What is Grounding, Earthing, Forest Bathing?

Back in college, there was a girl down the hall from me, who wore more beads around her wrists and ankles then there are bees covering a perfect beehive. Her tie-dye shirts hideously matched her hand-painted tunics (I am sure my style was equally hideous to her…afterall it was the 80’s!) She embellished all of her tunics with tiny bells so everyone could hear her coming, or as she said, “so every angel could hear her coming!” Ok, she was a bit odd and the incense emanating from her room was like 10x the amount any one small dorm room could handle, much less all of us on the residence hall floor! The even more unique thing about her is the kind, loving, empathetic energy she had, she was, and hopefully still is! She is one of the kindest people I had met. Oh, and her name was Flower, yes Flower she was destined to have a kind, loving demeanor, and be very connected to nature! (Just a headnote, the terms Grounding, Earthing, and Forrest Bathing will be used interchangeably.)

Almost every afternoon, Flower would spin down the hall asking anyone who’d listen to “come ground with her.” …Not grind!!=) None of us knew what in the world she was ranting about. Even though everyone in our building thought she was surely from a different planet, I could not resist her incredible energy so I let loose as usual, and whirled right out the building with ner on our way to be ‘grounded.’ I have to admit I was a bit excited! I’ve always been intrigued by anything natural, naturopathic, and spiritual.

So off we go to a beautiful little park near the University, got out of the car, and started to stip! I started to worry, I was totally not comfortable with running around nude in a public park! To all of those who love running around naked in a public park, good on ya! That’s awesome! However…luckily the only thing we had to take off was shoes and any synthetic fabric garments. Phew! I know she would have been perfectly fine running around in all her beautiful, naked glory. Luckily that day did not entail the buck-nude experience.

Anyway, what we were about to do here at the park, that made her so excited every day: Grounding! she told me as if I was a well-devoted, grounding (earthing) devotee already! “Ok, I said with great enthusiasm! (And probably a look of ‘what the f@#k’ she was talking about!!) Let’s do it!,” I said. Then suddenly racing through my mind was…’Oh, what the @perfect chocolate cupcake@ are we about to get into?’

She had a great, slightly far-fetched explanation of what she felt, knew, assumed the impact of what we were about to do was and her explanation was that nature fairies carried this amazing energy that could heal anything and everything, and brought us back into a balanced life-energy. Wow, turns out she was perfectly on the right path, well a different path but just as meaningful a path. Researchers prefer to call this energy Phytoncides and negative ions. Phytoncides are produced to help plants and trees to protect themselves from harmful insects and germs. In the process, they help us in similar ways. While in nature we breathe in phytoncides and negative ions to benefit health in ways we still have yet to learn about.

Found by researchers to be actual positive energy that is beneficial to the human and animal kingdom, the walking and laying around in the grass turns out to be of great benefit to all of us! Well, it turns out grounding also known as earthing or forest bathing, has been around for centuries and in the last decade has become one of the most impressive medical breakthroughs of our century! I am a sensitive person so I can actually feel grounding or earthing benefits. According to a Medical Physician and Researcher, Stephan Sinatra, (MF, FAAC, FACN, CNS, CBT.) what makes us the healthies hs nothing to do with high-tech at all. It is the very Earth you live on. Literally the ground, or Earth, beneath your feel!

Grounding/Earthing/Forrest bathing Definition

Do you recall walking barefoot along wet sand at the beach or on a field of dew-moistened grass?  Do you remember feeling some tingling in your feet or legs, or a sense of warmth or well-being rising up into your body? That sensation is the result of direct barefoot contact with the surface of the Earth, which brims with natural, subtle energy.

The Earth, you see, is an electrical planet, and you are a bioelectrical being. Your body functions electrically. Your heart and nervous system are prime examples.

Emerging science reveals that direct contact with the ground allows you to receive an energy infusion, compliments of Mother Earth. Think of it as “vitamin G” – G for ground. Just as the sun above creates vitamin D in your body, the ground below provides you with vitamin G, a kind of “electrical nutrition.” Then the Earth also sends us negative ions which destroy our positive ions. That doesn’t sound too good, does it? But actually, negative ions are invisible molecules found in the forest, the mountains, and near water, such as oceans and waterfalls. When you visit these places, you absorb the negative ions into your bloodstream which produces a biochemical reaction that boosts production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that’s responsible for alleviating depression and relieving stress. The negatively ionized air promotes alpha brain waves an increase brain wave amplitude, creating on overall clear and calming effect. In other words, exposure to negative ions brings on positive vibes!!!

