Essentially, grounding is the practice of placing your bare feet on the earth’s natural surfaces. The contact is said to allow the earth’s natural electrons into your body, which flow through ground, such as grass, soil and sand. After doing this for half an hour or more, the electrons are purported to reduce pain, stress and inflammation, as well as improve sleep quality, energy levels and blood flow.
Throughout time, humans have had plenty of contact with the bare ground through farming and everyday life. As our society became more advanced, we lost much of that contact and, instead, are exposed to radiation from such things as the microwaves and cell phones in our home.
Since the practice is fairly new, studies are limited. However, a study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that grounding significantly reduced pain, redness, swelling and inflammation in patients. In a study on inflammation, researchers James Oschman, Gaétan Chevalier, and Richard Brown found that, over an eight-week period, the practice of earthing decreased the circadian cortisol secretion (a hormone linked to stress) when their 12 subjects slept. This, in turn, was said to lower their pain and stress levels, as well as improve their sleep quality. Studies imply that there are even anti-aging benefits, as the antioxidants can target tissue that is compromised by reactive oxidants.
When contact with the outside ground is not possible, alternatives include swimming in natural waters, wearing natural leather-soled shoes, or even purchasing an earthing ground mat or bed sheet.