When I wrote about grounding as a way to balance our emotions and build resilience, I didn’t mean to reconnect to the Earth electrically - which is the essence of the earthing (sometimes also called grounding) technique as described in western, scientific terms. However, I find it as just another aspect of the same practice. Let’s start with the basics. What is grounding in physics?
The Earth discharges or takes up an infinite amount of electrons. When something with electrical charge is connected to the ground, its electrical potential neutralises. In the case of electrical cables, the static electricity has a different amount of electrical charge than the Earth, so they need to be grounded to stabilise. In the case of humans, we absorb free radicals from substances present all around us (e.g. fried food, alcohol, sun rays, pesticides, air pollutants etc), which might result in inflammation. Free radicals are reactive oxygen molecules that have an electron imbalance that makes them electrically charged. Although they are meant to oxidise and destroy pathogens and damaged cells, sometimes when “searching” for a free electron to neutralise, they can attach to or steal an electron from a healthy cell causing its damage. Grounding - earthing - helps reduce excess free radicals so that our bodies can heal and repair naturally.
The conscious practise of earthing became more popular in recent years as a result of a life-passion of Clint Ober. Having spent over thirty years in the cable television industry, Clint became conscious of the fact of how people insulate their bodies from the Earth (e.g. by wearing shoes with non-conductive, usually rubber, soles). In his industry, all things electrical have to have a portion of their circuit connected to the Earth. So why not humans? Clint started researching possible consequences of humans no longer being naturally grounded. He discovered that for him and his friends, grounding helped reduce chronic pain. There have been more and more studies conducted since then with some interesting findings: their participants declared that earthing brings them benefits related to reducing inflammation, easing cardiovascular disease and muscle damage, relieving chronic pain, and boosting mood.
Earthing advocates claim that practising 30 minutes a day helps to maintain a homeostatic level of electrical charge as the body connected to the natural power source can discharge or top-up any internal electrons. The good thing is the practice is available to anyone, and it’s free. We can try it anywhere, depending on our circumstances:
Walk, sit, stand barefoot on grass, sand, rocks, dirt
Garden with bare hands
Lay on the Earth
Swim in the sea or lakes
Hug a living tree
Lean up against a living tree
Sleep on the Earth while camping
Wear leather-soled shoes (instead of synthetic shoes)
Many of us have become separated from the connection to Mother Earth, both figuratively and literally. Chasing comfort and productivity, we put concrete, use plastic, rubber, we separate and isolate, we impose higher hygiene standards and lower acceptance for effort. Especially in cities, we hardly ever touch the ground with our feet or our hands, we tame nature and make it subordinate to our comfort and technological requirements. I don’t condemn the modern days’ inventions; moreover, I enjoy the design, comfort and sheer beauty of contemporary coffee shops, newest cars or spa interiors. And at the same time, I cherish the natural connection not interfered by vinyl, plastic or asphalt, liberated from household appliances and its electronic radiation. When we practice earthing, we connect to nature, we allow ourselves to be part of it - or, in other words, we stop resisting it. And knowing that there’s a possibility that the Earth is quite literally supporting us with its energy - isn’t it a wonderful realisation?
Is the electrical grounding a solution to both our emotional and physical ailments and pains? Let’s explore what happens when we decide to “earth ourselves”. When I went on my earthing walk a few months ago, what I did first was to acknowledge and accept that something is happening in my organism that needs balancing. I was unwell, even if to the slightest extent. This acknowledgement was already a massive release that triggered a whole chain of psychological and physiological benefits. I needed to pause and allow myself to be mindful. Choosing where to walk. Taking off my shoes and socks. Feeling the surface, its shape, softness or hardness, its temperature. The intention to reconnect to the Earth. Surrendering to the process of walking without an expectation of an immediate effect. All this helped soothe my nervous system and my body.
We cannot isolate these factors from any study - we enter every moment as a whole, with our physiology, with our genetics, with our core beliefs and temporary moods, with our emotional state and psychological intention and awareness. This applies to any modality and any therapy we decide to incorporate in our lives. And the abundance of approaches, facilitators and methods is a blessing - this way we might find the one that is most in tune with our current needs and our moment in life.
In Transformation Station, we commit to research and curate the most diverse and holistic approaches and providers so that you can find the strength to empower and transform yourself with what resonates for you. Earthing, however, does not require any guidance nor equipment. In Ibiza, we earth in between the pine trees, on the sands and rocks of our stunning beaches and coves, and in the crystal clear sea. We hope this experience will become yours when you join one of our retreats in the post-COVID reality. In the meantime, connect with our growing community of facilitators and practitioners. And feel the Earth.