A long time ago, before the advent of industry, our ancestors walked barefoot along the earth. And while we may think of asphalt roads, concrete walkways, and shoes as wondrous modern inventions, they do come at a cost. You see, our planet, just like our own bodies, is an electrical instrument, constantly in vibrational flux, emitting frequencies that we can align to, but only through conductive materials. Our classic plastic or rubber-soled shoes are made from insulative materials, which cut off the flow of energy between ourselves and our environment. And the Earth’s electromagnetic frequency may provide more of a healing and balancing force than previously thought.

Perhaps you’ve heard the word “earthing” being thrown around lately, maybe in a health magazine or natural living blog. It’s officially a trend: to reconnect with the ground, sans footwear, and tap in to its feel-good energy. If you’ve ever walked barefoot on the beach, waded into a shallow river, or felt the cool dewy grass between your toes, you may have noticed feeling lighter, happier, and more energetic afterwards. Maybe you felt the subtle buzz running through your feet and legs, or noticed your heightened sense of body awareness. All of these things are thanks to the conduction of electricity between the Earth and our own physical bodies.

Living Paleo means so much more than eschewing certain foods- it’s about embracing a lifestyle that is more in harmony with our planet, and looking for ways to imitate the natural health of our ancestors. Being in naked contact with the ground is one aspect of a primal-inspired life, and that kind of energetic connection has been shown to have tremendous health benefits. While the research is still young in the area of “earthing”, it shows great promise for alleviating pain, preventing disease, and boosting mood. Here are just a few of the perks that going barefoot has illustrated in the latest studies:

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced pain levels, both acute and chronic
  • Improved blood flow
  • Increased energy throughout the day
  • Better hormonal balance
  • Faster wound healing
  • Shortened recovery time from illness, surgery, exertion, or trauma

So how does something so simple have the power to enact such amazing benefits? It all comes down to the science. Our planet’s surface is coated with an abundant layer of free electrons (sometimes called the “negative electrical potential”), which can interact with other living systems (like the human body!) to counteract any floating free electrons, or “free radicals” that may be hanging out there. This biochemical reaction neutralizes these potentially damaging electrons, working to protect us from age and stress-related disease. Move over, Vitamin C- the Earth is the original antioxidant!

Our modern lifestyles are very good at creating these free radicals. Our bodies make these metabolic byproducts in response to a whole plethora of stressors: toxins in our food/water/air, electromagnetic radiation from tech devices, physical and mental overexertion, chronic infections, and dietary choices. The creation and neutralization of these ions is a natural cycle, but in today’s age, we’ve tipped the scales to heavily favor the former, leaving our systems awash in free radicals with nowhere to go. If this process goes unregulated, we put ourselves at serious risk for accelerated aging, immune dysregulation, heart disease, and many types of cancer.

There is some seriously solid science behind the benefits of earthing, and they all deal with basic electrical principles. When we create free radicals, and aren’t able to neutralize them, their electrical charges accumulate, changing the voltage of our body. But if you walk outside barefoot, this acts as a kind of lightning rod, opening an electrical pathway for that extra charge to dissipate. You can actually measure this effect with a bio-electric voltage meter! Earthing is a safe and easy way to release any accumulated EMF radiation and boost your antioxidant levels, which will make you not only feel lighter and more energetic, but also more resilient in the face of illness or injury.

While most of our waking hours are spent insulated inside of a home or office, there are many ways to take advantage of the benefits of earthing. Pop off your shoes, give one or all of these a try, and notice how you feel! Most positive biochemical changes from earthing occur within 30 minutes.

  • Take a short stroll through your neighborhood park
  • Stand or sit outside in your backyard
  • Explore a local riverbed or shallow pond
  • Play sand volleyball or take a jog on the beach
  • Walk in the mud after it rains (the more moisture, the better the conductivity)
  • Climb around a rocky area
  • Run around with your kids in the yard
  • Take a walk along a dirt path

To reap even more benefits from the earthing principle, you can invest in “grounded” footwear, or earthing mats/pads that you can use indoors, which are great when the weather turns bad or when you’re otherwise stuck wearing shoes. Regardless of how you go about it, the Earth’s energy is right here under your feet, waiting for you to use it to boost your health and vitality!