Being Barefoot: The Healing Power of the Earth
An investigation into the benefits of grounding and the “Earthing” phenomenon.
Your Health Keys correspondent and Nutrition Educator, Mira Dessy recently interviewed James Templeton, founder of Uni Key Health Systems, health advocate, researcher and stage IV cancer survivor. He shared his first hand experience with the healing effects of grounding and Earthing technology:
MGD: What exactly is grounding?
JT: Grounding is essentially a person, or any living thing, connecting with the earth electrically. It’s not new, it’s actually been around for a long time. Native Americans revered Mother Earth and by sleeping on the earth they got negatively charged electrons which brought relaxation, better sleep, and was considered very healing. Ancient Chinese healing practices such as Qigong also relied on the healing and grounding powers of connecting to the earth.
MGD: How did you get started with grounding?
JT: I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. I was trying to recover in any natural way possible. While I was focused on supporting my health and fighting my cancer I researched a lot of things and heard about sleeping connected to the earth, I didn’t know it was called grounding at that point, but I figured I would try it. I started sleeping out in a tent. When I was in the tent, I felt a calmness inside. I slept on the ground in that tent for as many nights as I could for quite a period of time. When I did, I could feel the energy from the earth, I felt more relaxed, more energized.
MGD: So when did you specifically learn about the concept of grounding?
JT: Down the road, after I had started UNI KEY, I heard about Clint Ober who wrote a book called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? Clint had done a lot of research into the devices that would make it possible for people to effectively ground themselves. He calls it Earthing. The concept came from when he had been in the cable TV business, installing large networks all over the country. He had sold his company and was on a vacation. One day he was sitting on a bench, watching people walk by and noticed that everyone was wearing rubber soled shoes. He knew that people are essentially electrical, but realized that they were insulating themselves from the Earth. Clint likened this observation to his cable TV knowledge–without grounding, the TV reception experiences static. He also thought back to his days growing up in Montana when kids ran around barefoot and played all day long on the dirt before computers, video games, and televisions.
They were getting grounded naturally. Now we all spend a lot of time indoors. When we are outdoors, our rubber soled shoes keep us from being connected to the Earth. Even when people go camping now they sleep in campers off the ground, they’re not getting any kind of grounding experience. And we’re exposed everywhere in our environment to electromagnetic pollution.
In his book Clint talked about how these negatively charged electrons help to balance us. They protect us from the exposure to electromagnetic pollution and the toxic overload we get on a daily basis that creates free radicals. When you sleep or stand barefoot on the Earth, your body absorbs these negatively charged electrons which are healing to the body.
MGD: Do you believe that people need to know how they’re getting, as the book title suggests, “Zapped,” as well as to ground themselves?
JT: I do. I noticed when I started sleeping grounded I would go into a really deep sleep and didn’t want to get out of bed. I thought ‘what is wrong, this isn’t good.’ Now I believe this was my body trying to recover from an overabundance of electrical exposure. We’ve all been absorbing electromagnetic energy from appliances, power lines, electrical plugs around us, technology devices, most of us sitting in front of a computer all the day – on our cell phones throughout the day. We are exposed to WiFi in almost every building we go into. These all create electromagnetic radiation which affects the voltage in our bodies in a negative way.
As you mentioned, Ann Louise Gittleman, a well-known nutritionist that we partner with, has written a book called Zapped that discusses emerging scientific evidence about how constant exposure to this electropollution is interrupting our bodies’ natural flow of energy. It can cause fatigue, irritability, and even illness.
MGD: It sounds like grounding really worked for you, but how helpful is it for others?
JT: I’ve been doing this for six years and I notice that I feel fitter, more energized, and calmer.
The studies have shown that it’s very good for rapid healing if you have a cut or injury. It helps to reduce stress, irritability, works well for athletic recovery, improves sleep. And that’s just a few of the benefits!
As a matter of fact, there are even world class athletes who use it. On the Tour de France, many athletes grounded themselves during the night to recover from their gruesome days of riding through the alps. Their muscle soreness, inflammation and “road rash” was reduced to the point where they would be ready to go in the morning.
MGD: We’re not all world class athletes, would it still be helpful?
JT: Yes, definitely. When you’re in front of the computer and underneath the desk you have your computer box and the plugs, you’re getting a lot of voltage and the body absorbs it. For the everyday person I think wearing an Earthing band or having a mat in front of your computer, either on the desk, or at your feet if you’re barefoot, is really helpful. The key is to be connected properly.
A lot of people will go out and buy a grounding device, create a device of their own or sleep on a pad that you lay your legs on and they assume they’re getting grounded because they’re connected to the grounding part of their home’s electrical house system. But you can’t really know for sure that you are. You need a device to check the outlets connected to the grounding socket, which tells you if the electrical outlet (and your home) is properly grounded.
MGD: What’s the best way for people to get started?
JT: You don’t need to spend a lot of money to do this. I recommend starting with the wrist band which is the least expensive and easiest way to connect. The wrist bands seem to work even better than the sheet. The sheets start to wear after a while. Or you move off it, sometimes you think you’re grounded but you may not be. Another benefit to a wrist band is that you can easily take it with you on the road to a hotel or when visiting friends and family. You can even take the wrist bands camping; simply get a small ground rod and run it into your camper or RV to your wrist band.
For the all-natural version, go out and stand in the yard or grass, it’s best to do this at night after we’ve accumulated all the energy from the day, and just stand barefoot for 10-15 minutes and allow your body to connect naturally with the Earth.
However you do it, you’re balancing your system and I believe that’s a good thing for everyone!
Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2011.0820
The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15650465