The earliest human societies built their way of life around connection with the Earth. Some of the earliest religions based themselves on animism, a religious belief that everything is animated and alive, all objects, places and creatures possess a distinct spiritual essence. Quantum physics reveals everything is made up of energy and the energy of “things” is constantly interacting with everything else in the local environment. Some evidence suggests the chemical and electromagnetic properties of the body do interact with energy in our environment.
The energetic element to health is finding more support in emerging fields of science such as bioenergetics. Goodman and Blank (2011) explain our DNA possess two structural characteristics of fractal antennas, electronic conduction and self symmetry. These properties make the DNA reactive to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in the environment.(1) Invisible to the eye, electromagnetic fields are present everywhere in our environment. There are many natural sources of electromagnetic fields, we see it with every thunderstorm and the discharge of electricity (lightning for example). Many animals intuitively use the Earth’s magnetic field for navigation.
However, in our modern cities, our bodies are also exposed to many human-made sources of electromagnetic fields. Our power grids and every electrical devices emit low frequency electromagnetic fields. Higher frequency radio waves transmit information from TV antennas, radio and mobile phone base stations. High energy electromagnetic waves carry so much energy they can literally break bonds between molecules. Many of these human-made EMF fields are oxidising to the body, including cellular and chromosomal damage, potential increases in cancer epidemiology and other problematic health concerns.
Electromagnetic radiation generates positive ions—carbon dioxide molecules stripped of an electron—in the surrounding air. Pollution and electronic devices (such as WIFI, artificial lights, computers and mobile phones) emit these ions. Positive ions are harmful to the body due to their oxidising effect, but can be diffused and rendered harmless by antioxidising negative ions, which nature provides in abundance.
The highest concentrations of negative ions exist in natural, clean air, most abundant in environments, such as dense forests, mountains, waterfalls and beaches. Researchers have found exposure to positive ions for two hours increases anxiety and stress levels, but is similarly reversed by the same level of exposure to negative ions. (2) Negative ions have been found to notably enhance immune function, revitalise cellular metabolism, purify the blood and calm the nervous system.
Why do people like the beach so much? Crashing water—from waves or a waterfall—creates immense negative ion generation, which is why it feels so rejuvenating when we visit these places. Dr. Michael Terman, a PhD, of Columbia University in New York, studies these ions and writes, “The action of the pounding surf creates negative air ions and we also see it immediately after spring thunderstorms when people report lightened moods.” (3)
Terman’s research has helped pave the way for drug free treatments of people suffering seasonal effective disorder, insomnia, mood issues and depression. You can even create negative ions in our own homes with negative ion generators, water features and indoor plants. Terman found winter housebound people with chronic depression (seasonal effective disorder), gained as much relief from the use of a negative ion generator as taking an antidepressant. (3)
Being near water is not the only reason we love the beach, so is putting our bare feet on the Earth because it carries an electron-rich negative charge. Grounding (earthing) seems to be a necessary component of health by supplying antioxidants and free radical destroying electrons. Dr. James Oschman, a PhD in biology from the University of Pittsburgh, began to study this area of science after hearing many subjective reports of people walking barefoot on the Earth and receiving positive outcomes in feelings of health and well-being.
Grounding helps improve our red blood cells, and some research discovered it takes about 80-90 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach the bloodstream. Placing your feet on the ground after an illness or injury can help healing. This is due to the ability for negative ions to neutralise positive charged free radicals that leak into healthy tissue.
Our separation from the Earth began last century with the advent of elevated beds, rubber insulated footwear, the use of bicycles and vehicles to move around, and high-rise buildings. Direct skin connect with the Earth was an everyday reality for the human race for most of our existence, but now we rarely touch the Earth with our feet unless we are at the beach or sunbathing at a local park. Dr. Oschman’s study suggests the process of killing bacteria and healing injury takes advantage of the body’s constant access to the virtually limitless source of mobile electrons the Earth provides when we are in contact with it. He writes:
Antioxidants are electron donors, and the best electron donor, we strongly believe, is right under our feet: the surface of the Earth, with its virtually unlimited storehouse of accessible electrons. Electrons from the Earth may in fact be the best antioxidants, with zero negative secondary effects, because our body evolved to use them over eons of physical contact with the ground. Our immune systems work beautifully as long as electrons are available to balance the ROS and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) used when dealing with infection and tissue injury. Our modern lifestyle has taken the body and the immune system by surprise by suddenly depriving it of its primordial electron source….The disconnection from the Earth may be an important, insidious, and overlooked contribution to physiological dysfunction and to the alarming global rise in non-communicable, inflammatory-related chronic diseases. A lack of electrons can also de-saturate the electron transport chains in mitochondria, leading to chronic fatigue and slowing the cellular migrations and other essential activities of the cells of the immune system. (4)
Whenever most of us go outside, we shield our feet from the intense electron-rich Earth with a layer of rubber. Rubber is an insulator, one of the least conductive substances on the planet, destroying the electrical connection between our feet and the ground. Walking barefoot on the Earth helps with improving feelings of groundedness and renewal, helping heal our energy based nervous system, releasing the tension and the stress build-up from the artificial urban world.
If you have vacation time, go to a natural area rather than a city. Visit a park once a week, try spend one weekend a month exploring a national park. Go on urban walks around trees or water. Gardening is great, getting your hands into the Earth. Visit the beach, swim in lakes, visit waterfalls, run on trails not on pavement. Live for new adventure. Go exploring. Be present when in nature and try to slow down the constant brain chatter. Just be in the moment. Breathe in the energy. The smell, the sound of wind, flowing water. Be soothed by the energy nature offers you.
Once you are in nature, take a few moments (when you can safely) to take off your shoes and socks and place your feet on the Earth, in a stream, on a grass field and reconnect with the energy of the Earth. Make it your mission to develop a stronger connection with nature. As you do this, then you are more likely to prioritise it higher in your life and start to experience the wider benefits such exposure offers.
1. DNA is a fractal antenna in electromagnetic fields. [Online] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21457072.
2. What Are Negative Ions And Why Are There So Many Studies on Their 'Health Benefits'? [Online] [Cited: 26 April 2019.] https://www.sciencealert.com/why-are-there-hundreds-of-studies-on-the-health-benefits-of-negative-ions.
3. Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes. [Online] https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/negative-ions-create-positive-vibes#1.
4. The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. [Online] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378297/.