Thank you to all who read my last post on the healing effects of nature. I so strongly believe that nature supports our health internally though choosing foods which are fresh, unprocessed and are nutrient dense. The vitamins and minerals within the foods we eat are imperative for fueling our organs, brain and nervous system to work efficiently. However, I don’t think many of us typically think that just being in the presence of nature has a calming and regenerating effect on our health. I think it is so important to understand that nature provides more than just nutrition. It is more than kale salads and green smoothies (which I am also a huge fan of btw).
So what else does out environment provide for us? It provides vitamin-G. Vitamin-G is a coined term for ‘grounding’ or what is currently referred to as ‘Earthing’. It is the process of connecting to the earth by walking barefoot outside, or sitting, working and sleeping while being connected to the earth as humans had done previously in history. The indigenous tribes of the world still follow these principles. It is those of us who have chosen to follow the trends of the modern world that have disconnected from this simple, healthy phenomenon.
‘Earthing’ in its modern sense has been known and used for more than a decade to help individuals sleep better, experience less pain and recover faster from trauma. With our modern technology – computers, cell phones, Wi-Fi, etc – we are constantly surrounded by electromagnetic frequencies which disrupt our natural rhythms. As the body is mostly water and minerals, it is a good conductor of electricity. The free negatively charged electrons on the surface of the Earth are easily transferred to the human body as long as there is direct contact. Unfortunately, synthetically-soled shoes act as insulators so that even when we are outside we do not connect with the Earth’s electric field. When we are in homes and office buildings, we are also insulated and unable to receive the Earth’s balancing energies.
As I discussed in my previous post, just observing or being in the presence of nature can have healing and calming effects. Earthing also has a similar effect, calming the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which regulates the functions of the heart, respiration, digestion, urination and even sexual arousal. When connected to the earth, our body will shift from ANS to a parasympathetic and calming mode. Activities such as Tai chi, yoga, and meditation are known to have a similar effect on the nervous system.
A study demonstrating the stress lowering effects of Earthing was conducted by electrophysiologist Chevalier, PhD; and Sinatra, MD, and supervised by The Biomedical Research Institute of America. Subjects of both relatively healthy males and females were evaluated before, during and after Earthing using an electrocardiogram. As the electrocardiogram measures the heart rate variability (HRV) which is connected to the autonomic nervous system, the stress levels could be evaluated. It was observed that the HRV began to stabilize and continued to improve all the way to the end of the 40-minute period of grounding, suggesting that there would be greater benefit over a longer period of time.
During the study, individuals who experience anxiety, emotional stress, panic and fear, showed a positive response to Earthing in as little as 20 to 40 minutes. Negative emotions such as panic, depression, anxiety and hostility all demonstrated to have been reduced. The heart rate variability showed that grounding had the ability to reduce the stress response, but also the negative emotions associated with stress.
There are now products which allow us to stay connected to the grounding properties of the earth, even while indoors. However, now that the summer season is upon us, get outside and go for a walk barefoot in the grass or ditch your shoes while you work in the garden.
Perhaps a healthy diet and becoming more connected to our environment, the earth may become a solution to ill health, heightened stress levels and negative emotions. I may be an idealist, but I hope to see the day in which nature truly becomes an integrated part of our holistic health care system. If we begin to become more aware of all the positive things our environment does for us, my hopes for myself and for everyone reading is that we will begin to make changes no matter how small. Nature provides everything we need to heal and sustain ourselves. Please, open your eyes and our hearts and give thanks for the nature that continues to sustain us.