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Grounded in Science

Being outside in nature has a calming effect and the delicious feel of soft grass beneath your bare feet is nothing short of luxurious. Walking on a beach with the waves almost catching your toes certainly puts the world back into perspective. We seem to instinctively know that moments in nature are intrinsically good for us. But why?

LIFE FORCE

The word “energy” is commonly heard many alternative therapies, under varying names, such as “meridians”, “chakras” or “qi” (chi). All of these essentially refer to the energy force that runs throughout the body. It’s generally accepted in alternative therapies that blockages, interruptions or disruptions in the flow cause ill health. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), from which the practice of acupuncture arose, centres on this belief.

As with many ancient practices, the concepts have been largely sidelined by modern medicine; however, scientists are beginning to explore and prove what some ancient cultures have known for centuries. Dr James Oschman, an expert on energy medicine, has assisted in bringing the ancient to the fore of modern medicine.

In his investigations, he came across the concept of earthing and its effect on the human body and in a recent article co-authored by a formidable list of experts in the field (including Health Intelligence Advisory Board Member, Dr Stephen Sinatra), Dr Oschman outlines the myriad health benefits of spending time connected to earth’s energy.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN THERE

The earth vibrates with energy – the surface is electrically conductive and provides a continuous supply of free electrons. It’s this energy field that can create a stable bioelectrical environment in the human body, which assists in normalising the functioning of your entire system. We’ve all heard the term “free radicals” and have been warned they’re bad for us. It seems that the earth’s charge can neutralise these (like a very powerful antioxidant), which has a beneficial effect on the immune system.

The rise in chronic illness, inflammatory diseases and immune disorders throughout the world has been linked to environmental factors (chemicals, toxic air and water). But, scientists now contend it’s not so much the connection to the environment, but the disconnection from the earth that may be the culprit. And this disconnection can be as simple as wearing rubber-soled shoes.

Dr Oschman describes the body as a living matrix that’s made of semi-conductive material connected to every cell of the body.

GET GROUNDED

Walking barefoot on the beach is the best way to connect to the earth – the nearby saltwater is a good conductor of earth’s energy. But, if you’re landlocked, a walk on dewy grass is also effective. Natural materials such as concrete and wood do allow earth’s energy to flow through, but not if they’re painted or varnished. If you spend most of your time in a high-rise building, far from the healing horizontal of the earth’s surface, use an earthing pad that conducts energy from the ground (a quick internet search will reveal numerous options).

SYSTEMATIC HEALING

The latest discovery about the benefits of earthing is that it makes your blood thinner, which has obvious consequences for heart disease. Cardiologist Dr Stephen Sinatra has been working closely with Dr Oschman and his team in measuring the viscosity of blood by assessing the potential of red blood cells’ travelling speed in an electrical field. When you are earthed, your red blood cells are more charged, they move apart and the blood is thinned and flows more easily. This results in lowered blood pressure.

But blood thinning isn’t the only advantage. Chronic pain and difficulty sleeping have also been improved. During a 30-day study, participants were randomly divided into groups of those who slept on grounded carbon fibre mattress pads and those who slept on ungrounded pads. Of the group who slept on grounded pads, improvement in sleep and such diverse conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, sleep apnoea, asthma and hypertension were reported. Another study that measured cortisol levels, also using grounding pads during sleep, showed an improvement in levels of morning fatigue, daytime energy and stress and pain at night. Other studies have shown that overall stress and tension are vastly improved by being earthed.

Drs Sokal, a father and son team, conducted numerous studies on the effects of earthing on the human body and health. Their conclusions are that earthing, either during rest or physical activity, has a direct effect on the body’s regulation of blood glucose. They also uncovered the beneficial influence of earthing on thyroid function and how it accelerates the body’s immune response.

DON’T INSULATE

While the best option is to walk barefoot, this might not always be practical. In which case, stay away from plastic or rubber soles (they’re used as insulators, so will effectively block the earth’s goodness). Leather soles, when moist from your feet perspiring, can create a conductivity channel, keeping you grounded.

FOREVER YOUNG

The role of free radicals in the aging process isn’t a new concept; in fact, the theory emerged in the late 1950s. Since then, what we can do to stop the scourge has been a subject of research. That free radicals cause damage to your DNA and subsequently have an aging effect on the body also isn’t new thinking.

Because the earth’s energy acts as a highly effective antioxidant, neutralising the damaging effects of free radicals and reducing inflammation, it seems earthing isn’t just going to help you achieve better physical and mental health, but will assist you in enjoying that health for longer.

However you do it, getting in touch with the free and ever-present healing energy of the earth’s surface is a sure- fire way of boosting your wellness. So, remove those shoes and spend a little time absorbing terrafirma’s life force.

Resource

Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? By Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, Martin Zucker. ISBN 1591202833

References include

1 Majoe D, Kulka I, Gutknecht J. Qi energy flow visualisation using wearable computing. International conference on Pervasive Computing and Applications. Jul 2007:285-90
2 Chevalier G, Sinatra S, et al. Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Elements. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012
3 Oschman J. Perspective: Assume a spherical cow: The role of free or mobile electrons in bodywork, energetic and movement therapies. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. Jan 2008;12(1):40-57
4 Ober C. Grounding the human body to neautralise bioelectrical stress from static electricity and EMF’s. ESD Journal. Jan 2000. http://www.esdjournal.com/articles/cober/ground.htm
5 Ghaly M, Teplitz D. The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2004;10(5):767-76
6 Oschman J. Chronic Disease: Are We Missing Something? The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Apr 2011;17(4):283-5
7 Beckman K, Ames B. The Free Radical Theory of Aging Matures. Physiol Rev. Apr 1998;78(2):547-81
8 Dizdaroglu M, Jaruga P, et al. Free radical-induced damage to DNA: mechanisms and measurement. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Jun 2002;32(11):1102-115

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