concrete pavilion.  I took the opportunity to notice if any sensations appeared during the session.  Throughout, I felt tingling move up and down my legs, particularly between the foot and knee.  When I slipped my footwear back on, the tingling stopped.  Off again, more energetic pulsations.  When I questioned my wife while we earthed on grass today, she noticed similar feelings.  My young young daughter couldn’t comment, though when I planted her feet into the grass, she seemed neutralized for a while.  Usually a torrent of energy, she stood there, looking around and down, barely moving the rest of her body.

Grounding ourselves cannot solve all our ills, because modern life cuts us off from the planet too frequently and life is inherently inflammatory.  Unless we live like desert dwellers and Amazonians, we will need to have a diverse wellness toolbox based on diet, lifestyle, and movement in addition to frequent doses of Earthing.  We can reduce inflammation by eating properly grown foods, keeping synthetic chemicals and potential allergens off our plates, loading up on veggies and fruits, and ensuring that the meat animals we eat were fed a diet that naturally keeps the omega-6 to omega-3 balance within the acceptable anti-inflammatory levels (4:1 omega-6 to -3 or less).  We can move more, sleep more, relax more, worry less, stress less, argue less, and work less.  Or we can find work that feels like play so that we’re happier.

If we do want to bring the planet’s energy indoors, kits are available at a relatively low cost considering the ample benefits.  Bed sheets or pads to step on while sitting at your desk can keep you grounded night and day.  But in my opinion, nothing trumps the most natural of acts: placing bare skin on the bare surface of the Earth or diving headlong into the ocean.  While Earthing’s benefits are quick to register in tests, prolonged exposure is necessary for wellness.  Don’t run outside and tap dance on a mud puddle.  Go to your garden and tend it barefooted for a half hour or more.

It shouldn’t always take science to justify what works, but it’s certainly nice that it does.  This way Earthing cannot be dismissed in the way so many healing therapies are when clinical evidence is spare.  Clint Ober knew it worked when he slept and felt physically better after just two days.  I’ve noticed that racing thoughts have diminished this past week.  Feel free to read the evidence, but go outside for a half hour some night this week and feel for yourself.  Chances are, you’ll be doing it again and again.  Good thing summer approaches.

And again, it’s free!

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