health + we l l n e s s the benefits of Bbarefooting itb M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 3 33 Have you ever noticed how good you feel after a barefoot walk or a swim in the ocean? That sense of contentment that you feel after some wellspent time communing with nature is not all in your head After all those jokes and snarky comments about tree hugging and becoming “one with nature,” it turns out that grounding or earthing, as it is now commonly called, is a very wise and well-being-raising activity. Science is finally beginning to catch up with our own intuitive knowledge that time outdoors in fresh air, at the beach, on moist grassy meadows or on a walk through the vineyards is in fact good for our health. You see, we all need to continually recharge our delicate internal ecosystems. And while sleep is one of the most critical times that we recalibrate our hormones, it is not the only opportunity to assist our body in rebalancing itself. By connecting to the earth, we are able to ground our complex electrical system with the earth’s natural balance and help optimize our own physiology, circulation and immune system. I am not making this up! Scientists and researchers are making the case that earthing, direct contact with the ground (dirt or grass, not pavement), or swimming in the ocean for twenty minutes per day makes a significant difference in the thickness of your blood and the balance of your hormonal levels (especially the adrenals). If we can lower inflammation in our bodies, improve our sleep and reduce chronic pain by taking an ocean swim or walking barefoot, why not try it? There is certainly no adverse effect. We should all start gardening barefoot (except when we’re mowing the lawn!) and take some time to make contact with Mother Earth. How else can you start your grounding process? I suggest you plan a picnic and sit on the grass while you eat, walk through the woods and touch a tree, go to the beach and take a swim— or walk through the water if it’s too cold to hop in. Make a commitment to optimize your health through earthing at least one day per week. People who regularly practice earthing report having more energy, feeling better rested and less stressed. An after-dinner walk each night may provide the same effect, but doesn’t it sound more fun to do it barefoot in the park? Have the kids kick off their shoes and run off some steam before bathtime too! Earthing is good for all age groups and helps give us an excuse to slow down. We all need to unwind, and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. For those science buffs who want all the nitty gritty details, try Googling the Earthing Institute or David Wolfe’s Longevity Now for all the specifics. The studies go into the finer points of how our bodies are affected by contact with the earth, and the particular cardiovascular and hormonal health benefits to regular grounding or earthing. Now go out there and find a tree to hug— Happy Earthing! Living Your Best (Napa Valley) Life by Dr. sharon ufberg, D.C.
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