Have you ever thought why it feels good to walk in a lush green garden or when you are at a hill station or the beach? That is simply because you are in close proximity to nature and it is said that the closer you are with nature, the happier and healthier you become. And one such practise that helps you connect with nature is ‘grounding’ or walking barefoot on the ground or clean grass. “It is a therapeutic lifestyle change if you have access to a garden or clean soil,” says Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine.
“All living creatures on earth, besides adults, maintain their contact with the soil. Our modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact. We sleep on beds, walk with shoes, etc., and this lost contact with earth or nature, in general, is why most of us are unhappy and ungrounded. Today, there are scientific studies proving the disconnect between nature and humans as a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness,” he tells indianexpress.com.
However, grounding doesn’t mean sleeping on the floor, it is about having a little exposure to earth and soil. Below, he shares some benefits of the practice.
It can make one feel refreshed and more in sync with nature
Grounding is one of the best ways to connect with mother earth and nature. Walking barefoot on earth can give pleasure and peace if done mindfully. This is not possible on cement or tiled surfaces.
It develops mindfulness and awareness
Walking barefoot on the ground helps us tune into our awareness and makes us alert.
Reduces blood pressure
Walking barefoot on the ground can help us feel relaxed, calm and safe almost instantly, thereby having a positive effect on blood pressure. In naturopathy, it is recommended to walk for 10-15 minutes barefoot to the normalise blood pressure.
Reduces inflammation and pain
Earth has a special electrical power which gives vital force to any person walking barefoot on it. Science says that walking barefoot helps us absorb negative ions from the earth, and due to the direct physical contact, it allows a vast supply of electrons from the surface of the earth, similar to what lighting up Himalayan pink salt lamps do.
Boosts immunity and gut health
Exposing yourself to the soil and ground can benefit as the powerful microbes found in soil help build immunity naturally. Microbes enter our body through our skin, from under our nails and feed the good bacteria in our gut microflora making us stronger and healthier, thereby boosting our immune system. We live in a world that’s full of antimicrobial handwashes, soaps chemically-laden shampoos, which is not a bad thing, but it wipes us off necessary microbes that also exist on our skin. Grounding can help us absorb some of the good bacteria.
It’s a great acupressure
Walking barefoot helps activate several acupressure points on our foot due to its uneven surface. This can have a positive impact on our entire body.
Can improve feet hygiene
Our skin surface houses thousands of bacteria and when the bad bacteria outweigh the good, it could lead to bad odour. Mud is known to pull out these toxins and bad odour. This is why people in rural areas clean their houses by applying a mix of earth and water on the floors and walls and even wash their hands with mud after answering nature’s call. Things which are rotten are covered with earth.
Much in the same way, walking barefoot can pull out toxins from the soles of our feet and increase the number of good bacteria on the skin surface, thereby boosting foot hygiene. This, again, isn’t possible when we wear shoes all the time.
“There is a common notion that walking barefoot can induce cold and cough. However, this is incorrect. Ancient sages and holy men traditionally walked barefoot and gave training to their disciples to do the same. Whether you catch a cold or not, is on your immunity,” mentions Coutinho.
Hence, it is a good idea to adopt this practice especially if you have access to nature or do it once in a while whenever you get a chance.
Note: Please practice caution in case of diabetes, as any cut or injury due to walking barefoot on soil or grass can lead to further complications.