I was on my way back from a weekend in the Aran Islands recently, feeling great as I had spent the weekend in the sun and sea, walking and swimming and generally being enthralled with our incredible amazing beautiful country. On my journey home, I stopped to visit a lovely shop run by Nancy Flexman. Nancy picks the products she stocks with extreme care and attention, so when I saw she has a large area dedicated to something I had only vaguely heard about I was intrigued. The most prominent item was a book, called ‘Earthing – The most important health discovery ever’. I bought the book, and found the information it contained completely fascinating and absorbing. Here is my take on it.
When I picked up the book the words on the back cover immediately caught my attention:
‘Beneath your feet outdoors is not just a mere patch of grass, dirt, sand, or concrete. It is an omnipresent source of natural healing energy. After you read this book, you will never look at the ground the same way. We humans, as all other living beings, are electrical creatures on an electrical planet, and the ground beneath us is more than something we just stand, walk, play and build on’. This resonated with me hugely, and the authors are right, I don’t look at the ground the same way at all. I have always been drawn to walking barefoot – when I was a child the soles of my feet were like leather and was proud of how fast I could run across stony beaches! But little did I know that I was doing myself a huge favour (albeit risking stubbed toes and thorns in heels!) by going barefoot and making contact with the electrical energy the earth holds.
The book traces the discoveries made by Clint Ober, a former pioneer in the cable TV industry in the US – interestingly not a medic or scientist but someone with a good understanding of electricity and how it works, and a personal interest in health. He has uncovered the many health benefits to be gained from ‘Earthing’, his term for being connected to the Earth’s natural electrical charge. His ‘discovery’ has caused huge excitement because it is incredibly simple; it instinctively makes sense to many people. He has invented special conductive sheets that are connected to the ground to help augment the Earthing phenomenon for people with busy lives who cannot easily swim in the sea or walk around in the grass everyday.
At this point I figured Earthing must be worth a try!
The basic premise of Earthing is that the earth holds a store of electrons, which we need access to in order to stay healthy. My understanding of how this works is that the Earth’s surface is negatively charged, and when you are Grounded or Earthed, your body’s natural electrical state is restored.
If you think back to pre-industrial times, many people walked barefoot, slept on the ground, and sat on the ground a lot. It is only since very recently in fact that we have been sleeping on raised beds in insulated houses, wearing shoes made from rubber and plastic rather than leather, and driving in cars with rubber wheels. Until the 1950s we were all wearing leather-soled shoes, which allow the Earth’s natural energy though. Clint Ober and many scientists now believe that a lot of chronic health conditions are linked to a lack of balanced electrical charge in our bodies.
Is it possible that rubber-soled shoes and comfortable modern living is causing disease and misery?
The good news is that ‘Earthing’ ourselves is free and is as easy as walking barefoot on the ground (earth, grass – preferably wet – sand or in the sea) for half an hour or more a day. Simply doing this every day has brought people huge health benefits and has been shown to reduce stress levels. If someone starts out with a serious health condition or has difficulty fitting that time outside into their day, Clint Ober has developed a range of sheets to sleep on and mats to put under keyboards so that you can Earth yourself while at work at your computer or are tucked up in bed. He has also developed what he calls a personal grounding kit, which is an arm band connected to a power source, and a Earthing Bag which has been used by top athletes including Tour de France cyclists to help recover faster from their gruelling stages.
The reported benefits from Earthing regularly include relief from many health challenges which are very common in this day and age – including insomnia, chronic pain, exhaustion, stress and anxiety, and premature aging. Very significant in all the studies and reports is a reduction in inflammation – this is significant, as inflammation has been shown to be a risk factor in many painful and deadly conditions that affect people all over the world.
After lots of bedtime reading, I decided it was time for some action. Of course I have been walking outside barefoot as much as possible, and going swimming as much as I can. But I felt that it wasn’t quite enough, as some days I was arriving home late and it was midgy outside, which put me off trying to walk about in the garden barefoot. So I got hold of some of the Earthing products and am now sleeping on the half sheet every night. I have noticed a big difference in the quality of my sleep – not immediately, but after a few days I am waking up feeling far more refreshed and rested. For the last few years I have been very anxious if I ever get sleep-deprived so it is a huge plus to wake up without that anxiety. I have also noticed a big reduction in an annoying ankle pain, which has been stopping me from running for the last six months – and I went for a run recently with no ill consequences! My daughter is trying out a sheet at night also, and she is so deeply asleep every morning we have to wake her up!
In researching Earthing, I have been reading a lot online and my experiences seem very common – for example Dr Mercola says:
‘There is an emerging science documenting how conductive contact with the Earth, which has is also known as Earthing or grounding, is highly beneficial to your health and completely safe. Earthing appears to minimize the consequences of exposure to potentially disruptive fields like ‘electromagnetic pollution’ or ‘dirty electricity’.
Dr John Briffa who I have followed for years has this to say: ‘’I use earthing kit in my home and find this convenient, but such kit is not essential to derive whatever benefits earthing may offer. Yesterday, for example, I spent an hour in the park with my bare feet planted on the ground. At the end of the hour I felt truly invigorated and refreshed. Was it the break from my desk, the fresh air, the sun, the grounding effect or something else that had this effect? I just don’t know. What I do know is that the end result felt good and it did not cost me a dime.’’ Dr John Briffa.
So what’s the take-home from all this? Get outside. Go for a walk on the beach barefoot. Wear flip-flops all summer so you can slip them off at any opportunity. Get your kids to go barefoot whenever practical. Connect with the earth. See how you feel. Go for a swim in the sea whenever possible. See how you feel. If you have PMS or are feeling stressed or have a backache, connect your feet directly to the earth for half an hour or so.
‘At the end of that time you will feel better. And as you feel better, a lightbulb will go off in your head. You will realise that although you live on the surface of the Earth your lifestyle has separated you from the limitless healing energy that, unknown to you, the surface beneath your feet holds. It’s there, and always there, and yours for the taking’. Clint Ober.
If you are interested in knowing more, we have the Earthing Book in Organico or you can look online The Earthing Institute. Have a read and see what you think, and let me know. Get in touch in Facebook (and sign up for our newsletter while you are there), or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or better yet call in! Organico Shop Cafe and Bakery is found on Glengarriff Road, Bantry. Tel 027 51391.