Earthing, Grounding and Walking Barefoot

...uncommon secrets to vibrant health

A number of years ago, I went to a health conference where there were some odd wires hooked up to every chair.  We were to attach these wires to our bodies, preferably our hands. There was a patch that we could stick to our hand to snap the wire on and off quite easily.  The host explained that we would be learning what would be happening and why we were encouraged to make use of the device.  Several volunteers were selected from the audience to have some blood drawn at the beginning of the day and the end of the day while wearing the wire.  The next day they showed us the blood plasma under a microscope (projected on the screen).  The “before” blood platelets were scrunched together, and in odd oblong shapes. The after platelets were nicely spaced out and very round; we could clearly see this for ourselves.  This was true of every volunteer, in different amounts.  That’s when I learned about “earthing” or “grounding”.

If you haven’t heard of “earthing” or “grounding”, you may have heard that walking barefoot in the grass can actually improve your health.  Or at least that it feels good.  New research has shown that the electromagnetic charge of the Earth is potentially very beneficial to our health.  Since scientists can’t call it “walking on the ground barefoot”, they call it “earthing” or “grounding”. e

I hope at some time in your life you walked barefoot in the grass, or in the water at the beach.    Do you remember how good it felt?  You may have thought it was just the feeling of the texture on your feet, or the circumstances that allowed you to experience it; perhaps on a fun family vacation.  Besides just feeling good, there was actually more going on than you may realize.  For those of you who would love to “geek out” on this subject there is an amazing book written by Stephen Sinatra, MD; Earthing.  The most important health discovery ever?  Since it was written by a cardiologist, and developed by an electrician, there is a lot of science explained, but it’s still very readable.  It’s a good book to get a more thorough understanding of what is technically happening, and why it could benefit your health.  I can give a measly cursory summary, but it may leave you wondering; so I encourage you to do more research.

What does it do?

Honestly, you may want to check out the website FAQ page for some of the best explanations (, or read the book,  but I will try to do a basic explanation, as I understand it, here:


You may remember from your science classes that an atom is surrounded by protons, neutrons and electrons.  As you remember, protons are positively charged, neutrons are more neutral and electrons are negatively charged.  You may know that “free radicals” are atoms where at least one or more (negatively charged) electrons have been lost, basically a shortage of electrons is what causes free radical damage.  Recent research has found that free radical damage is associated with chronic inflammation and other health issues.  

So now we need to add geographical science in with the explanation.  The surface of the Earth is constantly emitting negatively charged electrons, which can be received by anybody in contact with the ground.  These negatively charged electrons can be absorbed by anything or anybody just by having unshielded contact with the ground.  When you walk on the grass or the dirt barefoot, you are absorbing those electrons, and they are quickly going to work on your atoms to restore the electrical balance in those atoms.  The atoms will fight for those electrons, but the more electrons you absorb, the more balanced those atoms will be.  (If you have a much better understanding of this, please feel free to chime in and explain this for me!)


Why the earth’s surface emits negatively charged electrons I also don’t really understand.  I have read that the Earth is essentially a giant battery, being continually recharged by the solar radiation, lightning, and from its molten core.  Knowing all the science behind it is great, but knowing the effects is, to me, the most important.  Just like I don’t really need to know why my light switch works, I just know that my lights turn on when I switch it.  So I make use of it.

So what are these health benefits, anyway?

Logically speaking, if a shortage of negatively charged electrons in your body is what causes free radical damage, which causes inflammation; then it follows that absorbing more electrons into your body, allowing the atoms to become more balanced, should help reduce those effects.  You aren’t really adding anything that shouldn’t really be there in the first place.  What you are doing is reducing the effects of the drain of electrons.  Why we lose electrons is another subject, for another day; but you know it is a serious issue in our lives.  Perhaps because we were designed to be close to nature and always receiving those benefits on a daily basis.  

In summary, absorbing electrons helps reduce inflammation all over the body by reducing free radical damage.  Here are some of the health claims:

  • helps reduce inflammation,
  • reduces or eliminates chronic pain 
  • improves sleep
  • increases energy
  • reduces stress
  • normalizes the body’s biological rhythms
  • thins blood and improves blood pressure
  • relieves muscle tension and headaches
  • protects the body against health disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
  • accelerates recovery

It sounds a little too good to be true, doesn’t it?  Why isn’t this being pursued by everyone that is ill or has chronic pain?  Partially because it takes time, and only works with the body.  It’s not a cure in itself.  You would also have to change all the other things that may have contributed to your ill health in the first place, if you haven’t already.  

Unfortunately, it’s like eating healthy: the amount it helps equates to the amount you do.  So one salad isn’t going to make an unhealthy person feel better;  walking barefoot for 5 minutes one day and being inside and ungrounded the rest of your life won’t do you any more benefit.  They both help best if done consistently.

If you consider for most of the human existence, we were very closely tied to nature.  People spent much more time outdoors, connected to their environment.  They had dirt floors, or wood floors on dirt (which didn’t insulate them from the negative electrons emitted by the earth).  Most people grew much of their own food, so they were exposed to the dirt surface of the earth.  Our lives are no longer set up to be exposed to nature.  I believe this has contributed to much of our current ill health.

Nomadic life

How do we get the benefits of “Earthing”?

