Before high heels, televisions, vacuums and tooth paste were invented, people lived with the earth.
Every aspect of life back then was in some way connected to the earth and its nurturing power.
Fast-forward to today and we find ourselves as removed and disconnected from the greatest source of healing as can be. Nearly every part of our existence today is insulated, synthetic and removed from the earth’s touch.
Only in recent years have the medical community and laymen alike recognized the detrimental impact that this disconnect has. As a result, an effort has been placed to re-establish this sort of barefoot lifestyle as organically as possible.
Although our efforts may be delayed, many cultures and societies have held the barefoot lifestyle to a high regard through it all. They appreciated and interacted with the earth, recognizing its necessary presence in our lives.
The Chinese value of Qi: an essence of all natural, living things
Earth Qi are those patters of energy and Earth’s magnetic fields (i.e. all humans, plants and animals have their own field of Qi). When humans or any other living animal is barefoot, it is capable of absorbing Earth Qi.
It’s not surprising that most mind and body exercises (i.e. yoga and tai chi) are done barefoot, to establish this sort of connection.
For Chinese practice, the central focus involves “growing a root.” Doing so allows for the opening of a pathway between the Earth and the body/feet. This is often done through “yong quan point,” also known as the Kidney I point).
Greek Mythology tells of How Antaeus was defeated by Hercules
Antaeus was a Libyan giant who, compared to all other foes, appeared to be truly invincible. Antaeus was victorious in every wrestling match he competed in, until he faced Hercules.
Amidst their match, Hercules noticed that Antaeus would bounce back every time he was thrown.
Hercules realized that Antaeus was gaining all of this strength from his mother, Gaia, the earth. Hercules decided to suspend Antaeus from the ground until all power and strength was drained of him, which allowed Hercules to end up victorious.
Fast forward 200 years to today and we find ourselves reminiscing on the “simpler” times. We’ve found ourselves seeking to regain that connection to the earth’s surface. Far too often, our only memories of going barefoot and being in a healthy, direct connection with the earth is during our years of childhood. When barefoot and spending time in contact with the earth’s surface, we tend to feel better in mind, body and spirit.
But why is that?
Our connection to the earth doesn’t need to be a distant thought from childhood or isolated incidents on the beach.
While shoes have offered a sense of convenience to our everyday lives, they’ve limited us much more severely with respect to our connections. The earth’s surface is like a natural power source, keeping us nurtured and thriving.
Recent studies suggest that maintaining a direct connection between your feet and the earth’s surface may be beneficial to your health. When you’re barefoot, your body is able to absorb the earth’s limitless supply of free electrons. These electrons serve the function of antioxidants by stabilizing rampant, unhealthy free radicals in your body. As a result, you help decrease your body’s chances of growing inflammation, degenerative diseases and other health ailments.
Moreover, you feel good.
In the science community, this age-old concept is being called Earthing and has found its way into our nation’s spas, resorts and doctors’ offices.
The contemporary wellness trend is quite simple. Your contact with the earth’s surface (i.e. barefoot), as illustrated in the cultures above, allows for an influx of free electrons to enter your body. These electrons, when absorbed freely, are responsible for neutralizing and stabilizing the harmful free radical build-up that is known to cause inflammation and other health ailments. It’s an age old practice yet, through modern civilization’s growth, we’ve grown further and further from it.
With the medical community taking notice, Earthing is making its way back into our society and can help us introduce a newfound state of balance and wellbeing into your life.
Stein, Rob. Is modern life ravaging our immune systems? The Washington Post. March 4, 2008.
Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons
Gaétan Chevalier, Stephen T. Sinatra, James L. Oschman, Karol Sokal and Pawel Sokal. Journal of Environmental Public Health. Volume 2012 (2012).
The effect of earthing (grounding) on human physiology. Gaétan Chevalier et al.
Chronic Disease: Are We Missing Something? James L. Oschman, PhD. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE. Volume 17, Number 4, 2011, pp. 283–285.
Can Electrons Act as Antioxidants? A Review and Commentary.
JAMES L. OSCHMAN, Ph.D. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE
Volume 13, Number 9, 2007, pp. 955–967.
Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness.
Dick Brown, Ph.D. et al. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE. Volume 16, Number 3, 2010, pp. 265–273.
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Tim RT at Flickr