“The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.
Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth, and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing.
This is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its live giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.”
—Chief Luther Standing Bear – Oglala Sioux
In my private shamanic healing sessions I often recommend to clients who aren’t “grounded” that they go outside, take off their shoes and socks and simply stand or walk on the Earth for a few minutes. Not only does it help with their feeling more grounded but it can also help them feel rejuvenated and more in balance. Although we often use the term “being grounded” as a metaphor, there’s increasing evidence that there is much more to it than that.
Clinton Ober, a former cable company executive, in research he started several years ago came to the conclusion that physically connecting your body to Earth was a way of balancing the positive and negative charges in your body. His groundbreaking work (pun intended) was described in “Barefoot Healing” by Matt Sutherland published in Spirituality and Health Magazine. Ober coined the term “Earthing” for the various ways that we can balance the electrical charges in our bodies by directly connecting with Mother Earth.
Based on his knowledge of how EMFs (Electro-Magnetic Fields) interfered with clear reception of cable television and therefore required a connection to metal poles stuck in the Earth, Ober was inspired to investigate how these EMFs might also affect the human body. He went around his house with a voltmeter and discovered that several of the electrical items emitted a charge into the areas immediately around them. Only two items, his refrigerator and computer, measured little or no ambient electrical activity. Both of these items were grounded.
For many years Ober had difficulty sleeping so he decided take the voltmeter to bed with him. He was astounded to discover the highest readings yet were in his bedroom, mainly due to a mass of electrical wiring that was in the walls behind his bed. This prompted him to create a special sleeping pad, one that he grounded just outside his bedroom window. He laid down again on the bed and this time the voltmeter registered the same as the ground outside his window. He slept more soundly than he had in years. Not only that but after a few days his chronic back pain was considerably lessened.
He went on to conduct a study with some students at a University sleep clinic to further test his ideas about Earthing. Every one of the 60 students had complaints of sleeping problems along with joint and muscle pain. Half of the group slept on pads that were grounded while the other half slept on the same pads but with a hidden dis-connect.
The results: Of the grounded sleepers, 85 percent fell asleep sooner; 91 percent reported sleeping much better; 100 percent stated they were more rested upon waking; 82 percent experienced significant reduction in muscle stiffness; and 74 percent claimed their chronic back and joint pain had either been reduced or eliminated. There were reports of considerable relief from other specific ailments, while many said their health had generally improved.
Although this has not been accepted by mainstream medicine, there are promising signs that Earthing can be of great benefit for a number of ailments. Over the past few years contemporary medical research has pointed to chronic inflammation as being the result of the body’s immune system turning against itself. This is due to the overabundance of positively charged “free radicals” used by white blood cells to fight off invasive microorganisms and repair damaged tissue.
When the inflammatory response continues beyond the task at hand the positively charged free radicals seek out electrons from healthy cells. The body is duped into sending more white blood cells to combat the perceived threat and along with them, more free radicals. The result is chronic inflammation, which can be treated by any number of supplements and specialized diets that provide the negatively charged electrons to (hopefully) achieve balance.
But if the practitioners of Earthing are correct, these electrons are available just outside your back door. It’s plausible that the normal immune response of inflammation gets out of control largely because we’ve literally lost touch with the Earth! And of course the remedy would be to step outside and stand or walk barefoot on the Earth, where the land and the sea have an abundance of electrons.
Just like electronics need grounding to function well, so does the human body. So whenever your electron tank is low, it’s easy to fill it up again. Just kick off your shoes and socks and take a walk outside. Yes, go hug a tree. By going skin to skin with our Earth Mother, you can experience greater health and balance and even a great intimacy with the land upon which you walk.
(For further information and Earthing products visit www.earthing.net)