That’s the best part!  It’s totally free!  Of all the health improving techniques, this one is the cheapest and easiest by far.  Walk barefoot outside on the earth’s surface, as much as possible.  You can even have your socks on if your feet get cold (socks don’t insulate you like shoes do.)  Yes, there are devices you can use to help you while you are indoors (check out, but if you have no budget for these things, you don’t need to spend a penny!  Just work with how our bodies were originally designed!

The good new is, you don’t have to be exposed all day to reap benefits, you can reap benefits with just a short exposure.  However, as with most things beneficial, more is better.

When you go on vacation to the lake or the ocean, be sure to take your shoes off and walk in the water.  When you go to a park, take those shoes off and walk in the grass.  Take a cloth blanket and put it on the grass and sit on the blanket.  Get in the habit of going outside as much as possible, then get grounded by touching the ground. 

 If you garden, or love to work in your yard, you have it made; just take off your shoes while you do it.  Wiggle your toes and stretch them out while you are doing there, it will feel so good.  If you pick up a shovel, go put your shoes back on, though.  Also, don’t mow the grass with bare feet!

Why is this new?

It seems like scientists should have known we were getting into trouble when we were changing the electromagnetic charges of our lives.  But with all the conveniences that we love so much, would we even have listened? It may help to know how this simple but revolutionary idea was discovered.  

Clint Ober, the person who discovered and researched this subject, had a company that laid television cable.  He understood electricity and insulation.  One day he was watching people walking by and it struck him that they were all wearing rubber soled shoes.  That doesn’t sound very unusual, but looking at it from an electromagnetic standpoint, it meant that they were all insulated from the electromagnetic field of the ground, or the Earth’s surface.

He knew that in the cable industry, “you have to ground and shield the entire cable system in every home to prevent extraneous electromagnetic signals and fields from interfering with the transmission carried through the cable.  That’s how you provide the viewer with a perfect signal and a crisp picture, as well as preventing signals on the cable system from leaking out into the environment and possibly disturbing the police radio or TV station transmissions.”

As he pondered this, he wondered if being insulated from the ground affected our health. So he took a Volumeter and measured the EMF’s (electromagnetic frequencies) in his house.  EMFs are the “bad” frequencies from electronic devices that are shown to contribute to ill health.  Think microwaves.  The lower the EMF the better.  The only things that didn’t raise his EMFs were appliances that were grounded (use the third prong in the outlet).  He realized that to protect himself from harmful EMFs, he needed to be “grounded” to the earth.  So he came up with a plan to start “grounding” things in his house that he spent most of his time with or on.  We spend a significant amount of time on our beds, so he started there.  With lots of experimenting, he made a device with duct tape and silver wire, as well as a wire that went outside and connected to the gound, to “ground” his bed.  His results were that he started sleeping better right away.  This was the start to decades of experiments. 

The problem is in our modern lives, we spend nearly 100% of our lives insulated from the Earth’s surface.

Does this really work?

Since that health conference many years ago, I have had a grounding sheet on my bed (it’s actually half a sheet, you just need to have your feet on it, and that silver wire is expensive).  It’s wired to the grounding hole of a nearby outlet.  I’ve slept on a grounding sheet for so many years, I almost forgot all the benefits I get from it.  I have taken for granted that when I go to bed I fall asleep quickly and wake up refreshed almost every morning.  I have taken my sleep for granted, and I am often shocked when people tell me they have so much trouble sleeping.  I used to explain to people about circadian rhythms, EMFs in their bedrooms, blue lights, as well as getting outside barefoot.  Over the years I have just taken too much for granted.

About a month ago, my husband (who gets tangled up in the half sheet) asked if we “really need it”.  So I took it off to wash it, and didn’t get around to putting it on for several weeks.  All of a sudden I was waking up in the middle of the night.  I was tossing and turning for almost an hour before I fell asleep, and I was drinking more coffee and tea to get though the day.  Then one day I decided to write this article, and lo and behold I realized what was going on.  Yep, I put that sheet right back on the bed, and have been sleeping better ever since.

A few years ago, my friend Amy mentioned she had an EMF reader.  So I asked if she would bring it to my house to test different areas of my house.  We saw exactly what we would expect, near the microwave it was high, but three steps away it read low. Areas near electronic appliances (not the washer and dryer, though, because these are grounded at the outlet) had higher readings, and away from the devices were lower readings.  Then we went to my bedroom.  I had her test the nightstand with the clock on it (I have very few electronic devices in the bedroom).  Then I had her test the bed, which is right next to the clock.  There were essentially no EMFs on the bed.  I had the grounding sheet on it.  Yes, it works.  

The crazy thing is, if you don’t care about the science, it’s actually simplicity in action.  The Earth has amazing healing powers, and it’s not some woo-woo science, it’s as factual as lightning, and it works on the same process as the grounding wire in your outlets.  I don’t understand electricity, but thankfully I don’t need to for it to work.  The healing ability of the earth is the same, you don’t have to believe it, it’ll work anyway.  

It’s also cheap.  It’s just a matter of taking off your shoes and walking outdoors.  Are there devices to help with getting more exposure?  Sure, and they are great; however, they are not necessary.

So for me, I will keep my grounding mat on my bed; I will walk barefoot in the grass and in my garden as much as possible.  I hope you will at least do the latter.

To your health!

Patti Bealer
Health Coach and Health Advocate