Barefoot and healthy: Join the earthing movement

barefoot-and-healthy-join-the-earthing-movement_300Living species evolved to exist on Earth in a state of wellness. I don’t believe that any living thing evolved to live in pain or with illness. Yet we do. Much of this, for us, as a species, is a self-induced phenomenon. We have polluted our waters, genetically modified our food, blasted our environment with electro-smog, poisoned our systems with toxins from preservatives and personal care products… and the list goes on. But while modern medicine has done an amazing job of eradicating a great many infectious diseases that once plagued us, it has been unable to “cure” the burden of modern lifestyle diseases. However, with a simple returning to the Earth, to a routine once extant and now nearly vanished, we can once again regain our health and thrive in wellness. And scientific studies prove it so.

Electric Earth, Electric Body

Researchers and scientists in the field of environmental medicine have rediscovered an essential yet nearly completely overlooked human health factor: Walking barefoot, or wearing simple animal skin foot coverings, connects us with the Earth’s surface in a natural way that allows transfer of free electrons into our body.

This is important because humans are essentially electrical beings. Among other things, we are made up of water, minerals and electrons. We produce positive charges that produce oxidative stress on the body. But when we walk barefoot, a practice now called Earthing or Grounding, free negative electrons from the Earth are transferred back to us, acting as antioxidants, reducing a huge assortment of modern health concerns including cardiovascular issues, autoimmune diseases, sleep disorders, pain and inflammation.

The Modern Human Illness Problem

Like the human body, the Earth’s surface is also a conduit for electricity. When this current passes from the Earth’s surface to humans, generally through the soles of the feet, health is sustained and maintained. However, since we ditched animal skin shoes and ground cloths for rubber insulated shoes and mattresses, we have become increasing sick. Chronic pain, systemic inflammation, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases now reign.

According to research published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Environmental and Public Health (JEPH): “Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being… Through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground’s abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive. Through this mechanism, every part of the body could equilibrate with the electrical potential of the Earth, thereby stabilizing the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells.” This research, as well as others, is also found in the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? by Martin Zucker.

The Earthing Solution

Earthing as a way of life or as a wellness practice is free in every way. Simply take off your shoes and walk the Earth. This simple change in daily habit need only last 40-60 minutes at a time to effect positive changes on human health. Since water conducts electricity, walking near water, on wet grass or on sandy beaches has been found to be among the more powerful and effective ways of exchanging Earth electrons to help combat the positive charged oxidative stress in our bodies.

I recommend that you read the long article on Earthing featured in JEPH that includes information from numerous previous studies. According to that analysis, simply walking barefoot every day for a bit, or sleeping connected to an Earth-grounding apparatus, can vastly improve these conditions:

  • Sleep disturbances and chronic pain
  • Stress and pain linked to cortisol
  • Electric fields induced on the body
  • Overall stress levels
  • Problems shifting from sympathetic to parasympathetic activation
  • Immune cell and pain responses with delayed-onset muscle soreness
  • Heart rate variability
  • Improper pH levels
  • Inflammation
  • Immune system activity and response, lupus, MS, rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Blood viscosity
  • Osteoporosis, diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction

How Earthing Works

Exactly how being connected to the Earth’s surface affects our bodies is surprisingly simple. According to the JEPH authors: “[T]he Earth’s negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems… It is assumed that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely neutralize ROS and thereby reduce acute and chronic inflammation.”

In other words, the free electron exchange of Earth energy into the human body can regulate human biological and physiological functions that cause pain, disease, inflammation and accelerated aging.


The barefoot doctors of traditional cultures had something going for them. They stayed connected to the Earth’s surface to keep their intrinsic energy flowing, and thus their ability to heal others. Yet we can heal ourselves, too. And one way to begin that process, which is free and easy, is to dedicate an hour or so each day to grounding ourselves to the Earth surface. Take off your shoes and go for a walk. Sit in a chair and rest your bare feet on the ground. Take a nap on the sandy beach.  

As the JEPH article states, “Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.”

So what are you waiting for? Go take a walk.

Further Reading:


Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.