As naturopathic doctors, we’ve always advised our patients to engage in simple “dew walking,” “earthing,” or “grounding” that in its simplest form involves walking barefoot on the dewy grass in the morning.
We’ve mentioned dew walking in our newsletter countless times, and of course many skeptical patients have rolled their eyes. And while our early explanations of the benefits were fairly basic, research has finally given us abundant support for these practices.
Grounding through dew walking or by walking barefoot on a sandy beach, as ocean wading, or on any other natural ground, stimulates the acupressure points of the feet, positively impacting the energy and functioning of the corresponding organs throughout the body.
Of course, there’s the deeply visceral pleasure of the interaction of feet with sand, stone, mud, and vegetation.
As our unfettered feet meet the damp grass, the blood vessels constrict, and with vasoconstriction there’s a reflexive vasodilation that enhances the flow of blood and lymphatic fluids, increasing our vital energy and strengthening our immunity.
Reformed cardiac surgeon Stephen Sinatra, M.D. brought objective scientific data and clinical case studies to the grounding equation in his 2010 book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever.
Dr. Sinatra was able to clarify exactly what happens when our feet touch the earth. Heart rate variability patterns are harmonized, positively affecting cardiovascular arrhythmias and blood pressure. Our blood thins and is therefore less apt to clump.
Dr. Sinatra recommended that his cardiovascular patients practice grounding 40 minutes each day.
The cardiovascular benefits of grounding are only the tip of the iceberg.
Because the earth is a powerful source of free electrons, grounding has an antioxidant effect, addressing the harmful pathophysiology of oxidative stress by counterbalancing free radicals as you – literally – soak up electrons, sequestering the free radicals.
(Oxidative stress can damage DNA, resulting in inflammation and autoimmunity and contributing to degenerative disease and unhealthy aging.)
Grounding, through its antioxidant effect, is helpful for mitigating all of these concerns.
Dampness and mineral salts increase the conductivity of the electrons, so wading in the salty ocean is particularly beneficial.
Grounding also helps balance the autonomic nervous system, harmonize heart rate variability patterns (associated with inner states of peacefulness, harmony, love and compassion), and normalize the cortisol-mediated stress response and the regulation of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal axis.
When cortisol is normalized, we fall asleep more easily and our sleep is less disrupted. Even sleep apnea is positively affected, and we may experience relief from joint and muscle pain.
There is no lack of additional data for the many positive effects of Earthing on inflammatory conditions that range from asthma to psoriasis, osteoporosis, PMS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Alzheimers, and ALS.
Researchers have noted positive changes with Earthing on white blood cells and cytokines, as well as enhanced blood sugar regulation. Pre- and post-thermographic images have documented Earthing’s anti-inflammatory effects.
These benefits are only the beginning – Earthing helps to counterbalance the negative effects of electromagnetic pollution and align our energy fields with the earth’s vibrational field. Earthing entrains the body with the electromagnetic field of the earth, dispelling fatigue and vitalizing our energy.
(See a previous article, Aum, the Solfeggio Frequencies, and Sleep, for more on the Schumann Resonance and this powerful regulating effect.)
These days, we can find any number of websites promoting grounding devices, from chair pads to mattresses, foot pads, and sheets. While these tools have been helpful for some, others report that the hype tends to outshine their actually efficacy.
Why make it more complex than it needs to be? Surely it would be at least equally healing to engage in the simple activities many of us enjoyed as children: walking barefoot on the earth, squishing mud between our toes, skipping barefoot on dusty paths, wading in the ocean, sleeping on the ground out under the stars, and in countless ways enjoying the unique pleasures of aligning ourselves with nature’s harmonies.
For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660, use the convenient Contact Form to get in touch, or follow the link to: Consultations – Pacific Naturopathic. Thank you!