Earthing: The Benefits of Being Barefoot
Earthing is the practice of being in direct contact with the earth; it can significantly reduce stress, says therapist Fiona Austin
The benefits of being barefoot are huge for mental and physical health, so why not give this simple practice a try to reduce anxiety?
Ah, summer – the season of barbecues, long weekends and holidays. A time of year when many of us just like to kick off our shoes and relax a little more.
This is where earthing comes in. Earthing is the practice of spending time in direct contact with the earth, and research shows that it has a broad range of physical and mental health benefits.
If you're looking for a simple way to improve your health and wellbeing this summer, give earthing a try!
What is earthing?
Earthing, or grounding, is the simple act of making contact with the earth. It's as easy as taking your shoes and socks off and walking outside barefoot.
Earthing has been around for centuries, but was only recently studied and given a name by Clint Ober, an electrical engineer who became invested in the topic after he was diagnosed with major health issues.
Since then, earthing has been shown to have a number of benefits not just for physical but for mental health too. It helps to relieve stress and anxiety, improve sleep, reduce inflammation and pain, and even boost energy levels.
There are a few ways to earth yourself, depending on where you are. If you're at home, you can go outside and walk around in your back garden or nearby park. If you're at work, you can take a quick break to go outside and perhaps lay down on the grass. And if you're on holiday or travelling, you can find hill, dune or beach to walk barefoot on.
The science behind earthing
Earthing is the practise of being in direct contact with the earth's surface. This can be done by walking outside barefoot, sitting or lying on the ground, or swimming in natural bodies of water.
There is a lot of science that supports earthing and its many benefits. When you're connected to the earth, your body is able to absorb all of the beneficial electrons that are swirling around us. These electrons have been shown to promote physical and mental wellbeing. It changes the contrary positive charge we absorb from our electrical living. Swapping it for the earth’s natural charge which enriches and enliven our biology.
One study found that grounding for just fifteen minutes was able to decrease cortisol levels (the stress hormone) by 31%. It also resulted in a decrease in anxiety and negative thoughts. So if you're looking for a way to distress this summer, earthing might be the answer for you!
What are the benefits of earthing?
There are countless benefits to earthing, both physically and mentally.
Physically, earthing helps to release tension in the body, improve sleep, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system. It can also help to reduce pain and speed up the healing process.
Mentally, earthing can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help to improve focus and concentration, and increase feelings of calm and well-being.
Earthing during the summer
When it comes to summer, nothing feels better than kicking off your shoes and feeling the grass, sand, or even tiles beneath your feet. For earthing enthusiasts, this is the best time of year because you can enjoy all the benefits of being grounded outdoors!
There are a few things you can do to make grounding more enjoyable and relaxing. First, find a spot outside that has a nice view. This will help you relax and enjoy the experience. Secondly, make sure to wear light and comfortable clothing so you can move around easily. Lastly, take time to really focus on the sensations you feel when you're grounding. Notice the textures, temperatures, and smells around you. This will help you connect more with your surroundings and reap the full benefits of earthing.
What to expect when you start earthing
When you start earthing, you might experience a sense of calm and grounding. This is because, when you connect with the earth, you're absorbing negative ions, which can help to improve your mood and mental wellbeing. Some people also report improved sleep and reduced anxiety when they start earthing, as well as a general sense of good health.
From reducing anxiety to boosting energy levels, earthing or grounding can help you feel your best during the summer months. By kicking off your shoes and connecting with the earth, you can enjoy all the benefits of earthing in just a few minutes. So why not give it a try?
Fiona Austin is a verified Welldoing therapist and coach in London and online