How Staying Grounded Keeps You Healthy
Shared by Dr. Bryan Stephens
Growing up, these words had a very different meaning to them. They brought up thoughts of punishment, anger, guilt, and fear. These days, I look forward to being grounded. Mostly, because it means something else to me now. Instead of being sent to my room or denied toys, friends, or TV, I now group it with being outside and touching the Earth. This usually is just me being barefoot in the yard and playing with my girls, but just touching the ground helps me feel calmer. Now that I think about it, the thought of going barefoot to help with stress may have come from one of my favorite Christmas movies: Die Hard. In it, Bruce Willis gets over the stress and fears of flying by going barefoot in the hotel room and running his toes through the carpet. Over time, I have moved it from carpet to grass. I have since found that going barefoot outside (grounding) has real benefits that are currently being studied.
An amazing piece of research I found focused on the effects of grounding and its impact on our immune and inflammatory responses. They found measurable differences in “concentrations of white blood cells, cytokines, and other molecules involved in the inflammatory response.” 1 Essentially, by exposing the bare feet to the ground, the studies showed improved response in the subject’s ability to produce a natural immune response and decrease the time needed for wound healing. It was also found to decrease the inflammatory response which led to less pain in those that were grounded. At only 30 minutes of going barefoot, infrared showed the decrease in inflammation while metabolic activity was noted to increase at 40 minutes. Another study focused on the changes in mood. The brief pilot study noted a statistically significant increase in positive moods. While the research is still ongoing, the changes seen were surprising to me seeing as how I used to use it only to feel good and get outside.
Next time you start feeling stressed or something seems “off”, try getting outside and run your feet through the grass for a while and see what changes you experience. Bring your stress down and stay grounded.
- Oschman, James L et al. “The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.” Journal of inflammation research 8 83-96. 24 Mar. 2015, doi:10.2147/JIR.S69656
- Chevalier G. The effect of grounding the human body on mood. Psychol Rep. 2015 Apr;116(2):534-42. doi: 10.2466/06.PR0.116k21w5. Epub 2015 Mar 6. PMID: 25748085.