Could 'grounding' actually boost your inner energy or improve your anxiety?

Many parts of modern society leave us disconnected with nature.

Think about it – when was the last time you immersed yourself in the natural world, or your feet touched grass? When did you last spend time listening to the sounds of nature, hearing nothing but wind, or waves or the rustle of trees?

Between urban living, relentless work culture and endless digital advancements – we don’t get many opportunities to really be in nature. Some say that we are missing out on a wealth of benefits as a result.

Grounding could help.

Grounding, or ‘earthing’, essentially means ‘coming back to the earth’.

It is an ancient practice that involves connecting your body, mind and spirit to the planet. And, you have to actually touch nature – meaning your skin needs to be in contact with the surface of the earth.

Energy healing therapist Beth Carboni says bodily contact with the planet’s ‘natural electric charge’, helps to ‘detox your system’ and ‘stabilise your physiology’.

‘By bringing conscious awareness to the process of grounding, it further reduces mental stress and generates wellbeing and peace,’ she adds.

‘At a time when there has been such elevated levels of stress and fear, grounding offers many benefits and there is a growing body of evidence to prove this.

‘The simplest and most profound benefit is that it makes you feel better – and quickly. You only have to think of times when you’ve been in nature or barefoot on a beach to recall the feelings of calm that you experienced. This is no coincidence.’

Research shows that when you physically connect with the earth it calms your nervous system, reduces inflammation, and improves your blood flow, energy and general wellbeing.

A 2016 study found that ‘grounding or earthing the human body significantly alters the inflammatory response to an injury,’ meaning pain from injuries was found to be reduced, and healing was sped up.

Beth says grounding has never been more important. Social and cultural developments mean we are increasingly physically disconnected from the earth because of the shoes we wear, and through experiencing heightened levels of stress.

Does grounding actually work?

Are the claims that it is possible to tap into some kind of planetary energy source – simply through touch – legitimate? Could walking barefoot in the park really act as a natural way to recharge your spiritual batteries?

The specifics of this practice have been disputed, and experts have debunked the claim that you can harness the ‘power’ of the earth’s energy through bodily connection.

‘It’s simply not possible to build up and maintain a significant charge imbalance between your body and the rest of the world, because everything we interact with contains electrons, and they move back and forth between objects all the time,’ wrote Dr Chad Orzel, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College in New York in a 2014 blog.

Dr Orzel disputes the science behind the wellness trend, and suggests that there is no such thing as ‘beneficial electrons from the earth’.

‘It is garbled nonsense,’ he says. ‘Electrons are electrons are electrons – there’s nothing that singles out or sets apart an electron from the earth as opposed to from some synthetic material.’

Meaning there is no better ‘energy’ to be harnessed from the earth than the ‘energy’ that exists in your carpet, or the seat of your car.

However, he does admit that there is a grain of truth at the heart of the trend. This likely comes from the well-recorded benefits of being in nature.

Mental health charity Mind, encourages spending time in nature to treat anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

There’s even a therapeutic treatment focused on spending time outdoors, known as ecotherapy – so even if the claim of supercharging your spiritual energy through the earth’s electrons doesn’t stand up, there may still be benefits attached to grounding practices.

‘The stress we experience in modern living creates “disharmony” in our energy system,’ argues Beth. ‘And when you “ground” it helps to bring harmony and balance back to your mind, body and spirit.’

If nothing else, spending an afternoon meditating barefoot in the park or your back garden isn’t going to harm you, and could help you feel calmer.

Grounding tips for beginners

If you do decide to try grounding, it is really simple to get started – it doesn’t cost you anything, and you don’t need any special equipment.

Beth Carboni has shared her top tips for beginners who are looking to connect with the earth.

‘Whether it’s rain or shine, kick your socks and shoes off and go into your garden and feel the earth beneath your feet,’ says Beth.

‘Bring presence to the sensations against your feet and imagine your body receiving healing and nourishing energy from the earth through the soles of your feet.’

Beth suggests creating a space in your garden where you go to sit, ‘ground’ and leave your stress behind.

‘This can be as simple as placing a stool in your chosen ‘grounding’ corner or adding crystals and ornaments that signify peace and calm,’ she says.

‘On drier days, go and lay flat on the earth. Bring presence to all the touch points of your body against the ground. Again, imagine receiving nourishing energy from the earth and notice the subtle shifts in your own body as you relax.’

If you don’t have outdoor space at home, get out further into nature.

‘When you go into the woods, without a phone and with the intention of grounding your whole system is calmed,’ says Beth.

‘There is no need to be a complete hippy walking barefoot and hugging trees. Simply bring presence and conscious awareness to the images and sounds of the environment. Then slow down and again imagine receiving nourishing energy from the nature around you. Your worries will slip away and you will gain clarity and calm.’

Beth adds that you should aim to make this practice a habit, build it into your regular routine.

‘Put time in your diary each week to either take a short grounding break in your own garden or to go for a longer walk in nature,’ she says. ‘Scheduling this time will help you to establish this new healing ritual.’

How to continue grounding when it gets really cold

The prospect of ditching your shoes or lying face-down in the grass becomes much less appealing as the temperature plummets and we lose the light.

But grounding isn’t just for summer. Beth says it is possible to feel the benefits of immersing yourself in the natural world all year round.

‘In the colder months it can still be incredibly beneficial to get out into nature and bring presence to the seasonal changes,’ she tells us.

‘Feeling the crunch of leaves beneath your feet as they fall to the ground, the coolness of the frost in your hands, listening to the rain as it falls around you.’ 

Beth adds that you can also create grounding rituals in the warmth of your home, which is good news if you can’t cope with being cold.

Because the mind doesn’t always acknowledge the difference between real or imagined, you can still reap the benefits of grounding by going inwards and visualising whatever you need to, while taking deep breaths.

‘You can create a little indoor garden with plants that you can tend to each day,’ suggests Beth. ‘Or draw on the grounding effects of earth’s other elements by taking a bath and soaking in epsom salts or by lighting a candle and mindfully watching the flame and breathing in its pure essence.

‘You can also gain the benefits of grounding through the power of your mind by listening to meditations where you are connected to the earth, or book a holiday where you can walk barefooted on the beach. 

‘One of the most important aspects is to have the conscious intention to ground when you engage in these practices, and the benefits will follow.’ 

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