Writer: Siobhan Scanlon
Contributor: Michaela Fitzpatrick, Aspire Counselling and Psychotherapy
New studies show that grounding positively affects the inflammatory response and the immune system, which in the midst of a global pandemic, could have far-reaching health benefits.
Our immune system works its hardest when it's supercharged with electrons, which we can obtain naturally: by walking barefoot on the earth. Because our feet are locations for the connected muscular webbing known as fascia, absorbing energy through the feet—a practice called grounding or earthing—promotes healing throughout the entire body.
The body is composed primarily of water and minerals, making it a great conductor of electricity. When we come into direct contact with the earth—our soles pressed into the soil, bodies pressed against the grass, fingers weaving through particles of sand—the free electrons on the earth's surface are absorbed into the body. This energy travels through your energy field and chakras, balancing the body.
The bottoms of the feet have long been considered maps of the rest of the body, so by grounding through the feet, we are simultaneously allowing currents of rejuvenating charges to power our vital organs and synchronize the systems of the body. Electrons are also likened to antioxidants in their ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate red blood cell circulation. Here are some earthing techniques that will hopefully go some way towards keeping keep calm during the crisis.
I spoke with therpaist Michaele Fitzpatrick from Aspire Counselling and Psychotherapy who shared her insight on the importance of grounding during times of stress.
"We are currently experiencing unprecedented changes to normal routines and structures like we have never known. The extreme levels of uncertainty coupled with a loss of control over our environment naturally results in increased stress and anxiety. When we are stressed, the chemicals and hormones released affect the pre frontal cortex part of the brain which governs critical thinking, logic, reasoning, memory and learning. Increased stress levels can therefore cause the mind to race, increase negative thinking, reduce concentration and our capacity to stay present, which inevitably leads to more stress and anxiety.
Practicing being present and in the moment is crucial for maintaining our mental health and wellbeing through these challenging times. Practicing a daily grounding exercise can really facilitate this."
walking barefootHave you ever been outside on a warm summer day and felt the urge to run barefoot in the grass? One of the easiest ways to ground yourself to the earth is to walk barefoot.
Whether this is on grass, sand, or even mud, allowing your skin to touch the natural ground can provide you with grounding energy.
lying on the groundYou can increase your skin-to-earth contact by lying on the ground. You can do it in the grass by the park or on the sand at the beach. If you’re going to ground yourself in this way, be sure to take the proper precautions and never lie somewhere you could be injured.
submersing in waterAccording to advocates for grounding, water may be used to ground in the same way the physical earth is used for grounding. They suggest simply wading in a clear lake or swimming in the ocean as a way to ground yourself. As always, be sure to stay safe when swimming, especially in murky or deep waters.
Other techniques include:
cover your crownThis exercise is SO simple but so so effective. When you’re ungrounded simply place one hand over the crown of your head. Close your eyes to avoid distractions. It’s that simple.
Hold for 1-2 minutes.
feel your feetMichaela say "Become aware of your feet as they are planted firmly on the ground. Get a sense of the ground beneath you. Imagine thick roots growing from your feet into the ground. These roots are here to ground you back into the present moment. Feel these roots growing from your feet grounding you back, giving you a sense of strength, stability, security, safety"
This is another easy peasy one that can ground you in minutes. Sit or stand and place all your awareness on the bottom of your feet, every last it of it. Pay attention to any sensations, any feels at all.
Practice for 1 minute.
follow your breathClose your eyes and as you inhale, trace the air as it enters your nose and goes into your lungs. On the exhale, follow the air leaving your lungs and exiting your nose or mouth.
This grounding technique gets more effective with practice. The key is to observe the breath instead of forcing it with your mind. Let your body lead and your mind will follow.
Time: 5 to 10 minutes
stand like a treeStand with your feet parallel and at least shoulder’s width apart. Keep your head floating above your body, chin tucked, and spine straight. Rest your hands at your side or place them over your belly button. Sink all of your body’s weight and tension into your feet (without collapsing your posture), allowing it to be absorbed into the ground. To support this grounding process, imagine roots growing out the bottom of your feet, extending deep into the ground beneath you.
Time: 1 minute to 10 minutes.
take a cold showerCold exposure has shown to increase immunity, reduce fat, and elevate mood (by triggering dopamine). If you’re not accustomed to cold showers, at the end of your hot shower, make the water warm/cool for 30 seconds. Over the course of the next three weeks, make the water slightly cooler and stay under it for longer. By the end of the three weeks, your body will get used to the cold temperature. It’s an invigorating and grounding experience. I recommend it unless you have high blood pressure.
Time: 30 seconds to 5 minutes.