Recently I have been introduced to a health and wellness tool called grounding. While the concept of grounding is not new, it seems that western understanding of its potential health benefits is relatively new.
You may recall from physics that grounding refers to an object or person being connected to the earth, where there is an almost infinite source of free electrons. In fact, the earth is often referred to as an electron source and an electron sink. The effect of this is that a positive charged object/person will tend to pick up electrons from the earth (when connected with the earth), thus bringing that object/person into electrical equilibrium with the earth. Conversely, an object or person that has more negative charge than the earth will tend to lose the extra electrons to the earth in order to create and maintain the equilibrium.
Recently, there have been a number of studies that have demonstrated some possible physiological benefits to being grounded to the earth - i.e. transferring electrons between the human body and the earth (click here for a study at the NIH. Also, see here for more details). It seems from reading some reviews of these studies that even the skeptics are intrigued (see Dr. Weil's comments) and open to the possibilities grounding holds.
So, what benefits have I personally found to grounding? While I have done no formal studies on grounding, anecdotally I can say that spending time in nature always has a positive impact on my body and spirit. I find that one of the best ways for me to regain spiritual centeredness is to take a walk in the woods. As an example, there was a day a couple of weeks ago that started off stressful for me. Around noontime I decided to hike in the woods. After 30 minutes to an hour of hiking, I noticed a marked difference in my stress level! I was more relaxed, and I felt more at one with creation and the Creator.
What about when I don't have time for a long hike? According to the studies listed above, even a few minutes walking barefoot in my yard is enough to have an impact. Indeed, I personally feel a spiritual/emotional lift when I walk in my yard barefoot or lean against a tree or work in the garden, etc. for even a few minutes.
How about you? Have you tried grounding? What benefits have you experienced?