This energy infusion is powerful stuff. It can restore and stabilize the bioelectrical circuitry that governs your physiology and organs, harmonize your basic biological rhythms, boost self-healing mechanisms, reduce inflammation and pain, and improve your sleep and feeling of calmness. When these things happen, you feel better in a big way.

Modern lifestyle, including the widespread use of insulating rubber- or plastic-soled shoes, has disconnected most people in so-called developed societies from the Earth’s surface energy. Most of us don’t walk barefoot nor do we sleep on the ground as we did in times past. This physical disconnect from the Earth may be a totally overlooked cause of abnormal physiology and may actually contribute to inflammation, pain, fatigue, stress, and poor sleep. By reconnecting to the Earth, many common symptoms are often relieved and even eliminated. People tend to sleep better and have more energy. We just feel better.

The research, which I am proud to have been part of, along with many testimonials, provides intriguing evidence of significant physiological shifts in the direction of a revitalized and healthier functioning body − generated simply by regularly walking barefoot outdoors or, while indoors, sleeping on a conductive bed mat or sitting/working with your feet on a conductive floor mat, connected to the Earth via a wire.

Grounding and Inflammation

In recent years, inflammation has come to the forefront of medical attention and has been recognized as the leading underlying trigger of chronic pain and most major health disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.  “All roads to chronic disease lead through inflammation,” researchers are increasingly saying. Bodies are on fire.

One of the major benefits of Forrest Bathing is that it appears to assuage inflammation through the transfer of negatively-charged electrons from the surface of the Earth into the body (where the electrons neutralize positively-charged destructive free radicals involved in chronic inflammation).

The potential benefits from the Earth’s energy on the brain, heart, muscles, immune and nervous systems − and in turn the whole body and the aging process − are massive. Medically, this is a big deal! Spiritually it’s huge and a no duh!

I see Earthing as a profoundly simple, practical, and effective way to combat common illnesses and pain problems, and make people healthier.

Cardiovascular Benefits of Grounding

Several small Earthing pilot studies that have exciting implications have come about. One, on the electrodynamics (zeta potential) of blood cells, indicates that Earthing can significantly improve viscosity (blood thickness), inflammation, and flow. There are clear indications that individuals with a variety of cardiovascular conditions may benefit greatly from Grounding.

Diabetes, which carries a high risk for cardiovascular disease and arterial and nervous tissue damage, is a global epidemic for which Grounding may have significant promise.

Biophysicist James Oschman, Ph.D., author of Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis (Churchill Livingstone, 2000), sums up Earthing this way: “The moment your foot touches the Earth, or you connect to the Earth through at least a wire, your physiology changes. An immediate normalization begins. And an anti-inflammatory switch is turned on. People stay inflamed because they never connect with the Earth, the source of free electrons which can neutralize the free radicals in the body that cause disease and cellular destruction. Earthing is the easiest and most profound lifestyle change anyone can make.”

Discover the Benefits of Earthing & Grounding

Go barefoot for forty minutes outside and see what a difference that makes on your pain or stress level. Sit, stand, or walk on grass, sand, and dirt− preferably wet, for greater conduction of the Earth’s electrons. These are all conductive surfaces from which your body can draw the Earth’s electrons. Wood, asphalt, and vinyl are not conductive.

Ideally, you want to sustain the Earthing experience and make it a part of your daily routine. The easiest way is to use a grounding system indoors is something such as bed matts, floor matts, or body bandss connected via a wire to a properly grounded electrical outlet inside a home or to a ground rod outside. These systems incorporate carbon or silver mesh to conduct the Earth’s energy and can be used in bed, while watching TV or reading, or while working at a desk.

So….overall my college friend, Flower, wasn’t too far off on the benefits of dances in the park…no wonder she always felt so great!

OH and just remember…Negative ions and negaive energy are totally different!!! Negative ions are what bring on more positive energy for all of us!!!! Woohoo! Bring on the negative ions and say Hello! to the positive vibes girl!!!!!