Have you ever heard of either? Neither had I until a few months ago. Grounding and earthing are synonymous terms. It supposedly happens when you walk barefoot (or with leather soles) on dirt, sand, concrete, rocks, and grass. Rubber soles supposedly block or inhibit the transmission of important electrons into your body. It is a controversial concept that the proponents claim that it is very healthful. There is a middle ground constituent who are skeptical and would like to see more research, and then of course, there are the nay-sayers who quickly brush this all off as bunk.
I will start off with those who buy into grounding wholeheartedly. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health.” Then there are Clinton Ober, Martin Zucker, and Dr. Stephen Sinatra who wrote a whole book about it titled, “Earthing”. The health benefits from grounding include better immune function; reduction in stress, inflammation, and pain; improves sleep, influences electrolytes and cortisol levels, and neutralizes free radicals.
As for the interested but skeptical people I found Mark Sisson who is big on going barefoot anyway. He wrote an interesting article on it in Mark’s Daily Apple on July 12, 2011. Check it out in the link above. One thing I really like about Mark in general is his reasoned, balanced approach with some scientific evidence. I always like to get his take on things. He thinks there is a lot of anecdotal evidence in the book “Earthing” and not enough studies done for his liking, however, he is willing to be open to the idea that it is a real phenomenom. Another middle grounder (no pun intended!) is Dr. Andrew Weil, who when asked if there is “anything to earthing” responded that some studies have shown it to be beneficial, that it needs more research, and also warns against commercialism as there have been quite a few products crop up that can supposedly help you get better grounded like special shoes and beds. A third open critic is Dr. John Briffa who actually tested grounding out on himself and found it to work on 2 out of 3 different pains. He also believes that there may really be something it, although he also thought there was the possibility that the first two pains may have been alleviated due to a placebo effect.
One detractor, Steven Novella, calls grounding a pseudoscience in a blog that is filled, in my opinion, with bad logic. Another writer, Christopher Mims in MIT Technology Review calls it “a bunch of horse puckey”, but does not give any convincing arguments either.
I don’t really know where I stand on the subject. I see preliminarily that some studies do point to the validity of grounding. So, I am taking a wait and see approach, but would not be surprised if additional research gives more credence to grounding. However, if wishes could be fact, I would wish for it to be horse puckey. I like going barefooted, but I live in a warm climate. And it does make me feel more nature-ish. But I would feel sorry for all of those people who live where it is cold a good part of the year. Maybe I would even feel guilty for all of my barefoot health and pleasure. And it could just be one more thing to worry about like getting enough exercise, or sleep, or vegetables, or vitamin D.
Anyway, on another note, but somewhat connected, is floor sitting. I came across it while doing research for grounding. Mark’s Daily Apple actually had an article about floor sitting. The article is pretty interesting and provides some compelling information why it might be a good idea. I just have to mention it because of my upbringing. I wish that my mom was still alive to read the article; because, you see, whenever we had company, and there were no more chairs left, she would sit on the floor. Invariably someone would object to her sitting on the floor, and invariably she would always respond, “No, I like sitting on the floor”. The funny thing is that she never seemed to prefer sitting on the floor when we didn’t have company and there were plenty of chairs for everyone! So, it has remained a family joke to this day.
For super health, just think of the possibilities if we did floor sitting outside while grounding on dirt, concrete, sand, or grass.