Why do we feel such a sense of peace near the ocean? Walking barefoot in the sand, listening to the waves strike the shore, sometimes crashing, other times lapping, often leads one to a place of tranquility and inner joy.

Is this simply an escape from the everyday noise and hustle of our lives or is there something more to it? Can a walk through a natural setting improve our health?

What Exactly Is Grounding or Earthing?

Folks who practice grounding, also called earthing, believe that walking barefoot allows us to recharge by touching the sand, dirt or whatever other natural substance is beneath our feet.

They explain that the earth is primarily charged with negative ions. In a bit of a contrary notation, negative means good and the opposite, positive, means bad. Our bodies also carry a charge, and the more negatively charged our environment is, the healthier we are.

Those who practice grounding say that every day we are exposed to many devices that emit positive (bad) charges: from cell phones to microwaves, from televisions to speakers. According to believers, this positive charge can lead to many health problems, including inflammation, sleep deprivation and stress.

They even buy products that help them stay ‘grounded’, including bed pads that turn on at night and help neutralize any positive charge the user may have accumulated during the day.

Is Grounding Real or Hype?

Scientists have studied electric charge and its effects on the body for years. A study conducted by G. Chevalier in 2006 concluded, “the changes (…) reported here suggest reductions in overall stress levels and tensions.”

These results correlate with effects reported in a previous 2004 study by Ghaly and Teplitz. Findings from a 2013 study claim that “Grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events.”

These and several other studies provide support for the idea that grounding is a real and natural method of improving one’s health. However, most of us do not need scientific studies to validate the good feelings that we experience when we go for a walk in the woods or near the water.

Nature Is a Great Healer

Feeling the sand in your toes, hearing birds chirping or smelling a pine forest are all experiences we can relate to. Each brings a quiet joy, a feeling of peace and a sense of serenity.

Most of us would agree that we do not need a scientific study to prove that simply being in the natural world, away from electronics, mechanics, noise, pollution and all the other things that bring us stress and anxiety, provides health benefits and calmness to our otherwise frantic lives.

What is your favorite natural place to visit? How often do you go there? What are the sounds, smells, sights that you enjoy the most in your special place? Do you believe in the natural healing power of nature? Please share any rejuvenating nature experiences that have happened to you recently.

Susan BeldingSusan Belding is a certified personal trainer, entrepreneur, and retired educator. Her hobbies are writing and studying health and wellness trends, and she has combined the two in her blog, Better Half Now, and three books. She divides her time between Naples, Florida and Willoughby Lake in Vermont.

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