Earth Day & The Practice of Earthing

barefoot in the sand

Celebrated annually on 22 April, Earth Day reminds us all that the Earth and its ecosystems provide life and sustenance. It also recognises a collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations. 

In honour of Earth Day 2022, wellness experts at Thailand’s wellness resort Chiva-Som and Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som share their tips for bringing one’s self into harmony with the natural world. These also assist with ways to benefit from the Earth’s healing powers through the practice of Earthing – the art of walking barefoot.

As urban environments continue to grow and more people move into cities, it’s become less common to engage in barefoot walking on a regular basis. In particular, people have become accustomed to wearing rubber-soled shoes that block the elemental contact. Earthing, also known as grounding, rests on the belief that when connecting to the earth’s surface, there is a transfer of electrons between individuals and the planet. This acts as a reservoir for these negatively-charged particles. Earthing is as simple as routinely walking barefoot outdoors to stimulate circulation. Indoors, it is used  while sleeping or sitting using specialised mats, bed pads, metal plates, electrode patches and even footwear for grounding

Dr. Jason Culp, Research & Development Director at Chiva-Som, shares key benefits to the practice of Earthing:

  • Getting back to nature can have a profound healing effect on the body. Fresh air, sunlight and natural sounds can regenerate the mind, replenish the body and empower the spirit. It’s also a great way to escape from enclosed offices, virtual meetings and conference calls, and regain admiration and appreciation for the planet. 
  • Removing shoes and walking barefoot can be a practice of mindfulness – remaining in the present moment as individuals feel the warm, textured earth. Mindfulness is a great way to promote the relaxation response, which subsequently lowers blood pressure, reduces pain, enhances sleep and reduces inflammation. 
  • Earthing exposes feet to the soil microbiome, which not only means a transfer of electrons to the body, but also a host of friendly microbes. Research shows how the environment’s microbes play a major role in shaping individuals’ microbiome, improving immune function and digestive health, and supporting all other systems in the body. 

One of the pioneers of modern Earthing is Clint Ober, who wrote Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? in 2010. A former cable television executive, Ober observed the similarities between the human body and the cables used to transmit television signals. When the body is not in contact with the earth, it is bombarded with electromagnetic fields and static electricity – just as when a cable is not grounded, there is interference in the signal.

Free electrons on the earth’s surface are transferred to the human body during grounding. These free electrons are bonded to free radicals, thereby reducing the oxidative and inflammatory effects of these free radicals on the body. In other words, Earthing helps prevent free radicals from attacking and damaging healthy tissues which often leads to inflammation and pain. 

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