Grounding, Explained

Have you ever wondered what it really means to be "grounded"? It is such a new agey term, one of many that gets bandied about ("Gee, she's so mellow...she's really grounded") without any clear idea of how grounding works or what it is. Fortunately for us, we're living in an era where some pioneering scientists are starting to not only attend to energy medicine and all that it can do, but to investigate some of the mechanics behind it.

Dr. James Oschman, who holds a PhD in Biology and a Bachelor's in Biophysics, investigated what happens to someone when his or her body is connected to the earth. 

What he learned is that a particular spot on the soles of the feet - specifically, the point acupuncturists identify as Kidney 1 or the Bubbling Spring - is highly electrically conductive. The earth, as it turns out, is negatively charged. It produces free electrons. The body draws these through Kidney 1. 

Why do you want to absorb free electrons? To neutralize free radicals, those nasty results of chemical processes in the body that cause inflammation and disease. Solmaz Parazesh, writing for Research Penn State online, spoke to K. Sandeep Prabhu, professor of Immunology and Molecular Toxicology, on the topic of free radicals:
These harmful molecules, known as free radicals, contain unpaired electrons—which is unusual because electrons typically come in pairs. “The unpaired electrons make free radicals highly reactive, and in this state, they can cause damage by attacking the components of our cells, and can even cause cancer,” Prabhu says.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals either by providing the extra electron needed to make the pair, or by breaking down the free radical molecule to render it harmless. “Antioxidants stop the chain reaction of free radical formation and benefit our health by boosting our immune system ,” explains Prabhu. Because antioxidants are used up in the process of free radical neutralization, a diet rich in antioxidants is essential to ensure a constant supply.

The great news about earthing and grounding is that antioxidants from diet are not our only source of free electrons. We can draw them any time we simply step out of doors and get our bare feet onto the ground. Lying down on the ground is another great way to experience earthing.

If you take nothing else from this post, take this: one of the easiest, most pleasurable things you can do for your wellbeing is to get outside and get bare feet on the ground.

Wearing shoes, while sensible on some terrains, like gravel, will block your body's ability to draw free electrons. Rubber and plastic, major components in shoe soles, are not conductive. I've been practicing barefoot walking in the woods and barefoot exercising outside, and I am amazed at how easy it is to get used to walking on uneven, bumpy, or stick-laden ground. It's a matter of practice.

What does this have to do with tai chi and qigong, you might ask? Good question.

Both tai chi and qigong are designed to maximize the way in which your body draws energy from the earth through K1 and into the body systems. Since ancient times, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Taoist sages have known that there are specific body postures and methods of movement that will increase your ability to take in natural energies.

Think of your body as an electrical system. It is already set up with wiring (energy lines, meridians, or channels) that draw from the environment. If you're alive, you've got that wiring in place.

What if you could increase the size and durability and continuity of your wires? You would have a greater flow of energy. In Dr. Oschman's terms, you would be drawing more free electrons into your body.

You can start taking advantage of grounding or earthing any time. You can get the most out of it by exercising outside, especially if you're practicing exercises designed to help you draw from the earth, like tai chi and qigong.

It's on the long side, but in this interview, Dr. Oschman talks in detail with Dr. Joseph Mercola about earthing / grounding, its amazing effects, and how this incredibly simple practice can help you to limit or eliminate  inflammatory processes from your body.