Going Barefoot

Grounding is one of the latest health crazes going around the Internet. For those of us raised in the South, that means walking around barefoot. But for people who didn’t spend most of their childhoods barefoot, grounding is a new and novel way to improve health by connecting with the good bacteria in the dirt. There’s also a new-age element to the idea of grounding – that because we are so separated from nature, connecting to the energetic forces of the earth will bring us closer to nature and remind us to treat our home with more care.

I’m all for going barefoot for any reason, even if it’s just to remember that feeling of being a kid with a full summer day of nothing ahead but getting dirty outside. There is also a practical basis of the grounding concept that we should consider. First, children with more exposure to the good bacteria in dirt have stronger immune systems than those who are slathered in anti-bacterial gel and kept away from nature. Also, several scientific studies have shown that exposure to the good bacteria in soil works as a natural anti-depressant, significantly raising levels of happiness, vitality and cognitive function.

For others, grounding is considered a way to have direct contact with the energy of the earth itself. The negative charge of the earth, absorbed through our feet, helps our bodies to regulate cortisol, reduce inflammation and even balance our circadian rhythms. If this sounds a little hokey, consider that a study by the Journal of Environmental and Public Health determined that our bodies’ contact with the electrons of the earth’s surface, “a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health,” including a notable reduction in pain and overall better sleep.

With this in mind, consider going barefoot more this spring and summer, not just for the fun of it, but also for your health.

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